The Arizona Cardinals will take on the Dallas Cowboys in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game on August 3rd. This will be the first game of the 2017 NFL preseason. How can bettors profit on exhibition games in the NFL?

The answer is to follow sharp money. We can do this by identifying reverse line movement, which is when the line moves in the opposite direction of the betting percentages. For example, the Packers are favored by 7 points over the Lions. Green Bay is receiving 75% of betting tickets but the line moves to Packers -6.5. This is an indication that smart money is on Detroit.

To build this system we start by using the “Spread Change Open to Close” filter and look for games where there was at least a one point line movement.

Then we want teams getting less than 50% of spread bets.

Preseason games with reverse line movement have gone 91-67 (57.6%) ATS, +20.0 units since 2004. The against-the-spread winning percentage increases the less public support a team gets but there are fewer games that meet the criteria.

Betting PercentageATS RecordUnits
<50%91-67 (57.6%)+20.0
<45%61-44 (58.1%)+14.6
<40%37-20 (64.9%)+15.4
<35%20-10 (66.7%)+9.2

Another strategy for bettors is to take underdogs with reverse line movement. Teams in this situation have covered the spread 65.8% of the time.

Following reverse line movement in exhibition games is a viable betting strategy. The NFL preseason starts this Thursday. Good luck!


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