Beating the Spread: Week 8 Picks

Our Week 8 Beat the Spread column is ready to go for your consideration as you put in your weekly bets!

Welcome back to another week of Beating the Spread. As always, I’m Jake Roy and I’m joined by Brennan Rampe and Tyler Gentile. We’ll be here every Friday throughout the season, posting our picks along with some analysis.

Almost halfway through the NFL season and still going strong. Teams have started to round into form and hit their stride, although there are still plenty of middle-of-the-road teams trying to find an identity. That’s the beauty of the NFL though, any given Sunday. Tyler continues to lead the pack, going three and two every week so far. Brennan has got back to 50%, while I bring up the rear at three games under. We’re still waiting for our first 5-0 performance, maybe this is the week.

You can play along in the comments or find us on Twitter (@Jake3Roy, @808Paperboi, @phdinnfl). Assuming -110 odds we need about 53% to break even, let’s see if we can hit that magic number for the season and come out with some profit. So, without further ado, here are the lines we’ll use for Week 8!

 

Week 8 Betting Lines
Away Home Line O/U
Patriots Jets Patriots -1.5 40.5
Broncos Jaguars Jaguars -2.5 39.5
Cardinals Vikings Vikings -3.5 49.0
Dolphins Lions Dolphins -3.5 51.5
Bears Cowboys Cowboys -9.5 42.5
Raiders Saints Raiders -2.0 49.5
Panthers Falcons Falcons -4.5 42.0
Steelers Eagles Eagles -10.5 43.0
Titans Texans Titans -2.0 40.5
Giants Seahawks Seahawks -3.0 45.0
49ers Rams 49ers -1.5 43.5
Commanders Colts Colts -2.5 40.0
Packers Bills Bills -10.5 47.5
Bengals Browns Bengals -3.5 47.0

 

Staff Picks
Jake Roy (@Jake3Roy) Brennan Rampe (@Phdinnfl) Tyler Gentile (@808PaperBoi)
Pick #1 Patriots/Jets under 40.5 Eagles -10.5 Broncos/Jaguars under 39.5
Pick #2 Patriots -1.5 Cardinals/Vikings over 49.0 Patriots -1.5
Pick #3 Dolphins -3.5 Titans -2.0 Patriots/Jets under 40.5
Pick #4 Panthers +4.5 49ers -1.5 49ers -1.5
Pick #5 49ers/Rams under 43.5 Bengals -3.5 49ers/Rams under 43.5
Record 16-19 17-17-1 21-14

 

Analysis

 

Jake Roy

 

On Monday night, the Patriots made a complete mockery of the game of football, surrendering 33 points to the Chicago Bears. As a Patriots fan, I know that they’ll probably bounce back, win the game, and give me just enough hope to ride it out until the end of the season. The Jets are a great story, starting 5-2, playing great defense, and doing just enough on offense to win games. I still refuse to believe they’re actually good. The defense is legit, I’ll hand them that. Quinnen Williams and Sauce Gardner are stars and will remain stars for a long time. The offense is not legit. They just lost Breece Hall and Alijah Vera-Tucker for the season and weren’t scoring a ton of points as is. I won’t pick the Patriots to win yet again, but I will bet on this one to be low scoring. The Jets’ will likely be able to get pressure with four and give New England a hard time, while the Patriots should be able to contain the Jets. I see another low-scoring affair in the Meadowlands on Sunday. NE/NYJ U40.5

I can’t not do it. Give me the Patriots as well. Road dog in the division might be a bad idea, but it’s the perfect spot for Bill Belichick to bounce back. There was quarterback controversy, an embarrassing home loss, and plenty of clowning of the Patriots on Twitter. But just when I think I’m out, they pull me back in. Every. Single. Time. I like the idea of buying this down to lose the hook and give yourself the push potential, but I can’t buy points here. Pats in a tight one. NE -1.5

Dan Campbell and the Lions play host to the Dolphins this week. I’m sure there’s nothing Campbell would like to do more than stuffing that geek who calls the plays for Miami in a locker. Unfortunately for him, they’re on opposite sidelines with roughly 53 yards between them. Even worse, Mike McDaniel runs circles around him in terms of football IQ. Nobody in the NFL plays more man-to-man coverage than the Lions. Nobody in the NFL allows more points than the Lions yet for some reason, they’ve refused to change the scheme. It shouldn’t particularly matter what scheme they run, with the weapons they have and the coaching advantage, it should a rout in Detroit. MIA -3.5

I don’t think either of these two teams are especially exciting, explosive, or entertaining. The Falcons run the ball almost every play because they don’t trust their quarterback. The Panthers have already benched their quarterback and traded away their best offensive weapon. These teams are made for each other, destined to punt the ball back and forth until the end of time. Give me the points. CAR +4.5

The Rams and 49ers are both hard to get a read on. The Rams are reigning Super Bowl champs, but haven’t looked nearly as strong as they did last year, with the offensive line being an area of concern. The 49ers have a quarterback problem, although Jimmy Garroppolo has performed serviceably in the past, it’s easy to see why the team wanted to go with Trey Lance. Still, the defenses have been strong, allowing a combined 40 points per game. Both head coaches are familiar with each other, squaring off twice a year since 2017. It’s the second time they’ve seen each other this season, with the last matchup featuring just 33 points. Expect another low-scoring game this time around. SF/LAR U43.5

Brennan Rampe

 

The Eagles are the only undefeated team left in the league and they just got even better. Philadelphia acquired defensive end Robert Quinn from the Bears for a fourth-round pick, which improves a defensive line that was already excellent. In addition, they are back from their bye week. Their opponent, the Steelers, are struggling right now. The offense is lackluster under rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett but that was to be expected. The defense has been playing better the last two weeks without T.J. Watt but they still haven’t had a lot of sacks or takeaways. The Eagles do not have many weaknesses on their roster, and they look like the best team in the NFC by far. Double-digit spreads are tough, but I’m confident about this one. I’ll be surprised if the Eagles don’t win the NFC. Inside the Numbers: The Eagles are 5-0-1 as a home favorite against the spread under Nick Sirianni. PHI -10.5 

The Vikings were another team on their bye week last week. First-year head coach Kevin O’Connell seems like a good hire so far as Minnesota is 5-1 and winning the close games that they always seemed to lose last year under Mike Zimmer. The offense always scores over 20 points a game with the exception of the Week 2 loss to the Eagles, their only loss so far. The Cardinals had a rough start to the season, which was expected as wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was suspended for the first six games. He had teen catches and over 100 yards in his first game back, and Arizona also obtained wide receiver Robbie Anderson in a trade with the Panthers. The Cardinals started off the year with barely any weapons for Kyler Murray to throw to, but now he has many despite losing Marquise Brown for at least a month. The Vikings’ defense always seems to make a play when it’s needed the most but teams usually keep it close when playing them. The Vikings had a hard time playing against mobile quarterbacks Jalen Hurts and Justin Fields, and I predict more struggles against Murray. I think the Vikings will win but I think it’ll be a shootout. Inside the Numbers: Both teams average around 25 points per game, so the over is definitely attainable. MIN/ARI O49 
The Titans, after starting off 0-2, have won four straight games and are now in first place in the weak AFC South. I thought they would miss the playoffs after the 0-2 start but they appear set to win the division for the third season in a row. All they’re doing is running the ball with Derrick Henry and playing good defense. They don’t really throw the ball a whole lot because their wide receiver room and their tight end room are rather mediocre. Both Titans rookie wide receivers Treylon Burks and Kyle Philips are on IR, which explains the lackluster passing game. The Texans are once again having a bad season as this team has really struggled since 2020. Deshaun Watson sat out all of 2021 and then got traded this year in exchange for multiple draft picks to the Browns where he is waiting around to play after being suspended 11 games. Houston’s third-round pick from last year, quarterback Davis Mills, has been mediocre but in fairness, he doesn’t have the greatest weapons. One of those weapons, wide receiver Brandin Cooks, might be traded again which seems to be an annual tradition. Houston appears set to have two early first-round picks as they have only one win and the Browns have only won two games. I think the Texans will keep this competitive but the Titans should win by a field goal. Inside the Numbers: The Titans are 15-11-0 in division games against the spread under Mike Vrabel. TEN -2.0
The 49ers’ defense, which is one of the best in the league, got lit up by the Chiefs. It happens to almost everyone, and I’m not too worried about San Francisco going forward. They are going to play their divisional rival Rams once again, and they have just dominated this rivalry recently with the exception of last year’s NFC Championship game. The Rams are having a rough start to the season, as they are 3-3. They were on their bye week and got wide receiver Van Jefferson back from injury, but I don’t think that’s going to save their season. The running game is mediocre, the defense has been disappointing, and the offensive line is an absolute disaster. Their remaining schedule is brutal. The 49ers have won seven straight regular season games against Los Angeles, and I think that will continue. I expect the defense to shut down the Rams as they did in the Week 4 meeting.  Inside the Numbers: The 49ers are 28-20-0 against the spread as an away team under Kyle Shanahan. SF -1.5
The Bengals destroyed the Falcons last week, winning 35-17. Joe Burrow had over 400 yards passing, three passing touchdowns, and one rushing touchdown. Atlanta was competitive in every game until getting blown out. The Browns lost a close game to their divisional rival Ravens, 23-20. Jacoby Brissett has been decent throughout the season but he just isn’t as good as Deshaun Watson. The wide receiver room is disappointing, unlike the Bengals, who just might have the best wide receiver trio in the league. Tight end David Njoku has a high ankle sprain, so he’ll be out for a couple of weeks. Cleveland’s defense has so much talent, but that unit has been bad all season long. Joe Burrow is winless against the Browns, but I think he gets his first win against them. Inside the Numbers: The Bengals are 11-8-1 against the spread in division games under Zac Taylor. CIN -3.5

Tyler Gentile

Alright, this is getting out of hand. Seven straight weeks of 3-2.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I’m taking another under in a Broncos, I mean Donkeys, game. Denver is an under bettor’s dream come true. Miserable on offense, and incredible on defense. Opponents have the fewest yards per play against them and they have the t7th fewest yards per play on the other side of the ball. They are also on the polar opposite side when it comes to red zone scoring conversion rate. Dead last on offense (23.5%) and first on defense (25%). Can you imagine what it is like during practice for this team? London is going to love this game with all the kicking and punting to be done. As for the Jaguars, they’re pretty much middle of the pack in most categories so don’t worry about them. The under is 6-1 in Broncos games and I don’t see that stopping despite this measly total. DEN/JAX U39.5

Look, I get it. Unders aren’t fun, but you know what is fun? Cashing bets. Am I right or am I right? Scoring is significantly down this year resulting in a 64-44 (59%) record for the under through week seven. The average total score per game is ~43 which is the lowest since 2010.

The Jets are sort of Broncos lite allowing the fifth-fewest yards per play while accumulating the t7th fewest yards per play on offense. Their best playmaker, Breece Hall, is done for the year. Their starting right guard, Alijah Vera-Tucker, is as well, and it’s hard to think the Patriots’ defense will fold as hard as they did on MNF. A bounce-back is in store for Bill and co. facing Zach Wilson who is just flat out BAD. New England owns the Jets having won 12 (!) straight games against them since 2016.

Writing that makes me want to take them -1.5, so that I will. This is a classic buy-low, sell-high spot here. The Jets are on a “heater” with four straight wins, but look a little closer at their wins. Three of the four teams they faced during this win streak had a backup or rookie QB starting. THEY’RE FRAUDS! It definitely doesn’t feel great backing the Pats after that showing on MNF, but they dismantled the Lions and Browns the two weeks prior. I think they win in a rock fight of a game. 20-17 sort of win. NE -1.5, NE/NYJ U40.5

Another under! Would ya look at that! Including last year’s playoff matchup, these division rivals have met on six different occasions since 2020. Five of the six matchups have stayed under this total averaging ~41 points per game and it’s hard to see this under trend ending. Despite getting torched by the Chiefs (every team does), the Niners have arguably the best defense in the league when healthy. Led by Nick Bosa they’re generating the second-best pressure rate and permitting the 5th fewest yards per play. It’ll be nice to get a change of pace going from playing Chiefs to this Rams offense.

The Rams’ offensive line has been the bane to their offensive existence this year. They have the fifth-worst sack percentage, are 28th in run block win rate, and 23rd in pass block win rate. Matthew Stafford has always been miserable under pressure, and that has really shined through this year with the offense ranking 25th in DVOA. They put up nine points in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago and are 28th in yards per play.

At least the Rams have a solid defense. If it weren’t for that pick-six Stafford threw, they would’ve held SF to 18 points in that matchup in week four. They rank 8th in defensive DVOA on the year, have the 2nd best red zone defense, and the under is 5-1 in their games this year. San Francisco is 5-2 to the under as well. SF has a formidable enough offense, and their new shiny toy, Christian McCaffrey, should play a full complement of snaps this week. Also, the Niners have won seven of their last eight games vs the Rams since 2019. SF -1.5, SF/LAR U43.5

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

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