Unlike the regular season, won-lost records are one of the most important handicapping tools in the preseason. In some cases, SU won-lost trends are the only handicapping tool available for a preseason game. They must, however, be used properly and with the exercise of common sense.
The handicapper uses won-lost records as an indication of coaching attitude. When attempting to discern coaching attitudes, some analysts make the mistake of looking at against the spread (ATS) records. Forget ATS records. It’s only the straight up wins and losses that count.
A few coaches my try to instill a winning attitude by trying to win the game, but all that is necessary to instill that attitude is to win straight up (SU). It does the team no good from a psychological standpoint to win ATS but lose the game. No coach will risk his players trying to cover a spread in the preseason. Against the spread records tell the handicapper nothing about coach or owner intentions.
In the regular season, the ATS record may indicate a temporary mistake in public perception of a team that may create a line advantage. In the preseason, however, the lines for each match are set within very limited parameters, and public perception does not enter into it as much as in the regular season. Thus, the preseason ATS record can tell us little about the line either.
Only the straight up (SU) record can tell us if the coach or owner likes to win in the preseason, and that is all that is important when looking at a preseason won-lost record..
While we're on the topic of the Preseason, I have my Preseason GAME OF THE YEAR plus a big Top 3-star Total on the same game kicking off at 8:00 PM Eastern. The side play is based on the a few of the strongest and surest preseason handicapping factors available. The total in this game flows naturally from the side. Both the GAME OF THE YEAR and the TOP-RATED TOTAL are part of the same package available HERE.