NFL Week 8 Predictions and Best Bets: Fade the Raiders, Bills, Dolphins

  • Week 7 was a regression for the Bengals, Eagles, Jets and … my picks.
  • The Chargers, Cowboys, Falcons, and Titans are on bye in Week 8. 
  • The marquee matchup of the week sees Aaron Rodgers and the Packers visit the unbeaten Rams in LA. 

I got cocky last week and broke my cardinal rule of quality over quantity, resulting in a 1-3 record and a -$213.04 loss. It’s a particularly bitter pill to swallow with my OVER call in Browns/Bucs (OVER 49.5) missing by half a point, albeit in an OT game (26-23 OT).

I’m still up on the season, but not by much:

  • “Locks of the Week” 2018 ROI: $88.26 (based on $100 wagers)
  • Week 7 ROI: -$213.04

Week 8 brings an opportunity for redemption. I’m sticking to my usual three Locks of the Week this time. (Lessons have been learned.) which you can find at the very bottom. Remember, while I provide predictions and best bets for every game, I only recommend following my Locks if you want to be in the black at the end of the season.

Miami Dolphins vs Houston Texans

Time & Date: 8:20 PM ET, Thursday, Oct. 25th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Dolphins +7.5 (-110) +280 O 44.5 (-105)
Texans -7.5 (-110) -360 U 44.5 (-115)

The Texans (4-3, 2-1 home) will stretch their win streak to five games against the Dolphins (4-3, 1-2 away), who will be led by Brock Osweiler for the third straight game. In Week 7’s 32-21 loss to Detroit, Osweiler’s yardage came back to earth (21/32, 239 yards) without Albert Wilson running 75 yards to the house after a two-yard pass. Wilson (hip) is out for Week 8, as is Jakeem Grant, leaving the Miami receiving corps paper thin. The defense has now surrendered at least 27 points in four straight (though that includes two defensive scores in the Week 5 loss to Cincinnati).

Houston meanwhile is coming off its best performance of the season, at least on defense, holding the Jaguars to just 259 total yards and seven points in a 20-7 win. Led by Jadeveon Clowney (2 sacks), Houston’s pass rush got to Blake Bortles four times and now has 19 sacks on the year (T8th). All signs point to Miami needing to run the ball to be successful, and Houston just happens to rank second in Defensive DVOA against the run.

Score Prediction: 23-13 Texans

Best Bet: Under 44.5 (-115)

Philadelphia Eagles vs Jacksonville Jaguars (London, Eng.)

Time & Date: 9:30 AM ET, Sunday, Oct. 21st

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Eagles -3.5 (-105) -170 O 41.5 (-110)
Jaguars +3.5 (-115) +150 U 41.5 (-110)

After blowing a 17-point fourth-quarter lead at home to Carolina in Week 7, the Eagles (3-4, 1-2 away) now have to travel across the Atlantic to face the Jaguars (3-4, 1-2 away), a team that’s played a game in London each of the last five years and has won three straight in the UK.

The Eagles are getting solid performances from Carson Wentz, but no longer have a running game to help them salt away games.

Jacksonville is reeling, dropping three straight while scoring 28 points combined, and Blake Bortles has tossed six picks in his last three (completed) games. But their experience in London will be a big factor this week, and everyone on this team knows another loss could kill their playoff hopes.

Score Prediction: 21-20 Jaguars

Best Bet: Jaguars +3.5 (-115)

Cleveland Browns vs Pittsburgh Steelers

Time & Date: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, Oct. 28th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Browns +8.0 (-110) +300 O 51.0 (-110)
Steelers -8.0 (-110) -400 U 51.0 (-110)

The Steelers (3-2-1, 1-2 home) have only won one game by more than a touchdown this year (Week 5 vs Atlanta, 41-17). Dating back to last season, only two of their last nine wins have been by more than a touchdown. On the Browns’ (2-4-1, 0-3 away) side, only one game period has been decided by more than four points this season. Baker Mayfield may not be the savior he appeared to be in Week 3, but this Cleveland defense (2nd in Def. DVOA) is salty and won’t let Pittsburgh run away and hide.

Score Prediction: 27-23 Steelers

Best Bet: Browns +8.0 (-110)

Denver Broncos vs Kansas City Chiefs

Time & Date: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, Oct. 28th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Broncos +10.0 (-105) +175 O 55.5 (-105)
Chiefs -10.0 (-115) -210 U 55.5 (-115)

Kansas City (6-1, 3-0 home) hasn’t lost against the spread yet this year, unless you took their first game with Denver (a 27-23 win) at +4.5 instead of +3.5. They have won all three of their home games by at least 11 points so far, and the Jaguars (30-14) and Bengals (45-10) are both better teams than the Broncos (3-4, 1-2 away).

That said, look for Denver to try to shorten the game by running the ball a ton. KC is deadlast in the league in DVOA against the run, while the Broncos have the second-most efficient rushing attack. With limited possessions, I’ll take the under, but that’s definitely not one of my locks.

Score Prediction: 27-21 Chiefs

Best Bet: Under 55.5 (-115)

New York Jets vs Chicago Bears

Time & Date: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, Oct. 28th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Jets +7.0 (-115) +250 O 45.5 (-110)
Bears -7.0 (-105) -300 U 45.5 (-110)

Even though the Bears (3-3, 2-1 home) have given up 30-plus points in back to back losses, their defense is still first in DVOA. This should be a prime get-right spot for Khalil Mack and company, with rookie Sam Darnold and a cast of underwhelming New York (3-3, 1-2 away) receivers coming to town. None of these Jets pass catchers will be piling up YAC the way Miami and New England did.

That said, part of the problem for Chicago the last couple weeks was that Mack was laboring under an ankle injury. The pass rush just isn’t the same without him at 100%. There’s a decent chance he sits this week. That would certainly level the playing field, but not enough for New York to get the win, since the Jets will be without multiple “weapons” on offense (including RB Bilal Powell and WR Quincy Enunwa) and arguably their most important one, RB Isaiah Crowell, is slowed by a foot injury.

Score Prediction: 20-14 Bears

Best Bet: Bears’ moneyline (-300)

Washington vs New York Giants

Time & Date: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, Oct. 28th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Washington -1.0 (-110) OFF O 42.0 (-110)
Giants +1.0 (-110) OFF U 42.0 (-110)

The Giants (1-6, 0-3 home) have waved the white flag and started unloading assets prior to the trade deadline. They are not as bad as their record suggests, sitting 23rd overall in DVOA, just one spot behind Washington (4-2, 1-1 away). But given where they are at as a franchise and the fact that they’ve lost all three home games to date by an average of 13.7 PPG, it’s extremely hard to take them to win.

With Washington severely banged up on the offensive side of the ball, look for this game to be played in the high teens. Washington’s defense is fifth in the league in total defense (325.7 YPG) and seventh in scoring (20.2 PPG). Apart from a 43-19 blowout loss in New Orleans, they’ve held every opponent to 21 points or fewer.

Score Prediction: 20-17 Washington

Best Bet: Under 42.0 (-110)

Seattle Seahawks vs Detroit Lions

Time & Date: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, Oct. 28th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Seahawks +3.0 (-105) +140 O 49.5 (-110)
Lions -3.0 (-115) -160 U 49.5 (-110)

After pretty bleak 0-2 starts to the year, both Detroit (3-3, 2-1 home) and Seattle (3-3, 1-2 away) have quietly crept back to .500. Detroit finally has some balance to its offense with Kerryon Johnson emerging as a true bellcow in the backfield, and that will be enough to edge a Seattle team that’s still much better at home than on the road. But I’d buy a half-point to get this line down to 2.5.

Score Prediction: 27-24 Lions

Best Bet: Lions -2.5 (-137)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Cincinnati Bengals

Time & Date: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, Oct. 28th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Buccaneers +4.0 (-110) +180 O 54.0 (-110)
Bengals -4.0 (-110) -220 U 54.0 (-110)

The Bengals (4-3, 2-1 home) were a mirage when they were at 4-1 and first in the AFC North. Their defense was bleeding yards and being bailed out by takeaways. They will continue to give up a ton of yardage against a potent Tampa (3-3, 1-2 away) passing game this weekend. But if they learn their lesson from last week, when they abandoned the run (19 rushing attempts vs 33 passing attempts) in a 45-10 rout at the hands of Kansas City, they should find some offensive success against the Bucs’ 32nd-ranked defense (which just lost LB Kwon Alexander).

In all likelihood, this game will come down to whether the Bucs can hang onto the ball. They have 15 turnovers on the year (T5th most) and committed four last week. Turnovers are hard to predict and even harder to count on if you’re a bettor, but the Tampa offense has a penchant for committing them and the Cincy defense has a penchant for creating them at just the right time.

Score Prediction: 30-24 Bengals

Best Bet: Bengals -4.0 (-110)

Baltimore Ravens vs Carolina Panthers

Time & Date: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, Oct. 28th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Ravens -2.0 (-110) -130 O 43.0 (-110)
Panthers +2.0 (-110) +110 U 43.0 (-110)

The Panthers (4-2, 3-0 home) are extremely lucky to be 4-2, needing a 63-yard field goal to beat the Giants in Week 5 (33-31) and a 17-point fourth-quarter comeback to beat the Eagles in Week 7 (21-17). They aren’t a week to week proposition, they’re a quarter to quarter proposition.

Baltimore (4-3, 2-2 away), on the other hand, has been one of the steadiest teams in the league all year. They currently sit 4th-overall in DVOA despite their three losses. On a neutral field, the Ravens are a better team.

But this game isn’t on a neutral field. It’s in Carolina, where the Panthers went 6-2 last year and are 3-0 this year. The Ravens, meanwhile, have been a sub-.500 road team (8-12) dating back to 2016. Home team and the points, please!

Score Prediction: 23-20 Panthers

Best Bet: Panthers +2.0 (-110)

Indianapolis Colts vs Oakland Raiders

Time & Date: 4:05 PM ET, Sunday, Oct. 28th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Colts -3.0 (-115) -160 O 50.0 (-110)
Raiders +3.0 (-105) +140 U 50.0 (-110)

The Raiders (1-5, 1-2 home), who just traded #1 WR Amari Cooper, are tanking for Vegas. Do not bet on this team until further notice.

Andrew Luck, meanwhile, is looking more like his old self with each passing week and now has TY Hilton back, giving him at least one legitimate weapon in the passing game. The Colts (2-5, 1-3 away) aren’t out of it in the AFC South and actually have an above-average defense (14th in DVOA) to pair with their franchise QB, who always finds a way to put a few points on the board regardless of what’s around him.

Score Prediction: 28-17 Colts

Best Bet: Colts -3.0 (-115)

San Francisco 49ers vs Arizona Cardinals

Time & Date: 4:25 PM ET, Sunday, Oct. 28th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
49ers PK (-110) -110 O 43.0 (-110)
Cardinals PK (-110) -110 U 43.0 (-110)

The Cardinals (1-6, 0-4 home) took the first meeting between these teams this season (28-18) but that remains their only win on the year and they have sporting a donut at home. The 49ers (1-6, 0-4 away) are still winless without Jimmy Garoppolo (0-4). Which streak is going to end this Sunday?

Give me the Cardinals, who just fired OC Mike McCoy. Call it the NFL version of a dead-cat bounce.

Score Prediction: 23-20 Cardinals

Best Bet: Cardinals’ moneyline (-110)

Green Bay Packers vs Los Angeles Rams

Time & Date: 4:25 PM ET, Sunday, Oct. 28th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Packers +9.0 (-115) +320 O 57.0 (-110)
Rams -9.0 (-105) -440 U 57.0 (-110)

With Aaron Rodgers at the helm, the Packers (3-2-1, 0-2 away) have never been 9-point underdogs before. That’s a testament to the might of the still unbeaten Rams (7-0, 3-0 home), one of only two teams in the league with a top-ten offense and defense (per DVOA). LA will be back at home for the first time since Week 4, and they have an average MOV of 17.7 PPG at the Coliseum, while the Packers are 0-2 on the road and have been outscored 62-40 by Washington and Detroit.

If Green Bay couldn’t hold Washington under 30 on the road (or the 49ers under 30 at home), their defense is going to have a hell of a time containing the Rams, even coming off a bye.

Score Prediction: 35-24 Rams

Best Bet: Rams -9.0 (-105)

New Orleans Saints vs Minnesota Vikings

Time & Date: 5:20 PM ET, Sunday, Oct. 28th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Saints PK (-110) -110 O 53.0 (-110)
Vikings PK (-110) -110 U 53.0 (-110)

The Saints (5-1, 3-0 away) have dispelled the myth that they can’t win away from the fast track of the Superdome, winning three straight road games to open the year, including a gritty 24-23 comeback win in Baltimore last week. While they needed Justin Tucker to miss the first extra point of his career to avoid OT, it was still a great road game from the entire team.

However, the Vikings (4-2-1, 2-1 home) are finding their footing. They have won three straight and could potentially have stud edge rusher Everson Griffen back this week. Dating back to last season, they are 9-2 in their last 11 home games and have a distinct advantage at US Bank Stadium, an arena that has to be giving Saints players PTSD. There’s value taking the home team and the points in this 2017 playoff rematch.

Score Prediction: 28-27 Vikings.

Best Bet: Vikings’ moneyline (-110)

New England Patriots vs Buffalo Bills

Time & Date: 8:15 PM ET, Monday, Oct. 29th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Patriots -14.0 (-110) OFF O 44.5 (-110)
Bills +14.0 (-110) OFF U 44.5 (-110)

The Bills (2-5, 1-1 home) scored five points against Indianapolis last week with Derek Anderson making his first start for the team. The Patriots (5-2, 1-2 away) have won four in a row and scored at least 38 points in each of those four games. They only way the Pats don’t cover this spread is if Bill Belichick decides to, not just take his foot off the gas, but throw the New England bus into reverse.

Score Prediction: 38-9 Patriots.

Best Bet: Patriots -14.0 (-110)

Week 8: Locks of the Week

  • Two-team, 6-point teaser: Texans (-1.5) & Bears (-1.0) at -120
  • Colts -3.0 (-115)
  • Patriots -14.0 (-110)

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