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It’s all come down to this. NFL Preseason Week Three. The annual Fool-Yourself-Into-Thinking-This Matters-Bowl for every NFL team.
Historically, Week Three is when teams starters play significant minutes, potentially more than half of the game. That said, coaches vary on this principle and some like Sean McVay have continued to rest all their best player regardless of this preseason tradition.
As I have done twice already, I look into this match up between the New York Jets and New Orleans Saints using four key concepts to handicapping Preseason as Football. These concepts stem from those highlighted by Steve Fezzik, professional sports bettor & the only two time winner of the Hilton SuperContest. So far utilizing Fezzik’s framework has lead to a 2-0 record. Let’s keep it going.
Concept #1: Coaching Tendencies
If all you did so far this preseason was bet ON coaches with a historically GOOD Preseason Win/Los record (Joe Harbough, John Gruden Pete Carrol, Mike Zimmer) and bet AGAINST coaches with a historically BAD Preseason Win/Los records (Dan Quinn, & Jason Garrett) you would be a nearly perfect 10-0-1 against the spread. Bookmakers just simply do not adjust enough for coaching tendencies in preseason games. A coach can instill his team with a high motivation to win or not in these games, and the results clearly indicate which coaches care and which don’t.
Saints Coaching Tendencies: C
Saints’ Sean Payton appears to be in the center of this paradigm. Over his last 30 preseason games, the Saints are 15-15 against the spread and 13-17 straight up.
Jets Coaching Tendencies: D-
The Jets Adam Gase, however, appears to be more on the Quinn/Garret side of the ledger, especially after his first few preseason games as a HC. Gase won 2 of his first 3 preseason games as a HC, and has lost 6 of his last 9. That number actually looks better than it really is – because 2 of his 3 victories over his last 9 preseason games have come against Dan Quinn, who never wins in the preseason (0-13 trend). Taking those two games against Quinn out, Gase is 1-6 SU & ATS in his last 7 preseason games dating back to 2017.
Concept #2: Quarterback Rotation
The QB depth chart in preseason Week 3 often matters significantly less than other preseason games. Whereas, most teams will play their starters for a drive or two in a typical preseason game, in Week 3 those starters may play a half or more.
Saints QB Rotation: B+
Saints Reporter Katherine Terrell of the Athletic reports that Sean Payton intends to play Drew Brees vs. the Jets. Reasonable minds disagree about whether Brees arm strength took a precipitous drop at the end of last season. However, coming off a summer respite, this should be the freshest he’s been in the past year. He’s obviously a Hall of Fame, Great and I look for him to get those positive vibes going with a few early scores. Additionally, Taysom Hill looked phenomenal leading the Saints to a comeback win last week against the Chargers. He avoided defenders majestically and dropped in some amazing feathery soft lobs into tight windows deep downfield. He significantly outplayed Teddy Bridgewater, and I expect will soon replace Bridgewater as Brees’s backup. The Saints will want to see if his success is sustainable, and should play him as much or more than Bridgewater in this contest.
Jets QB Rotation: C-
Sam Darnold has been getting a lot of praise since the start of training camp. He shot out of the gate in Week 1 against the Giants, converting three third downs on the way to an opening drive score. He wasn’t quite as good against the Falcons in limited work. Gase played starter Ryan Tannehill significantly in week 3 of last year’s preseason. I expect Darnold, too, will see significant time. Behind him, Trevor Siemian has not taken to life as backup very well so far. He has been bad in both preseason games in very limited snaps. Falk and David Webb have been similarly ineffective.
Concept #3: General Conditions
Nothing jumps off the page as to why one of these teams might have a motivational edge here. The Jets may want to change the narrative after their recent bad injury news. At the same time, the injuries may caution them to play their starters as little as possible.
Saints General Conditions C
Jets General Conditions C
Concept #4: Late-Breaking Info
Outside of the Brees news, nothing to report here.
Saints General Conditions N/A
Jets General Conditions N/A
Conclusion: Gase’s poor recent history in the preseason and the Saints QB advantage are significant. It’s tough taking a road favorite in the preseason but I think the data points squarely in that direction. Take New Orleans -170 on the moneyline, available at FanDuel.