Week 5 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 4 evaluation of the team and market, I will have an advantage in predicting where the line movement will come first in Week 5.
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 5 lookahead line, with the spread listed based on the home team:
|GAME||CURRENT LINE (9/29)||PRESEASON LOOKAHEAD LINE|
|Colts @ Broncos||-2.5||-3|
|Giants @ Packers||-7.5||-6.5|
|Steelers @ Bills||-13||-8|
|Chargers @ Browns||+1.5||N/A|
|Bears @ Vikings||-7||-4.5|
|Lions @ Patriots||PK||-5.5|
|Seahawks @ Saints||-6||-4.5|
|Dolphins @ Jets||+6||+2.5|
|Falcons @ Buccaneers||-8.5||-10.5|
|Titans @ Commanders||PK||PK|
|Texans @ Jaguars||-7||-3|
|49ers @ Panthers||+3||+3|
|Cowboys @ Rams||-7||-4.5|
|Eagles @ Cardinals||+4||-2|
|Bengals @ Ravens||-3.5||-1|
|Raiders @ Chiefs||-6.5||-4.5|
Week 5 Lookahead Lines Takeaways
It matters less early in the season, 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.
Colts @ Broncos (-2.5)
Dating back to 2015, rookie head coaches are 8-17 (32%) against the spread on Thursday Night Football. The thesis behind this trend is pretty straightforward. Coaching an NFL football team is difficult, and the short week is more likely to sneak up on and impact a first-year head coach than someone who's more experienced in their role. And let's be real, Nathaniel Hackett is struggling with seven days of preparation. With that said, I think this is a hold right now. Both clubs face division rivals in Week 4 in what appear to be closely-contested games. I lean Indianapolis here, but I think we might see +3.
Giants @ Packers (-7.5)
The NFL international games start in Week 4 with the Saints and Vikings in London, and it continues here with the Giants and Packers. It's interesting to me that this was -6.5 in the offseason. Despite a better-than-expected start from the Giants, this is now out to 7.5. Even so, a healthy Packers defense (Jaire Alexander is questionable in Week 4) likely causes fits for Daniel Jones. There's no need to rush into a bet here, but it's worth monitoring if it falls back under 7.
Steelers @ Bills (-13)
The Steelers surprised us all in Week 1 of the 2021 season when they went into Buffalo and stole one against the Bills. I don't think they'll catch Buffalo sleeping in this one. Also, we're on full Kenny Pickett watch at this point for Pittsburgh. My prediction is that we either see Pickett tap out Mitch Trubisky in the middle of this game or, worse, the following week. The Steelers have a brutal October schedule (@BUF, TB, @MIA, @PHI), so baptism by fire is likely for Kenny Pickett.
Chargers @ Browns (+1.5)
A rematch of one of last season's more memorable games, this time with the Browns at home. The Chargers have had a brutal week, with season-altering injuries on both sides of the ball impacting the expectations for even the most optimistic Chargers backers. The Browns are also dealing with numerous injuries on the defensive side of the ball, and I want to see how those shake out over the coming week before taking a stance here.
Bears @ Vikings (-7)
This is back-to-back road games for Chicago, but Minnesota is coming home after Week 4's trip to London, negating any travel or rest advantage they'd have. I think there's a scenario where the Bears play the Giants close in Week 4 or even win, while the Vikings struggle a bit against the Saints. That could bring this down to Vikings -6.5, a spot I'd be very interested in buying.
Lions @ Patriots (PK)
The Lions are going to be favored on the road in New England. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Dolphins @ Jets (+6)
After playing the Steelers on extra rest in Week 4, the Jets yet again face an opponent coming off of 10 days of rest due to Thursday Night Football, this time, it's the Miami Dolphins. A win on the road for the Dolphins in Week 4 against the Bengals will balloon this line out to 7 or even beyond, depending on how rusty Zach Wilson looks for the Jets. If you like Miami on Thursday night, this is worth an early look.
Eagles @ Cardinals (+4)
I'm not worried about any Week 4 results here, other than the possibility of the Eagles dominating the feel-good Jaguars in Week 4 and pushing this out closer to a touchdown. The likelihood the Cardinals do anything to impress the court of public opinion enough to drive this down to or below +3 seems unlikely, so I'm willing to act now. The Cardinals will need to push 30 points scored here to keep up with Jalen Hurts and company, who'll face little resistance against perhaps the league's worst defensive unit. I'll take the Eagles -4.
Raiders @ Chiefs (-6.5)
Both clubs should be in tightly-contested games in Week 4, with the Raiders hosting Denver, while Kansas City is likely traveling to Minnesota to take on the displaced Buccaneers. That's a weird sentence, but it's true. If the Raiders head to Kansas City winless and the Chiefs take advantage of a strange work week for Tampa Bay, this 6.5 will be a distant memory. Act accordingly.
This article is intended for entertainment purposes and adult users only. Call 1-800-GAMBLER if you have a gambling problem.