NFL Week 8 brings a wide variety of spreads to the betting board. Many of these spreads are just short of key numbers, with multiple 2.5-point spreads, along with 5.5 and 6-point lines, which are all begging to be used in teasers. Teasers are where the majority of my money will be in Week 8, as there are only a few games where I have a strong opinion on the spread. After wrapping up the picks, I’ll go over a few teaser legs that I love this week.
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills -3.5
Let’s go straight to Orchard Park where the Buffalo Bills are licking their chops in anticipation of making their mark on the AFC East by dethroning the New England Patriots.
Now, as satisfying as that sounds to Bills fans, whether or not the Bills can actually pull it off is worth questioning. This is The Great Bill Belichik we’re talking about. The Belichick disciples were lining up at the window last week, as Bill’s record ATS after a loss is incredible. But Cam Newton had other ideas in that game.
A one-game sample of Belichick failing (miserably) to cover the spread after a loss is obviously not statistically relevant, but a trend has to start somewhere.
This is simply not the New England Patriots that Belichik led to Super Bowl (and gambling) glory over the past two decades. Brady is obviously gone, but so are Patrick Chung and Dant’a Hightower, as the two most important pieces in the Patriots defense opted out. And now on Thursday star corner Stephon Gilmore sat out of practice with a new injury.
Then we come to the Patriots offense, which is not scaring anyone. Cam Newton is not as bad as he was last week when he threw three picks, but I fully expect the Bills defense to force one or two turnovers on Cam.
The Bills aren’t as good as we thought they were after the hot start. But they have better squads on both sides of the ball and I expect them to cover the 3.5 at home.
The Bet: Bills +3.5
Pittsburgh Steelers +4 at Baltimore Ravens
My handicap on this game is simple: prove to me that you can beat elite teams, Ravens. Baltimore has beaten a decent Browns team, albeit in a beatdown. But also in a new head coache’s first game. Their other four wins have all come against bad to below-average teams: Washington, Houston, Cincinnati, and Philadelphia. We all remember the last time the Ravens were short favorites against an elite team, and somehow most of the pundits were too sharp for their own good and laid the points to Patrick Mahomes.
The Steelers are not the Chiefs on offense, but they have plenty of firepower. On defense, they are #1 against the run. I think I’ve heard on ESPN or somewhere that the Ravens like to run the ball. And when you make Lamar throw the ball more than he wants to, the game generally does not work out in Baltimore’s favor.
The question in this game is can the Steelers build a lead? And if so, do the Ravens have a chance at coming back? The answer to the latter is likely no. The answer to the first is a giant question mark.
These two teams are incredibly similar when it comes to DVOA. The Steelers are #2 in D, the Ravens are #3. Pittsburgh is #17 on offense, Baltimore is #19. It would appear that these two teams are dead even. So, why is Baltimore favored by four points without a home crowd?
This line should be Ravens -2.5 at best. But you’re telling me that I can get not only the 3 and the 3.5, but also the full 4? The only way to bet this spread is to take Pittsburgh, as the value is clearly on the Steelers.
The Bet: Steelers +4
LA Rams -3.5 at Miami Dolphins
It’s Tua Tagovailoa time in Miami, and everyone is beside themselves with excitement. Tank for Tua didn’t exactly work, but they got their man anyways. The Alabama great will likely be a star in the NFL, but I don’t think it’s going to happen in his first-ever start.
To be fair, the Dolphins are much better than anyone expected. This team has impressive wins on its resume and has played complementary football. After seven weeks, the Miami offense is #16 and the defense is #14 in DVOA.
However, I expect the offense to take a step back initially with a new quarterback inserted into the mix. The demotion of Ryan Fitzpatrick is a microcosm of his entire career. No team is ever willing to stick with him, despite how well he plays.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is #6 in QBR. No matter how well Tua plays, it won’t be to that level initially. And especially not in his first start.
The Rams have played similar complementary football, only at a higher level than the Dolphins. There are only two teams in the NFL that are top ten in DVOA on both sides of the ball: the 49ers and the Buccaneers. The Rams nearly make the cut though with the #5 offense and #11 defense. Now, you would be right to question their schedule. But the Dolphins schedule also includes games against the Jets and the Jaguars.
Tua is going to get his first taste of the NFL with Aaron Donald attacking him all day. That alone gives me confidence in the Rams covering this short number.
The Bet: Rams -3.5
The rest of the NFL Week 8 picks ATS
- Browns -2.5 hosting Raiders
- Titans -5.5 at Bengals
Favorite Teaser Legs
- The Steelers at +4 are begging to brought up to +10
- Bringing the Packers down from -6.5 to -0.5 hosting the Vikings seems too easy
- Titans down to pick’em also seems too easy against the Bengals
- I don’t think Indy is going to run away with it at Detroit, so I don’t mind the advantage teaser from +2.5 to +8.5
- 49ers from +2.5 or +3 up to +8.5 or +9 seems like another nice advantage teaser leg–but Russell Wilson is a little scary