Submitted by Brent Crow
One factor to consider every NFL preseason before you go to the betting window is the effect of having a new coach. When teams make changes at the head coaching position, something likely went wrong the previous year(s), with retirement being about the only thing exception. As a result we can safely assume that teams with new head coaches are looking for a bright spot. But what we cannot assume is that every new coach will try to win all of their games during the preseason in order to get a head start on turning the franchise around. It may sound good in theory, and many times coaches will say they are going to try to win, but some become more focused on working on plays and seeing whether or not their second and third strings can perform. In general, however, I’ve found that betting on new coaches is a long term profitable strategy for the NFL Preseason.
There are three new coaches this year in the NFL. All of them are retreads; all have been a head coach in the league before and all have experience in the preseason. Sometimes, new coaches that have never been an NFL head man will go a little gung-ho in the preseason: see Steve Spurrier in his first season in Washington. That won’t be the case with these three however; Mike Shanahan, Chan Gailey and Pete Carroll have all been around the block. I wouldn’t expect any of them to put any abnormal amount of emphasis on winning preseason games.
The teams that they are taking over, Shanahan with the Redskins, Gailey with the Bills and Carroll with the Seahawks, have all struggled over the past couple of seasons, with the Bills futility going back even further. However, all three franchises have solid fan bases and ownership and aren’t about to see any drop in season ticket sales. So again, there is little urgency to win a few preseason games to get the fans to buy tickets as has been the case before with some organizations.
Where I hope and expect to pick up a solid bet or two is after a bad start or a couple of bad performances. I would love to see all three coaches get off to 0-2 starts this preseason. The reality is that it doesn’t really mean anything, but the local media and fans will never let you believe that. There will be some pressure from the media and fans to see some results, and maybe even from Washington owner Dan Snyder if the Redskins start poorly.
Coaches most likely won’t be too concerned, but they also don’t like to be talked poorly about in the press and they also don’t want the players to get accustom to losing. Typically you will see comments from them about the need to play better and give more effort in the next game.