Quite possibly my favorite part about preseason football is the idea that oddsmakers will set a betting line. The 49ers and Chiefs square off in Kansas City on Friday in a Week 2 preseason matchup, and the Chiefs are 1 1/2 point favorites. Had this been a regular season matchup, even as a road team, I have to think the 49ers would have been three or four point favorites.
While the NFL might like to stick its head in the sand when it comes to gambling, most of us know this is one reason the NFL is so popular. Whether it's straight placing wagers on games, or the world of fantasy football (which really is a form of gambling), football is more interesting for me when I have a stake in an outcome. I have a natural stake in the 49ers performance, but for much of the rest of the league, a few bucks can help.
That being said, wagering on preseason action strikes me as just a little bit crazy. Last week, we saw the 49ers lose a 10-6 decision to the Denver Broncos. The 49ers entered the game as a three point favorite. In setting gambling lines, oddsmakers are as precise as they can be, considering all possible angles on a game. But I wonder how close they are tracking the backups in setting a line for a given game. For that first preseason game, when the starters are going no more than one or two series, you really have to know your third and fourth string players to have any idea what might happen.
In looking at last week's games, seven out of 16 favorites covered. I'm tempted to track how many favorites cover each week through the preseason and then into the regular season to see just how the favorites are working out.