Can You Bet on Preseason Football for the 2021 NFL Season?

By in NFL on
7 Minute Read

We are almost to the end of July, which means football season is only a few sleeps away. While bettors may have to get their kicks with a few weeks of college football before the NFL regular season gets started, that isn’t the only option.

In fact, the NFL preseason will get underway in a little more than a week. All 32 teams are in the midst of training camp, which started in earnest earlier this week. Last year’s Hall of Fame Game – and the entire NFL preseason – were canceled as a result of the pandemic. While the league agreed to axe one week’s worth of preseason games this year in exchange for an extra regular-season game, there are two teams that will still play four preseason contests.

On Thursday, August 5, there will be football on your television. The Dallas Cowboys will take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Canton to unofficially kick off the 2021 NFL campaign. One week after that, the full preseason gets started in earnest.

Can you bet on preseason football in 2021?

What Should I Look For in a Preseason NFL Betting Site?

The answer to the question is yes. You can absolutely bet on preseason football. Football is the most popular sport in the United States by a huge margin, and the sport is beginning to garner an international following, too. While it may take a while for American football to overtake a few other sports in terms of overseas popularity, you can still find countless NFL betting opportunities regardless of whether you’re in the US or abroad.

Of course, all of your favorite big-name betting sites will have preseason NFL odds. Sites like BetOnline, and just about any sports betting site worth its weight will afford you the chance to wager on preseason football. If you’re new to the online betting game, the following features are just a few of the traits you should look for in a quality NFL betting site:

Preseason Coverage

Obviously, you’re going to have a hard time betting on the NFL preseason if you try to do so on a site that doesn’t even offer betting coverage of the preseason. Fortunately, preseason odds are a lot easier to come by nowadays than they used to be. With football having exploded in popularity over the past 20-25 years, the sport has become a massive money-maker for bookmakers.

While preseason action differs considerably from the regular-season version, you can still find an edge in the betting odds if you know where to look. Taking the time to shop around for odds at different NFL betting sites in an attempt to find that edge will be worth your while.

Betting Options

While the vast majority of those that wager on the NFL preseason will be looking for game lines, the best NFL betting sites offer an array of unique options in addition to point spreads, moneylines, and totals. The NFL preseason is a perfect time to place a futures bet on your favorite team to win Super Bowl 56, for example. The vast majority of online football betting sites have had their Super Bowl 56 futures available for months, but the odds are always changing. What happens in the preseason can absolutely affect a team’s outlook for the future, so keeping tabs on preseason action could be key to placing a good futures wager.

Bonuses and Promotions

Football is a big deal to both bettors and bookmakers. NFL betting sites know you have plenty of options when it comes to where you want to place your bets. One way they can try and set themselves apart from their competitors is by offering unique bonuses and promotions that reward you for choosing their site.

Lots of sites will run new promotions ahead of the NFL season because football is the most popular betting sport of them all in the US. Many sites are willing to give you the chance to place risk-free NFL bets or collect special bonus cash that you can then use to place real money football bets! Taking advantage of as many bonuses and promotions as possible is a great way to begin your NFL betting experience, even in the preseason.

The following sites should be your first stops if you’re looking to get action on the 2021 NFL preseason:

What Kinds of Bets Can I Place in the Preseason?

Point Spread

Because preseason football is generally far less predictable than its regular-season counterpart, preseason odds tend to be softer in general. You likely won’t see big point spreads slapped on preseason NFL contests, as many of the games are, essentially coin flips.

During the preseason, coaches aren’t necessarily prioritizing winning games. The preseason is much more about talent evaluation and whittling down a roster than getting actual results.

While I’m sure coaches would still rather win than lose, a team like the Green Bay Packers isn’t going to play Aaron Rodgers all 60 minutes in order to get themselves into the preseason win column.


The same can be said of the moneyline in football. NFL betting sites will still slap moneyline odds on both teams in a given game, but the odds will rarely be skewed heavily in favor of one team over its opponent. Factors you may consider when betting on a regular-season or playoff NFL game, like home-field advantage, also tend to matter less in the preseason. A team with more young players fighting for roster spots may have more impetus to try and win a game, but that’s hardly predictive.


Because we won’t see many star players playing heavy minutes in the preseason, preseason games can also get fairly ugly. While football is football, the quality of your standard preseason NFL game pales in comparison to a regular-season or playoff game.

While you will still see the occasional shootout in the preseason, these games tend to be lower-scoring. So the over/under on a preseason game will almost surely be lower than most totals we’ll see during the season when the games really count.


As mentioned, the preseason is when many bettors choose to get their action on futures odds. In addition to odds on every team’s chances to win the Super Bowl, NFL betting sites will also put odds on whether a certain team will make the playoffs. You can also bet on whether a team will win its division or conference. NFL futures odds are constantly fluctuating over the course of the season, so you will have plenty of opportunities to get your bets in even if you miss your chance to do so during the preseason.

What Does the 2021 NFL Preseason Schedule Look Like?

Because the NFL wanted to add a 17th game to every team’s schedule, the NFL Players’ Association asked the league to take a preseason game away. So, every team will play the same number of games it normally plays, it’s just that one more game will count toward the regular-season standings.

A 17-game regular-season schedule means that half of the league will play nine home games, while the other half will play one extra road game. Teams with eight home games during the regular season will play two of their three preseason games at home, while the teams with nine regular-season home games will play two of three preseason dates on the road. That script will flip next year.

The more limited preseason schedule means we’ll have fewer prime-time TV games, but I think this is a trade most NFL fans would make.

One extra meaningful regular-season game is a lot more fun than another largely pointless preseason game, right?

The full 2021 NFL preseason schedule is listed below:

Week 0 (Hall of Fame Game)

Thursday, Aug. 5

  • Pittsburgh vs. Dallas, 8 p.m. (Fox)

Week 1

Thursday, Aug. 12

  • Washington at New England, 7:30 p.m.
  • Pittsburgh at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 13

  • Tennessee at Atlanta, 7 p.m.
  • Buffalo at Detroit, 7 p.m.
  • Dallas at Arizona, 10 p.m.

Saturday, Aug.14

  • Miami at Chicago, 1 p.m.
  • Denver at Minnesota, 4 p.m.
  • New Orleans at Baltimore, 7 p.m.
  • Cleveland at Jacksonville, 7 p.m.
  • New York Jets at New York Giants, 7:30 p.m.
  • Cincinnati at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.
  • Houston at Green Bay, 8 p.m.
  • Kansas City at San Francisco, 8:30 p.m.
  • Seattle at Las Vegas, 9 p.m.
  • Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams, 10 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 15

  • Carolina at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.

Week 2

Thursday, Aug. 19

  • New England at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 20

  • Kansas City at Arizona, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Cincinnati at Washington, 8 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 21

  • Buffalo at Chicago, 1 p.m.
  • New York Jets at Green Bay, 4:25 p.m.
  • Baltimore at Carolina, 7 p.m.
  • Atlanta at Miami, 7 p.m.
  • Detroit at Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m.
  • Tennessee at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.
  • Houston at Dallas, 8 p.m.
  • Indianapolis at Minnesota, 8 p.m.
  • Las Vegas at Los Angeles Rams, 10 p.m.
  • Denver at Seattle, 10 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 22

  • New York Giants at Cleveland, 1 p.m.
  • San Francisco at Los Angeles Chargers, 7:30 p.m.

Monday, Aug. 23

  • Jacksonville at New Orleans, 8 p.m. (ESPN)

Week 3

Friday, Aug. 27

  • Indianapolis at Detroit, 7 p.m.
  • Pittsburgh at Carolina, 7:30 p.m.
  • Philadelphia at New York Jets, 7:30 p.m.
  • Minnesota at Kansas City, 8 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 28

  • Green Bay at Buffalo, 1 p.m.
  • Baltimore at Washington, 6 p.m.
  • Chicago at Tennessee, 7 p.m.
  • Tampa Bay at Houston, 8 p.m.
  • Arizona at New Orleans, 8 p.m.
  • Los Angeles Rams at Denver, 9:05 p.m.
  • Los Angeles Chargers at Seattle, 10 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 29

  • Jacksonville at Dallas,  1 p.m.
  • Miami at Cincinnati, 4 p.m. (CBS)
  • Las Vegas at San Francisco, 4 p.m.
  • New England at New York Giants, 6 p.m.


While the NFL preseason may lack the luster of the league’s highly-anticipated regular-season schedule, you can still get some practice reps in as a bettor. While you will still have real money on the line, you can also use the preseason as a tune-up of your own. Trying different betting strategies and taking calculated risks you otherwise wouldn’t are a few ways you can make the preseason NFL betting experience more worth your while.

Betting on the NFL preseason is a fun and different way to get some early football action. And, if you know what you’re doing, it can be a hugely rewarding a profitable endeavor, too.

Taylor Smith

Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...

View all posts by Taylor Smith
Email the author at: [email protected]