Week 8 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 7 evaluation of the team and market, I will have an advantage in predicting where the line movement will come first in Week 8.
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 8 lookahead line, with the spread listed based on the home team:
|Game||Current Line (10/20)||Preseason Lookahead Line|
|Ravens @ Buccaneers||-3||-3.5|
|Broncos @ Jaguars||-3||+6.5|
|Steelers @ Eagles||-10||-3|
|Bears @ Cowboys||-10||-7|
|Dolphins @ Lions||+3||+3|
|Cardinals @ Vikings||-6||-1|
|Panthers @ Falcons||-6.5||PK|
|Raiders @ Saints||PK||+1|
|Patriots @ Jets||+1||+1.5|
|Titans @ Texans||+3||+4.5|
|49ers @ Rams||-2.5||-4.5|
|Giants @ Seahawks||-1.5||-2.5|
|Packers @ Bills||-8.5||-4|
|Bengals @ Browns||+2.5||N/A|
Week 8 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.
- Bye weeks: Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers
Ravens @ Buccaneers (-3)
The Ravens and Buccaneers are looking to bounce back with divisional wins in Week 7 after both clubs suffered embarrassing losses in Week 6. From a power-ranking standpoint, I still believe these teams are in the league's second tier. These are playoff-bound teams that still have time to figure it out. As far as this matchup goes, I think the best way to get in early on this one is the total, which feels light at 44.
Broncos @ Jaguars (-3)
Bears @ Cowboys (-10)
There's a scenario in Week 7 where Dak Prescott comes back and hits the ground running, lights up the Lions' pitiful defense, and suddenly the Cowboys are considered a sneaky look in the futures market. On the other hand, there's also a scenario where Prescott looks a bit rusty, and his play resembles his uneven performance in Week 1. Either way, this line isn't moving below 10. If the first scenario plays out, though, and the Cowboys boat race the Lions, this 10 will be long gone come Sunday night and Monday morning.
Raiders @ Saints (PK)
The Raiders are traveling west to east for an early game spot against the Saints, who have extra rest after Week 7's Thursday nighter. That travel and rest advantage matters, but not unless the Saints are healthy. A runaway Week 7 win for the Raiders at home against the Texans, paired with a Saints loss on Thursday night against the Cardinals, and we're likely looking at a home dog in this matchup.
Patriots @ Jets (+1)
The Patriots are expected to handle the Bears in a convincing fashion on Monday night, so there's likely nothing they can do to impact the court of public opinion here. On the other hand, a road win in Denver for the Jets, even against a hobbled Russell Wilson, would likely improve their public sentiment once again. Either way, I don't see either team getting out to -3 here.
Titans @ Texans (+3)
I'm still of the mindset that the Titans are fool's gold again this season, and this is the exact type of spot where that can come to light. If the Titans upend the Colts in Week 7, this will move off the 3 and be closer to Titans -5.5. I'll be backing the home dog if that's the case.
49ers @ Rams (-2.5)
The 49ers and Kyle Shanahan continue to have the Rams' number in the regular season, having just beaten them 24-9 on Monday night back in Week 4. The 49ers are getting healthy and will likely have the majority of their core roster back for this one. I'm surprised it's not a pick'em right now, but I think that's where it'll close. Give me the 49ers here.
Packers @ Bills (-8.5)
This is back-to-back road games for the Packers, and this time they get to travel to upstate New York to face the Bills, who are coming off their Week 7 bye. The Packers are in the middle of a stretch where they play four of five on the road, starting with the London game two weeks ago and ending with a third-straight road game when they travel to Detroit next week. I'll take the Bills at anything under 10.
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