Week 8 NFL capsules

ATLANTA FALCONS AT CAROLINA PANTHERS

Both NFC South rivals are below .500 and desperate to win. It has been a putrid season for the Falcons (1-6 SU, 2-5 ATS). Atlanta has already changed coaches and is coming off a last-second 23-22 loss to the Lions, losing straight up as a one-point home favorite. The Panthers (3-4 SU, 4-3 ATS) are riding a two-game skid and just fell to the Saints 27-24, though they kept it close and covered as seven-point road dogs. This Thursday night game opened with Carolina listed as a three-point home favorite. The public wants nothing to do with the listless Falcons, and Average Joes are all over the Panthers at home. However, despite two-thirds of bets laying the points, this line has stayed at 3 or fallen to 2.5. This signals some sharp reverse line movement on the Falcons, with pros hitting Atlanta at the key number of + 3. Atlanta has value as a contrarian divisional dog and short road dog + 6 or less (27-12, 69% ATS this season). Some smart money also has hit the Under, dropping the total from 51 to 49. Keep an eye on the weather. We might be looking at 10- to 15-mph winds, which would benefit the Under.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS AT DETROIT LIONS

This nonconference game features teams coming off wins looking to make a playoff push. The Colts (4-2 SU, 3-3 ATS) are rested and coming off a bye, most recently beating the Bengals 31-27 but failing to cover as 7.5-point home favorites. The Lions (3-3 SU, 3-3 ATS) are riding a two-game winning streak and just beat the Falcons 23-22 as one-point road dogs. This line opened with Indianapolis listed as a three-point road favorite. Tickets are split down the middle, and the public doesn’t know whom to back. However, this line has stayed at 3 or dropped to 2.5, depending on the shop. This signals some respected money hitting the Lions at the key number of + 3. Detroit has value as a short home dog. If you like the Colts, they do match a historically profitable system of road favorites off a bye, which is about 68% ATS over the last decade. Pro money has also hit the Under, dropping the total from 51 to 50.

MINNESOTA VIKINGS AT GREEN BAY PACKERS

This NFC North grudge match features teams trending in opposite directions. The Vikings (1-5 SU, 3-3 ATS) have struggled all season. Minnesota is coming off a bye and got crushed by Atlanta 40-23 the last time out, losing straight up as a 3.5-point favorite. The Packers (5-1 SU, 5-1 ATS) are tied for the third-best record in the NFL and just crushed the Texans 35-20, easily covering as three-point road favorites. This line opened with Green Bay listed as a seven-point home favorite. The public is rushing to the window to lay the points with Green Bay. However, despite this lopsided support, the line has fallen from Packers -7 to -6.5. This signals sharp reverse line movement buying low on the Vikings plus the points. Minnesota has value as a contrarian road divisional dog. Road teams with line moves in their favor are 33-18 ATS this season (65%). We’ve also seen some sharp action hit the Under, dropping the total from 55 to 54.5. Keep an eye on the weather. The forecast calls for 15-mph winds at Lambeau Field. This Under would match a profitable system of windy divisional Unders that fall.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS AT BUFFALO BILLS

This AFC East contest features rivals trending in opposite directions. The Patriots (2-4 SU, 2-4 ATS) are in unfamiliar territory, having lost three straight games and falling below .500 for the first time in nearly 20 years. New England just got crushed by San Francisco 33-6, losing straight up as a three-point home favorite. The Bills (5-2 SU, 3-4 ATS) snapped a two-game skid with an 18-10 win over the Jets, though they failed to cover as 9.5-point road favorites. This line opened with Buffalo listed as a four-point home favorite. The public is bailing on the struggling Patriots. However, despite two-thirds of bets laying the points, this line has fallen from Bills -4 to -3.5. This signals some respected money buying low on the Pats, who also have value as contrarian road divisional dogs. Pros have also hit the Under, dropping the total from 44.5 to 43. Weather could be a factor, as the forecast calls for 20-mph winds and possibly some rain.

TENNESSEE TITANS AT CINCINNATI BENGALS

These AFC opponents are at opposite ends of the standings. The Titans (5-1 SU, 2-4 ATS) sit atop the AFC South but just experienced their first loss of the season, falling to the Steelers 27-24 as one-point home favorites. The Bengals (1-5-1 SU, 5-1-1 ATS) have one of the worst records in the NFL but have actually been great for bettors, covering five of their seven games. Cincinnati is coming off a 37-34 loss to the Browns in which it covered as a four-point home dog. This line opened with Tennessee listed as a four-point road favorite. Pros and Joes have rushed to the window to lay the points with Tennessee, which has pushed the Titans from -4 to -5.5. Road teams are 56% ATS this season, and road teams with line moves in their direction are 65% ATS. Cincinnati has value as a contrarian home dog with an inflated line. If this line gets to the key number of 6, expect some buyback on the Bengals. 

LAS VEGAS RAIDERS AT CLEVELAND BROWNS

These AFC foes are trending in opposite directions, which creates a buy-low, sell-high opportunity for value-driven bettors. The Raiders (3-3 SU, 3-3 ATS) have lost three of their last four, most recently falling to the Bucs 45-20 as four-point home dogs. On the flip side, the Browns have won five of their last six and just beat the Bengals 37-34, though they failed to cover as four-point road favorites. This line opened with Cleveland listed as a three-point home favorite. Pro bettors have jumped on the Raiders at the key number of + 3, causing this line to fall to 2.5. The Raiders have value as short road dogs, road dogs with line moves in their favor and dogs off a blowout loss of 20 or more. The Raiders are 6-0 to the Over, and the Browns are 5-2 to the Over. The public sees an auto-bet Over, but respected money sees a bit of an inflated total. Respected money has hit the Under, dropping the total from 55.5 to 53.5. Keep an eye on the weather at the Dawg Pound. We could be looking at 15- to 20-mph winds, which would benefit the Under.

NEW YORK JETS AT KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

This David-vs.-Goliath matchup features one of the biggest spreads you’ll ever see in an NFL game. The Jets (0-7 SU, 1-6 ATS) are the only winless team in the league, although they covered their first spread of the season last week, falling to the Bills 18-10 as 9.5-point home dogs. On the flip side, the Chiefs (6-1 SU, 5-2 ATS) own the second-best record in the NFL, trailing only the undefeated Steelers. Kansas City just waxed the Broncos 43-16, easily covering as a seven-point road favorite. This line opened with the Chiefs listed as 21-point home favorites. Pro money seems to think this line is a bit high, as we’ve seen the spread fall from Chiefs -21 to -19.5. Some shops are even down to 19. Road teams with line movement in their direction, like the Jets here, are 65% ATS on the season. Sharps are also eyeing this Under, dropping it from 49 to 48. Both teams are 4-3 to the Under.

LOS ANGELES RAMS AT MIAMI DOLPHINS

This nonconference contest is garnering headlines as it will feature the debut of rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The Rams (5-2 SU, 4-3 ATS) are tied for second in the stacked NFC West and are coming off an impressive 24-10 win over the Bears on “Monday Night Football,” easily covering as 6.5-point home favorites. The red-hot Dolphins (3-3 SU, 4-2 ATS) have won two straight and three of four, most recently crushing the Jets 24-0 and easily covering as 8.5-point favorites. This line opened with Los Angeles listed as a 3.5-point road favorite. The public is leaning on the Rams and early sharp action hit Los Angeles, pushing the line up to -4. The Rams match the road team with a line move in its favor this season (65% ATS). Miami has value as a contrarian home dog with an inflated line and enjoys a massive rest-vs.-fatigue advantage. The Dolphins are coming off a bye, and the Rams are on a short week. Some smart money has hit the Under, dropping the total from 47 to 46. Lead ref John Hussey historically has favored home teams (56% ATS) and Unders (55%). Both teams have been profitable to the Under this season. The Rams are 5-2 to the Under, the Dolphins 4-2. 

PITTSBURGH STEELERS AT BALTIMORE RAVENS

This AFC North showdown features bitter rivals with Super Bowl aspirations. This will also be one of Sunday’s most anticipated and heavily bet games. The Steelers (6-0 SU, 5-1 ATS) are the only undefeated team left and just beat the Titans 27-24, winning outright as one-point road dogs. The Ravens (5-1 SU, 3-2-1 ATS) are riding a three-game winning streak, having just beaten the Eagles 30-28, though Baltimore failed to cover as a 10-point road favorite. The Ravens will also enjoy a big rest advantage coming off a bye. This line opened with Baltimore listed as a 5.5-point home favorite. Pros and Joes are rushing to the window to grab the points with the streaking Steelers. This lopsided action has forced oddsmakers to adjust the line down from Ravens -5.5 to -3.5. Pittsburgh has value as a road divisional dog, a road team with a line move in its favor and a short road dog + 6 or less. We’ve also seen a steady stream of Under money, dropping the total from 49 to 47. Weather could be an issue, as the forecast calls for 10-mph winds.

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS AT DENVER BRONCOS

This matchup features teams tied at the bottom of the AFC West. The Chargers (2-4 SU, 4-1-1 ATS) snapped a four-game losing streak last week with a 39-29 win over the Jaguars, covering as 7.5-point home favorites. Conversely, the Broncos (2-4 SU, 4-2 ATS) saw their two-game winning streak end as they fell to the Chiefs 43-16 at home, failing to cover as seven-point home dogs. This line opened with Los Angeles listed as a three-point road favorite. The public is pounding Justin Herbert and the Bolts, which has forced oddsmakers to juice up the Chargers -3 to -120. However, books seem reluctant to move to 3.5, for fear of inviting sharp action on the Broncos plus the hook. Keep an eye out for the next move, which could be telling. Denver has value as a dog off a blowout loss of 20+  points and a divisional dog with a low total. Pro money has also hit this Under, dropping the total from 45 to 44. Historically, divisional Unders that drop have cashed at about 54% over the last decade. Both teams are 3-3 in terms of Over/Unders this season.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS AT CHICAGO BEARS

This NFC conference showdown is shaping up to be a classic buy-low, sell-high situation for value-minded bettors. The Saints (4-2 SU, 2-4 ATS) are starting to gain momentum after a slow start. New Orleans has won three straight and took down Carolina 27-24 last week, but it failed to cover as a seven-point home favorite. On the flip side, Chicago’s two-game winning streak was snapped Monday night, losing to the Rams 24-10 and failing to cover as a 6.5-point road dog. This line opened with New Orleans listed as a 2.5- or three-point road favorite, depending on the shop. A steady dose of Pro and Joe action has hit the Saints, pushing the line up to -4. New Orleans will have a rest advantage as Chicago is on a short week. The Bears have value as buy-low home dogs with an inflated line off a prime-time loss. Sharps seem to be leaning Under in this one. The public is hammering the Over, yet the total has fallen slightly from 45.5 to 45. Keep an eye on the weather at Soldier Field, as the forecast calls for 10- to 15-mph winds. Tony Corrente is the lead ref and one of the best Under officials (57%). The Saints are 6-0 to the Over this season, but the Bears are 5-2 to the Under. 

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS AT SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

This NFC West showdown has big divisional implications. The Seahawks (5-1 SU, 4-2 ATS) are coming off their first loss, falling to the Cardinals on Sunday night 37-34 and losing straight up as 3.5-point road favorites. The 49ers (4-3 SU, 4-3 ATS) are riding a two-game winning streak and just demolished the Patriots 33-6, winning straight up as three-point road dogs. This line opened with Seattle listed as a four-point home favorite. Some books opened even higher at -5.5. The public sees Russell Wilson at home off a loss and has no problem laying the short number. However, we’ve seen a notable adjustment toward San Francisco, with this line falling to 3. The 3 is juiced up -115 toward Seattle, so if you’re eyeing San Francisco you may want to hold out for the hook. The 49ers have value as contrarian road divisional dogs with line moves in their favor and short road dogs. Jimmy Garoppolo is 2-0 ATS this season as a dog and 11-3 ATS as a dog in his career. The lead official is Craig Wrolstad, who has historically favored road teams (58% ATS).

DALLAS COWBOYS AT PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

Bettors might be disappointed in this “Sunday Night Football” game as it features NFC East opponents with losing records. The Cowboys (2-5 SU, 0-7 ATS) have been a disaster and are the only team in the NFL not to cover a single spread. Dallas just got waxed by Washington 25-3, losing straight up as a pick-’em play. The Eagles (2-4-1 SU, 2-5 ATS) are coming off a 22-21 Thursday night win over the Giants, though they failed to cover as five-point home favorites. We still don’t have a line on this game, and the number is off the board because we don’t know who will start at quarterback for Dallas. Andy Dalton was concussed last week and remains questionable. If he can’t go, rookie seventh-round pick Ben DiNucci would get the nod. The Eagles have a rest advantage as they last played Thursday. The Cowboys will most assuredly be divisional dogs and offer value as a buy-low bad ATS team. 

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS AT NEW YORK GIANTS

This “Monday Night Football” matchup looks incredibly lopsided on paper. The Bucs (5-2 SU, 4-3 ATS) have won two in a row and just crushed the Raiders 45-20, easily covering as four-point road favorites. The Giants (1-6 SU, 4-3 ATS) are coming off a 22-21 loss to the Eagles on Thursday night, though they covered as five-point road dogs. This line opened with Tom Brady and the Bucs listed as 10-point road favorites. The public is absolutely hammering the Bucs, which pushed the line up to -10.5. That’s when we saw some respected buyback on the Giants getting the hook, which has kept the number frozen at 10.5. The Giants look awful but have lots of value as super contrarian dogs in a heavily bet game. Historically, double-digit “Monday Night Football” dogs are rare and have been smart bets, covering at about a 70% clip over the last decade. Prime-time dogs are 15-7 ATS (68%) this season. Some smart money has hit the Under, dropping the total from 47.5 to 46. Prime-time Unders are 16-6 (73%) this season.

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