NFL Week 3 Lookahead Lines Report

Sep 17, 2021
NFL Week 3 Lookahead Lines Report

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. I understand that the majority of the casual bettors out there don't have time to comb through every news blurb and injury report the moment it comes out. It's difficult for most bettors to feel informed early in the week, or even more, right when next week's line is posted on Sunday evening for the following week's games.

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'll be providing 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 that 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 2 evaluation of the team and market, I'm going to have an advantage in predicting where the line movement will come first in Week 3.

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 3 Lookahead Lines
GAME CURRENT LINE (9/16) PRESEASON LOOKAHEAD LINE (5/18)
Panthers @ Texans +4 +4
Colts @ Titans -3 +1
Falcons @ Giants -2.5 -2.5
Chargers @ Chiefs -7 -7.5
Bengals @ Steelers -6.5 -6
Bears @ Browns -9 -7
Ravens @ Lions +7.5 +7.5
Saints @ Patriots -1 +1
Cardinals @ Jaguars +6 +2.5
Football Team @ Bills -8.5 -7.5
Jets @ Broncos -8.5 -5.5
Dolphins @ Raiders -1 pk
Seahawks @ Vikins +2.5 -1.5
Buccaneers @ Rams -1.5 -1
Packers @ 49ers -3 -5
Eagles @ Cowboys -3.5 -6.5

Week 3 Lookahead Lines Takeaways

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

Panthers @ Texans

Week 3's Thursday Night Football matchup between the Panthers (-4) and the Texans (+4) features a rookie head coach in Houston's David Culley. Historically, rookie head coaches have struggled in these quick turnaround spots, as if we needed another reason to fade the Texans. I'm on the Panthers plus the points in Week 2. If they win outright against the Saints this will close closer to 6.5-7. Take the Panthers now.

Falcons @ Giants

Heading north to the tri-state area to face the Giants (-2.5) makes it back-to-back road games for the Falcons (+2.5). The Giants have another rest edge over the Falcons here after playing on Thursday night in Week 2. The Giants have a better shot at winning or at least keeping it close in Week 2, so I'm anticipating a move to -3. If you're leaning Giants here, take them under the key number.

Bears @ Browns

I think the Bears (+9) would have to dominate the Bengals in Week 2 to move this line closer to a touchdown. The Browns (-9) should boat race the Texans from the opening whistle in Week 2, making it significantly more likely that this line moves closer to 10 instead of 7. This feels like an auto-play teaser leg in Cleveland.

Ravens @ Lions

It seems likely that the Ravens (-7.5) will head to Detroit (+7.5) with an 0-2 record, and there's no better elixir to cure your woes than 60 minutes against the Lions. If the Chiefs go into Baltimore on Sunday night and dominate the preseason AFC North favorites, there's a possibility that this number moves to 7 and sheds the hook.

Saints @ Patriots

At a certain point, the toll of relocating and playing on the road for the third consecutive week will catch up with you. I think this is the week for the Saints (+1). This is back-to-back road games for New Orleans, but Week 1's contest against the Packers was held in Jacksonville due to the damage left behind from Hurricane Ida. Paint on the field doesn't make it a home game, so this trip north to New England (-1) is essentially their third straight game on the road. The win against the Packers came at a cost as DE Marcus Davenport, CB Marshon Lattimore and C Erik McCoy were injured and are likely to miss the next few games, including this matchup against the Patriots. Minimally, this should be New England -3.

Cardinals @ Jaguars

Do you have any faith in the Jaguars (+6) getting less than a touchdown right now? I don't either. The Cardinals (-6) close closer to 8.5.

Jets @ Broncos

The Broncos (-8.5) return to Denver for their home opener in Week 3. All-time, the Broncos are 102-63-3 on Sundays in the month of September, one of the true remaining home-field advantages. This line has moved in their favor since the preseason number of 5.5. The Jets (+8.5) will struggle to protect Zach Wilson from this underrated Broncos pass rush, and I'm interested in laying the points anywhere under 10.

For the most up-to-date picks, check out my Twitter and subscribe to our Discord. This sheet, from Dan Rivera, tracks all my betting picks (and those from the rest of the betting staff). Just click on the tab with my name on it for the results.


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