Ultimate Week 8 NFL Betting Guide: Picks & Predictions For Every Game

Ultimate Week 8 NFL Betting Guide: Picks & Predictions For Every Game article feature image

USA Today Sports. Pictured: Baker Mayfield, Christian McCaffrey, Michael Thomas

  • See our staff's betting picks and predictions for every NFL Week 8 game.
  • We'll analyze the betting odds for Browns at Patriots, Panthers at 49ers and more.

Could the Carolina Panthers spoil the San Francisco 49ers’ undefeated record? Should the Cleveland Browns really be double-digit underdogs against the New England Patriots? Will the New Orleans Saints welcome back Drew Brees?

Our experts are here to help you find the best betting angles for Sunday’s 1 and 4 p.m. ET games.

Odds as of Friday morning and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).

Here are all the games they’ll hit on:

  • Chargers at Bears: 1 p.m. ET
  • Giants at Lions: 1 p.m. ET
  • Jets at Jaguars: 1 p.m. ET
  • Bengals vs. Rams (in London): 1 p.m. ET
  • Buccaneers at Titans: 1 p.m. ET
  • Eagles at Bills: 1 p.m. ET
  • Broncos at Colts: 1 p.m. ET
  • Cardinals at Saints: 1 p.m. ET
  • Seahawks at Falcons: 1 p.m. ET
  • Panthers at 49ers: 4:05 p.m. ET
  • Raiders at Texans: 4:25 p.m. ET
  • Browns at Patriots: 4:25 p.m. ET

See how they’re betting all 12, complete with Sean Koerner’s projected odds, analysis of the biggest matchups and much more. (Including picks for every game.)


Chargers at Bears Betting Odds

  • Odds: Bears -4
  • Over/Under: 41
  • Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

The Los Angeles Chargers are losers of three straight, but is there hope for them to bounce back on the road against the Chicago Bears?

Our experts break down this matchup from every angle, featuring Sean Koerner’s projected odds and a staff pick.

Chargers-Bears Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Bears

The Bears have one player listed on their injury report, and he’s not even a starter. Moving on!

The Chargers added Keenan Allen (hamstring) to the injury report on Thursday. It’s not a great sign to be a midweek addition who missed practice with a soft tissue injury, but we’ll have a better idea of his status on Friday. Brandon Mebane (knee) and Justin Jones (shoulder) also continue to miss practice. If they’re out again, it would be good news for the Bears’ running game if the Chargers are missing two defensive linemen. Justin Bailey

Note: All injury info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.

Biggest Mismatch

Khalil Mack vs. Chargers Offensive Line

The Chargers have one of the worst offensive lines in football. Their struggles and horrible injury luck have been the two biggest drivers of them stumbling out to a 2-5 start this season.

Just take a look at some of these stats:

  • 79.8 Pass Blocking Efficiency (31st in the NFL)
  • 109 Pressures and 75 Hurries (second-most allowed)
  • 24 Quarterback Hits (leads the NFL)

A major part of the problem has been the offensive tackles. Of 55 with at least 300 snaps, Sam Tevi and Trent Scott rank among the bottom five in pass blocking grade, per PFF.

Now, the Chargers should get back star left tackle Russell Okung, who will eventually help tremendously, but I can’t imagine him not having extreme rust in his first game of the season. There’s also the issue of communication and continuity — two things that are even harder to develop on the road in a hostile environment. It also doesn’t help that Philip Rivers waits to snap the ball until the last second on such a high frequency of plays, which can allow the opposing defense to get a jump on the snap.

Khalil Mack
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Khalil Mack

All of this spells trouble against a Bears defense that boasts a top-five pass-rushing unit led by Mack, who is one of only four edge rushers with a PFF pass rush grade higher than 90 (minimum 100 snaps).

The Chargers’ OL issues have also spilled over into the running game, which has almost completely died. Trying to get Melvin Gordon back into the flow also hasn’t helped. If that continues against a Bears defense that’s stingy against the run, Rivers will be in plenty of obvious passing situations, and that’s where Mack shines. Stuckey

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Bears -3
  • Projected Total: 41.5

Last week I had mentioned that the loser of Chargers-Titans could be a potential value play for Week 8. That happened to be the Chargers, as they lost another close one, 23-20. Now six of their seven games have been decided by one score, going 1-5 in such spots. Their expected Pythagorean record is 3.5-3.5, which is much different than their actual record of 2-5.

On the other side of the ball, the Bears have been shaky now coming off back-to-back losses, so the market isn’t offering much value at -4.

It’s also worth noting that the Chargers have one of the NFL’s weakest home-field advantages that I took the under on their season win totals. However, this does tend to make them valuable on the road and have now gone 8-2 over the past two seasons (aka since they’ve called Dignity Health Sports Park home). Sean Koerner

Expert Picks

Stuckey: Under 41

As I mentioned earlier, I think the Bears defensive front will dominate the line of scrimmage when the Chargers have the ball. And when the Bears have the ball, I don’t expect much from their offense, which has struggled mightily all season. Chicago is averaging only 4.6 yards per play, which ranks in the bottom three.

Mitch Trubisky seems to regress every week and the Chargers have an elite corner in Casey Hayward who can neutralize Chicago’s only scary deep threat Allen Robinson, who is rotting in this offense. But the problem isn’t only Trubisky — he’s lacking weapons and has nonexistent tight end production, plus the offensive line is a mess. Per Football Outsiders, their O-line ranks 29th in adjusted line yards, a measure of the effectiveness of a team’s run blocking.

The Bears backs also haven’t provided any help as they rank dead last in open field and second level years. This offensive line is simply getting no push and its backs are not breaking anything downfield. Mix that with one of the worst aerial attacks in the NFL, and you have a completely inept offense.

That said, right or wrong, I do think Matt Nagy will come with a heavy rushing attack based on his comments to the media. The Bears have to run it more than their seven carries for 17 yards last week, when Trubisky threw it 54 times — some of which obviously came late when the game was out of hand.

Coming out of the second half against the Saints, the Bears went with two tight ends and handed it off to David Montgomery, who fumbled, then Nagy went away from the run the rest of the way. I expect him to go back to it against a Chargers defense that’s soft against the run in the middle.

These teams are also snails. From a pace perspective, both rank in the bottom 10 in neutral situations (which focuses on non-blowout scenarios).

I expect a game with plenty of punts and running clock. As long as we can avoid a number of special teams flukes and turnovers, I think this one stays under 41. I like the under down to 40.

Giants at Lions Betting Odds

  • Odds: Lions -7
  • Over/Under: 49.5
  • Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

Now that lead running back Kerryon Johnson is on injured reserve, will the Lions expand their passing game to target a weak Giants secondary?

Our experts expect Matthew Stafford to throw the ball a ton this weekend. The question is whether Daniel Jones and the Giants will be able to keep pace with Detroit.

Let’s break down the betting odds and our staff’s pick.

Giants-Lions Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Giants

The Giants are in good shape after Saquon Barkley (ankle) practiced in full on Thursday. Their biggest absence is Sterling Shepard, who is expected to miss another game with concussion symptoms. The Giants will run out Golden Tate, Darius Slayton and Bennie Fowler at receiver.

The Lions placed Johnson (knee) on IR, leaving Ty Johnson and J.D. McKissic to take on the bulk of the workload. Cornerback Darius Slay (hamstring) is the main defensive injury to note. He played just 18 snaps in Week 7 before getting hurt. Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Lions Passing Attack vs. Giants Pass Defense

Despite being a run-first offense behind offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, the Lions rank as the NFL’s fourth-most efficient pass offense. Stafford has been remarkably efficient with eight touchdown passes and only one interception over his past four games.

The Giants’ pass defense has been lifeless on the road, allowing an average of 373 passing yards and eight total passing touchdowns. Their secondary has six interceptions, but four came against the winless Redskins. The Giants also allow the fifth-most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers.

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kenny Golladay

Detroit’s passing game can attack every quadrant of the field. Stafford has targeted Kenny Golladay 15 times on Deep Targets (greater than 20 yards), placing him third among all wide receivers. Marvin Jones is also coming off the overall WR1 performance with four touchdowns in Week 7.

With Johnson now on IR, look for Bevell to call for more passes than usual. Over the past three games, Detroit ranks 10th with a 61.5% pass percentage. The Giants will need to get pressure on Stafford to help bolster their weak secondary.

At the beginning of the season, the Lions projected as one of the run-heaviest teams in the NFL. But the biggest mismatch will likely be against their secondary. Mike Randle

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Lions -8
  • Projected Total: 48

The Lions are popping in my Pass/Run Funnel Model with a rating of 1.08, which makes sense as their offensive strength is their passing attack (ranked fourth in Football Outsiders’ DVOA) and they’re going up against a Giants defense with pass defense as its main weakness (27th in DVOA).

The Lions losing Johnson to IR could affect them in matchups in which they need to be more balanced, but for Week 8, it could force them to just lean on their passing attack even more.

The Giants have seen 72% of the money, so it’s worth seeing if this number can get off the key number of 7 and down to 6.5 or better before pulling the trigger. The Lions’ 1.08 PRFM rating is also showing a 70.3% in-sample win rate — any matchup that’s been over a 1 in this model is 15-4 on the season. Sean Koerner

PRO System Match

The Lions have been one of the most profitable teams this season, covering the spread in four of their six games. The Giants, on the other hand, have struggled to cash tickets only covering in two games.

A majority of spread tickets are on the Lions to cover as touchdown favorites as of writing (see live public betting data here), even though Detroit has lost three consecutive games. But bettors are only concerned about winning tickets and the Lions have shown an ability to cash for bettors.

But history suggests gamblers shouldn’t expect each team to continue their covering ways. ATS records tend to regress to the mean over the course of a season as bookmakers adjust to team performance and public perception. As a result, it’s been profitable to bet teams with bad ATS records against opponents with winning ATS records.

Following this simple Pro System, bettors have gone 167-104-9 (61.6%) ATS since 2005. A $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $5,381 following this strategy.

Bettors are counting the Giants out against the Lions, but history suggests Danny Dimes can cover. John Ewing

PRO Systems are data-driven betting strategies that turn winning long-term trends into easy-to-follow picks, all handpicked and monitored by our team of analysts. Try Action PRO now and instantly access real-time game matches for every PRO System.

Expert Pick

Stuckey: Over 49.5

This is my favorite over of the week.

With Johnson out, I think the Lions will go to an even heavier pass-based offense, especially against a Giants secondary that’s been abused all season. New York is allowing 8.3 yards per pass, which ranks 29th in the NFL, and 27th in pass defense DVOA (compared to middle of the pack against the run). And it’s not like the Lions were running it well even with Johnson, averaging only 3.8 yards per carry as a team.

The Lions have the weapons on the outside to exploit a vulnerable trio of corners who have been as bad as any in the league. Out of 80 cornerbacks with at least 250 coverage snaps, here are the Pro Football Focus coverage grades for the three Giants corners:

  • DeAndre Baker: 78th
  • Grant Haley: 74th
  • Janoris Jenkins: 48th

The Giants’ safeties have also struggled in coverage. This matchup should be a buffet for Stafford and Co. as they even have a solid interior OL to handle a stout New York pass rush.

And on the other side of the ball, the Giants are as healthy as they’ve been on offense all season.

I had a lot of hope for this Lions defense — and it’s had its moments — but injuries and a recent trade of safety Quandre Diggs have decimated its depth. The strength of the Lions defense was its interior defensive line (which is now banged up) and its coverage abilities in the secondary. But with Diggs now in Seattle and Slay likely out, this defense is just not as scary.

They’re also weak against the run (4.9 yards per carry allowed; 28th in NFL) as a unit and struggle to get pressure (27th in adjusted sack rate). Barkley should have a big day and Jones should have time to exploit a lagging Detroit secondary.

This has all of the makings of a shootout. [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

Jets at Jaguars Betting Odds

  • Odds: Jaguars -6.5
  • Over/Under: 41
  • Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS

The Jets are coming off an embarrassing 33-0 loss to the Patriots on Monday night. Will Sam Darnold be able to shake off the worst game of his career in Jacksonville?

Our experts break down every angle of this matchup, featuring Sean Koerner’s projected odds and a staff pick.

Jets-Jaguars Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Neither team is healthy

The Jets have more than 12 players listed on their injury report. The most notable is LB C.J. Mosley (groin), who has missed two practices after playing in his first game since Week 1. They also added Jamison Crowder (knee) on Thursday, but he still managed a limited practice.

Dede Westbrook (shoulder/neck) is the biggest injury to monitor for Jacksonville. He hasn’t practiced at all this week, but he followed a similar routine in Week 7 and ultimately ended up playing. Additionally, three of their linebackers didn’t practice on Wednesday or Thursday, which could be great for Le’Veon Bell if they’re unable to play. Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Leonard Fournette vs. Jets Defense

While the Jets run defense has been strong — they’re sixth in Football Outsiders’ run defense DVOA — they haven’t seen a running back quite as versatile as Fournette.

The third-year running back has produced against every team he’s faced this season, including four consecutive games with at least 118 total yards. He also ranks top 10 among all running backs in both targets and receptions.

Fournette’s efficiency in the passing game is a problem for a Jets team that’s allowed the sixth-most receptions and receiving yards to opposing running backs despite already having their bye. In their 33-0 Monday Night Football loss to New England, the Jets allowed seven receptions to James White and three rushing touchdowns to Sony Michel.

Fournette is the NFL’s second-leading rusher and will present the biggest mismatch against a Jets team hoping to rebound from their Week 7 embarrassment. — Mike Randle

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Jaguars -7
  • Projected Total: 40

The Jalen Ramsey-less Jaguars defense will seem like a breath of fresh air for Darnold after having to face the Patriots last week. It’s still a bit concerning that he was quoted as “seeing ghosts” in the pocket — typically that’s an observation an analyst may make on a QB during a game, so it’s alarming when the player admits it. Darnold may need one more game to get his season back on track after missing a few games due to mono.

I would lean toward the Jaguars at this number as they’re also popping in my Pass/Run Funnel Model. However, the Jets’ passing metrics need to be taken with a grain of salt as third-stringer Luke Falk has started half their games.

I think it’s best to pass on this matchup. Sean Koerner

Expert Picks

John Ewing: Under 41

An early forecast for this game calls for windy conditions (12 mph). Blustery weather can impact the passing and kicking games, which creates a low-scoring environment.

Historically, it’s been profitable to bet the under in windy games.

Not only do the windy conditions point to the under, but these teams match up well defensively against the other’s offensive strengths. The Jets ranks ninth in defensive rushing DVOA, while the Jaguars have attempted the sixth most carries this season.

The Jets have the ninth-highest passing play percentage (63%) in the NFL and will go up against the Jags secondary that’s in the top-half of the league in passing yards allowed per game.

I’d bet the under down to 40 points. [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

Bengals vs. Rams Betting Odds

  • Odds: Rams -13
  • Over/Under: 47
  • Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS
  • Location: London

The bye week can’t come soon enough for the 0-7 Bengals. They teased bettors last week by hanging around for three quarters against the Jaguars, before a dreadful fourth from Andy Dalton and Co. ultimately did Cincy in.

The betting market doesn’t have much hope for the Bengals’ chances of bouncing back in London, as they’re getting just 24% of the bets as 13-point underdogs at the time of writing (see live betting data here).

Does Cincinnati have a chance to go toe-to-toe with the Rams for a full four quarters? Our experts analyze the matchup and pick out their favorite bets.

Bengals-Rams Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Rams

The Rams aren’t facing any key injuries for their matchup against the Bengals. They already ruled out RB Malcolm Brown (ankle), and they said CB Troy Hill (hamstring) is expected to be fine.

Cincy, on the other hand, has been one of the most injury-plagued teams all season. WR A.J. Green (ankle) will be out again and they’re expected to be without OL Cordy Glenn (concussion), along with CBs Dre Kirkpatrick (knee) and Darqueze Dennard (hamstring). Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Rams Pass Offense vs. Bengals Pass Defense

Normally I write about how bad the Bengals are against running backs — and that’s certainly still the case — but in this week’s WR/CB piece, I give all three Rams wide receivers large upgrades because of their matchups, so it makes sense here to talk about the passing game in more detail.

First of all, the 0-7 Bengals are dust. There’s not one thing they do well, especially on defense, where they rank No. 31 with 6.4 yards per play allowed. They are No. 29 in overall pass defense (per Football Outsiders’ DVOA), but I think even that number is too high given their current circumstances.

The primary problem, as Justin referenced, is that the Bengals are severely injured at cornerback.

Kirkpatrick, the team’s No. 1 corner, missed last week and has yet to practice this week. He’s widely expected to miss at least another couple of weeks.

No. 2 corner William Jackson III (shoulder) missed last week. He practiced in full on Wednesday, which is highly surprising, given that just last week NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero reported that he would be unable to play for several weeks. I’m still doubtful that he will actually play this weekend.

And Dennard (slot corner) was just activated last week from the reserve/PUP list, where he had been stashed for the first six weeks of the season because of a knee scope. In his first game of action, he saw opposing slot receiver Dede Westbrook go off for 6-103-0 receiving on nine targets, and now, to add injury to insult, Dennard missed practice on Wednesday because of a soft-tissue issue. His status for Week 8 is uncertain.

So the Bengals — who already have a poor pass defense — could be starting three backup-level corners this week against perhaps the league’s best trio of wide receivers in Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks, Cooper Kupp

Even if Dennard does play, he should be no match for Kupp, who has been targeted on a league-high 30% of his slot routes and is No. 4 among all slot receivers with his 2.20 yards per route (per Pro Football Focus). If Dennard is out, Kupp will likely run most of his routes against 2017 undrafted free agent Torry McTyer or 2918 fifth-rounder Darius Phillips, who have collectively allowed a 75.9% catch rate in limited action.

On the outside, Cooks will match up most with B.W. Webb, who opened the season in the slot and is now filling in at right corner for Jackson. Cooks has a significant speed advantage over the journeyman corner (4.33-second 40-yard dash vs. 4.51) and should be able to beat him deep.

As for Woods, he will match up most with 2016 undrafted backup corner Tony McRae, who has a 44.5 PFF coverage grade this year and has allowed an 80.8% catch rate for his career. A route-running technician, Woods should be able to spin McRae in circles.

And running backs Todd Gurley and Darrell Henderson and tight ends Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee should also have success: The Bengals rank No. 28 in pass defense DVOA against both running backs and tight ends.

As much as quarterback Jared Goff has underwhelmed this season, he’s still averaged 314.5 yards passing over the past month. Against a poor and partial pass defense, he should dominate. — Matthew Freedman

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Bengals -13.5
  • Projected Total: 48.5

The Bengals burned me hard last week. They hung around with the Jaguars long enough that the +4.5 bet was +EV for most of the game. However, the flood gates opened toward the end and they ended up getting blown out.

Now I have nearly the same lines as the market, so I’m staying away from this one.

With the Bengals’ season swirling down the drain and Cincy very likely to go into its bye 0-8, it’s quite possible this turns out to be Andy Dalton’s last start as a Bengal. There’s a chance Cincinnati hands the reins over to fourth-round rookie Ryan Finley to see what they have in him before heading into the loaded 2020 draft with one of the top picks. Sean Koerner

Expert Picks

Freedman: Rams -13

The Bengals are probably not as bad as the Dolphins, but I’m not sure they’re significantly better, especially when you factor in Cincy’s aforementioned cornerback injuries and mismatch in the passing game for the Rams.

So I like the Rams anyway, and there’s just something about the London game. I think the problems bad teams have tend to be exacerbated with the travel and the neutral field.

Since the NFL International Series started in 2007, the London favorites are 17-9 against the spread (28% ROI). And regular-season favorites on a neutral field are 26-12-2 ATS (31.9% ROI).

I like the Rams at anything -14 or better. [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

Buccaneers at Titans Betting Odds

  • Odds: Titans -2.5
  • Over/Under: 45.5
  • Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

The Tennessee Titans’ decision to start Ryan Tannehill paid off in a narrow 23-20 win over the Chargers last week. Now Tannehill will get the nod again as a small home favorite against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

But where are the betting edges in this matchup?

Our experts break it down from every angle, featuring Sean Koerner’s projected odds.

Buccaneers-Titans Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Buccaneers

The Bucs’ main injury to watch is O.J. Howard (hamstring), who was downgraded to no practice on Thursday after getting in a limited session on Wednesday. His potential absence could make Cameron Brate an intriguing streaming option or cheap DFS salary-saver on DraftKings for $2,700.

Delanie Walker continues to miss practice with an ankle injury that knocked him out of last week’s game. And the Titans could be down their top cornerback in Adoree’ Jackson as he missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday with a foot injury. His potential absence is good news for Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Buccaneers Rush Defense vs. Titans Rush Defense

While quarterback play certainly hasn’t been consistent for Tampa Bay, the defense has been.

New coordinator Todd Bowles transitioned the Bucs to a 3-4 defense, and it’s produced tremendous results against the run. After allowing 4.7 yards per rush last season — 21st in the NFL — the Bucs now lead the league, allowing only 2.9 yards per carry.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: William Gholston (92), Devin White (45), Lavonte David (54), Beau Allen (91)

Advanced metrics paint the same picture. The Bucs rank inside the top two of all five of Football Outsiders’ rush defense measures:

  • Adjusted Line Yards: 1
  • Power Success: 2
  • Stuffed Rate: 2
  • 2nd Level: 1
  • Open Field: 1

Now the Bucs get a Titans offense averaging only 3.8 yards per carry, which ranks 24th in the NFL. Their offensive line also ranks 22nd in adjusted line yards.

But just as the Bucs’ run defense has been consistently good (No. 1 in Football Outsiders’ DVOA), their pass defense has been consistently bad (No. 25 in DVOA). They’re especially vulnerable deep, but Tannehill and Tennessee’s receivers are not necessarily the scariest aerial attack.

The Titans’ run-first offense is a good matchup for this Bucs defense, which should come in fresh off a much-needed bye following three straight games away from Tampa Bay in Los Angeles, New Orleans and London. Stuckey

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Titans -3
  • Projected Total: 46

The current line of -2.5 is likely to push up to my projected number of -3.

The total is where I’m seeing some slight value at 45.5. My Pass/Run Funnel Model is giving it a rating of 0.22 on the over, which has resulted in a 57.8% in-sample predicted win rate. This makes sense as both defenses are currently in the top three in rush defense DVOA, so both teams would be wise to air it out in this matchup. Sean Koerner

Expert Picks

Koerner: Lean Over 45.5

The Titans are more than capable of taking advantage of this matchup with a solid receiving corps featuring Corey Davis, A.J. Brown, Adam Humphries and Walker. The offense looked less sluggish without Marcus Mariota, so I’m willing to buy in on this over before the market catches up.

Plus anytime Jameis Winston gets into a pass-happy matchup, it favors the over.

This is a lean at 45.5 as the total could drop, so I usually wait for plays like this. [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

Eagles at Bills Betting Odds

  • Odds: Bills -2
  • Over/Under: 43.5
  • Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

Teams like the Philadelphia Eagles that have failed to cover consecutive games, including by at least two touchdowns in the most recent one, are 155-112-9 (58%) against the spread since 2003. And as an underdog? 101-65-8 (60.8%).

So should you bank on that trend and back Philly in Week 8?

Our experts break down every angle of Eagles-Bills, featuring analysis of the betting odds and staff spread picks.

Eagles-Bills Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Bills

The Bills don’t have anyone of note on their injury report, and most of their players are on track to suit up.

The Eagles are still a disaster on the injury front with six players failing to practice on Wednesday and Thursday, including: WR DeSean Jackson (abdomen), DT Tim Jernigan (foot), CB Avonte Maddox (concussion), Darren Sproles (quad), LB Nigel Bradham (ankle) and OL Jason Peters (knee). Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Bills WR John Brown vs. Eagles Secondary

The Eagles have been spanked by opposing wide receivers for an NFL-high 1,383 yards and 11 touchdowns. Every member of the Eagles secondary except cornerback Jalen Mills has failed to earn a top-50 grade from Pro Football Focus this season, and Mills’ 4.61 speed is no match for Brown’s 4.34-second jets.

John Brown
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: John Brown

Brown has at least five receptions in five of six games and has topped 50 yards in every game. His consistent production should continue against a defense ranked 23rd in DVOA vs. No. 1 wide receivers, per Football Outsiders. Chris Raybon

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Bills -1.5
  • Projected Total: 42.5

The 5-1 Bills are one of the biggest surprises of 2019. Their 4-2 Pythagorean expected record makes them a full win above expectations, which is the fourth-luckiest win total so far this season.

There could be some value on the underdog here as the lookahead line before the season started was Eagles -3. We all know how vulnerable their secondary has been and that the Bills are likely to attack Philly through the air, but I don’t like them as much when their game plan could involve relying on Josh Allen’s arm more than normal. While he’s made considerable strides in his second season, he’s still a below-average passer who relies on his legs.

The Eagles are more equipped to handle a QB like Allen, which is why I’d lean Philly here. Sean Koerner

PRO System Match

The Bills have been one of the most profitable teams this season, covering the spread in four of their six games. The same can’t be said for the Eagles, who are 2-5 against the spread.

Nearly 70% of spread tickets are on the Bills to cover as small home favorites as of writing (see live public betting data here), but bettors shouldn’t expect each team to continue their ATS ways.

ATS records tend to regress to the mean over the course of a season as bookmakers adjust to team performance and public perception. As a result, it’s been profitable to bet teams with bad ATS records against opponents with winning ATS records.

Following this simple Pro System, bettors have gone 167-104-9 (61.6%) ATS since 2005. A $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $5,381 following this strategy.

Bettors are counting the Eagles out against the Bills, but history suggests Philly can cover. John Ewing

Expert Picks

Stuckey: Eagles +2

This is a classic buy-low, sell-high spot.

I’m buying low on the Eagles after two straight embarrassing losses — the 37-10 final against the Cowboys was fairly misleading — and sticking with my theme of selling teams that have benefited from extremely soft schedules.

The Bills are 5-1 with their one loss coming at home to New England, but the five teams they’ve beat have a combined 6-27 record. They won those games by a combined 36 points — a little more than a touchdown per game.

That would be bad enough, but the five quarterbacks they beat have three (!) combined wins and two of them (Marcus Mariota and Eli Manning) are now backups riding the pine.

Things have just bounced the Bills’ way all season. From four missed Titans field goals to a few fortunate fourth-quarter comebacks against the Jets and Bengals, the Bills have enjoyed some breaks, which I think is driving some inflation.

It’s worth noting that the Eagles will be playing their third straight road game, which doesn’t happen often. However, in this day and age, teams are much smarter about travel, so it no longer has as much of an adverse effect as it once did. Plus, teams playing their third straight road game are 29-29 ATS over the past 15 seasons — that includes an Eagles victory over the Giants in this exact situation in 2017.

Despite some key injuries — particularly along the interior of the defensive line and at left tackle with Jason Peters — the Eagles still have superior talent on the offensive and defensive lines. The Eagles should stymie the Bills’ rushing attack while providing Carson Wentz with enough time to make plays in what should be a lower-scoring game.

Bills linebacker Matt Milano may also miss another game, which could open things up for Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, which I expect Philly to heavily utilize once again. I don’t expect Jackson to go, but if he does, that will be an enormous bonus as the lack of a deep threat has really clogged up the Eagles offense with no real threat of the long ball.

But most importantly, I don’t think Allen can exploit Philadelphia’s biggest weakness: its secondary, specifically downfield throws. Per PFF, Allen has the second-worst passing grade on passes 10 or more yards downfield. He has only four big-time throws to his name — fewer than the amount of turnover-worthy plays (5).

The Eagles’ corner situation is a mess but it should be the best it’s been on Sunday with Ronald Darby back in the lineup with Mills. The Bills are also really lacking on the outside at the No. 2 receiver after the departure of Zay Jones and a few injuries, so the Eagles can really focus their resources on Brown.

I also expect Jim Schwartz to bring a ton of his patented pressure against a vulnerable Bills offensive line that ranks 26th in adjusted sack rate, so Allen should trip up and make a key mistake or two.

I think Philly wins the battle of the trenches and escapes Buffalo with a much needed victory to avoid dropping to 3-5. Wait to see if a +3 pops, but if not, anything at +1.5 or better will suffice. [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

Broncos at Colts Betting Odds

  • Odds: Colts -5.5
  • Over/Under: 43
  • Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS

The Broncos couldn’t beat a Chiefs team that lost Patrick Mahomes to injury last Thursday, so how will they fare against a surging Colts team?

Our experts break down every angle of this matchup, featuring Sean Koerner’s projected betting odds and a staff pick.

Broncos-Colts Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Both are healthy

The Broncos should get OL Ja’Wuan James (knee) back after he resumed practicing in full. Otherwise, the main absence may be S Will Parks (hand) who hasn’t practiced at all this week.

The Colts will be thrilled to get S Malik Hooker (knee) back after he’s been out since Week 3. Most other players should be on track to play since they’ve been practicing in a limited fashion. The one exception is DL Jabaal Sheard (foot) who was downgraded to DNP on Thursday after being full on Wednesday. Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Justin Houston and Denico Autry vs. Broncos Offensive Line

Denver is ranked 29th in adjusted sack rate (9.8%) after the Chiefs torched its line for nine sacks on Thursday. The Broncos also traded their second-leading receiver (Emmanuel Sanders) this week, meaning Joe Flacco might have to hold onto the ball even longer with nowhere to go.

This sets up well for Houston and Autry, who have each earned top-25 pass rush grades from Pro Football Focus at their respective positions. With linebacker Darius Leonard returning last week and safety Malik Hooker due back this week, the back end should give Houston and Autry more time to add to their 6.5 combined sacks and 14 combined QB hits. Chris Raybon

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Colts -6
  • Projected Total: 41.5

The Broncos entered Week 7 on a two-game win streak then took a quick 6-0 lead over the Chiefs, but it was all downhill from there. The Chiefs scored 30 unanswered points, then to add insult to injury (literally), outscored the Broncos 10-0 after Mahomes was knocked out of the game.

With the Broncos’ season pretty much lost, it’ll be interesting to see if/when they decide Drew Lock is healthy enough to play and if he gets his first start in the near future. (The over/under could be after their Week 10 bye.) They’ve already unloaded Sanders, sending him to the 49ers for draft picks.

I bring all of this up because while I show a bit of value on the Broncos, it’s crucial to factor in what’s driving teams once we get to the second half of the season: Are they making a playoff push, or are they playing for their future? Given that they’re starting to eye beyond 2019, I’m going to lay off the Broncos for the time being. Sean Koerner

Expert Pick

Chad Millman: Colts -5.5

Here’s what I keep thinking: Within hours of Andrew Luck retiring, the Colts signed Jacoby Brissett to a $30 million deal. They didn’t wait to see how he would do this season. They didn’t look for a replacement because they knew what they had.

While bookmakers and gamblers undervalued them for several weeks, the front office had already built an impressive combination of effective running game, efficient passing game and an offensive line that gets more social media love than any of the Colts skill players.

Other than laying a predictable egg against Oakland — too much hype and over-adjustment that week — this team has methodically delivered. I believe that the Broncos are the team that didn’t show up against the Chiefs — remember they were down seven when Mahomes was injured and couldn’t stop and immobile Matt Moore from slinging dimes.

The Colts are a great value pick at under seven points. But get it fast: Wiseguys and the public alike are betting the Colts right now. [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

Cardinals at Saints Betting Odds

  • Odds: Saints -10
  • Over/Under: 48
  • Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS

Who will start for the Saints under center isn’t set in stone, but even without that information, sportsbooks see the red-hot Saints as double-digit favorites. Bettors have also looked past that fact with 53% of betting tickets backing New Orleans at home as of Thursday evening.

Should you back the Saints regardless of who winds up starting?

Our experts look at the biggest matchups for this game below. Be sure to check back once there’s further clarity on Drew Brees’ status for our staff’s full betting break down and picks.

Cardinals-Saints Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Cardinals (barely)

The biggest injury on the Cardinals remains David Johnson (ankle). He hasn’t practiced this week, so even if he’s active this week, will he actually be active, or just “active”?

Jared Cook (ankle) looks likely to be out again since he’s failed to get in a practice yet this week. Alvin Kamara (ankle) returned to limited practice on Thursday after sitting out on Wednesday.

Brees (thumb) has also practiced in a limited fashion all week. Brees has been pushing to play this week, so it’ll be interesting to see what Sean Payton does with Brees and Kamara since the Saints are on bye next week. Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Saints rushing attack vs. Cardinals Run Defense

The Saints’ offensive line has been on of the most consistent and productive units in the NFL. By maintaining continuity from last season and avoiding injury, the line has propelled their rushing attack to carry the offense during the absence of Brees.

Even without the services of star running back Alvin Kamara last week, the Saints went on the road to Chicago, and torched a strong Bears defense on the ground for 151 rushing yards and a 4.3 yards per carry average. Their rushing attack failed to miss a beat behind Latavius Murray who gained 119 yards and scored twice.

Enter the Cardinals’ defense, which has struggled to find an identity all season, ranking 28th overall in defensive DVOA (per Football Outsiders). The Cardinals are equally poor against both the run and pass, ranking 26th in efficiency in both categories.

Whether Kamara returns, the Saints will stay with their game plan that has helped them go 5-0 in Brees’ absence. They’ll look to establish the run and should be able to do so behind Murray, who showcased his own dual-threat ability against the Bears.

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: New Orleans Saints running back Latavius Murray (28).

Last week’s return of All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson for Arizona’s defense will likely encourage the Saints to skew even more run heavy than normal.

Teddy Bridgewater leads a conservative Saints offense at home, where the Saints have dominated on the ground.

In games against the Cowboys (117 rushing yards, 4.3 yards per carry) and the stout Tampa Bay run defense (112 rushing yards, 3.6 yards per carry), the Saints have found a way to control the time of possession through their efficient ground game.

The Cardinals will likely find success on offense with their spread attack, even against a strong Saints offense. But the question will be, can Arizona find a way to stifle a rushing attack that has been productive all season? And if Brees plays, it makes the Saints offense even tougher to scheme against.

If the 10-point underdog Cardinals have any hope to win this game, they’re going to find a way to matchup against one of the league’s best offensive lines and limit the Saints rushing attack. — Mike Randle

Seahawks at Falcons Betting Odds

  • Odds: Not available
  • Over/Under: Not available
  • Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

This is the second of two Week 8 games featuring a banged-up NFC South quarterback hoping to get some playing time. While there’s no line currently available, our experts break down the biggest matchup for this game below.

Check back once odds are available for our staff’s full betting breakdown and picks.

Seahawks-Falcons Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Seahawks

The Falcons could be in trouble for this one considering Matt Ryan (ankle) didn’t practiced on Wednesday or Thursday. That said, head coach Dan Quinn said Ryan is expected to play on Sunday. His Friday status will give us a clearer answer.

Atlanta also has a few key injuries on the defensive side of the ball with cornerback Desmond Trufant (toe) and defensive lineman Grady Jarrett (abdomen) not practicing on Wednesday or Thursday. Jarrett grades out as the Falcons’ best defender, per Pro Football Focus. He’s second on the team in pressures and third in hurries.

The Seahawks could potentially get offensive lineman Duane Brown (biceps) back after he returned to limited practice. He’d be a welcome addition back to the offensive line since he’s graded as their best pass-blocker among their offensive linemen. Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Russell Wilson vs. Falcons Pass Defense

The Falcons’ defense is currently allowing the most touchdowns (17) and second-most yards (1,918) through the air with the lowest sack rate (2.1%) and third-lowest interception rate (0.9%) in the league.

It’s a banged up, poorly-schemed, poorly executed, unmitigated disaster of a unit that puts the “lame” in Quinn’s lame-duck status.

The Falcons’ long-standing issues in pass defense are the chief reason behind their 0-8 record against the spread in their past eight games as an underdog of three or more points under Quinn (per Bet Labs).

Russell Wilson-best Ball
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Russell Wilson

This week’s regularly scheduled shredding will come courtesy of Russell Wilson, who is familiar with Quinn’s scheme from Quinn’s days as Seattle’s defensive coordinator.

Wilson is tied for the league lead in touchdown passes, is second interception rate (0.4%), and fourth in yards per attempt (8.5), but is coming off an ugly 20-of-41 effort with a pick-six to boot against Baltimore. The Falcons are a get-right spot for a quarterback who is rarely wrong. — Chris Raybon

Panthers at 49ers Betting Odds

  • Odds: 49ers -5.5
  • Over/Under: 42
  • Kickoff: 4:05 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

Teams that have won four straight games heading into a bye, like the Carolina Panthers, are 13-3 against the spread coming out of bye since 2003. That includes a perfect 9-0 record when that team is on the road.

Ron Rivera is also 24-14 ATS as a road underdog. Since 2003, he’s the fifth-most profitable coach as a road underdog among 124 active and former coaches in our Bet Labs database.

So should you follow the historical trends and trust thePanthers to cover against the undefeated 49ers?

Our experts break down every angle of this game, featuring Sean Koerner’s projected odds and staff picks.

Panthers-49ers Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Panthers

The Panthers’ most crucial loss could be the continued absence of OL Greg Little (concussion), who has been out since Week 4 and hasn’t practiced this week. Pro Football Focus has Little graded as one of their best pass-blockers. That said, OL Dennis Daley (groin) has been filling in well. He got in a limited practice on Thursday and should be on track to help contain this 49ers pass rush.

George Kittle (groin) will likely be limited early in the week as the season progresses, so it’s likely nothing to be concerned about. San Francisco should continue to be without CB Akhello Witherspoon (foot) since he hasn’t resumed practicing with his foot sprain yet.

Joe Staley (leg) has been getting in limited practices this week, and he’s been targeting a Week 8 or 9 return after fracturing his fibula in mid-September. He’d be a nice boost to the offensive line against a Panthers defense that grades out as the ninth-best pass-rushing unit (per PFF). Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

49ers Running Attack vs. Panthers Run Defense

The biggest mismatch on paper is the run game.

The Panthers rank 30th in Football Outsiders’ run defense DVOA, which is cause for concern against a 49ers rushing attack that ranks second with an average of 172.7 rushing yards per game. But if you look deeper, there are opportunities for the Panthers to have better success than past 49ers’ opponents.

Matt Breida-Tevin Coleman
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Matt Breida, Tevin Coleman

The 49ers will still be without fullback Kyle Juszczyk, who has been a critical component of their running efficiency. While we can’t conclude much from last week’s game at Washington in poor weather conditions, the prior week against the Rams provided a window into the limited efficiency of a shorthanded San Francisco rushing attack.

In their 20-7 win at Los Angeles, the 49ers were held to season-low 2.4 yards per carry and only 99 total rushing yards. Their offensive line could still be without the services of both starting tackles, Staley and Mike McGlinchey.

The Panthers have struggled to limit running back production, especially since placing DT Kawaan Short on  injured reserve. However, they’re the NFL’s second-best team at limiting the receiving production of opposing running backs, allowing only 144 total receiving yards, second only to San Francisco.

Coming off their bye week, the Panthers have their best chance to address their biggest defensive weakness. With one of the league’s best secondaries already in place, if the Panthers can address their struggles against the ground game, they’ll have an opportunity to pull the road upset. Mike Randle

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: 49ers -6
  • Projected Total: 41.5

This under is popping in my Pass/Run Funnel Model with a rating of -0.73, which gives it a downright silly 81% in-sample predictive win rate. There have been only six games this season that have earned a rating below -0.5, and the under is now 5-1. It makes sense as the 49ers’ defense has been arguably the second-best in the league (behind the Patriots), and based on the fact that they become the slowest paced team in the league when winning (FO).

It may be worth waiting to see if the 64% of the money coming in on the over can push this up to 42.5 or even 43, but I highly doubt sharps will allow that.

Fire up the under here. Sean Koerner

Expert Picks

Stuckey: Panthers +5.5

The 49ers are a legit contender, but this is the perfect time to sell high on the NFC’s lone remaining undefeated team.

Their 6-0 record is impressive, but who have the 49ers really beat? Their .282 strength of schedule is by far the worst in the conference; the Packers have the next lowest at .404.

More importantly, San Fran may once again be without its starting tackles in addition to fullback Kyle Juszczyk, who is uber-critical in Kyle Shanahan’s heavy zone-running scheme.

The 49ers average a league-leading 39.0 rush attempts per game and rank second with 172.7 yards on the ground per contest. However, injuries have had a negative impact over the past two weeks. Even if you throw out the mediocre rushing output in Washington as a result of the monsoon-like conditions, they were held to fewer than 100 yards on 43 carries (2.3 yards per attempt) the week before against the Rams.

Carolina’s defense has been vulnerable against the run, allowing 4.7 yards per carry allowed (23rd in the NFL), but I don’t think San Fran can truly take advantage with its undermanned offense.

The Panthers’ pass defense, meanwhile, has been one of the most underrated units this season. They’re allowing only 5.6 yards per pass (fourth in NFL) and rank third in Football Outsiders’ pass defense DVOA (compared to 30th against the run).

They’ve been rock-solid at safety. They have two outstanding linebackers underneath in Shaq Thompson and Luke Kuechly, who have been two of the better coverage linebackers this season. And with Donte Jackson back, they have an excellent trio of corners. Jackson, James Bradberry and Ross Cockrell all rank inside the top 15 in passer rating allowed among 85 corners with at least 125 coverage snaps, and have collectively allowed only three touchdowns while picking off seven passes.

I don’t expect the 49ers to get much through the air on the outside as their deep passing attack has been one of their weakest areas — it’s one reason they traded for Emmanuel Sanders.

The Panthers come in hot, having won four straight since Kyle Allen took over at quarterback. They’ve also had no issues winning on the road, boasting a perfect 3-0 road record with wins at Houston and Arizona and in London against Tampa.

This one could go either way, so I’ll happily take the 5.5 points.

Both defensive fronts, the top two units in adjusted sack rate, should get plenty of pressure, but Allen should make just enough plays downfield to go along with Christian McCaffrey’s reliable production to keep Carolina close with a chance to pull out a fifth straight win. [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

Raiders at Texans Betting Odds

  • Odds: Texans -7
  • Over/Under: 51.5
  • Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS

Deshaun Watson is quickly becoming one of the most feared quarterbacks in the NFL. Now he and the Texans face a struggling Raiders defense. Can Oakland overcome a disastrous weekend in Green Bay on Sunday?

Our experts break down every angle of this matchup, featuring Sean Koerner’s projected odds and a staff pick.

Raiders-Texans Injury Report

The good news for the Raiders is wide receiver Tyrell Williams (foot) has returned to practice. The bad news is that running back Josh Jacobs (shoulder) hasn’t practiced on Wednesday or Thursday and could miss Sunday’s game. If he’s out, DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard would work as the primary backs.

Will Fuller (hamstring) isn’t expected to suit up for this game and could potentially miss a few weeks, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. His likely absence will lead to increased run for Kenny Stills in two-WR sets with Keke Coutee running from the slot. Even with Fuller’s absence, the Texans’ 29.25 implied team total is the third-highest mark for Sunday’s games. Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Deshaun Watson vs. Raiders Pass Defense

An inability to pressure the quarterback is a recipe for disaster in today’s NFL, so it’s no wonder the Raiders were torched for five touchdowns by Aaron Rodgers despite the absence of star receiver Davante Adams.

Oakland’s 14.0% pressure rate is worst in the league, and Watson is another QB that can exploit them. Watson will be without Fuller, but he should have no problem picking apart the Raiders and distributing the ball to DeAndre Hopkins, Kenny Stills and Coutee if he’s not under duress.

Per Pro Football Focus, Watson’s 78.8% completion percentage from a clean pocket is ranked second among QBs. — Chris Raybon

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Texans -7
  • Projected Total: 50

This 5.5-point opener offered quite a bit of value, but it’s since been bet up to 7, where it’s parked on the key number. Therefore the value in that market has dried up. However, the total has crept up from 50 up to 51.5.

Books appear to be getting flooded with over tickets (66%) and money (93%) as of writing (see live public betting data here), and I’m not exactly sure why. I get why people would be investing in a Texans over, but the Raiders could help make this game lean toward an under game flow.

Watson typically plays best when the Texans are trailing. Given we can assume a positive game script is much more likely here, they could opt to lean on Carlos Hyde and the ground game to run the clock and help shorten the game. And on the other side of the ball, the Raiders are second-to-last in pace of play (per Football Outsiders) and remain a slower-paced team when in a close or trailing game script (sixth-slowest).

This matchup leans toward the under, but it’s worth seeing if the market can bump it up to 52 or even 52.5 before biting on it. As you can read more about in this great piece by my colleague PJ Walsh, 53 and 54 are fairly harmless numbers for a total. Sean Koerner

Expert Picks

Mike Randle: Texans -7

The Raiders have played very well during a difficult stretch of consecutive road games — Oakland hasn’t played at home since Sept. 15 — but we started to see some fatigue set in this past Sunday in Green Bay.

fantasy-football-standard-rankings-te-week 8-2019
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Darren Waller

With wide receiver Tyrell Williams possibly out again with a foot injury, the Raiders offense lacks playmakers. Their best receiving option is tight end Darren Waller, who faces a difficult matchup against Houston. For some context, the Texans have allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season, giving up only one receiving touchdown.

Houston should be able to take advantage of an Oakland pass defense that ranked 26th entering Week 7, and just allowed 429 passing yards and six total touchdowns to Rodgers.

I’m grabbing the Texans against a travel-weary Raiders team playing its fifth consecutive road game and I would bet this up to Houston -8. [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

Browns at Patriots Betting Odds

  • Odds: Patriots -13
  • Over/Under: 45.5
  • Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS

Double-digit favorites have gone 247-282-11 (46.7%) against the spread since 2003. Even Bill Belichick, who has elite ATS results across the board, is only 34-31 (52.3%) ATS as a double-digit favorite, including 20-24 as a favorite between 10 and 14 points — pedestrian records for a coach who is an astounding 158-97-8 (62%) ATS since 2003.

But does it really make sense to follow the historical trends and fade the New England Patriots against the Cleveland Browns?

Our experts break down every angle of this matchup, featuring a comparison to Sean Koerner’s projected odds and staff spread picks.

Browns-Patriots Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Browns

The Browns should be getting their top corners back with Denzel Ward (hamstring) and Greedy Williams (hamstring) returning to full practice off the bye week. DL Myles Garrett (knee) was added to the injury report on Thursday, but it’s not believed to be serious, so I’d be surprised if he didn’t play.

The Patriots placed Josh Gordon (knee) on injured reserve, but also traded for Mohamed Sanu. Julian Edelman (chest) and Rex Burkhead (foot) remain limited in practice, but Burkhead is the only one who has actually missed time from his injury. Phillip Dorsett (hamstring) should be ready to roll after playing last week and practicing in full on Thursday. Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Patriots Short Passing Attack vs. Browns Linebackers

The Patriots should have plenty of success in the short passing game.

Tom Brady
USA Today Sports. Pictured: Tom Brady

Per Football Outsiders, the Browns’ defense ranks fourth against the deep pass but 29th against short passes. Part of the problem has been their linebackers, who struggle in coverage and tend to get lost in the noise of their base 4-2-5 defense.

Mack Wilson and Joe Schobert have allowed 32 catches on 37 targets for three touchdowns (and no interceptions). They also each rank in the bottom 15 of NFL QB Rating allowed among 59 linebackers with at least 100 coverage snaps at 131.3 and 118.0, respectively. Schobert’s 131.3 rating allowed ranks dead last among LBs with at least 200 coverage snaps.

The Browns also rank 29th in the NFL defending slot receivers.

Expect the Patriots to take full advantage with wide receiver crossing routes and plenty of targets for their running backs in the passing game. Stuckey

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Patriots -13.5
  • Projected Total: 46

It’s important to note that my power ratings should be treated as a starting point, and diving deeper into how these two teams will approach the matchup could highlight some potential value. That’s why I would agree with my Pass/Run Funnel Model that’s leaning toward the under with a rating of -0.63.

We all know by now that the Patriots defense is a force not to be reckoned — quarterbacks have a ridiculous 1-to-18 touchdown-to-interception ratio against them, and Baker Mayfield happens to be the league leader in interceptions with 11.

The Browns could lean on Nick Chubb early and often to prevent turnovers — a game plan that might not be enough to beat the Patriots, but will certainly go a long way to help the under. Sean Koerner

PRO System Match

The Browns were a popular dark horse Super Bowl team entering the season, but bettors have cooled on Mayfield and Co.

Nearly 70% of spread tickets are on the Pats as of writing (see live public betting data here). A lot of that has to do with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick being undefeated and 5-2 against the spread. There are few situations that it makes sense to bet against TB12, but this may be one of them as New England is currently covering by 11.79 points per game this season.

ATS records tend to regress to the mean over the course of a season as bookmakers adjust to team performance and public perception. As a result, it’s been profitable to bet against teams that have covered the spread by a big margin.

Following this Pro System, bettors have gone 310-239-16 (56.5%) ATS since 2005. A $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $5,062 following this strategy.

It’s always difficult to bet against the Patriots given their track record of success, but history suggests bettors should fade them and take the points with the Browns. John Ewing

Expert Picks

Stuckey: Browns +13

The Patriots have had one of the easiest schedules en route to their perfect 7-0 record. I had to do a double take at their .273 Strength of Schedule, which is the lowest in the league. And to be honest, that paltry number may actually undersell how easy this season has been for New England so far.

New England’s seven wins have come against teams with a combined 11 wins, five of which are accounted for by the Bills, who have also had one of the easiest schedules and almost took out the Patriots in Orchard Park.

The seven quarterbacks who have finished games against New England have a combined three wins. And Daniel Jones, who is responsible for two of those three, had to play in Foxborough on a short week with almost all of his skill position players out with injuries.

The Patriots defensive numbers are extremely inflated.

Look, I’ve been screaming since Week 1 that this is the best defense in the NFL, but it isn’t historically great. Once they start playing real offenses with real quarterbacks, we should see regression across the board.

  • Turnovers: The Patriots lead the NFL with a +14 turnover margin, one of the 25 best marks in league history through seven weeks.
  • Red Zone: Opponents are scoring touchdowns on only 16.67% of drives inside the New England 20. Last season, that number was 63.46% and no defense has finished with a percentage lower than 30% over the past 15 seasons.

The Patriots certainly deserve credit for those numbers, but they’ve also benefited from facing extremely poor offenses (and quarterbacks) and luck, which will always play a major part in turnovers and red-zone performance.

The Browns rank 28th with a -6 turnover differential and 26th with an opponent red-zone touchdown percentage of 65%, but it’s fair to expect positive regression in both — in fact, I think this Browns offense will present this Patriots defense with its toughest test yet.

The Patriots have been running a ton of man on the outside, but with frequent Cover 0 blitzes (no safety help over top). It’s worked like a charm, but they haven’t had to shut down any receiving groups on par with the Browns.

The Patriots have also jumped out to big leads in almost every game in large part due to turnovers, which has forced teams into throwing the ball, playing right into Belichick’s hands. But don’t forget this defense was very vulnerable against the run last season. If Cleveland can avoid any random or stupid mistakes early, Chubb should have some success on the ground.

The Patriots don’t have the same explosive offense we’ve seen in recent years. Some of the struggles are a result of injuries, as they’ve lost a number of offensive linemen (starting guard Shaq Mason is also banged up this week) in addition to Pro Bowl fullback James Develin.

There’s also been a constant carousel of new characters at wideout and tight end. It’s one reason they traded a second-round draft pick for Sanu, who should help, but may take a week or two to get assimilated.

The potential return of Ward and Williams, meanwhile, should be enough to keep Brady from having an enormous day. Ranking fifth in adjusted sack rate, the Browns are also capable of getting pressure on him, which is necessary to have a shot at slowing down the future first-ballot Hall of Famer.

The Patriots should win, but this is too many points for me to pass on backing a desperate Browns team off a bye looking to avoid falling to three games out of first place in the AFC North.

Mayfield should makes enough plays to keep this within two touchdowns. [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

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