Every week, Sports Handle will look at NFL “lookahead lines,” to see how current lines are moving in comparison 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 5 line moves and what it means to bettors. (Note: odds indicated based on current numbers at several Las Vegas sportsbooks.)
NFL Week 5 Lines, Before And After: Raven Number Moves Out Versus Browns After Big Road Win at Pittsburgh
Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns (+3)
The Ravens are a three-point favorite on the road this week in Cleveland. The line and perception of the Ravens has changed since their 26-14 win in Pittsburgh Monday night. CG Technology made Cleveland -2.5 when they released lines for every NFL game back in May.
Going back just one week, The SuperBook had Baltimore a slight 1-point road favorite. That was the opening number at most Las Vegas sportsbooks. However, after the Ravens impressive win at Pittsburgh, it’s now moved two points to a field goal. That’s a meaningful swing out to a key number 3.
The Ravens have dominated this series in recent years: They’ve won five straight and 18 of 20 straight up over the Browns. The Ravens are 1-1 on the road this year with the win over Pittsburgh and a loss in Cincinnati. But just how impressive was the Ravens win over the Steelers and does it justify the swing? The Steelers are rated just 21 overall according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric, right after Oakland.
Even though the Ravens have owned Cleveland, there could be some value with the home dog, especially if the line moves off three to 3.5.
Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers (-4)
As you might have guessed, this line has shifted since May with 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo out for the year due to an ACL tear. Before the season, the 49ers made a popular futures bet. San Francisco got a lot of backing to win the Super Bowl at odds of 20/1 and to win the NFC West.
The Cardinals, on the other hand, had one of the lowest win totals in the NFL at 5.5. CG Technology made the 49ers a touchdown favorite in this matchup this summer. That number dropped to San Francisco -2.5 at the SuperBook last week. The 49ers opened at -3 but that line has been bet up to -4.
C.J. Beathard got his first start for Garoppolo last week against the Chargers. He played pretty well and while San Francisco lost 29-27, they covered as 9-point underdogs. The Cardinals are 0-4 and 1-2-1 ATS and they too have a new quarterback in rookie Josh Rosen. He’ll be making his first road start on Sunday.
The 49ers looked better than expected last week with Beathard under center and in their lone road game this year, the Cardinals got drilled by the Rams 34-0. Did San Fran just rally the troops right after losing their leader, or can they sustain the competitiveness we saw last week? Keep in mind, San Fran has struggled in this spot, going 0-9 ATS in its last nine games as a home favorite. The play here is the ‘dog or pass.
Denver Broncos at New York Jets (-1)
This is an interesting number with the Jets close to a field goal favorite. Back in May, CG Technology installed Denver as a 1.5-point road favorite. Last week, the Jets were a 1-point favorite and opening number at the SuperBook this week put the Jets -2.5 and after briefly dropping to -2, it went back up to 2.5 on Tuesday, now it’s a consensus -1 across most books, back where we started.
The Broncos are coming off an emotional 27-23 home loss to the Chiefs Monday night, while the Jets have looked dreadful over the least three games, particularly on offense. New York has played just one home game this season, losing to Miami 20-12. Denver’s lone road game was two weeks ago in Baltimore where they fell to the Ravens 27-14. Now they travel cross-country to play the lowly Jets.
The Broncos ar coming off a divisional game versus the Chiefs and the Rams on deck. Bettors won’t make a living playing the Jets as favorites, but this looks like a spot to take the home team, even though the line appears to be settled in at -1. If the Jets lose this game, head coach Todd Bowles better fire up the resume because he may not have a job come Monday.
Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks (+7)
While Los Angeles was expected to be good, there’s now talk of the Rams going undefeated. It’s not often you see Seattle getting a touchdown at home but that’s the case here. Last week at the SuperBook, the line opened at 7.5 but quickly dropped to a touchdown and that’s where it remained as of Wednesday with the hook unavailable (unless you buy the half point).
Los Angeles is undefeated but is 0-1-1 ATS in the last two games. The only road game the Rams have played this season was in Week 1 at Oakland where they won 33-13 as a 5-point favorite. The Seahawks were in a similar spot last year as 4-point home dogs to the surging Eagles. Seattle won that game 24-10.
The Rams are clearly the best team in the NFL after four games and are favorites to win the Super Bowl. Still, laying seven points on the road to a division rival is always risky in the NFL. The public will be all over Los Angeles this week but Seattle plus the points is worth a look in a spot Pete Carroll has traditionally been a money maker for bettors. This line has held but keep an eye out for 7.5 and if it’s there, pounce.
Thomas Casale (@ThePigskinGuy) has been following the sports betting industry for 25 years. He’s contributed to The Linemakers and is currently an editor at BetChicago. Thomas has also provided fantasy sports analysis for multiple websites and print publications, while also covering the NFL, college football, college basketball and MMA for different media outlets.
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