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Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree (48) and running back Trey Edmunds (33) battle in a drill during an NFL football training camp practice in Latrobe, Pa., Sunday, July 28, 2019.
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree (48) and running back Trey Edmunds (33) battle in a drill during an NFL football training camp practice in Latrobe, Pa., Sunday, July 28, 2019.|Keith Srakocic | Associated Press
NFL

NFL Preview: Mims shares his thoughts on the pre-season and what he'll be looking at heading into the first game

Robert Mims

Robert Mims

Only 38 days until the start of NFL 2019 season. This is the time where all NFL fans, regardless of team affiliation can feel good about their chances. The levels of expectations may differ, but each team has the same record. All things equal until that 1st preseason game. Then the scrutiny of the players and coaches intensifies. Why did we switch to a 3-4 defense? When will Ezekiel Elliott end his holdout? Just an example of what the fans are thinking.

The teams in the division will get a great deal of attention. Then the out of conference divisional opponents. Next is the view of the schedule and when does the bye week fall. After a fan looks at these factors objectively, an educated guess can be given for total wins and losses. An injury to a key player could change your prediction so following training camp is imperative. If there is a quality back up or depth at the position that will minimize the loss of a starter.

I look at what the fans are betting. What future bets are popular? It’s obvious the local teams will get the lion share of action. Sports betting is so new and exciting to most of the public. Many have bet before with a local bookmaker or with an illegal offshore site. The NFL is the most popular game to bet on so the expectations and handle will be high. The imagination of the operator is critical and should align with the propensity for risk.

Over the next 38 days I will look at each division. I will focus on the teams in the NFC East, AFC East and AFC Central. This will allow me to connect with the fans in jurisdictions that have just implemented sport betting legislation and operations. Washington DC and New York are among these fan bases. Pennsylvania is looking to be the largest sports betting state outside of Nevada. The Eagles and the Steelers will be the reason that aspiration manifests. I will give my opinion on who is likely to finish where in their division and what team should vie for a wild card berth. I would like you to follow me on Twitter as I will provide training camp news and updates.