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Looking at early NFL lines on a busy betting week

By Adam Burke  ( 

November 22, 2021 11:26 AM

This is one of the absolute best weeks of the season for sports bettors. You’ve got all the rivalry games, conference and division races and the intrigue of bowl eligibility in college football. You’ve got a full week of NFL action (unless you’re a fan of the Cardinals or Chiefs). You’ve got tons of college hoops, including all of those early-season tournaments I talked about last week. Plus, NBA and NHL are still chugging along.

With so much going on, along with the holidays and maybe planning out a Black Friday shopping binge, it can be very easy to get overwhelmed this week. One way to keep from getting lost in the weeds is to look at college football and NFL lines right now.

A lot of bettors have tunnel vision on the games that are being played that day. They won’t look at the NFL or college football odds until Saturday or Sunday. The life of a line is really important. Seeing where a line started to where it ended up is a big part of the betting process.

Obviously it’s tricky in the NFL right now with the cornucopia of injuries, and also several teams are affected by those at the QB position, but you can save yourself some time and also get some good numbers by attacking the football markets on Monday.

Even if you aren’t ready to bet the football games yet, you can get a reference point regarding where the line is, whether or not there were any early moves and if there are some games that you want to circle to follow.

For example, look at this Rams vs. Packers game. The Packers lost to the Vikings on a last-second field goal, but Aaron Rodgers played great and quelled some fears that arose with the report about his toe injury. The Rams were on a bye and their last two data points have been ugly. That line has moved down. Not only does that signal some sharp action, but it is also a game that I would circle to follow more closely.

You can also see how recent results are being evaluated in the betting market. Another example is Steelers vs. Bengals. Pittsburgh just gave up a million points to the Chargers. The Bengals busted the bye week blues (5-11 ATS entering Week 11, 3-0 so far with Giants pending) with an impressive win over the Raiders.

But, maybe it wasn’t that impressive, as the Steelers are taking the early money for that AFC North game. That move is twofold to me. Yes, it shows that the markets like Pittsburgh, but also shows me that a lot of people are selling Raiders stock by not giving Cincinnati credit for that road victory. It suggests to me that we could see 7.5 or 7 with extra juice for the Cowboys against the Raiders on Thanksgiving. That means a -7 at -110 may be something worth locking in now.

Houston just scored a really nice win over the AFC’s top team, the Tennessee Titans. The Jets have taken the early money against the Texans to take some of the -3s down to -2.5. New York squandered some scoring opportunities last week, but this is a telling line move.

Picking up these early-week cues and either acting on what you see or at least circling those games to research some more is a very efficient use of your time on a busy week.

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