USA Today Sports

NFL line watch: Lookahead looms for Lions vs. Bucs

Each week during the pro football season, Covers Expert Art Aronson looks at the NFL odds and tells you which spread to bet now, which one to bet later, and which total to watch as the week plays out.

Spread to bet now

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+10) at Detroit Lions

There are a couple of 10's out there, but this line is dropping fast. As of writing, a 10 is still available but for the most part 9.5's, 9's and even a couple of 8.5's predominate. Sharps were quick to jump on the double-digit spread.

The once 0-8 Bucs are off back-to-back victories, scoring a whopping 63 combined points in the process. The Lions are coming off a disappointing 37-27 loss in Pittsburgh in which they scored all of their points in the second quarter and would allow the Steelers to post 17 unanswered in the second half.

With the lowly Buccaneers on deck and a game versus division rival Green Bay next week, this sets up as a classic lookahead spot for the home side Sunday.

Spread to wait on

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns (-2.5)

The Cincinnati Bengals lead the AFC North with a 7-4 record. The Steelers, Browns and defending champion Ravens are all tied at 4-6. To say this is a big game for both teams would be an understatement.

The loser of this divisional contest will be eliminated from contention. This is the first contest between the clubs this season (they play again at Heinz Field on the final week) and the stakes simply couldn't be higher.

Back-to-back victories for the Steelers, in which they've scored a combined 60 points, has the Black and Gold right back in the conversation. Conversely, the up-and-down Browns have lost four of their last five, including last week's disturbing 41-20 effort at Cincinnati.

It appears bettors believe that Pittsburgh has turned a corner, so if you think that Cleveland has something up its sleeve, I'd recommend waiting a little closer to kickoff before getting down with the Browns.

Total to watch


Denver Broncos at New England Patriots (56)


This much-anticipated game will be played on a blustery Sunday night in late November in New England. Unlike the U.S. mail service, Denver QB Peyton Manning isn't quite at his best in rain, sleet, snow and hail.

After eclipsing the number in eight straight contests, the Bronco's high-flying offense has slowed down a bit with both games versus the Chargers and Chiefs falling below the posted number. The Patriots' patchwork offense has been a work in progress all season, looking brilliant at times and pretty pedestrian in others.

This total opened at 56 and for the most part that number predominates. However, there are a few 55.5's starting to make an appearance now as well. This is definitely one total to keep our eyes on as the week progresses.

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Posted by Tigermike1975
10 months ago

Lions are not in a Classic lookahead spot. Had they won last week I would agree, but being tied for the division and needing to win after a playing a disappointing game they will be focused this week. Ten is still a lot of points and they may not cover, but it won't be from a letdown.
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Top Response

Posted by Tigermike1975
10 months ago

"Lions are not in a Classic lookahead spot. Had they won last week I would agree, but being tied for the division and needing to win after a playing a disappointing game they will be focused this week. Ten is still a lot of points and they may not cov..."