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NFL look-ahead lines report for Week 16

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You want to win money betting on NFL games. That's why you're here. 

The challenge that most casual bettors run into is their late call to action, i.e., betting moments before a game kicks off. Sure, we want to bet on the game that we're watching, but at the end of the day, we want to win! Unfortunately, beating closing lines in the NFL is a long-term -EV proposition.

Each week of the season, I'll be providing a first glance at the upcoming NFL slate through the lens of look-ahead lines, courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook

Look-ahead lines are typically released on Thursdays and are often taken down shortly after the current week's Thursday night game kicks off, though FanDuel seems to be leaving them up through Saturday if you have access to that sportsbook. This short look-ahead window provides a peek at how teams are valued prior to 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 recency bias 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 that you'd like. 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 was. 

Here's a look at the Week 16 lines, with the spread listed based on the home team:

GAME

CURRENT LINE (12/17)

PRESEASON LOOKAHEAD LINE (5/18)

Vikings @ Saints

-6.5

-6.5

49ers @ Cardinals

-2.5

+7

Buccaneers @ Lions

N/A

+7

Dolphins @ Raiders

N/A

-6

Panthers @ Washington

-2

+0.5

Bears @ Jaguars

+5

+6.5

Broncos @ Chargers

N/A

-1

Bengals @ Texans

-8.5

-7.5

Falcons @ Chiefs

N/A

N/A

Browns @ Jets

+11

+1

Colts @ Steelers

-2

-2.5

Giants @ Ravens

-9.5

-12.5

Rams @ Seahawks

-1

-3

Eagles @ Cowboys

+1

-1.5

Titans @ Packers

-4

-3.5

Bills @ Patriots

-4.5

N/A

Noonan's notes

  • When I'm firing at these spots early, it's because I strongly believe that this number is going to beat the closing line, and perhaps, it ends up being the best of the number. Basically, if I'm right in Week 15, I'm going to have an advantage in predicting where the line movement will come first in Week 16.
  • The Saints (-6.5) might get Drew Brees back for Week 15's matchup against the Chiefs, but even if they don't, it seems increasingly likely that he returns for this Christmas Day matchup against the Vikings (+6.5). If you like Minnesota, this is likely the best of the number.
  • The 49ers (+2.5) have a quasi-home game this week against the Cardinals (-2.5). Kyler Murray looked healthy in last week's matchup against the Giants, and if he looks good against Philly in Week 15, 2.5 is too short of a number.
  • The Buccaneers @ Lions game is off the board due to the Matthew Stafford injury, but I suspect it'll open up between 7.5 and 8.5. This is back-to-back road dome games for Tampa Bay, who've managed to avoid inclement weather all season.
  • The Washington Football Team (-2) is not getting any respect here. Short home favorites against a 4-9 Panthers team? I'm in on Washington here. I believe Washington is a live dog at home against the Seahawks in Week 15, and after Green Bay hangs 30+ on Carolina, this will open back up at 3.5 or higher.
  • The Bears (-5), on the road for the second straight week, can only be road favorites against a small handful of teams. Jacksonville (+5) is one of them.
  • The Browns (-11) go to New York (+11) for the second week in a row after facing the Giants on Sunday night in Week 15. I'd need at least two scores to consider betting on the Jets right now, so I may warm to the Browns as the week goes on. I have this at 10.5 on a neutral field.
  • The recency bias on the Steelers (-2) is real. They've lost two straight and are now just two-point favorites at home against the Colts (+2). There's value in this Steelers line, and with both teams expected to win big in Week 15, there's little that can be done to sway our minds on these teams. This one has big-time playoff implications for both teams. I have Pittsburgh by 2.5 on a neutral field.
  • The Packers (-4) need this win against Tennessee (+4) to solidify their position as the top seed in the NFC heading into the playoffs. The Titans have just as much to play for. They'll likely enter the week tied with the Colts for the division lead, and the AFC South may very well be a one-playoff-team division with the AFC North set to get three teams in. That makes every game a must-win for both clubs down the stretch.
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