NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions: Bet Cowboys and Steelers To Cover Their Week 8 Spreads vs. Vikings and Browns
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images). Pictured: Cowboys WR Michael Gallup
Cowboys at Vikings
Raheem Palmer: To put this bluntly, these are two teams in completely different classes.
Led by Dak Prescott, the Cowboys are first in scoring offense (34.2 points per game), second in Success Rate (53.1%) and fifth in Expected Points Added (EPA) per play. No team has been able to slow this offense down, and I don’t see that changing against a Vikings defense that’s 28th in Football Outsiders’ rush DVOA and is giving up 4.8 yards per carry (fourth-worst in the NFL). Look for big days from Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, which should open things up for Prescott through the air.
This is also a Vikings defense that struggled to slow down the Lions and Panthers to close out games, so I struggle to see how that changes here.
And although the Vikings have the weapons in Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen to give the Cowboys defense problems, that hasn’t always translated to dominant performances given the conservative nature of head coach Mike Zimmer.
I’ll back the Cowboys up to -2.5 in a game that they’re undervalued on the point spread.
Steelers at Browns
Brandon Anderson: This division rivalry hasn’t been exactly much of a “rivalry” the last couple decades.
Until the calendar turned to 2021, the Browns had won exactly five of the previous 36 meetings between these teams. Then Cleveland won twice in a week — one a meaningless Week 17 matchup without Ben Roethlisberger and the next one anything but meaningless as the Browns won their first playoff game since 1994 thanks to a shocking 28-0 first quarter run out.
Suddenly, the Browns are on a two-win streak in this series — don’t laugh, it’s their first time this century! — and this rivalry might be back on.
You better believe the Steelers have a bitter taste in their mouths and have been waiting for this rematch. Remember, they started last season 11–0! They probably didn’t expect to lose five of their final six games and go out in such ignominious fashion.
Still, we need more than motivation, and that’s where the health and rest factors come into play. The Steelers are by far the healthier team, and that’s the edge I’m playing here. They’re also coming off a bye week, which could do wonders for Matt Canada’s offense with a little extra time to find some answers.
The Browns also had a couple days off with the Thursday game in Week 7, but this roster is decimated by injuries right now. Remember, Case Keenum and D’Ernest Johnson were the offense last week. Baker Mayfield is a question mark, so is Nick Chubb, and Kareem Hunt is out. The offensive line has multiple injury question marks, too, including the top three tackles. And Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and Jadeveon Clowney are big defensive question marks.
With this line at Browns -3.5, I’m grabbing the Steelers before we lose the hook.
The news cycle can really only move this line toward Pittsburgh with all of those injuries. How many guys might Cleveland be missing again? I don’t want to wait to find out, especially since the Steelers might be the pick straight up anyway.
Big Ben is 23–2–1 lifetime against the Browns. He’s also been awesome in these games as a short underdog, an impressive 24–12 straight up with a 49% ROI, including wins in seven of the last eight in this spot, per Action Labs. And if you think that’s all in the past and this is a new Browns team now, you should know Kevin Stefanksi’s team was 0-6 against the season in the division last season.
I’ll grab the Steelers +3.5, but no further. I may end up playing the moneyline., too, but I know I want the hook so I’ll grab that before injury news robs any potential value.