NFL Week 8 Picks: Predictions for Panthers vs Falcons, More
Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Dameon Pierce.
- After making his initial reads on games earlier in the week, Brandon Anderson has reached verdicts.
- Check out how Anderson is betting Week 8 in the NFL below.
We’ve arrived at the final Sunday in October, which means we’re nearly halfway through the season already. And what have we really learned?
Not much, if these lines are any indication. A whopping 12-of-15 games for Week 8 have a line at four points or below. If you’re having a hard time picking sides in these games, the books apparently are too!
Remember that two, three and four are key numbers so far this year, so pay attention to every half-point, shop around and get the best value. It’s time to make final decisions on these tricky Week 8 lines.
We’ve already made decisions for nearly every game, so be sure to check the full explanations. Let’s recap those Bet, Lean and Pass decisions now that the lines have shifted and then get to our final three decisions.
- Dolphins -3.5 at Lions
- Bengals -3 at Browns
- Bet Rams HT / 49ers FT +750 (and Lean 49ers PK at Rams)
- Seahawks -3 vs Giants
- Eagles -10 vs Steelers
- Cardinals +3.5 at Vikings
- Patriots -2.5 at Jets
- Bills -10.5 vs Packers, and bet Bills 2H -4.5
- Commanders +3 at Colts
- Bears +10 at Cowboys
- Raiders -1 at Saints
- Seahawks (+3.5) at Cardinals
- Bucs-Rams Under 43
Looks like Russell Wilson will play, but that doesn’t mean we have to. I’m just not feeling the need to invest my money, or mental capacity, in this Sunday morning affair.
London is Jacksonville’s home away from home, but I don’t spot any real meaningful trends for or against the Jaguars. They’re 4-4 ATS in London games. If you do want a funky trend to tail, London games with totals below 42 are 8-1 to the over, including 4-0 in morning games and 3-0 in Jags games. Then again, Denver has the lowest PPG on both offense and defense, and all but one its games has finished at 35 or below.
The matchup portends an ugly, low scoring, Thursday-night-on-a-Sunday-morning type feel. Denver’s defense has been outstanding, and Jacksonville’s defensive metrics are good.
Wilson or not, it’s tough to see Denver’s pathetic offense doing much — especially without both tackles — and the Jaguars’ attack has been inconsistent against good defenses.
I don’t have a great angle, other than the Broncos potentially mailing this one in and leaving Nathaniel Hackett behind in London for a fresh start coming out of the bye.
The Pick: Jaguars -2.5 (Pass) | Previously: Wait for Russell Wilson news
Tennessee’s two best and most important players remain questionable for this one. Ryan Tannehill exited last Sunday in a walking boot and is now also dealing with illness, while star defender Jeffery Simmons is dealing with an ankle injury.
This isn’t exactly a loaded Titans team, so potentially losing their best player on each side of the ball — or at least getting a limited version — is a huge swing. It’s especially huge at QB, where rookie QB Malik Willis may be forced into action. Willis is an outstanding runner so you’ll want some rushing over props if he does play, but he is a long ways away as a passer. He holds onto the ball far too long and makes slow, poor decisions.
That sort of QB making his NFL debut on the road simply cannot be a field goal favorite, not even against the lowly Texans.
Houston has been competitive in all but one game this season. Lovie Smith has his guys playing hard. The Texans simply don’t make it easy on the opponent. They make them earn it. And while the Titans have won four in a row, those wins came against the winless Raiders, one-win Commanders and hapless Colts — and all four games were close late.
These teams are more even than you think, and the Tannehill and Simmons injuries make it even closer. Tennessee has little in its receiving corps and not much on the line. Maybe Derrick Henry has a throwback game and does it all himself against a bad run defense, but there’s just not much else to like.
This division is weird. The Titans dominate the Colts. The Colts lose in Jacksonville but beat them at home. And the Texans hang with the Titans. The Titans have only covered two of their last 11 against Houston (18%), and the Texans are 12-6-1 ATS (67%) at home against Tennessee. The Titans are Houston’s single most profitable home opponent in franchise history.
With a line around -2.5, books are practically begging bettors to take the Titans. This 4-2 division leader only has to win by a field goal? Last year’s 1-seed against the terrible Texans, by a field goal?!
Don’t fall for it. Play the number and back the Texans at home.
Houston has a real chance to pull the upset and pull within 1.5 games of the division lead. It is +6600 to win the worst division in football at Bet365. It’s a weird year, and that awful division will get even worse if these Tannehill and Simmons injuries linger. If Houston wins, I’d put their division odds around 12% versus 1.5% implied here. I already sprinkled. Care to join me?
If Tannehill is cleared to play, expect this line to rise above +3. I still like playing the number and the Texans in that spot. If he’s out, this likely drops back below the key number and maybe below +2 as well, so I’ll take a risk and play now.
Okay, this line has simply gone too far.
We played the Falcons early. If you followed along at The Lookahead last Friday or the Hot Read on Sunday night, you’re already sitting on a Falcons -6.5 or -6 ticket. Obviously this line has moved significantly against us. The public money is pouring in on the underdog Panthers after their big win against the Bucs.
But hasn’t this become just a classic buy-low-sell-high spot? The Panthers are coming off their only good game of the season, really, and even that one was not as much of a blowout as it looked. The Bucs dropped an easy TD on the opening drive and stalled a few times late as the game got away. Credit Carolina for taking care of business, but this is the same team that lost its previous three games by double digits, scoring a grand total of two offensive TDs in that stretch.
Atlanta is on the other side. The Falcons got boat-raced by Cincinnati, allowing TDs on the first four Bengals drives as Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase lit this banged-up secondary on fire. But Atlanta had won three of its previous four, including an impressive offensive performance over the 49ers and a win in Seattle that looks better by the week.
The Falcons still rank top 10 in offensive DVOA, with an elite rushing attack and an efficient passing game. They weren’t built to play from behind or go toe-to-toe with Burrow and Chase, but guess who doesn’t have either of those guys? P.J. Walker, D’Onta Foreman and Shi Smith don’t exactly strike fear into the heart of an opponent.
Part of the reason for this line move is the cluster injuries to Atlanta’s secondary. Both star corners (A.J. Terrell and Casey Hayward) are out, and that’s really the only strength on its defense. The Falcons’ secondary is in bad shape, but again, this is not the Bengals.
Remember, Walker literally had a negative aDOT two weeks ago. Additionally, the Panthers secondary is nearly just as banged up, and the Falcons’ offense has proven far more capable of taking advantage of an opponent’s weakness.
The Falcons have won and covered 10 of their last 13 against Carolina (77%), and history says there’s value on this line. Teams that covered a spread by 26 or more like Carolina are 39% ATS the following week, while teams that lost by 17+ are 61% ATS against teams that won by 17+.
What goes up must come down. This line has gone too far. Buy low on the Falcons and trust them to come out smelling like division leaders against what’s still one of the worst teams in football.