Brian Allee-Walsh

The 2019 NFL season has begun. Now is the time to post your bets.

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. I think I speak for NFL fans everywhere, we are, indeed, ready for some real football!

The Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears officially kicked off the NFL’s 100th season Thursday night with a 10-3 win for Green Bay and the remaining 15 games of Week 1 will be played throughout the day Sunday and into Monday night, including New Orleans versus Houston from the revved-up Mercedes-Benz Superdome (6:10 p.m., ESPN).

Which is sweet, sweet music to the ears of Fantasy Football players, office pool junkies and sports book bettors everywhere.

Out with the preseason, in with the regular season and all 256 games leading up to the postseason in January.

With the arrival of weekly team-issued injury reports and the presence of healthy marquee players and full-time starters on the field, and an end to the unpredictable reality of the NFL preseason, the serious and recreational betting public now will be armed with more reliable information to help them spend their money.

On games that count.

“Betting on exhibition football can be hazardous to one’s wealth!’‘ said Mobile native Danny Sheridan, noted author, analyst, oddsmaker and advocate for the sports gaming industry who made the first legal sports bet in the state of Mississippi when he opened the sports book at the MGM Beau Rivage Casino in August 2018.

The very idea, Sheridan said, that people would bet on exhibition games not knowing who will play or how long they will play is inexplicable.

But it happens nevertheless. Why? Because national oddsmakers provide spreads on preseason games, including the Saints-Miami preseason finale Aug. 29 that listed the Black and Gold as 3-point home favorites.

The Dolphins prevailed 16-13 as Saints coach Sean Payton decided not to kick a tying field goal but to go for the win on fourth-and-5 from the Miami 6 with 46 seconds remaining.

An incompletion by third-string quarterback Taysom Hill ended the suspense and mercifully put an end to the preseason.

“Preseason betting in the NFL is not that big in comparison to the regular season,’‘ said Dave Mason, SportsBook brand manager. “(The amount of money wagered) is equivalent to a regular season weekday Major League Baseball game. Most (NFL) spreads stay around 3-7 points and we rarely see lopsided action on either side.

“Spreads are mostly up for people who are excited for the regular season and want some action.’‘

While Sheridan would advise everyone to refrain from betting on meaningless preseason NFL games, he acknowledged being tempted once to place a wager.

“The only good info I ever got on an exhibition game was many years ago when my friend Kenny Stabler told me (Oakland Raiders) owner Al Davis hated the San Francisco 49ers and made it known,’‘ Sheridan said.

“Hence, the Raiders ran up the score, beating the 49ers by four touchdowns that year. Still, I don’t pick exhibition games. That would be criminal.’‘

Brian Allee-Walsh, a longtime Saints reporter based in New Orleans, can be reached at