NFL Week 13 Lookahead Lines Report

Nov 26, 2021
NFL Week 13 Lookahead Lines Report

Trying to predict where each game's line is going to re-open isn't complicated, but it's invaluable. Last week was successful in terms of gaining closing line value in a number of spots, including getting New England at -3 before it ballooned to -7.

Remember, friends don't let friends bet NFL sides on game day. I understand the appeal of getting action down on a game that's about to kick off, but please, for the love of all things sacred, don't do it. In my opinion, the only way to consistently put yourself in a position to gain positive expected value (+EV) while betting on NFL sides is to beat the closing line. Sportsbooks gradually increase the limits they let bettors get down as the week progresses, which is an indication the book feels they've priced the game correctly. Unless you're waiting until later in the week because you're betting five-to-six figures on a side, your +EV increases if you can get down on a number before it's sharpened by the whales.

Each week of the season, I provide a first glance at the upcoming NFL slate through the lens of lookahead lines. This brief lookahead window provides a sneak peek at how teams are valued by bookmakers prior to the start of the week. It's also an opportunity to act before the games are posted and sharpened on Sunday evening after the previous week's games are complete. These lines are a true indicator of how bookmakers value each team, without the influence of the recency bias that comes after watching eight hours of football earlier in the day. Depending on the bookmaker, and bettor for that matter, you may or may not be able to get the type of action down you'd like, depending on your unit sizing. The key is understanding where the value is on the board in any given week, and that is easier to do once you know what the opening number was.

When I take a position on a lookahead line, I believe the current number will beat the closing line. At times, it ends up being the best of the number, which is ideal. Basically, I'm parlaying my handicap. In essence, if I'm right in my Week 12 evaluation of the team and market, I'm going to have an advantage in predicting where the line movement will come first in Week 13.

For reference, I'll be using the initial odds released by Westgate back in May to show you how the game opened. You can use the game tiles below to find the best number, and the spread listed is based on the home team:

2021 NFL Week 13 Lookahead Lines
GAME CURRENT LINE (11/26) PRESEASON LOOKAHEAD LINE (5/18)
Cowboys @ Saints +5 -3.5
Giants @ Dolphins -2.5 -3.5
Colts @ Texans +7 +7
Vikings @ Lions +7.5 +4
Eagles @ Jets +6.5 -1.5
Broncos @ Chiefs -9.5 -9.5
Cardinals @ Bears +7 +1.5
Chargers @ Bengals -1.5 +2.5
Buccaneers @ Falcons +9.5 +4.5
Football Team @ Raiders -1.5 -2.5
Jaguars @ Rams -12.5 -9.5
Ravens @ Steelers +3 +2.5
49ers @ Seahawks +2 -1.5
Patriots @ Bills -3.5 -7

Week 13 Lookahead Lines Takeaways

I'm always on the hunt for scheduling and travel advantages. For the most part, these quirks are already baked into the number, but there are instances each week that aren't accurately accounted for in the market.

Bye Weeks: Panthers, Browns, Packers, Titans

Cowboys @ Saints (+5)

Poor defensive showings and injuries to key offensive talent are at the heart of both Dallas' and New Orleans' current losing streaks. I have more faith in the Cowboys getting right down the stretch, but this is the first of three straight road games, a tall task for any team at this time of year. If Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb are cleared to return for this one, a move towards six feels inevitable.

Giants @ Dolphins (-2.5)

Both clubs are getting healthy, but it's all for not, as they're simply playing out the stretch. Miami's success can be linked to a spike in turnovers, and no one likes to turn the ball over more than Daniel Jones. He's turned the ball over 49 times in 37 career starts. The Dolphins have a clearer path to victory in Week 12, which makes this more likely to get to three than it is to get closer to zero.

Vikings @ Lions (+7.5)

The Vikings insist on playing to the level of their competition each week, but even in the second leg of back-to-back road games, Minnesota should cruise here if they're to be taken seriously down the stretch. The Lions' defense is a talent-deficient unit, unequipped to slow down Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson and Kirk Cousins even on their worse day. I'm backing the Vikings in Week 12, and a win in San Francisco would move this closer to 10. There's little risk in taking an early position here because even if the Vikings lose to the 49ers, this is not moving through the seven.

Cardinals @ Bears (+7)

We'll likely see both Kyler Murray and Justin Fields return to the field here, making this a much more aesthetically pleasing game than the potential Colt McCoy versus Andy Dalton matchup. The Bears are dealing with a plethora of injuries to key contributors and are overmatched against one of the league's best teams when Murray's under center. The Cardinals are on bye in Week 12, so there's little to change the court of public opinion between now and kick off, but I'm comfortable laying the points on Arizona here.

Chargers @ Bengals (-1.5)

This is one of the marquee matchups of Week 13, with playoff implications on the line for both clubs. They're also both squaring off in their division this week—the Chargers are in Denver while the Bengals host the Steelers—and the results will sway this line in a big way. I'm leaning towards a Bengals win and a Chargers loss in Week 12, so I'm considering a play on Cincinnati here. If that happens, a move toward three seems likely.

Buccaneers @ Falcons (+9.5)

I came into the season incredibly bullish on Tampa Bay's chances to repeat. Last week's dominant win against the Giants, paired with the return of key contributors on both sides of the ball, felt like the start of a strong final stretch for the Buccaneers. A win this week in Indianapolis will confirm that, and if that's the case, this line climbs past 10 when it re-opens. The Falcons haven't scored a touchdown since the first Bush administration (papa Bush, not Junior). Don't fact-check me on that, but I think it's true. Take the square play and lay the points on the Bucs.


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