NFL Best Bets
Everyone has an off week, right? We’re allowed a hiccup every now and then. However, last week wasn’t merely off for me—it was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week! My record was 4-9 against the spread overall, but what stung more was going 0-3 in my best bets. Admittedly, it was a tough week for all our staff at Gridiron Experts. I consider myself fortunate to still hold a winning record, albeit a slim one at 11-10-1, which translates to a 52.3% win rate—just about break-even. I am optimistic that we can bounce back, put last week behind us, and return to our winning ways.
In this column, I’ve previously discussed trends, notably how away teams, especially away favorites, were outperforming home teams. However, after last week, the win rate against the spread is now evenly split at 50% for both home and away teams. The notion of a built-in advantage for away teams seems to have dissipated, prompting a more diversified approach to my picks moving forward.
The betting model didn’t fare well in Week 7, either. I’ve been tracking every the model’s picks all season to see where it’s most accurate. By placing one until on each game’s spread, total, and moneyline, I’m able to see where it’s profitable and make adjustments to it when it fails to provide value. Of course, it’s never a good idea to blindly bet every game and it’s not something any smart gambler would ever do, so I expect the results would be better if I only bet on the model’s highest-rated picks. In any case, here is the betting model’s record after seven week. As always, you can see all the model’s picks for free on my X profile on Sunday mornings, or the Staff NFL Picks Here
- Straight up: 65-35, 65%
- Spread: 57-45-3, 55.7%, ROI: 5.2%
- Over/Under: 54-48-3, 52.9%, ROI: 1.3%
- Moneyline: 54-50, 51.9%, ROI: -0.2%
Week 8 Best Bets
Chiefs -7.5 at Broncos
The Kansas City Chiefs are heading into Denver as a 7.5 road favorite. The Chiefs are atop my NFL power rankings by exhibiting a blend of offensive and defensive prowess that sets them apart.
Offensively, the Chiefs are placed 4th in the league in DVOA and they’re averaging six yards per play, second best in the league. Patrick Mahomes quietly has the 3rd most passing yards per game and the Chiefs are riding a six-game winning streak with an average margin of victory of 12.3 points per game.
Defensively, the Chiefs are ranked 5th in DVOA and 3rd in opponent’s points per play. They have been stingy in allowing points, with an average of just 15 points per game, the second-best in the league.
On the flip side, the Broncos are ensnared in defensive woes, languishing at the bottom of the league in defensive DVOA. Their defensive struggles are further highlighted by the fact that they are 31st in both net expected points per play and opponent’s points per play. The Broncos have been conceding an average of 31 points per game, tied for last in the NFL. The defensive line is struggling and opponents are averaging 6.5 yards per play, the worst in the league.
The Chiefs have a dominating history against the Broncos, winning 16 consecutive meetings since 2015, with eight of those victories coming on Denver’s home field. I don’t think this one will be particularly close. I’m taking the KC at -7.5 with confidence.
Ravens -9.5 at Cardinals
The Ravens are in first place in the AFC North with a 5-2 record. After a 38-6 win over Detroit last week, they’ve moved up to third place in my power rankings. Defensively, they are a powerhouse, ranking second in defensive DVOA, leading the league in fewest points per play, fewest yards per play, and fewest points allowed to opponents. On the offense, they have the third most rushing yards per game in the league. Lamar Jackson leads all quarterbacks in rushing yards and Mark Andrews is first among tight ends in touchdowns.
On the flip side, the Cardinals have been struggling, with a 1-6 record. I’ve got them 30th in my power rankings. The defense has been a concern, giving up an average of 26 points and 130 rushing yards per game. They also have the lowest pressure rate in the league and rank 31st in defensive DVOA.
The opening point spread favored the Ravens by 8 points, but it has since moved to -9.5. Even so, 81% of the cash in on the Ravens to cover, reflecting the market’s increased confidence.
I’m with the public on this one. Baltimore is a legitimate Super Bowl contender and I think they will dispose easily of the Cardinals. I’m taking the Ravens and the points.
Lions -7.5 vs Raiders
The Lions come into this game reeling from a lopsided loss to the Ravens last week. Prior to that, they were talked about as one of the contenders in the NFC. I don’t think much has changed based on one loss, but I do think playing against the Raiders can get them back on track. Las Vegas is sitting at 3-4, but have had an easy schedule. I have them 27th in my power rankings. A win against Detroit would go a long way in their quest for legitimacy.
The Raiders have been terrible on offense. They’re 31st in offensive DVOA and averaging just 16 points per game, third worst in the league. On the flip side, Detroit’s quarterback, Jared Goff, has been making waves with his arm, ranking 5th in passing yards and 6th in passing touchdowns. The Lions are averaging 118 rushing yards per game versus the Raiders’ league worst 68 yards per game. Josh Jacobs led the league in rushing last season, but is only gaining 2.9 yards per carry this year. Jakobi Meyers has been a bright spot for the Raiders, catching five touchdown passes.
Detroit’s defense is known for its high press rate, which could spell trouble for the Raiders’ offense that already struggles to find the end zone. Jimmy Garoppolo has a measly 34.3 QB rating under pressure, worst in the league. I’m expecting the Lions to force some mistakes and create turnovers with their defense.
I feel like Las Vegas is outmatched in this game and will struggle to score points. The public is overwhelmingly on the Lions and this is another game where I’m with them. I’m taking Detroit at -7.
Doug Burrell finished 2022 as Fantasy Nerd’s Most Accurate Expert in NFL Picks and Tallysight’s #1 ranked expert Against the Spread Expert out of 200+ experts. He is a veteran, a runner and an avid fantasy sports enthusiast since 1999. You can reach him on Twitter @dougwburrell.
Doug is a veteran, an avid runner, and works as a copywriter. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and three dogs. You can reach him on Twitter @dougwburrell.