Week 2 NFL Odds: 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 about to kick off, but please, for the love of all things sacred, don't do it. I understand that most 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, indicating that the book feels they've priced the game correctly. So unless you're waiting later in the week because you're betting five-to-six figures on a side, you're +EV increases if you can get down on a number before it's sharpened by the whales.
Each week of the season, I'll provide a first glance at the upcoming NFL slate through the lens of lookahead lines. This brief lookahead window offers a sneak peek at how teams are valued by bookmakers before 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 is.
When I take a position on a lookahead line, I believe the current number will beat the closing line. It's an effort to get ahead of the market movement to land the best number. Basically, I'm parlaying my handicap. In essence, if I'm right in my Week 1 evaluation of the team and market, I will have an advantage in predicting where the line movement will come first in Week 2.
For reference, I'll use the initial odds released by Westgate back in May to show you how the game opened. Then, I'll note the consensus for each current Week 2 lookahead line, with the spread listed based on the home team:
|GAME||CURRENT LINE (9/8)||PRESEASON LOOKAHEAD LINE (5/20)|
|Chargers @ Chiefs||-3||-1|
|Jets @ Browns||-5.5||-5|
|Commanders @ Lions||+1||-1|
|Buccaneers @ Saints||+3||+3.5|
|Patriots @ Steelers||+1.5||+1|
|Dolphins @ Ravens||-4||-4|
|Panthers @ Giants||-1||-1|
|Colts @ Jaguars||+4.5||+4.5|
|Seahawks @ 49ers||-8.5||-7.5|
|Falcons @ Rams||-13.5||-13|
|Bengals @ Cowboys||-2.5||PK|
|Cardinals @ Raiders||-2.5||-3.5|
|Texans @ Broncos||-10.5||-10|
|Bears @ Packers||-9.5||-8|
|Titans @ Bills||-7.5||-7|
|Vikings @ Eagles||-2||-2.5|
Week 2 Lookahead Lines Takeaways
It matters less in Week 2, 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.
Chargers @ Chiefs (-3)
There's a rouge -2.5 out there at FanDuel, but it's juiced up to -124. The Chargers have faired well in Kansas City over the past few seasons, and this will be one of many exciting AFC West matchups this season. The Chargers and Raiders kick off the inter-division war in Week 1, and a strong showing from Los Angeles will likely bring more 2.5 lines back to the market.
Buccaneers @ Saints (+3)
The Saints are 4-1 against Tom Brady's Buccaneers, with Tampa Bay winning the one that mattered most in the 2020 Divisional Round in New Orleans. New Saints head coach Dennis Allen has been able to slow down this Buccaneers' passing offense, including shutting them out in Tampa Bay in Week 15 last season. So, if the Saints come out in Week 1 and clobber a divisional foe on the road in Atlanta, I think this starts to shade closer to 2 or 2.5, so acting now on the Saints makes quite a bit of sense.
Dolphins @ Ravens (-4)
The Dolphins upended the Ravens in Miami last season, catching Baltimore on short rest from an overtime game the week before. Don't let that fool you. The Ravens suffered a historic number of games lost due to injury last season and come into 2022 with one of the league's best rosters before the attrition of the season inevitably kicks in. With the Ravens facing the Jets in Week 1, this feels like a one-way path in terms of line movement. This is going to -6 before it ever gets to -3 or below, so if you lean Baltimore here, I'd head to the window sooner than later.
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Colts @ Jaguars (+4.5)
The Colts return to the scene of the crime—Jacksonville, Florida—to face #OurJags. A win against Jacksonville in Week 18 last season was all that Indianapolis needed to make the playoffs, but you can make the case that the loss was a blessing in disguise. It set off a chain of events that forced Carson Wentz out of Indianapolis and kept the quarterback carousel spinning for the Colts, this time landing on Matt Ryan.
Bengals @ Cowboys (-2.5)
This was the first Week 2 bet I made last week, backing the Bengals on the Moneyline in tandem with SharpClarke. The Bengals should take advantage of Dan Quinn's aggressive man defense, exploiting the highwire act of Trevon Diggs and this Dallas secondary. Cincinnati's improved offensive line will negate the Cowboys' middling pass rush, and after the Bengals defeat the Steelers in Week 1, the plus-money on the Moneyline will evaporate. I'd move on this before Week 1 kicks off.
Cardinals @ Raiders (-2.5)
It's unfortunate the Raiders are stuck in the loaded AFC West. It'll be an uphill battle for them to return to the playoffs this season, but that dream will die quickly if they can't win home games against inferior opponents like the Cardinals. Arizona's secondary is a problem, with the majority of their key players ranking among the bottom 25% on PFF's coverage grades last season. Their best pass rusher over the past few seasons, Chandler Jones, is on the opposing sideline here, giving the Raiders an elite pass-rushing duo in Jones and Maxx Crosby. I like the Raiders against the Cardinals' zone and blitz-happy scheme here at less than 3. Also, this total climbs up through the key number of 51.
Titans @ Bills (-7.5)
This is the other Week 2 game that 4for4 betting subscribers already got down on. This was floated at Bills -6.5 on FanDuel and immediately moved through the 7 to 7.5 less than 10 minutes after the play was posted in our Discord. I'm fading the Titans whenever possible this season, and their offensive line should struggle against what I expect to be one of the league's best pass-rushing units.
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