Here we go again.
Last week I marveled at having three games that featured teams favored by 12.5 points or more. It’s rare in the NFL to see many games with double-digit point spreads, much less to have three. By the way, the teams laying the big points went 2-1 with one of them (Tampa Bay) winning by 35 points and another (Arizona) winning by 26.
This week we once again have three teams favored by more than 10 points – the Rams as 14.5 point favorites over Houston, Cincinnati as a 10.5 point favorite over the Jets and Buffalo as a 13.5 point favorite over Miami.
Typically, numbers like these are reserved for non-conference games in the SEC. The worst part is, depending on how the injury report shakes out we could have a fourth. Kansas City is currently a 9.5 point favorite over the Giants and that could easily add a point or two if the Giants are missing some of their top offensive weapons. Strange days indeed.
Here are picks for each of the 15 games on the Week 8 schedule that should help take you to the pay window.
Odds provided by Tipico Sportsbook at 8:45 p.m. Wednesday
Green Bay Packers (+220) at Arizona Cardinals (-260)
Not having Davante Adams is a killer for Green Bay’s offense because of his value, but the Over/Under (49 points at -115 Over, -105 Under) seems to make you think the Packers offense is going to completely sputter. Against a pedestrian Packers defense, I can easily see Arizona putting up 30 points on Green Bay. Am I confident the Cardinals can limit Aaron Rodgers to less than 19 points? No thanks. Take the Over (-115).
Philadelphia Eagles (-180) at Detroit Lions (+145)
The Lions have been a hard luck team all season and part of me believes that this could be the week they finally get a win. But, they have found ways to snatch losses from the jaws of victory. Philadelphia is favored by 3.5 points (Eagles -108, Lions -112). I don’t have much confidence in the Eagles, even when they’re a road favorite. There’s always a team that is last to win in a season and it’s the Lions turn. If you’re bold, you’re getting +145. But, I’m much more comfortable getting those points. Take the Lions +3.5 points (-112).
Los Angeles Rams (-1100) at Houston Texans (+650)
Two things about this game. First, I love what the Rams are capable of on both sides of the ball with individual playmakers at numerous positions. Second, I can’t stand Houston and would rather not bet than make a wager that would require something positive from the Texans. I was wrong with the Rams last week giving a huge number to Detroit, but I ran from the Texans and they lost by 25. The Rams could do the same. Take the Rams and lay 14.5 points (-112).
Tennessee Titans (-105) at Indianapolis Colts (-115)
The Colts are a 1.5 point favorite (Titans -105, Colts -115) – the same number as taking the game on the Money Line. This makes my decision easier because I would have taken the Titans straight up. There are two teams to keep your betting eye on because, despite their resumes, they’re not getting the respect they believe they should – the Bengals and the Titans. I’m more than willing to be given insurance at the same price. Take the Titans and 1.5 points (-105).
San Francisco 49ers (-210) at Chicago Bears (+170)
This is a tough one because the 49ers are the better team, but Chicago plays like a different team at home. Those who bet the Over/Under with any regularity know when there is a number set up so high or so low that it pulls in enough money to make it profitable. The Over/Under in this game is 39.5 points (-112 Over, -108 Under). The means you need a game with more field goals than touchdowns and a lot punts than either of those. When you get south of 40 on Over/Unders, you’re in dangerous ground in my book. Take the Over (-112).
Cincinnati Bengals (-600) at New York Jets (+420)
Like the Rams-Texans game, we have one of a handful of teams I really like betting on and one of a handful I view as poisonous, playing a new quarterback no less. The Bengals are 10.5 point favorites (Bengals -103, Jets -117). I love that I’m giving away so little to get return on investment. I’d be willing to lay 16.5 and get better odds on the boost. Take the Bengals and lay 10.5 points (103).
Miami Dolphins (+570) at Buffalo Bills (-900)
Buffalo is favored by 13.5 points (Dolphins -105, Bills -115). This is really high for a division game where the coaching staff knows the other roster inside and out. But, the Dolphins are in freefall and the Bills are coming off their bye week rested with two weeks to prepare for a team going in the opposite direction of them. Still stinging from blowing a fourth-quarter lead to Tennessee, they’re coming out of the bye with bad intentions and looking for somebody to beat up. That will be Miami. Take the Bills and lay 13.5 points (-115).
Carolina Panthers (+130) at Atlanta Falcons (-160)
Atlanta is not a good team and Carolina has a habit of beating teams with an inferior roster. The crazy thing about this is that if Christian McCaffrey was playing, Carolina might be favored. He’s not so the line is what it is. The Falcons are 3.5 point favorites (Panthers -130, Falcons +105). The fact Atlanta brings back positive return on investment is telling. They haven’t earned the ability to be giving away three-and-a-hook. Take the Panthers plus 3.5 points (-130).
Pittsburgh Steelers (+160) at Cleveland Browns (-200)
AFC North games always carry a little more cache than most, especially now that Ohio has joined Pittsburgh and Baltimore in terms of relevancy. The number to keep an eye on here is the Over/Under of 42.5 points (Over -108, Under -112). Are the defenses capable of keeping it to a 17-16 type of game? Sure. But, with both defenses expecting the other to try to run 40 times, there will be enough big-play opportunities to hit this number – regardless of who wins. Take the Over (-108).
Jacksonville Jaguars (+135) at Seattle Seahawks (-170)
Seattle needs to buy time before Russell Wilson gets back and every game in which they can get to that point that they’re favored is a must-win game. Even though the Jags are coming off their bye week. Seattle is only favored by 3.5 points (Jaguars -125, Seahawks +102). I’m betting against Jacksonville and getting a free taste on top of it? Yes, please! Take the Seahawks (+102).
New England Patriots (+210) at Los Angeles Chargers (-270)
This is a sneaky play because the Patriots defense is playing legitimate ball much like Washington did last year. It isn’t translating into a lot of wins, but they’re in every game. I was leaning at first to the Pats being 6.5 point dogs to a Chargers team I’m not nearly as bullish on as others. But, I’m into the Over/Under of 49.5 points (Over -105, Under -115). Take the Under (-115).
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-240) at New Orleans Saints (+190)
This is a huge game for both teams because the division race becomes a rout with a Bucs win and a legitimate race if the Saints win. You don’t put the defending champs on notice and expect no response. The Bucs are 5.5 point favorites (Buccaneers -112, Saints -108). Drew Brees isn’t coming out that tunnel. Take the Buccaneers and lay 5.5 points (-112).
Washington Football Team (+140) at Denver Broncos (-110)
For the second straight week, Teddy Bridgewater faces a former Vikings quarterback. He didn’t do enough to hold off Case Keenum. Taylor Heinicke is a different story. WFT is treading water, while the Broncos still have life in the AFC West despite recent setbacks. Denver is a home favorite of 3.5 points (WFT -125, Broncos +102). Clearly there isn’t confidence in the Broncos covering the spread, but this is a pivotal game for Denver and failure can’t be an option. Take the Broncos and lay 3.5 points (+102).
Dallas Cowboys (-125) at Minnesota Vikings (+102)
The Vikings make the playoffs every odd-numbered year and to do so, under Mike Zimmer they have historically won games in which they’re at a make-or-break point. At last check, this is an odd-numbered year. Depending on what happens in the Green Bay-Arizona game, Minnesota can start chest-thumping. That said, neither the Vikings nor Cowboys can hold up defensively against offenses that can do damage. The Over/Under is a lofty 54.5 points (-117 Over, -103 Under). If the QBs struggle, there’s always Ezekiel Elliott and Dalvin Cook to bail them out. That sounds like scoring opportunities. Take the Over (-117).
New York Giants (+330) at Kansas City Chiefs (-450)
I’ll be brief. If the Chiefs don’t dominate the Giants, their season is done. Kansas City is a 9.5 favorite. I would give a touchdown more. ‘Nuff said. Take the Chiefs and lay 9.5 points (-112).