Early NFL Betting Picks for Week 8
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Mike Zimmer
NFL spreads usually open up on Sunday evenings for the following week — and after they do, they’re almost immediately on the move. The early bets serve as a signal to bookmakers for what the “true” odds should be, and sportsbooks aren’t shy about adjusting on the fly if the market is telling them they missed the mark.
Betting earlier in the week is a key way you can beat the closing line, which should be your goal as a bettor.
Our NFL experts hopped on three bets early in an attempt to beat the market on the following games:
- Raiders at Texans (Odds: Texans -6.5)
- Redskins at Vikings (Odds: Vikings -15.5)
- Jets at Jaguars (Odds: Jaguars -6)
Odds as of Tuesday morning and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
Below, they’ll detail what led them to make their wagers — and the thresholds at which they still have value.
Let’s dive in.
Matthew Freedman: Vikings -16 vs. Redskins
1 p.m. ET, Sunday
No one wants to lay 16 points, but I think this could go to -17, and I have zero respect for the Redskins.
It’s unfortunate for the Vikings that they will likely be without wide receiver Adam Thielen (hamstring), but the Redskins will also probably not have cornerback Josh Norman (thigh), and those two losses basically cancel each other out.
I have been impressed with the Vikings recently, and bettor extraordinaire Rufus Peabody gave them his top game grade for Week 7.
Top NFL Wk7 game grades:
(these represent exp pt diff on neutral field vs avg tm based on how tm played controlling for opp, weighting stats by predictive value)
1) MIN +12
2) GB +11.6
3) KC +9.8
4) LAR +9.7
5) DAL +9.0
6) NO +9.0
7) TEN +4.6
8) HOU +3.4
9) JAC +3.3
10) BAL +2.8
— Rufus Peabody (@RufusPeabody) October 21, 2019
Under head coach Mike Zimmer (since 2014), the Vikings have had all sorts of edges against the spread, offering a strong return on investment in several different scenarios.
They have been a profitable regular-season team to back (per Bet Labs):
- At home: 30-12-1, 38.2% ROI
- As favorites: 34-15-1, 34.5% ROI
- Outside of division: 40-13-1, 46.2% ROI
These trends make sense within the context of who Zimmer is as a coach and what kind of team the Vikings are.
Zimmer is a focused, no-nonsense, risk-adverse, process-oriented, defense-directed “manager” (for lack of a better word), and the Vikings are a disciplined team that doesn’t often make big mistakes.
They don’t waste the natural advantage they have at home. They don’t play down to the level of their underdog opponents. They don’t present a known and easy challenge to teams that aren’t familiar with them.
This week, the Vikings are in a “solar eclipse” spot with all of Zimmer’s historical edges lining up.
As non-divisional home favorites, the Vikings are 19-2-1 ATS (73.5% ROI).
I’d bet this to -16.5.
Mike Randle: Houston -6.5 vs. Raiders
1 p.m. ET, Sunday
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.
With wide receiver Tyrell Williams out with a foot injury, the Raiders offense has minimal 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 Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
I’m grabbing the Texans at less than a touchdown line against a travel-weary Raiders team playing its fifth consecutive road game.
I would bet this up to Houston -8.
John Ewing: Jets-Jags Under 41
1 p.m. ET, Sunday
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 has 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 this year and will go up against the Jags secondary that is in the top half of the league in passing yards allowed per game.
I’d bet the under down to 40 points.