The sportsbooks were bailed out last Sunday when the New York Jets scored a pair of fluke touchdowns on a muffed punt and pick-six of the New England Patriots. The Jets (+22) covered in a 30-16 defeat, but bettors got the best of the bookmakers when Dallas pulled away from the Dolphins 31-6 and the Rams held off a late Browns 1st-and-goal situation in the final minute to escape with a 20-13 win. The money and market moves really came in on the Rams before kickoff, and also on the Cowboys.
TheLines turns to FanDuel Sportsbook for opening look-ahead lines for next week’s NFL games. But first, here’s a look at some of the storylines and betting situations that have impacted (or could impact) the Week 4 NFL card:
- There are eight undefeated teams through three weeks: Patriots, Bills and Chiefs in the AFC. Cowboys, Rams, 49ers, Packers and Lions (2-0-1) in the NFC. Last year there were three undefeated teams through three weeks. The Chiefs and Patriots are taking a lot of bets as road favorites of at least a touchdown this week against two other undefeated teams, Detroit and Buffalo. On Thursday, FanDuel Sportsbook moved New England off the key number of 7 and made the Patriots a 7.5-point favorite.
- Only six teams since 1980 have made the playoffs after starting the season 0-3. One of those was the Houston Texans last season, who started 0-3 and then won nine straight games on their way to winning the AFC South with 11 wins. This year’s group of 0-3 teams includes the Redskins in the NFC, and Broncos, Bengals, Steelers, Jets and historically bad Dolphins, at least from a point spread perspective.
How to use look-ahead lines
We’ll be providing the NFL advance lines from FanDuel Sportsbook each week to allow you a sneak peek at the projected lines for the following week’s games. This advance information from a big bookmaker provides lessons in understanding lines and projections before the current week’s games are played.
The tendency for many bettors is to over-react to previous weeks scores and results. The look-ahead lines provide a sense of stability from the linemaker, who is unbiased in setting the lines in advance without the information from the current week’s contests.
Bettors can also gain an edge or find value in the lines once the current week’s lines are released. They do this based on not only a potential overreaction to the recent week’s results, but by using information they have on teams, including NFL power rankings. Making adjustments is part of the process, along with formulating an opinion and whether they are a believer in some teams or not in others. This can be based on personnel, injuries, situations, stats or angles they want to apply as the season progresses.
Week 4 market movement
Injuries and starting quarterback changes impacted some of the results last week with eight backup quarterbacks now starting. That’s part of the evaluation process moving forward with so many injuries and changes in personnel that can affect the betting market and team performances throughout the NFL season. The betting lines are moving quickly, and the oddsmakers and sportsbooks are scrambling as the money keeps pouring in on the Patriots and Chiefs, but not quite as much this week against the disastrous Dolphins, who were a 16.5-point home underdog to the battered and bruised LA Chargers, but FanDuel Sportsbook had moved the line to Dolphins +15 on Thursday. Miami is the worst team DVOA has ever tracked through three weeks according to Football Outsiders and its Defense-Adjusted Value Over Average method of evaluating teams, units or players.
A look at the current Week 4 lines compared to the FanDuel Sportsbook look-ahead lines from last week shows some of the adjustments made by the bookmakers and influence in the market based on news and results. Adjustments for injury news on Friday along with more sharp action as game day nears will see some additional movement on teams like Minnesota (+2.5) with some indicators that the Vikings will take more money and see the line drop. The Bears were -3 on the lookahead line against the Vikings last week.
|Philadelphia at Green Bay||GB -3||GB -4|
|Carolina at Houston||HOU -5.5||HOU -4|
|Cleveland at Baltimore||BAL -3.5||BAL -6.5|
|Kansas City at Detroit||KC -5||KC -6.5|
|LA Chargers at Miami||LAC -15.5||LAC -15|
|New England at Buffalo||NE -6.5||NE -7.5|
|Oakland at Indianapolis||IND -6||IND -6.5|
|Tennessee at Atlanta||ATL -4.5||ATL -4|
|Washington at NY Giants||NYG -2.5||NYG -2.5|
|Seattle at Arizona||SEA -3.5||SEA -5|
|Tampa Bay at LA Rams||LAR -9||LAR -9|
|Jacksonville at Denver||DEN -3.5||DEN -3|
|Minnesota at Chicago||CHI -3||CHI -2.5|
|Dallas at New Orleans||DAL -2.5||DAL -2.5|
|Cincinnati at Pittsburgh||PIT -4||PIT -3.5|
Cleveland at Baltimore: Key game in the AFC North, as a Ravens win moves them to 3-1, the Browns to 1-3 and the winless Steelers (0-3) and Bengals (0-3) play Monday night in Pittsburgh. The sharps are taking the +7 on the Browns, and we’re seeing the line dip to Ravens -6.5 at some key sportsbooks including FanDuel Sportsbook. Don’t buy into the narrative and noise that many trends will provide. Like Cleveland is 3-17 straight up in its last 20 road games. The Browns were a 7-point underdog at Baltimore in Week 17 last year and driving near midfield trailing 26-24 in the closing minutes looking to knock the Ravens from the playoffs. Instead, Baltimore held on with a key defensive stop and won the division. Now this becomes a key early season game for both teams with the Steelers and Bengals treading water early as winless teams.
Week 5 look-ahead lines
Week 5 includes some key division games including the LA Rams at Seattle on Thursday. Baltimore at Pittsburgh has annually been a close and intense division duel. Denver will travel to LA to battle the Chargers, and Tampa Bay at New Orleans could be a more meaningful division game if the Saints lose in Week 4 to Dallas. That would mean no AFC South team would have a winning record through four games. Also, Chicago and Oakland open the NFL’s international schedule with a game in London next Sunday.
|Los Angeles Rams at Seattle||LAR -1.5|
|Arizona at Cincinnati||CIN -4|
|Atlanta at Houston||HOU -4|
|Baltimore at Pittsburgh||BAL -3.5|
|Buffalo at Tennessee||TEN -1.5|
|Chicago vs Oakland (London)||CHI -6|
|Jacksonville at Carolina||CAR -3.5|
|Minnesota at NY Giants||MIN -5.5|
|New England at Washington||NE -13|
|NY Jets at Philadelphia||PHI -7.5|
|Tampa Bay at New Orleans||NO -6|
|Denver at LA Chargers||LAC -6.5|
|Indianapolis at Kansas City||KC -8.5|
|Cleveland at San Francisco||SF -4|
In May, Las Vegas sportsbook CG Technology released NFL lines on every 2019 regular-season game. The biggest projected lines were in Week 5 were New Orleans -10.5 over Tampa Bay, Philadelphia -7.5 over the NY Jets, LA Chargers -7.5 over Denver, and New England -6.5 over Washington.