Every week, Sports Handle will look at NFL lines, specifically “lookahead lines,” to see how they’re moving and why. Lookahead lines are those posted one week prior to a game or even before the season has begun, as CG Technology does.
By comparing changes between current lines and the numbers hung days earlier, we can get a sense of where recency bias or overreactions are seeping in.
We’ll highlight the significant shifts, look for value and suggest when it’s a good idea to get behind or stay away from certain teams. Here’s a look at the Week NFL 7 line moves and what it means for bettors. (Note: odds indicated based on current numbers at several Las Vegas sportsbooks.)
NFL Week 7 Lines, Before And After: Titans See Big Swing After Drubbing to Baltimore, 49ers-Rams Tightens
Tennessee Titans at Los Angeles Chargers (-6.5)
The perception of these two teams has really changed since Sunday. The Chargers are now close to a touchdown favorite after the SuperBook listed them at -3 last week when it released its early lines. Los Angeles is coming off a 38-14 blowout win in Cleveland, while the Titans suffered an ugly 21-0 home loss to the Ravens where quarterback Marcus Mariota was sacked 11 times. Tennessee had won three straight by a field goal over the Texans, Jaguars and Eagles but since then has dropped back-to-back games to the Bills and Ravens, falling 13-12 at Buffalo with all 12 points coming on Ryan Succop field goals. Tennessee has now failed to score an offensive touchdown in three of its six games this year.
Meanwhile, the Chargers have lost only to the Chiefs and Rams, who are a combined 11-1. Despite the Chargers having a record just one game better than the Titans, oddsmakers view these teams as going in opposite directions and the line now reflects that. But — is that substantial 3.5-point swing an overreaction? It looks like Titans or pass in this spot.
Cleveland Browns at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3)
The Browns, featured on the most recent season of HBO’s Hard Knocks, have been a favorite of bettors dating back to the summer when the SuperBook had them as one of their biggest liabilities to win the Super Bowl. That love has subsided a bit after Cleveland got hammered at home by the Chargers last week as one-point underdogs.
The Bucs were -1.5 last week at the SuperBook and that line has now settled at 3. The Buccaneers lost a shootout to the Falcons 34-29 last week but there seems to be more faith in them with Jameis Winston at quarterback rather than journeyman rollercoaster Ryan Fitzpatrick. Note that Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield injured his ankle against the Chargers but he’s expected to play on Sunday. The oddsmakers have been giving Cleveland (4-2 ATS) a lot of respect this year, although this is a time where there looks to be some value taking the Browns, catching the field goal.
Cleveland has just one win but two of their losses are by three points. Now the offense can dig into the Buccaneers’ 31st ranked defense, now under the direction of linebackers coach Mark Duffner after defensive coordinator Mike Smith was fired on Monday. Browns offer line that’s 1.5 points higher than last week and are worth a look, assuming Mayfield plays.
New Orleans Saints at Baltimore Ravens (-2.5)
The Ravens are coming off the most dominant defensive performance of the season in their 21-0 shutout of the Titans where the team recorded 11 sacks, one shy of the NFL record. As mentioned above, the game changed the perception of Tennessee. It also changed public perception of Baltimore.
The Ravens were a pick’em in this spot last week at the SuperBook and that number moved to 2.5 when the lines were released Sunday at most sportsbooks.
The Saints had a bye last week but have won four straight and are coming off blowout wins over the Giants and Redskins. It will be interesting to see if this number reaches three. Either way, the value lies with the Saints. The Ravens’ defense is good but not as good as it looked last week versus the hapless Titans offense. Drew Brees and the Saints present a much bigger challenge.
Watch this line and see where it goes. The Saints are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games coming off a bye and 16-5 ATS their last 21 on the road. If New Orleans gets to +3, give the Saints serious consideration.
Los Angeles Rams (-10) at San Francisco 49ers
This number has seen a lot movement since the summer when the 49ers were a popular pick to make a playoff run. The perception of the team has obviously changed since San Francisco lost starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo for the season due to a knee injury.
It’s hard to believe now but the Rams opened -1 when CG Technology released its early lines in May, a number that ballooned to 12.5 last week at the SuperBook. After the 49ers performed well on Monday night and almost upset the Packers in Green Bay, the line has settled in at -10 at a majority of Las Vegas sports books.
Since C.J. Beathard replaced Garoppolo at quarterback, the 49ers are 2-1 ATS. They lost outright to the Cardinals as 3-point favorites yet covered twice as big underdogs (10 and 9 points) to the Chargers and Packers. San Francisco lost those two games by a combined five points.
The Rams are 0-3 ATS in their last three games and have been favored by at least a touchdown in all of them. The 49ers are coming off an emotional loss Monday night but they look like a live dog this week getting 10 points at home.