The Backdoor Cover - NFL Week 8 Picks
By: Josh Gamble
*All lines are accurate as of Saturday morning*
Colts (-2.5) @ Lions – Over/Under 50
The Lions are coming off an emotional, last second win against the Falcons. What remains to be seen is if they use this momentum coming into this week’s game. The Colts were on a bye last week and should be well rested traveling to Detroit. The line at this game has held constant since its open at 2.5 points in favor of the Colts. Normally, I would jump all over a 2.5 point home underdog but I just cannot do it here. The Lions are not a good football team while the Colts have had one of the best defenses this season. The cash and tickets are showing a slight lean towards the Colts. I would stay away from this game.
Vikings @ Packers (-6) – Over/Under 49.5
This NFC North showdown features two teams with inverse records. Most would say that they are both trending in opposite directions of their preseason expectations. The Packers have been lights out and through the first half of the season, appear to be legitimate Super Bowl contenders in the NFC. The Vikings have been flat out bad. Sure, they have shown some signs of life this season, but this was a team people expected to at least compete. The line opened at 6 points and that is where we stand today. That tells me that people think the line is pretty fair and the split in bets backs that up. I do not see much value in this game.
Patriots @ Bills (-3.5) – Over/Under 41
The line in this game has been teetering between 3.5 and 4 all week. These are two teams that I do not really have a whole lot of confidence in currently. The Patriots have not looked good the past few weeks and you could say the same about the Bills. The Bills have been one of the more disappointing teams recently. They opened the season looking like AFC contenders and have stumbled and looked sloppy recently. The cash right now is on the Patriots; however, I just do not trust this offense enough to lay my money down.
Photo courtesy of sports.yahoo.com
Titans (-7) @ Bengals – Over/Under 51
This is one of the games that I am eyeing this week. The line opened at 4.5 and has jumped up to 7. That being said, I still like the Titans in this one. The Bengals started the season well and were covering each week. Lately, they have not quite looked like that same team. I think that is a product of playing teams that are better and bringing them back down to Earth. Cash and tickets are heavy on the Titans. So heavy that I almost stayed away from this game. I just like the Titans too much. I think they are arguably the most overlooked team in the league. Tannehill, Henry, and company have this team rolling. Take the Titans and lay the points.
Raiders @ Browns (-1) – Over/Under 49.5
The odds makers have not been able to figure this game out. I have seen this line as low as a pick em and as high as 2.5 in favor of the Browns. I think the main rationale behind this is, how Baker Mayfield will play without his top weapon. Some may argue that it may make him better, but I am not sold on that. Outside of Jarvis Landry, who is Baker going to throw to? There is heavy cash on the Raiders with the points and the moneyline +115. I agree with the cash and will be taking the Raiders. Now that the line is only one point, I will opt for the moneyline +115.
Jets @ Chiefs (-19.5) – Over/Under 49
I know this goes against everything that I have said this season regarding the Jets, but I like this line. You give me 19.5 points for any team in the NFL and I have to take it. Could the Chiefs win by 30? Sure, but in order for that to happen, the Chiefs would need to come out and fire on all cylinders all game. This is just too many points to pass up. Give me the Jets and the points.
Rams (-3.5) @ Dolphins – Over/Under 46
This is another line that has held constant all week. I really want to bet this game, but I just cannot bring myself to do it. The home underdog in this game is the classic bookie trap and normally I would be all over it. The only thing that is preventing me from doing it is the fact that Tua is making his first start. We do not know what to expect from him. If Ryan Fitzpatrick was starting this game, this would be on my official card. The fact that he is not means I am leaving it off.
Steelers @ Ravens (-3.5) – Over/Under 46.5
The marquee matchup of the week. Two teams with defenses in the top ten squaring off against each other. As you would expect, the line is this game has remained relatively constant, but I have seen the line as high as 4.5. If you can find that number, jump on it immediately. Not too many analytics on this game as I am going with my gut on this one. I expect this to be a close, hard fought battle and for that reason I am taking the Steelers and the under. I will likely also put a fractional unit on the Steelers moneyline. +175 is too hard for me to pass up on a team that has not lost.
Chargers (-3.5) @ Broncos – Over/Under 44.5
This game opened at only a point and has moved out to 3.5. Justin Herbert has the Chargers looking really good. The Broncos have not looked good all season. Everything in this game points to the Chargers to win easily. So why did the line open at 1 point and only moved to 3.5? I do not know and for that reason, I have decided to stay away from this game. It just seems like a trap.
Saints (-5) @ Bears – Over/Under 42
Heavy cash and tickets on the Saints in this one. And probably rightfully so. The Bears are not good and how they have a winning record is beyond me. I cannot believe I am going to say this, but I think this team was better off with Trubisky at quarterback. Yikes. The line opened at 4 and currently sits at 5. I would actually expect this to tick up a little more before game time as more cash rolls in on the Saints. I am just not seeing the value that the professional handicappers are seeing. This is likely because I do not think the Saints are as good as people think they are. Name recognition may be a factor in this game. I am not betting it, but if you want to, I would side with the pros and take the Saints.
49ers @ Seahawks (-3) – Over/Under 53.5
This is the matchup I am most interested to see this week, albeit not from a betting standpoint. The 49ers were really banged up for a while and their play on the field showed it. They have started getting healthier and have played better lately. Even after the loss to the Cardinals, I still think the Seahawks are the best team in the NFC. This will be a real test on whether or not the 49ers are moving back towards the team we all expected to start the season. This line does not offer much value and the cash/tickets are pretty split between the teams. Sit back and enjoy this game but I would not bet it.
Cowboys @ Eagles (-11) – Over/Under 42.5
Ben Dinnuci sounds like someone who should be selling you cold cuts at your local Long Island deli, not starting at quarterback for a NFL team. Believe it or not, this line was at 3.5 when the lines first came out as the status of Dalton was technically still a question mark. That line has now soared all the way up to 11 points. Regardless of who is playing quarterback that is just too many points to find any kind of value for the Eagles. Since the line has increased, you have seen an influx of cash come in for the Cowboys. Do I think this game will be close? No I do not. Am I confident enough in that to put my money down? Also no. My recommendation is to sit back and enjoy the beat down because when the Cowboys lose, we all win.
Buccaneers (-13) @ Giants – Over/Under 44.5
With the way that Tampa Bay has been playing as of late, I actually kind of expected this line to be higher. It started at 10 and has moved up to 13, which makes sense. The Giants are bad, but I have to give them credit because they have been playing people tough. You are seeing slight leans in opposite directions on the cash and tickets, with the pros siding with the New York football Giants. There is just no value here for me. I think it is best to stay away from this game.
As always, follow me on Twitter @Jtothe_ROC to get up-to-date plays and additions to my weekend cards. Happy to answer any gambling questions people may have. Let's all cash those tickets!
Official NFL Week 8 Card
Steelers +3.5 and Under 46.5
Raiders ML +115