Eight Bets Worth Considering for NFL Week 8

NFL Oct 30, 2021

2021 NFL WAGERING RECORD

34 Wins

22 Losses

1 Push

My picks went 4-1 last week for another nice win.

As I've written before, I'll gladly take steady bankroll building anytime over huge swings and high variance.

I'm thrilled with 60 percent wins based on 57 posted wagers thus far.  Anyone who understands how difficult NFL handicapping is and knows of the challenge of beating the point spread over the long run should be pleased with these results.

The only thing I'm disappointed in, so far, is the so-called "Best Bets."  I've never done well weighing my wagers.  Even last season, when I finished the NFL regular season with a 94-76-2 record, my "Best Bets" went 5-7 (READ HERE).  So, I should probably forgo listing any pick as a "Best Bet."  Readers beware.

Here's a look back at last week's numbers.  Losing the Falcons -2.5 by a half-point (Atlanta won by 2) killed what would have been a monster week:

READ LAST WEEK’S REPORT HERE

Atlanta -2.5 vs. Miami -- [BEST BET] -- LOST

Atlanta Falcons Team Total OVER 23.5 (-140) -- WON

NY Giants / Carolina Panthers UNDER 43 -- WON

Arizona Cardinals / Houston Texans UNDER 47 --WON

First Half Team Total:  Cincinnati OVER 9.5 (-120) -- WON

Also, check out my latest article about coat-tailing other sports handicappers.  In short, beware of the TV "experts" and "eye candy."  If you follow other sports gamblers (and most of you reading this, including me do this) stick with real bettors who put their money on the line.

READ MORE HERE:

How to Decide Who to Follow in NFL Betting

*************************************************

WEEK 8 PREDICTIONS AND PICKS

Carolina / Atlanta OVER 46

Atlanta Team Total (First Half) OVER 12.5 (-130)

Two observations from last week's Miami Dolphins 30-28 win vs. Miami.  (1) The Falcons' offense is going to be very good, especially with such a talented receiver corps.  Now healthy again, with QB Matt Ryan throwing 50+ passes per game, this offense will score points.  TE Kyle Pitts is a game-changer.  He caught 8 passes for 167 yards last week.  I have no doubt the Falcons will be an OVER team the rest of the season.  (2) The other big factor is the Falcons' defense, which is awful.  Atlanta gave up 4 touchdown passes last week to QB Tua Tagovailoa (Tua!), and lost 13-points leads twice in the second half.  Seriously, how does any team blow two 13-point leads in a half of football against the NFL's 28th ranked offense?  This pass defense can't stop anybody, so look for Atlanta to surrender points (which averages 29 PPG allowed this season).  Obviously, the concern here with scoring points is Carolina, which has gone into hibernation after a 3-0 start.  The Panthers have dropped 4 straight, including a blowout humiliation last week at NY Giants.  Carolina said in advance they'd run the hell out of the ball (we jumped on the UNDER, and won easily).  That tip-off on game strategy and execution was disastrous, so look for Carolina in a desperate situation to take far more chances, especially versus a defense that's known for getting burned by the pass.  At 46, this total is right down the middle of a high-scoring OVER team (Atlanta 4-2 to the OVER) and a low-scoring UNDER team (Carolina 5-2 to the UNDER).  However, those Carolina numbers are misleading as the Panthers' defense have faced some real offensive sinkers (Jets, Giants, Eagles, Texans), which helps to pad their defensive stats.  Inside a dome, with Atlanta clicking on offense but vulnerable on defense, plus Carolina in desperation mode to end a 4-game slide, I think we'll see an entertaining game with points scored.  I got the OVER early in the week at 46. A correlated wager is taking Atlanta's team total in the first half to go OVER 12.5.  This number seems slightly low with the Falcons' strong offense, healthy again, playing back at home for the first time in a month.  The key here is catching a win on 13, which is an important number in totals wagering.

Pittsburgh Team Total OVER 19.5 (-130)

Pittsburgh Team Total OVER 9.5 (First Half)

I don't know if the Steelers have turned things around with 2-straight wins to get back to 3-3, but at least the offense looks better and is capable of scoring points.  They've posted 27 and 23 the last two weeks, so I don't see much of a problem getting to 20 versus a defense that's been burned like scorched toast when it plays winning teams.  I don't care that the Browns stifled the awful Texans, Bears, or Broncos.  The Browns defense isn't very good.  I expect a close game so have no opinion on a side, but it appears oddsmakers have set this team total on Pittsburgh just a little low.  Catching a win on "20" is huge, so I'll gladly lay -130 and look for the Steelers to do enough to reach the OVER.  I hope QB Baker Mayfield starts (it's uncertain as this analysis is being posted), since that could create a possible shootout.  But even Case Keenum under center for the Browns probably helps the Steelers to go OVER (I don't think he'll replicate the decent performance be put up last Thursday night).  With 10 days to prepare for this division rival, I think the Steelers get enough points to cash this ticket.  The same logic applies to a bet on the Steelers exceeding 9.5 points (team total) in the first half, so that's also worth a wager.

(First Half) Detroit +3 vs. Philadelphia (-115)

This isn't so much a bet on the Lions as a wager against Philadelphia.  The Eagles have no business laying a FG in the first half given how they're playing right now.  This is the second straight road game for the Eagles, coming off an awful performance in Las Vegas last week.  Philadelphia's offense is, at best -- inconsistent.  This isn't a team that should be laying points to anyone.  Meanwhile, winless Detroit is coming off an inspiring effort in Los Angeles last week, nearly upsetting the Rams.  While the Lions' W-L record is horrible (0-7), let's keep in mind that Detroit is 4-3 against the spread, and 2-1 against the spread at home.  So, getting +3 at home given the current state of these two teams strikes me as value.

(First Half) Jacksonville +3 vs. Seattle (-115)

Jacksonville Team Total OVER 9.5 (First Half) (-120)

After what we've seen the last few weeks with Geno Smith at QB for the Seahawks, this looks be a solid fade, especially with Seattle in a favorite role.  I won't spend time beating up Smith, who really looks lost at times when dropping back to pass.  Worse, he's immobile and has difficulty evading a pass rush.  Coming off a crushing defeat at home to the Saints, I'm not sure what the mindset of the Seahawks will be, especially on defense.  This is a really bad defensive team that played its heart out last week.  Sometimes, there's a letdown after such a close-but-no-cigar result, and that could happen here.  Jacksonville doesn't inspire great confidence, but the Jags have covered in 2 of their last 3 games.  They also come off a win in London two weeks ago (beating Miami), so there's been plenty of time to prepare.  Jacksonville has also posted 19, 20, 19, and 23 points in each of the last four games and now faces one of the weaker defenses, so wagering them OVER 9.5 in the first half strikes me as a solid value.  Two modest-sized wagers on Jacksonville are prompted by the expectation the Jags will be competitive in the first half, while the Seahawks continue to be sluggish on offense.

SNF: Minnesota / Dallas UNDER 52.5

This was a late play made on Friday after news that QB Dak Prescott looks unlikely to start.  And why would be, if there's any kind of injury?  Dallas has the NFC East locked up and needs to stay healthy.  Pushing Prescott into a road start when he's not 100 percent strikes me as a dumb move (McCarthy, please do the smart thing).  There's a huge dropoff from Prescott, who was having a possible MVP season and the weak backup, Cooper Rush, who has 1/3 passing for 4 yards IN HIS ENTIRE NFL CAREER.  That would likely mean feeding the ball to RB E. Elliot 25-30 times and hoping for the best.  Given Elliots' decline, that's perfectly fine with me as I"m betting the UNDER.  Meanwhile, the Dallas defense has improved significantly.  I still don't trust this unit when playing top teams, but against the Vikings mediocre offense (ranks 17th in PPG), the Dallas defense should be fine.  The total looks way too high based on the Prescott news.  If he was starting, this is an entirely different ballgame.  With a greater than 50/50 chance he doesn't play, or could be at less than full strength, this looks like a very compelling UNDER bet.

THIS WEEK’S BETS (Lay amount/Win amount):

Carolina / Atlanta OVER 46

Atlanta Team Total (First Half) OVER 12.5 (-130)

Pittsburgh Team Total OVER 19.5 (-130)

Pittsburgh Team Total OVER 9.5 (First Half)

(First Half) Detroit +3 vs. Philadelphia (-115)

(First Half) Jacksonville +3 vs. Seattle (-115)

Jacksonville Team Total OVER 9.5 (First Half) (-120)

SNF: Minnesota / Dallas UNDER 52.5

NOTE:  This is the final report for Week 8.  No more plays will be added.