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NFL look-ahead lines report for Week 8

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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 though is their late call to action, i.e., betting moments before a game kicks off. Sure, we want to bet 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. (I was using DraftKings for the first few weeks, but they stopped posting look-ahead lines, and suddenly no one posts totals). 

Look-ahead lines are typically released Wednesday or Thursday 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, and 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 8 lines, with the spread listed based on the home team:

GAME

LOOKAHEAD LINE (5/18)

CURRENT LINE (10/22)

Falcons @ Panthers

+3.5

-3

Colts @ Lions

+3

+3

Raiders @ Browns

-2.5

-3

Rams @ Dolphins

+5

+3.5

Vikings @ Packers

-2.5

-5.5

Patriots @ Bills

-1.5

-3

Jets @ Chiefs

-13

-21

Steelers @ Ravens

N/A

-5.5

Titans @ Bengals

+5

+4.5

Chargers @ Broncos

N/A

+1

Saints @ Bears

+4

+3

49ers @ Seahawks

+1.5

-4.5

Cowboys @ Eagles

-2

-3.5

Buccaneers @ Giants

+3.5

+9.5

Noonan's notes

  • The Cardinals, Texans, Jaguars and Washington have a Week 8 bye.
  • 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 7, I'm going to have an advantage in predicting where the line movement will come first in Week 8.
  • The Falcons (+3) and Panthers (-3) are going at it again after Carolina won in Atlanta back in Week 5. The Falcons' Week 7 matchup versus Detroit offers up more win equity than the Panthers have in New Orleans, so a move closer to zero feels likely.
  • The Dolphins (+3.5) made a big splash heading into their bye with the news that they're making a change at quarterback. They host the Rams (+3.5) in Week 8, presumably coming off a strong showing against the Bears Monday night. Traveling east on a short week is less than ideal, but I think this gets to 4.5 or 5 if the Rams win big Monday night.
  • The Vikings (+5.5) travel to Green Bay (-5.5) for a Week 1 rematch of NFC North foes. The Vikings have a Week 7 bye, so they can't do much to impact the court of public opinion, but if the Pack boat-race the Texans this week, this will climb closer to 7 in short order.
  • Twenty-one points. Wow. I don't know what to say about this Jets (+21) team that hasn't already been said. I supposed the good news for them is they'll likely have Sam Darnold back under center for this one. I imagine that the hardcore situational bettors among us will jump on the opportunity to grab three touchdowns no matter who the teams are, but I have no interest in holding a Jets ticket right now, especially not when Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs (-21) are involved.
  • This Steelers (+5.5) versus Ravens (-5.5) matchup has been shifted to Week 8 due to all of the coronavirusovid-related schedule moves, and it sets up to be one of the best games of the week. The Ravens' Week 7 bye sets them up well for this one, but if the Steelers win on the road against an undefeated Tennessee Titans club this week, my guess is that this moves closer to 3.5.
  • We've seen Drew Brees and the Saints (-3) disappoint in non-dome road games over the past few years, but I'm interested in them here against an overrated Bears (+3) team. Chicago's ability to slow opponents' passing attacks despite their inability to pressure opposing quarterbacks feels like a house of cards. This line has moved from 2.5 to 3 while writing this, and I second that early lean.
  • Heading to Seattle (-4.5) for the second leg of back-to-back road games is less than ideal for the 49ers (+4.5). These NFC West divisional battles have been tightly contested over the past few seasons, and this number feels right regardless of what happens in Week 7.
  • This Week 8 Monday night tilt in New York (+9.5) is Tampa Bay's (-9.5) last outside game in a cold-weather city this season. The majority of their remaining contests are at home or on the road in a dome, something that works very much in favor of old man time, Tom Brady.
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