Every week, Sports Handle will look at NFL lines, specifically “lookahead lines” o 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 NFL Week 10 line moves and what it means to bettors. (Note: odds indicated based on current numbers at several Las Vegas sportsbooks.)
NFL Week 9 Lines, Before And After: Some Value on Steelers at Home, Big Shift in Falcons and Browns, Also Looking at Lions and Redskins
Carolina Panthers at Pittsburgh Steelers (-4)
The Panthers haven’t gotten a lot of respect from oddsmakers this year. Just two weeks ago they were a home underdog to the Ravens and the line against the Steelers was 6.5 when the SuperBook released its early numbers last week.
The number stayed at 6.5 when the SuperBook and many other shops put out their opening numbers for Week 10 but the Panthers were quickly bet down to +4 within 24 hours. As of Tuesday, that’s where the line was at most Las Vegas sportsbooks. The Panthers are on a three-game winning streak with wins over the Eagles, Ravens and Buccaneers. Carolina is also 3-0 ATS in those games, two of them at home. The Panthers haven’t fared as well on the road this season, going 1-2 both SU and ATS.
The Steelers are also rolling with four consecutive wins both SU and ATS. After losing their first two games at home outright to the Chiefs and Ravens, the Steelers have won their last two over the Browns and Falcons by over two touchdowns.
The money came in on the Panthers but so far this year, Carolina hasn’t been the same team away from home. With the Steelers hitting their stride, there’s some value laying the short number at home, especially if the line continues to drop.
Atlanta Falcons (-4) at Cleveland Browns
This number has moved quite a bit since the SuperBook released the Falcons as -1.5 road favorites last week. Atlanta is now up to -4 and climbing. A few shops already have the Falcons at 4.5.
The move isn’t surprising since the Falcons came off their bye and blew out the Redskins on the road, 38-14. Meanwhile, it was business as usual for the Browns even with a new coach. Cleveland lost at home to the Chiefs as 8.5-point underdogs, 37-21. Feel the momentum, on Tuesday the Falcons also acquired veteran pass rusher and Atlanta native Bruce Irvin.
The only surprising thing about this number is the line opened Falcons -3 at the SuperBook and money came in on the Falcons right away to push the spread to -4. Sharps are on the Browns practically every week even though they’ve won just three games in two and half years. Cleveland is now 1-3 ATS in its last four games, so perhaps the sharps have finally given up on the “value” with the dreadful Browns.
Even though the Falcons won easily in Washington last week, they’re just 1-2 SU and ATS on the road and this will be Atlanta’s second-straight game away from home. There’s usually apparent value in taking the Browns. However, it’s tough to trust a team that rarely wins straight up to cover the spread.
Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears (-6.5)
The biggest line movement since the SuperBook released its early numbers last week is on the Bears. Chicago was -3.5 but moved to -6 when the SuperBook released its Week 10 lines on Sunday. Within 30 minutes, that number went up to 6.5. That’s where it sits at most sports books as of Tuesday.
This line movement likely has a lot to do with last week’s results. The Bears throttled Buffalo on the road, 41-9. Meanwhile, the Lions put up a lackluster effort in Minnesota, losing 24-9 to the Vikings as 4.5-point underdogs. It’s the second-straight game Detroit has dropped by at least two touchdowns after losing to Seattle 28-14 at home the week before. Overall, the Lions are 1-3 SU on the road, although they are 3-1 ATS.
It seems like the Bears are getting more respect after two easy wins as favorites. Chicago beat the Jets 24-10 as 8.5-point favorites and demolished Buffalo as 10.5-point road favorites. There wasn’t much faith in the Bears as big favorites. Sharps stayed away from laying over a touchdown with Chicago both times.
While sharps have been cautious to lay points with the Bears, they’re 3-1 ATS giving over a field goal this year. Their only loss came as a 7.5-point favorite to Miami in a game the Dolphins won 31-28. The Lions are 2-1 ATS as an underdog of 4.5 points or more this season.
There is value in the Lions, especially if the number moves to a touchdown. When CG Technology released its lines back in May for every NFL game, the Bears were -1. The main concern with taking Detroit is the Lions’ effort. They looked like a team ready to waive the white flag on the season last week. That will need to change for Detroit to avoid its third straight blowout loss.
Washington Redskins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3)
Oddsmakers and bettors haven’t been high on the Redskins dating back to futures released this summer. Washington had the third or fourth longest odds to win the Super Bowl at some sportsbooks. And although they lead a mediocre NFC East, there still isn’t much faith in the Redskins.
The SuperBook had this as a pick ’em last week and that’s the line it released on Sunday. Bettors were quick to jump all over the Buccaneers. The line shot up to 2.5 in a day and was up to -3 as of Tuesday.
There are couple reasons sharp money is fading Washington. First, the Redskins are coming off a blowout loss at home to the Falcons. While one loss isn’t the end of the world, Washington is dealing with cluster injuries on the offensive line that will have an impact. The Redskins lost right guard Brandon Scherff, left guard Shawn Lauvao and wide receiver Paul Richardson for the remainder of the season. All three players are starters.
It is a bit surprising though that money is coming on a team that looks like a dumpster fire in Tampa Bay. It’s not like the Bucs have been money makers against the spread, going 1-5 in their last six games. The one game they covered was versus the Bengals when Tampa Bay came back from a big deficit to lose by three, covering the number by a half point. The Buccaneers are 0-2 ATS as a favorite this year with both games being decided by a field goal.
There is value with the Redskins here coming off an embarrassing loss to the Falcons. Washington does own good wins over the Packers and Colts and had won three straight before last week’s loss. The injuries are a concern and the offensive linemen’s status ought to be monitored in particular. Overall, it could be a good spot to take the Redskins versus a reeling Bucs squad.