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2013 NFL preseason betting: Odds against Cowboys, Dolphins

Many ask why bet on the NFL preseason since the games don't matter. But it's the NFL! And there are trends and patterns that can help pad bankrolls before September. Check out preseason trends.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Four days of rest is not enough for football players, even when it's the preseason and even though some players only take part in a few series of downs.

In the past two preseasons, the teams playing in the kick-off Hall of Fame Game are 0-3 when playing later the same week with five or less days of rest.

Both Arizona and New Orleans lost a year ago after their Hall of Fame Game appearance. In 2010 (there was no game in 2011 due to the NFL lockout), Dallas lost as well. Cincinnati won, but they had a full seven days rest before their second game.

So can bettors count on Dallas and Miami to lose this week on NFL preseason betting lines? Miami plays Friday at Jacksonville on just five days rest and are small road favorites, despite our recent preseason betting trend.

Dallas visits Oakland on Friday as well, looking to follow up its Hall of Fame Game win over the Dolphins with another victory. The Cowboys are also road favorites, as oddsmakers seem to be discounting our ‘not-enough-rest' angle.

The official Week 1 on the exhibition schedule kicks off Thursday with six games. In keeping with preseason odds history, oddsmakers don't trust any team with a big spread, so most are 3 points or less. Only the Browns (favored by 4 points) are more than a field goal favorite. And that spread also disrespects a preseason trend as the St. Louis Rams are a money-making 11-3 SU & ATS in their past 14 August games.

The Atlanta Falcons host the Cincinnati Bengals (8 p.m. ET, ESPN) on Thursday's main televised game. Both are getting early attention as possible Super Bowl contenders and the future odds on each are attracting wagering interest.

Denver at San Francisco is a possible Super Bowl preview, but don't expect Thursday's rosters to resemble a potential clash next February. The host 49ers are favored by 3 points at most sportsbooks today.

Detroit hosts the Jets and the Lions are riding a 9-2 SU & ATS streak in their past 11 preseason games. The Jets meanwhile are 0-5 SU & ATS in their past 5 preseason games.

Tennessee might be the best bet of the night, if past performance means anything. Since 2007, the Titans have never lost a preseason game at home and they are -3 vs visiting Washington.

Check out the latest NFL odds, trends and matchup reports.