By Steve Rieder
Every week several domestic and off-shore books post lookahead lines for the following week’s games. Essentially, next week’s lines are being offered before this week’s games even kick-off. Lookahead lines offer tremendous opportunities because of the uncertainty that goes along with it.
As the week progresses, the NFL betting marketplace becomes more efficient. Sharps and syndicates alike find the value in the sides and totals and correct the misprices. By the weekend, almost all of the value has dried up for the NFL Sunday slate becoming the most efficient marketplace in the world. The public will still bet their favorite teams, the heavy favorites, and their 10-team parlays without realizing how -EV their plays are. At this point, sharps and recreational betters alike would find more success turning their attention to next week’s look ahead lines.
Syndicates typically don’t spend as much time or energy with the lookahead lines, not because they don’t see the value, but because of the low limits. Much like the prop and derivative marketplace, lookahead lines are ripe for the sharp bettor to take advantage of. As a rule of thumb: the lower the limit, the better the value.
Lookahead lines typically don’t adjust as quickly as the current week’s lines. If a team gets steamed in the current week’s game, it is prudent to immediately look to see if there is value on the team the following week. Much like the Sunday night openers, betting lookahead lines are the most valuable at post. Some books may post on different days and at different times, but getting to know the schedule of your book can be extremely advantageous.
LAST WEEK’S LOOKAHEAD BET
Our Week 1 lookahead bet was DEN -2.5, which not only closed DEN -6, but covered with ease. We followed that up with NYG -2.5 on the Week 2 lookahead. We predicted the Giants would be in a close contest against the Bills (they lost 30-29) and the Falcons would get blown out (they lost 48-25). Although we don’t have the 3.5 point line this time, I still like our position and we have some CLV in the process. The G-Men are currently 3-point home favorites over the Falcons in the battle for the basement. Both teams are 0-2, not good, and on the precipice of seeing their season slip away. Whoever loses this game might as well start looking forward organizationally to 2022, 17 games be damned.
Atlanta was supposed to have a high-powered offensive attack, but have the 3rd lowest points per game in the league. Their defense, which was expected to be a dumpster fire, has lived up to expectations, surrendering 40 points per game, the worst in the NFL. With Matt Ryan slowly fading away into oblivion, the Falcons may soon be flightless. They do have an advantage on the defensive line accumulating 6 sacks in 2 games. Now they go against an offensive line in shambles. Despite the big named cornerbacks for the Giants, I wouldn’t be shocked if we see Calvin Ridley finally break through and have a big game.
On the other side of the ball, the Giants' stats look better than Atlanta’s, but then again they didn’t have to play the defending Super Bowl Champions. Daniel Jones actually was impressive on Thursday Night, hitting targets despite being under fire. The team had a poor off-season and preseason as they dealt with injuries, player retirement, and cohesion issues. The latter of which was readily apparent as Kenny Golladay was seen screaming on the sidelines at Daniel Jones, the offensive coordinator, or anyone who would listen.
Overall the Giants have better personnel and potential on both sides of the ball, are at home and have ten days to prepare. Arthur Smith is also a first-year coach who has a longer leash. If Joe Judge and company can’t right the ship, their days could be numbered. If there is a must-win in Week 3, this feels like one for the Giants especially with a game in New Orleans on deck. With the market at -3, our Giants -2.5 looks just fine.
A couple to ask regarding a lookahead bet that has closing line value:
- Do I still like my original bet?
- How confident am I in my original bet?
- Am I overexposed on my original bet?
- Is there a reason to limit exposure?
- Is there value in the second play irrespective of the first?
- Is the percentage chance for a middle opportunity large enough to overcome the vigorish I’d be sacrificing if one side loses?
- How conservative of a bettor am I?
WEEK 4 LOOKAHEAD LINES
Last week we didn’t have much disparity between our power ratings and the lookahead lines, but this is a different week entirely with several games off our Power Ratings. This isn’t necessarily good or bad, but it's certainly something that we want to double-check to make sure we aren’t too high or low on a team. When I identify a game that has significant disparity, I always want to double-check to see if I’m missing something. Several of these games imply a healthier team than we currently have for Week 3. Remember, our Power Ratings are a snapshot in time and not a projection of where they will be next week or the end of the year for that matter. With that caveat, let's look at our Week 4 options and see why we identified our best bet in the unlikeliest of circumstances.
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