NFL Picks

NFL Best Bets for Week 8

Saquon Barkley

NFL Best Bets for Week 8

Our Best Bets had another winning week bringing our season record to 16-3. We’ve been a little bit lucky to not have a losing week so far this season. Certainly, luck is a factor when picking against the spread, but it does pay off to have a system in place to identify weak spots in the lines. Consider the public is 43-61 against the spread this year. Most people bet on who they perceive is the better team which is a good enough strategy when choosing winners straight up, but as you can see, it’s not a profitable one for picking against the spread. I developed my betting system as a teenager. I never made bets with it, but I was fascinated in trying to beat the line. As I got older, I spent a lot of time trying to perfect my system. I entered it in the NFL Prediction Tracker back in 2004-2005 and it performed pretty well. 

See all of Gridiron Experts Week 8 NFL Picks here.

Since then, a lot has changed as more information is available. DVOA, player ratings and more accurate projections have made my system better, but unfortunately, they’ve made the oddsmakers better, too. In the end, it still pays to find an edge, but there’s no denying you need a little luck. 

Road underdogs are the theme this week with good reason. Road dogs are 36-26 against the spread through the first seven weeks. Lower scoring in the NFL this year is keeping games closer, which makes upsets more likely. I don’t think the market has quite caught up to it yet and that makes it a sound strategy to continue betting on the underdogs.  

Arizona Cardinals +3.5 at Minnesota Vikings

I feel like everything we knew about the Cardinals offense before last week was a lie. In week 7, DeAndre Hopkins returned from suspension and caught 10 passes for 103 yards. Hopkins is a game changer and the six week’s worth of data we had on Arizona’s offense is essentially useless now. We do know what to expect from their defense and that Arizona is capable of stuffing the run, but the Vikings can beat you through the air. However, the Cardinals give up the fewest yards to the opposing team’s number one wide receiver, so if the Cardinals can limit Justin Jefferson’s targets, Minnesota will have a difficult time winning. The Vikings are also prone to giving up big plays, ranking last in giving up pass plays of 15 yards or more. I expect another big day from Hopkins and the Cardinals offense this week.

Carolina Panthers +4.5 at Atlanta Falcons

The Panthers traded Christian McCaffrey and had their highest rushing total of the season the very next game. I don’t think anyone saw that coming, especially against Tampa Bay’s defense. In fact, in this very column last week, I speculated the Bucs defense could outscore Carolina’s offense. I was slightly off, to say the least. The Panthers had their best game of the year and their offense ranked 2nd in DVOA, behind only the Chiefs, for the week. PJ Walker was extremely efficient running the offense and even made DJ Moore fantasy relevant again. Atlanta opened at -6.5, but the line adjusted down to -4.5 and I still think that’s a good number for Carolina. In three games without Cordarrelle Patterson, Atlanta is 31st in yards gained and scoring about six fewer points per game. The Falcons defense is 31st in DVOA against the pass and 26th against the run. They’re last in the league at pressuring the quarterback, so Walker will have plenty of time in the pocket to find open receivers. Carolina should be able to control the tempo of this game on offense and force Mariota to pass the ball, which could lead to bad decisions on his part. I think the Panthers probably win this game outright, but I definitely see them keeping close. 

New York Giants +3 at Seattle Seahawks

The Giants are 5-0 straight up as underdogs this year and, yet, here they are again as three-point dogs to the Seahawks. I haven’t seen this level of disrespect since Rodney Dangerfield. I get it, Seattle has a highly-efficient, high-scoring offense going against a Giants defense ranked 29th in DVOA. But, plot twist, New York is scoring four more points on the road than the Seahawks are scoring at home! Seattle gets all the hype about their offense, but the Giants are 7th in total offense DVOA and expected points added per play. They do this while having the 30th fewest passing yards in the league. New York is 3rd in Explosive Run % and 8th in Drive Success %, which shows hey’re winning with the running game and ball control. It’s going to be tough to contain Seattle’s offense, but the Giants should be able to keep it close by extending drives and winning time of possession. 


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