Your Ultimate NFL Week 8 Betting Guide: Tips, Picks, Strategies for Every Game
USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Tom Brady, Stefon Diggs, Adrian Peterson
- If you're looking for comprehensive betting and fantasy football previews for every Week 8 game, you've come to the right place.
- Our experts cover trends, sharp action, fantasy football sleepers and make the case for a few bets.
All odds as of Friday morning. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets.
Betting odds: Philadelphia Eagles at Jacksonville Jaguars (in London)
- Spread: Eagles -3.5 (+100)
- Over/Under: 43
- Time: 9:30 a.m. ET
- TV channel: NFL Network/DTV
Betting market: Bettors clearly want no part of a team trying to decide between Blake Bortles and Cody Kessler at quarterback. Eighty-one percent of tickets and 83% of dollars wagered are laying the points with Philly.
One-sided Eagles money has moved this line from an opener of Philadelphia -2 to -3.5 (+100) at the time of writing (see live betting data here).
This number has hit +3.5 a few different times earlier in the week, and sharp bettors pounced on the Jags and the hook each instance to drive the line back to +3. — PJ Walsh
Trends to know: The Jacksonville Jaguars have scored 14 points or fewer in three consecutive games heading into a Week 8 matchup in London.
According to our Bet Labs data, teams to score 14 points or fewer in three consecutive games since 2003 have performed well against the first-half spread at home, but have not held up well on the road or on a neutral site:
- At home: 46-22-2 (+20.2 units)
- On road/neutral: 18-33-1 (-16.3 units)
Since the last game the Jaguars played in London (Week 3 of last season), they are 3-6 against the first-half spread on the road, including 1-6 in their past seven first halves. — Evan Abrams
The Jaguars are a small dog in London. Sound familiar?
Well, it should as Jacksonville has been a short dog (three points or fewer) each of the past three seasons. They have won all three games outright against the Bills (2015), Colts (2016) and Ravens (2017).
This will mark the sixth time the Jaguars play at Wembley, the most of any NFL team. That recent experience (and success) should help in a battle of two desperate teams, especially in the Eagles’ first trip across the pond. — Stuckey
Did you know? The Jaguars have lost three straight games by an average of 20.7 points per game.
Since 2003, teams with a negative scoring margin average of 20 or more points in three consecutive games have gone 45-33-2 ATS when listed as an underdog in their next game. — John Ewing
Which team is healthier? Eagles
The Jaguars’ normally dominant secondary will have its depth tested Sunday, as cornerbacks A.J. Bouye (calf) and Tyler Patmon (neck) didn’t even make the trip to London and D.J. Hayden (toe) is not expected to play.
The defense also faces the prospect of being without defensive line stalwarts Dante Fowler Jr. (groin) and Marcell Dareus (illness).
The Eagles have already ruled out cornerback Sidney Jones (hamstring) and running back/returner Darren Sproles (hamstring), but they’re mostly healthy otherwise.
Biggest mismatch: Philly edge rush vs. Jaguars tackles
What is wrong with the Jaguars? It’s almost all about their offense, as the defense is still playing at a high level. Injuries have played a major role (Leonard Fournette, Austin Seferian-Jenkins) and forced the Jaguars to rely more on Bortles passing to a new and unproven group of receivers.
The offensive line is built for a power running game (its advanced metrics grade out well there), but it struggles immensely in pass protection. It doesn’t help that the O-line is down to its third left tackle in Josh Walker, who is actually a guard.
The injury to Cam Robinson is having ripple effects along Jacksonville’s front, which has given up 18 sacks and ranks 19th in Football Outsiders’ adjusted sack rate metric.
For comparison, last year’s AFC runner-up allowed only 24 sacks all regular season and finished in the top five in adjusted sack rate.
The Jags have lost their identity as a power-rushing team (part of the reason they traded for running back Carlos Hyde), and it’s taken them from a contender to a pretender.
While Bortles deserves a big chunk of the blame for the turnover problems (their -12 differential is second-worst in league), the skill-position injuries and tackle play deserve some, too. The Eagles have a banged-up defensive front, but are more than capable of forcing Bortles into more mistakes if the Jaguars can’t get the running game going. — Stuckey
DFS edge: This game has an ugly total of 41 points in London. Given Bortles’ struggles, the Eagles defense could be an appealing target with their No. 1-ranked pass rush, per Pro Football Focus.
The Eagles rank in the top three in quarterback hurries, pressures and hits this season. Philly’s defense costs just $2,900 on DraftKings, but it has the sixth-highest ceiling projection in our FantasyLabs Player Models. — Justin Bailey
Bet to watch: Eagles -3
The Eagles have not looked like reigning Super Bowl champions, and you can place some blame on the defense for blown fourth-quarter leads. Still, this unit ranks in the top five in red-zone defense and third-down conversion percentage.
The issue has mainly been their offense. Injuries have played a role, but the offensive line play has been very poor. The Eagles’ offensive line has given up 22 sacks and ranks 24th in adjusted sack rate.
Eagles quarterbacks have been hit 54 times this season; only the Texans have allowed more quarterback hits this season. However, while the Jaguars have elite talent along the defensive line, they only have 15 sacks and rank 22nd in adjusted sack rate.
Their defense usually starts with pressure up front, which they haven’t been getting enough of, and elite coverage on the backend, which hasn’t been up to par mainly due to injuries.
With Bouye sidelined, the Jags could have Jalen Ramsey (who also might not be 100%) playing alongside three undrafted rookie corners on Sunday.
My matchup to watch is Nelson Agholor against Tre Herndon. Among receivers with at least 20 receptions, Agholor ranks dead last in yards per catch at 8.5, as the Eagles have consistently thrown short routes to him all season.
However, I think this is the week they run fewer two-TE sets and more three-WR sets to take advantage of the Jags’ disastrous situation at slot corner.
Agholor averaged 12.4 yards per catch last season and is more than capable of exploiting Herndon.
The Jags have the experience advantage playing in London, but I think the Eagles’ defensive front has a better chance of getting pressure.
In a game of two desperate teams, give me Carson Wentz over Bortles — especially with all of these potential injuries in the Jags’ secondary.
Be sure to shop for the best number here. At the time of writing, there were still a few -3s around the market. — Stuckey
Betting odds: Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs
- Spread: Chiefs -10
- Over/Under: 53.5
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: CBS
Betting market: At the time of writing, 61% of bettors are laying the points with Kansas City, yet 72% of dollars wagered are taking Denver.
Trends to know: The Chiefs have opened the regular season 7-0 against the spread. Kansas City is one of just three teams since 1990 to cover the spread in each of their first seven games of the season.
The previous two teams were the 2008 Tennessee Titans, who started 7-0 straight up /ATS and finished the season 13-3 SU/12-4 ATS, and the 2007 New England Patriots, who started 7-0 SU/ATS and finished the season 16-0 SU/10-6 ATS. — Evan Abrams
Double-digit underdogs against division opponents are 111-82-5 (58%) ATS since 2003, according to our Bet Labs data.
These teams perform best in the first half of the season. In Weeks 1-8, underdogs in this spot are 33-16-2 (67%) ATS. In Weeks 9 through 17 they are 68-58-2 (54%). — Evan Abrams
Denver beat Arizona 45-10 on Thursday Night Football in Week 7. The Broncos are just the second team to win its previous game by 30 or more points and then be listed as a double-digit underdog since 2003.
The previous team, the Lions in Week 6 of 2010, covered the spread. — John Ewing
Believe it or not, the Broncos have a +1 point differential. Since 2003, teams with a positive point differential that opened as a double-digit underdog against a divisional opponent are 6-13 SU (+9.3 units) and 11-6-2 ATS, covering the spread by more than a field goal per game. — Evan Abrams
Wind is expected to be a factor at Arrowhead Stadium this weekend (15-17 mph).
Since 2003, when the wind is swirling at least 15 mph at Arrowhead, the under is 8-4, including a clean 4-0 since 2010, with fewer than 45 combined points scored in all four games.
This fits league-wide trends, as well, which show unders cash at a higher rate in windy games. — Evan Abrams
Biggest mismatch: Andy Reid vs. Vance Joseph
I actually think record against the betting lines says a lot about a head coach, because the mark of a good coach is getting his team to exceed expectations.
Reid and Joseph couldn’t be more opposite: Reid is 133-110-4 ATS since 2003; Joseph is 6-15-2 in his two seasons in charge of the Broncos.
The Chiefs have gone over their win total for five years and counting, while Joseph’s squad fell three wins short of its total in his first season,
Reid and his staff make sharp moves like replacing the conservative Alex Smith with laser show Patrick Mahomes. Joseph & Co. tried to sell Denver as having a quarterback problem, even though he inherited a team that went 9-7 with Trevor Siemian.
Joseph even pales in comparison to Reid at replay challenges: While Reid has hit 46% (52-60) in his career, Joseph is still looking to get a second successful challenge; he sits at 1-6 (16%) lifetime. — Chris Raybon
Which team is healthier? Chiefs
The Broncos are dealing with a plethora of injuries on defense, as safety Darian Stewart (neck) could join outside linebacker Shane Ray (ankle/wrist) on the bench. Safety Dymonte Thomas (chest), cornerback Adam Jones (leg), linebacker Brandon Marshall (knee) and outside linebacker Von Miller (ankle) also aren’t 100%.
The Chiefs are expected to once again be without safety Eric Berry (heel) and outside linebacker Justin Houston (hamstring), while center Mitch Morse remains in the concussion protocol.
DFS edge: The Broncos have featured stud corner Chris Harris Jr. in the slot on 60% of his snaps this season, but haven’t asked him to consistently travel with a single receiver.
It seems unlikely this would change vs. the Chiefs, considering the Broncos have largely slowed down Tyreek Hill (as a receiver) during their matchups.
Overall, Hill has posted 9-54-0, 2-38-0, 0-0-0 and 9-52-1 receiving lines in four career games against the Broncos.
Hill has averaged 22.8 DraftKings PPG with a +9.5 Plus/Minus on the road during his career compared to just 13.1 PPG and a -0.6 Plus/Minus at Arrowhead. — Ian Hartitz
Bet to watch: Broncos +10
Well, well, well. We meet again, Chiefs. I read a lot of people saying they are afraid to fade the Chiefs because they lost money fading them earlier in the season. Well, that should not impact your decision one bit.
You should simply adjust your numbers and then bet against or for a certain team based on the number. Bet numbers, not teams. And I will continue to bet numbers against the Chiefs as long as my numbers tell me to do so.
I still don’t buy anything about this Chiefs defense, especially against the run. K.C. is allowing 5.2 yards per rush, which ranks 30th in the NFL.
The core of their defense up the middle is extremely weak at all three levels. And if there’s one thing the Broncos can do well, it’s run the ball. Denver actually ranks second in the NFL at 5.1 yards per rush behind a very productive run-blocking offensive line.
The passing game won’t be a lost cause, especially if Denver can create play-action opportunities for Case Keenum.
Three other factors to consider:
- These penalty issues will eventually catch up with the Chiefs (30th in the NFL with 8.3 penalties per game).
- The wind might cause this to be lower scoring that many think, which would make the +10 even more valuable (high winds would obviously also hurt the K.C. offense more, as well).
- This is a good situational spot for the Broncos, who have had a few extra days to prepare.
At the end of the day, this line is just too high. — Stuckey
Betting odds: Baltimore Ravens at Carolina Panthers
- Spread: Ravens -3
- Over/Under: 44
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: CBS
Betting market: Only 43% of bettors are backing the Ravens on the road, but Baltimore has still moved from a pick ’em to -3 thanks to getting 62% of money wagered.
Trends to know: The Ravens are allowing 14.4 points per game this season, fewest in the NFL by more than three points. In Cam Newton’s career, he has faced a defense in October or later allowing fewer than 17 ppg five times.
The Ravens are coming off a home loss against the Saints last weekend and many may think Baltimore is a good bet to bounce back.
But over the past five seasons, Joe Flacco is just 1-4-2 ATS the game after a home loss and in Flacco’s career he is just 7-9-2 ATS, including 5-7-1 ATS, on the road coming off a home loss. — Abrams
Biggest mismatch: Ravens defense vs. Panthers running backs
The Panthers love to throw to their running back. The Cam-to-Christian connection is the oil that makes that offense run. Running back Christian McCaffrey averages nearly seven catches and 50 yards per game this season.
Well, don’t expect a smooth ride against a Ravens defense that has been downright stingy against running backs in the passing game.
In the past three weeks, Alvin Kamara, Dion Lewis and Duke Johnson each had yardage totals less than one-sixth what they averaged in their other games this season. Those three combined for five catches and 23 yards over those three games.
Running backs have averaged 2.7 catches for fewer than 15 yards per game against the Ravens this season. — Stuckey
Which team is healthier? Panthers
Left guard Alex Lewis (neck), right tackle James Hurst (back) and cornerback Marlon Humphrey (thigh) are the only Ravens starters at risk of missing Sunday’s matchup against the Panthers, who are fairly healthy, as well.
Newton (right shoulder) and Greg Olsen (foot) are fully expected to suit up Sunday despite practicing in a limited fashion on Wednesday and Thursday, while safety Rashaan Gaulden (ankle), receiver Torrey Smith (knee) and defensive end Mario Addison (back) should be considered questionable.
DFS edge: The only opposing quarterbacks not to score at least 20 points against the Panthers are Alex Smith and Dak Prescott, while Odell Beckham Jr. (35.4), Tyler Boyd (28.7) and Alshon Jeffery (21.8) have torched the secondary.
Exposure to the Ravens’ receivers on DraftKings should probably be focused on Michael Crabtree, who boasts an impressive +3.6 Projected Plus/Minus and an 87% Bargain Rating in our FantasyLabs Models.
He’ll likely see plenty of No. 1 cornerback James Bradberry, who has understandably struggled against Julio Jones (5-64-0), A.J. Green (5-58-0), Odell Beckham Jr. (8-131-1), Josh Doctson (3-20-0) and Alshon Jeffery (7-88-1) in shadow matchups this season. — Hartitz
Bet to watch: Ravens -2
After suffering through betting against my Ravens live in Cleveland (which turned out to be a winner) and watching Justin Tucker miss an extra point for the first time in his career (with a bunch of Saints fans nearby) and cost the Ravens a shot at the win, I can now back Baltimore for the first time since it played the Steelers.
This is an outstanding matchup for the Ravens defense across the board:
- The Panthers have subpar receivers and the Ravens have the corner depth to match up with both their physicality and speed, which is why the Ravens allow a league-best 5.5 yards per pass.
- If the Baltimore defense has one vulnerability, it’s deep passes. Fortunately, the Panthers rank 25th in yards per pass and the Ravens’ pressure (league-leading 27 sacks) likely won’t give Cam much time to throw. Baltimore’s safeties can be fully utilized to stop the running game and short passing attack.
- The Panthers lead the NFL in yards per rush, but they do almost all of their damage up the gut or to the right. The Ravens’ run defense just happens to excel at stopping the run in those two areas, while struggling on the left side.
On the other side of the ball, the Ravens have struggled to run the ball (their 3.4 yards per rush ranks second worst), but that won’t hurt as much against a Carolina defense that excels at stopping the run.
Baltimore’s offensive line does, however, excel in pass-blocking (fourth in adjusted sack rate), which means Flacco should have enough time to allow his efficient route-runners to get open against the Panther’s 26th ranked DVOA pass defense. — Stuckey
Bet to watch: Ravens-Panthers Under 44
Since the Ravens opened the season with two straight overs — a 47-3 win where they reached the total by themselves and a 34-23 road loss to the Bengals — they’re on a five-game under streak, including games vs. Pittsburgh and New Orleans.
The Panthers will be one of the slowest-paced teams the Ravens have faced, operating at a pace that ranks 26th in neutral situations and 30th in the first half of games.
While the over is 3-3 in Panthers games this season, all three of those overs have come against teams that rank in the bottom six in defensive DVOA. — Abrams
Betting odds: Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers
- Spread: Steelers -8
- Over/Under: 49
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: CBS
Betting market: In terms of betting action, this is one of the more boring games on the Week 8 slate.
Pittsburgh has moved from -7.5 to -8 behind 66% of spread bets at the time of writing, but the line has yet to approach any key numbers or attract attention from professionals (see live betting data here). — PJ Walsh
Expanding on the trend above, head coach Mike Tomlin is 4-7 ATS off a bye in his career, and the Steelers were favored in three of their past four ATS losses.
Tomlin and the Steelers have also failed to cover in their past four games against Cleveland. And while they didn’t lose any of the games (they did tie one), the four games were decided by a total margin of 10 points. The Browns have been close. — Evan Abrams
On the flip side, Tomlin has been great as a seven-plus-point home favorite in Pittsburgh, compiling a 21-12 ATS record (63.6%) for a robust 26.5% ROI, while covering by an average of almost four points per game.
Over that stretch, the Steelers have a straight-up record of 29-4. — Stuckey
Ben Roethlisberger is 10-0 SU, but only 6-4 ATS in his career at home against the Browns. — Evan Abrams
Biggest mismatch: Steelers defensive line vs. Browns offensive line
The strength of the Steelers’ D lies up front along the defensive line. Despite being one of only 10 teams to have had a bye this season, Pittsburgh ranks tied for second in the NFL with 22.0 sacks — trailing only the Baltimore Ravens’ 27.0.
That spells doom for a Browns offensive line that has allowed a league-high 31 sacks. Cleveland has also already allowed 51 QB hits — the fifth-most in the NFL.
Expect to see Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt generating pressure up the gut, while Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt add pressure from the edge — in addition to the blitzers you know Pittsburgh will be sending.
Add in the fact that the secondary plays a scheme that doesn’t allow quarterbacks to run and it could be a long day for Baker Mayfield.
The mismatch also carries over to the other side of the ball, as Roethlisberger should have a much cleaner pocket behind an offensive line that ranks second in the NFL in adjusted sack rate.
Pittsburgh has given up only nine sacks and 23 quarterback hits all season. — Stuckey
Which team is healthier? Steelers
Browns free safety Damarious Randall (groin/ankle) is expected to play Sunday despite not practicing on Wednesday and Thursday, while wide receiver Rashard Higgins (knee), cornerback E.J. Gaines (concussion) and linebacker Joe Schobert (hamstring) aren’t expected to suit up. Tight end David Njoku (knee) should be considered questionable.
The Steelers are expected to welcome back safety Morgan Burnett (groin) and linebacker L.J. Fort (ankle), but right tackle Marcus Gilbert (knee) could be sidelined. Running back Le’Veon Bell remains missing in action.
DFS edge: Everyone is aware the Steelers offense is in a good spot this week but so is the Pittsburgh defense, as it’s just the 13th-most expensive unit on DraftKings at $2,900.
Bet to watch: Steelers -5.5 First Half
We mentioned it earlier, but it bears repeating: Roethlisberger is 10-0 SU against the Browns at home and Tomlin is 29-4 SU when he’s at least a seven-point favorite.
No matter how you slice it, these two never seem to come up short in this spot.
The Steelers also boast a huge trench advantage (sacks, adjusted sack rate) and even if Mayfield does stay upright, he is only completing 61.4% of passes in a clean pocket, which ranks 36th of 38 qualified quarterbacks.
The Browns defense has also been a little Jekyll and Hyde this season. Yes, it is second in defensive DVOA and first in pass defense, but in three of its last four games it has given up 26, 38, and 45 points to the Bucs, Chargers and Raiders.
I think there’s a chance the first half starts with a fast tempo given the Steelers offense (26.78 sec/play in first half) is the sixth-fastest unit this season, which creates more time for Antonio Brown to continue this:
Antonio Brown’s last 10 games against Cleveland:
9 receptions-93 yards-1 TD (16 targets)
2-22-1 (3) pic.twitter.com/Sf4IUNU8ZP
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) October 23, 2018
This all leads me to backing the Steelers to take a decent lead into the locker room. — Evan Abrams
Betting odds: Seattle Seahawks at Detroit Lions
- Spread: Lions -3
- Over/Under: 49
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
Betting market: The action has slightly tilted toward Seattle in recent days. The Seahawks are getting more tickets (59%) and money (65%) at the time of writing (see live data here).
That could be part of the reason most books have moved the juice on Seahawks +3 up around -120. It will be interesting to see if oddsmakers get enough Seattle action to force a move down to +2.5. — PJ Walsh
Trends to know: Seattle has won three of its past four games to even its record at 3-3. In his career, Matthew Stafford is 30-42-2 (42%) ATS when playing a team that is .500 or better, according to our Bet Labs data. — John Ewing
Seattle’s defense is not what it used to be, but it is still allowing just 19.5 ppg this season, which ranks fifth in the NFL.
In Stafford’s career, he has faced a defense allowing fewer than 21 ppg at home 27 times and is 10-17 ATS, including 4-11 ATS over the last 5 years. — Evan Abrams
The Detroit Lions have been one of the hottest betting teams in 2018, covering five games in a row and joining the Chiefs as the only teams to cover every game since Week 2. — Evan Abrams
Situationally, this is an early kick locally for Seattle. But the Seahawks do come off a bye week while the Lions come in off a road win with two more huge road games on deck against division rivals Minnesota and Chicago. — Stuckey
Both teams come in at 3-3, but the Lions’ three victories have come over three teams with a combined 12-7-1 record, while the Hawks’ three wins have come against teams with a combined 5-15 record. — Stuckey
Sneaky storyline: Lions’ success along the O-line
One of the most surprising teams in the league to me this season has been the Lions, who are a legitimate threat to make the playoffs in the NFC.
Their success really stems from their play in the interior, which has exceeded expectations because of excellent picks in the most recent draft.
Detroit’s offensive line has allowed the second-fewest QB hits (21) in the league, trailing only the Saints’ 20. It also ranks No. 3 in yards before contact (3.3), which has finally given Detroit a running game.
Rookie running back Kerryon Johnson looks like the real deal, but he didn’t break the team’s 100-yard game drought by himself. The offensive line, led by an outstanding guard duo in T.J. Lang and rookie Frank Ragnow, has played excellent football up front. — Stuckey
— Logan Lamorandier (@LLamorandier) October 23, 2018
Which team is healthier? Seahawks
The Seahawks could welcome back linebacker K.J. Wright (knee) and tight end Ed Dickson (quadriceps) coming off their Week 7 bye. The likes of running back Rashaad Penny (finger) and defensive end Dion Jordan (knee) also appear to be on the probable side of things.
The Lions aren’t overly banged up either, but running back Theo Riddick (knee), linebacker Jarrad Davis (calf) and defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (shoulder) should be considered questionable for Sunday.
Biggest mismatch: Seahawks run game vs. Lions rushing defense
While the emergence of Da’Shawn Hand has helped the Lions rank No. 1 overall in adjusted sack rate, Detroit really misses Ansah when defending the run.
The Lions rank 30th rush defense DVOA. And while trading for defensive lineman Damon “Snacks” Harrison (who is a top-five run stopper on the interior) will help tremendously in that department, I’m not sure how much run he will get in his first week on a new defense — if at all.
While the Seahawks average 4.3 yards per rush (middle of the road), they are running it as much as anybody in the league over their past four games.
On the season, they average 30.0 rush attempts per game — the second-highest average of any team entering Week 8, trailing only the undefeated Rams, who generally hold large leads late.
In a pass-heavy league in 2018, Seattle has overhauled its entire offense to become a power-rushing team, and you can expect that same run volume again this week against an opponent that ranks tied for dead last in yards per rush (5.3) allowed.
This matchup in the trenches when Seattle has the ball should determine the outcome of this game.
If it were played later in the year when Snacks was assimilated into the defense and Ansah was healthy, the Lions would have the edge. For this week, I think you have to give Seattle the advantage. — Stuckey
DFS edge: Golden Tate costs $6,000 on DraftKings and he leads all receivers on the main slate with his +4.02 Projected Plus/Minus in our FantasyLabs Models.
He’ll primarily run against slot cornerback Justin Coleman, who’s allowing a passer rating of 93.8 when targeted this year — the worst mark among the Seahawks’ starting corners. — Justin Bailey
Bet to watch: Seahawks +3
You know the deal by now: In general, I’m looking for teams that are being rated incorrectly in relation to each other, and I am looking for an inevitable correction.
Detroit put up 32 on Miami last week, won the game, and is now being rated evenly (minus home field) versus a Seattle team that has turned out to be better than expected.
Each of Seattle’s three losses have come by a touchdown or less and all are pretty explainable in terms of caliber of opponent.
Now off a bye, I’m not sure the Seahawks should be getting any points at all — and you’re getting the full field goal. That’s good value. I’m rolling with Seattle. — Ken Barkley
Betting odds: Washington Redskins at New York Giants
- Spread: PK
- Over/Under: 42.5
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
Betting market: Since falling to 1-6 on the season, the Giants appear to be in full fire-sale mode, trading cornerback Eli Apple and defensive tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison this week.
Eighty-three percent of tickets and dollars wagered have come in on the ‘Skins (see live betting data here), and don’t expect that to change as recreational bettors are going to want no part of the rebuilding (tanking) Giants. — PJ Walsh
Trends to know: The Giants are currently receiving just 17% of spread tickets at home against the Redskins.
In Eli Manning’s career, he has only closed with fewer than a quarter of spread tickets at home twice — as a rookie in 2004 against Steelers and Eagles.
The Giants lost both games. — Evan Abrams
Don’t expect the Giants to completely fade away in this spot. Over the past decade, Manning has made eight home starts against a divisional opponent that was better than .500 both SU and ATS according to our Bet Labs data.
The Giants are only 3-5 SU and 5-3 ATS, but in none of those games did New York lose by more than one possession. — Abrams
Did you know? The Giants — currently sitting as a PK — have been listed as a home underdog in nine consecutive Eli Manning starts, the longest such streak of Manning’s career (they are 2-7 SU and 3-6 ATS).
Manning has been listed as an underdog in 14 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NFL. — Abrams
Biggest mismatch: Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Redskins Secondary
Redskins cornerback Quinton Dunbar (shin) suffered an injury in practice last week and missed Week 7. He has reportedly suffered nerve damage and can’t run without pain. Head coach Jay Gruden is unsure of what to expect from Dunbar moving forward. If he’s able to play in Week 8, he’ll almost certainly be limited, but he seems unlikely to suit up.
Filling in for Dunbar at right corner will probably be backup Greg Stroman, who got the start in Week 7. Stroman is a seventh-round rookie who has played just 58 coverage snaps. He’s been targeted nine times, allowing a 6-122-2 receiving line in his limited action.
With his 43.3 Pro Football Focus coverage grade, Stroman will be one of the lowest-graded defensive backs playing regular snaps this week.
Beckham should have a field day against Stroman, especially since Redskins free safety Montae Nicholson has allowed a 75% catch rate as a defender and has a PFF coverage grade (45.5) almost as bad as Stroman’s.
Beckham is top five in the league with his 30% market share of targets and 40% share of air yards: Even if the Redskins provide their rookie with safety help, OBJ should be able to dominate Stroman’s side of the field. — Matthew Freedman
Which team is healthier? Giants
After placing linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong on injured reserve, the Giants released him earlier this week. Linebacker Alec Ogletree (hamstring) might not be able to suit up Sunday.
The offense is dealing with injuries to right guard Patrick Omameh (knee) and receiver Russell Shepard (neck), but it is otherwise fairly healthy.
The Redskins skill position group could once again be depleted, as receiver Jamison Crowder (ankle), running back Chris Thompson (ribs) and receiver Paul Richardson (shoulder/knee) all aren’t guaranteed to suit up Sunday.
Washington’s secondary depth could be tested if cornerbacks Fabian Moreau (ankle) and Dunbar (shin) are ultimately unable to play.
DFS edge: The Redskins haven’t asked Josh Norman to shadow over the past season and a half, so viewers unfortunately won’t get to see constant interactions between him and Beckham.
The Manning experience will continue to hurt Beckham’s ceiling, but his weekly floor is still high thanks to his status as one of just four players with at least 80 targets this season.
Holding Beckham to fewer than 100 yards or out of the end zone is considered a victory, but OBJ has largely won his on-field battle with Norman, posting 6-76-1, 7-121-0 and 5-44-0 (despite playing only 67% of snaps) lines in three career matchups.
Metrics that matter: The Giants’ projected decrease in Run Stop Percentage
The Giants trading Harrison to the Lions is not good news for a defense that was already a below-average 22nd in DVOA vs. the run.
Harrison was tied for third among interior lineman in Run Stop Percentage (14.3%), a Pro Football Focus metric that measures the rate of snaps where a defender makes a tackle that constitutes as a loss for the offense.
Also, Armstrong had by far the Giants’ best Run Stop Percentage among linebackers (10.3%).
Outside of defensive end Kerry Wynn, who is first among edge defenders with a 17.3% Run Stop Percentage, the Giants’ front doesn’t have any plus run defenders to speak of.
The Redskins’ run game has been solid this season, clocking in at 13th in DVOA.
With running backs Adrian Peterson (ankle/shoulder) and Thompson likely to play, wide receivers Crowder and Richardson iffy, and a banged-up defense of their own, the Redskins will likely want to lean on the run vs. New York’s depleted run-stopping unit. — Chris Raybon
Bet to watch: Redskins PK
The Giants have gone into full tank mode with the trades of Apple and Harrison.
Harrison has been one of the best run stoppers in the NFL for years, and I think these two losses will cripple an already-mediocre defense.
The Redskins are finally getting healthy and they’re just the better team. I can’t believe the Giants are still starting Manning.
I would consider looking at Redskins alternative totals, as well. — Peter Jennings
Betting odds: New York Jets at Chicago Bears
- Spread: Bears -8
- Over/Under: 45
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: CBS
Betting market: While 75% of spread tickets are taking Chicago, only 57% of dollars wagered are on the Bears. The lopsided public support pushed the Bears to eight-point favorites on Thursday (find live data here). — PJ Walsh
Weather report: Keep close tabs on the weather forecast in this one. As of Friday morning, swirling breezes of 14 mph are expected at kickoff.
Trends to know: The Jets were blown out by 20 points by the Vikings at home in their previous game.
Since 2003, teams that lose by 20 points or more in their previous game and are listed as an underdog of a field goal or more in their next game are 112-82-3 ATS (57.7%), including 6-0 ATS already this season. — Evan Abrams
Sam Darnold will be the 12th rookie quarterback to start in Soldier Field in the past 20 seasons. The previous 11 are 3-8 SU and just 5-6 ATS. Only four of them closed as a dog of a touchdown or more (Bruce Gradkowski, Matthew Stafford, Cam Newton and Andrew Luck), and those teams went 0-4 SU and 2-2 ATS. — Abrams
Did you know? The Bears defense ranks No. 1 overall in defensive DVOA according to Football Outsiders. Sam Darnold completed only 17-of-42 passes last week for 206 yards and three interceptions against the Vikings’ defense, which ranks 16th in that metric. — John Ewing
Which team is healthier? Bears
The Bears will have to deal with Allen Robinson (groin) and Khalil Mack (ankle) at less than 100%, but they’re each expected to once again suit up Sunday.
The Jets are much worse off. The secondary could again be without three starters in cornerback Trumaine Johnson (quad), slot corner Buster Skrine (concussion) and safety Marcus Maye (hand), while wide receiver Robby Anderson (ankle) could join running back Bilal Powell (neck, injured reserve) and wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (ankle, out) on the sideline.
Biggest mismatch: Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky vs. Jets backup defensive backs
The Jets rank first in pass defense with an 86.0 PFF coverage grade, but as Ian mentioned, they could be missing three starting defensive backs.
Additionally, top outside cornerback Morris Claiborne (shoulder, foot) missed practice on Wednesday and is uncertain to play. Replacing Johnson, Skrine and Maye are backups Darryl Roberts, Parry Nickerson and Terrence Brooks.
Roberts is a third-year seventh rounder giving up a 69.7% completion rate in his coverage this season. Nickerson is a rookie sixth rounder with a 78.1% completion rate allowed. He’s been targeted 21 times over the past two weeks as a starter.
And Brooks is a special teams player who’s seen just 166 coverage snaps with three teams over the past four years. Trubisky and the Bears passing attack should be able to exploit these players relentlessly. — Matthew Freedman
DFS edge: The Bears’ 3.0 projected sacks in our FantasyLabs Player Models trails only the Steelers’ projection for Week 8’s main slate. Provided Mack (ankle) is healthy, there’s no reason to think that the Bears will fail here against a Jets team that is implied for 19 points.
Darnold has struggled under pressure this season, averaging only 5.4 yards per attempt with a 7.3% interception rate, the seventh-highest mark in the league. However, given the Bears’ high price tag, they’re better plays in tournaments. — Justin Bailey
Bet to watch: Under 45
Darnold gets his first experience of playing at Soldier Field on Sunday, and it is expected to be a windy day in the Windy City.
In three of Darnold’s started starts, wind was a significant factor. And New York managed just 15.3 ppg with Darnold posting two touchdowns, five interceptions and a 45.8% completion rate.
If I were to bet the over, I would be forced to root for the Jets to score their share of the total and I am just not confident they can do that.
As detailed above, the Jets will be missing some key defenders, which should make Trubisky’s day a bit easier, but I do not see Chicago scoring 30-40 points like it did in Week 7.
Both the Jets and Bears have been stellar defensively this season. Both rank in the top 10 in DVOA, pass defense DVOA and short-pass DVOA, and are both in the top half of the league in rush defense DVOA and deep-pass DVOA.
The Jets enter this game having given up 30 or more points in consecutive games.
Under Todd Bowles, New York has allowed 30 or more points in consecutive games three times but give up only 18.3 ppg in their subsequent game. — Abrams
Betting odds: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Cincinnati Bengals
- Spread: Bengals -3.5
- Over/Under: 54.5
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
Betting market: The Bengals have drawn the majority of bets in this game (60% at the time of writing) which doesn’t come as too much of a surprise. What’s a bit more surprising is how the line has reacted. With those bets accounting for 57% of dollars wagered, Cincy has fallen from -6 to -3.5.
Trends to know: After opening the season 4-1 SU and ATS, the Bengals are on a two-game losing streak, failing to cover both games. Andy Dalton is 12-5-1 ATS (+6.8 units) after losing two games in a row, according to our Bet Labs data. — Evan Abrams
Biggest mismatch: Buccaneers passing game vs. Bengals secondary
The Buccaneers’ pass offense hasn’t skipped a beat with Jameis Winston under center. Overall, the Bucs boast the week’s best matchup in combined net yards per pass attempt.
The Bengals join the Bucs and Falcons as the league’s only defenses that have allowed 300-plus passing yards in at least five games this season, and they could be without starting linebacker Vontaze Burfict (hip) and slot corner Darqueze Dennard (shoulder).
Winston’s fantasy floor remains high in any matchup considering he ranks fourth among all quarterbacks in rushing yards over the past two weeks. — Ian Hartitz
Which team is healthier? Bengals
The Buccaneers’ front seven is in a bad spot at the moment, as linebackers Kwon Alexander (knee, injured reserve) and Jack Cichy (knee, IR) could be joined on the bench by defensive line stalwarts Gerald McCoy (calf) and Vinny Curry (ankle). The status of running back Peyton Barber (knee) remains unclear.
The Bengals are far from 100% themselves, as running back Gio Bernard (knee), tight end Tyler Kroft (foot), center Billy Price (ankle), receiver John Ross (groin) and linebacker Nick Vigil (knee) join Burfict and Dennard as Cincinnati players banged up to various degrees.
DFS edge: A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd are both in play against the Buccaneers, who are allowing a league-high 202.2 passing yards per game to players in the slot this year, per Sports Info Solutions.
Boyd has run 70.5% of his routes from the slot, while Green comes in at 29.9%. Moreover, of Green’s five touchdowns this season, four have come when he as line up in the slot. Both receivers project inside the top 13 in our FantasyLabs Player Models. — Justin Bailey
Bet to watch: Bengals -3.5
The last time we saw the Bengals they were getting blown out 45-10 by the Chiefs on Sunday Night Football.
Nothing went right for Cincinnati, as Dalton threw for only 148 yards and Joe Mixon rushed for only 50 yards.
It is important to not overreact to one game; NFL teams are never as good or bad as they looked the previous week.
Since 2003, teams that lost their previous game by 20 or more points to a good opponent (won 60% or more of games) have bounced back, going 213-169-9 (56%) ATS in their next game.
Betting odds: Indianapolis Colts at Oakland Raiders
- Spread: Colts -3
- Over/Under: 50.5
- Time: 4:05 p.m. ET
- TV channel: CBS
Betting market: After this game opened at a pick ’em, bettors quickly moved the Colts to 1-point favorites. Indianapolis has since been pushed to the key number of -3 following the Raiders’ Amari Cooper trade.
Trends to know: The Raiders scored three points in a blowout loss to the Seahawks in London two weeks ago. Teams that are listed as underdogs after scoring three or fewer points in their previous game have gone 95-69-6 (58%) ATS since 2003. — John Ewing
The Colts and Raiders are on opposite spectrums. Indianapolis is coming off a 32-point thrashing of Buffalo last week while Oakland was beaten 27-3 by Seattle across the pond before its bye week.
Teams to win their previous game by 21 or more points and face a team that lost their previous game by 21 or more points are 30-40-1 ATS (42.9%) since 2003, losing bettors 11.1 units. When the team off the win is on the road, it is 14-28-1 ATS (-15 units). — Evan Abrams
Luck might not be on the Colts’ side this week. Their big win over the Bills was largely a result of the five turnovers Buffalo committed compared to the turnover-free game Indy put together.
Since 2003, teams to win the turnover battle by a margin of at least five but have an average turnover margin of less than +1.0 over their five games before that are 8-18-2 ATS (-10.3 units), failing to cover the spread by 7.4 points per game. — Abrams
Biggest mismatch: Colts offensive line vs. Raiders defense
The Colts have done a solid job of protecting Andrew Luck, ranking fifth in Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Sack Rate through seven weeks. Meanwhile, the Raiders rank dead last in the metric on defense.
Getting sacked a league-low 1.17 times per game, Luck hasn’t been sacked since Week 5. — Justin Bailey
Oakland’s pass defense has been especially poor against tight ends (32nd in the NFL), slot receivers (32nd) and running backs (31st) — all positions Luck prefers to target in the Colts’ short passing attack. In fact, he’s had more pass attempts to players lined up in the slot than any quarterback in the league this season with 152.
Most pass attempts to players who lined up in the slot this season + most targeted from slot (@SportsInfo_SIS):
Andrew Luck (152) – Ebron (42)
Kirk Cousins (137) – Thielen (63) – Diggs (32)
Jared Goff (133) – Woods (38) – Cupp (32) – Cooks (28)
Andy Dalton (113) – Boyd (44)
— Justin Bailey (@justinbailey32) October 23, 2018
Expect Luck to move the chains at will with the short passing game, especially now that he has T.Y. Hilton back with a game under his belt. — Stuckey
Which team is healthier? Raiders
The Colts continue to list roughly half of their starters on the injury report.
Free safety Malik Hooker (hip), defensive tackle Jihad Ward (ankle), running backs Marlon Mack (ankle) and Robert Turbin (shoulder), tight end Erik Swoope (knee), safety Clayton Geathers (concussion/neck), and receiver Ryan Grant (ankle) managed to practice on Thursday. Jack Doyle (hip) and Adam Vinatieri (groin) are shaping up as game-time decisions.
Meanwhile, the Raiders offensive line isn’t 100% with center Rodney Hudson (ankle), left guard Kelechi Osemele (knee) and right guard Gabe Jackson (pec) weren’t able to practice in full to start the week.
The good news for Oakland is that quarterback Derek Carr (shoulder) is good to go. The bad news is that Marshawn Lynch (groin) will miss at least the next eight weeks.
DFS edge: Luck is in an amazing spot since the Raiders have a nonexistent pass rush and can’t cover the pass, ranking as Pro Football Focus’ No. 29 unit in pass coverage.
It also doesn’t hurt that the Colts have the third-most pass attempts in the red zone this season. Luck owns the third-highest ceiling projection on DraftKings to go along with his 88% Leverage Rating. — Bailey
Bet to watch: Raiders +3
This line is a mixture of overreactions to the Colts blowing out the Bills in Week 7 and the Raiders losing Lynch and Cooper.
I had this opening right around Raiders +1.5 or +2 (which it did), but a flood of money has pushed it to the key number of +3. Despite all of the issues the Raiders face at the moment, we have to remember that the Colts are a very below-average team.
Taking Indianapolis as a field goal-favorite on the road is going to be a losing play more times than not. — Sean Koerner
Betting odds: Green Bay Packers at Los Angeles Rams
- Spread: Rams -9.5
- Over/Under: 56.5
- Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
Betting market: Aaron Rodgers has never been this big of an underdog, and most bettors think oddsmakers have given him too many points. Sixty-eight percent of bets accounting for 91% of dollars have landed on the Packers, as of writing (see live data here), causing this line to fall slightly from +10 to +9.5.
And while bettors are also taking a liking to the over, oddsmakers are holding their ground. Most books are maintaining their opening number despite 73% of bettors expecting a shootout. — Danny Donahue
Trends to know: Teams that opened as double-digit favorites against an opponent with a winning record have gone 12-14-2 ATS since 2003. Rodgers is also 5-18 SU and 10-13 ATS as a road underdog in the regular season. — John Ewing
Rodgers is up against one of the fiercest opponents of his career in the 2018 Rams and their offensive firepower.
He’s faced an undefeated opponent five times in October or later, and is 1-4 SU and 2-3 ATS, with his only SU win coming against the Texans in 2012. On top of that, the Rams are averaging 33.6 points per game this season — the highest average for a team Rodgers has faced in October or later.
The Rams are also defeating their opponents by 15.3 points per game. Rodgers has faced an opponent with an average point differential of +14 or more only twice, going 2-0 SU and ATS. Both games were in 2012. — Evan Abrams
Rodgers has only played in one game with an over/under higher than 55 in his career: On Nov. 30, 2014 at home game against Tom Brady and the Patriots.
The total was set at 57, and Green Bay won 26-21, staying under the total. — Abrams
Biggest mismatch: Todd Gurley and the Rams offensive line vs. Packers run defense
Green Bay ranks 15th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA against the pass but 29th against the run, and a run funnel is the last thing you want to be when you have to go up against Gurley.
The fourth-year pro out of Georgia leads the league in rushing yards per game at 98, which is nearly 10 yards more than second-place Ezekiel Elliott (88.4).
And it’s not just Gurley. Guards Roger Saffold and Austin Blythe as well as tackles Andrew Whitworth and Rob Havenstein have all earned top-six run-blocking grades at their respective positions from Pro Football Focus.
Los Angeles’ big guys rank first in Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Line Yards on offense, while Green Bay’s front has been pushed around to the tune of a 29th-place ranking in Adjusted Line Yards allowed. — Chris Raybon
Which team is healthier? Rams
The Packers are tentatively expected to welcome back wide receivers Randall Cobb (hamstring) and Geronimo Allison (hamstring), while the statuses of left tackle Bryan Bulaga (knee), cornerback Jaire Alexander (groin) and right tackle Jason Spriggs (ankle) remain a bit more unclear.
The Rams aren’t expected to have receiver Cooper Kupp (knee) again, but defensive linemen Michael Brockers (shoulder) and Ndamukong Suh (knee) are expected to suit up despite not practicing on Wednesday.
DFS edge: Up next for Rodgers & Co. is a Rams defense that has struggled to slow down competent passing attacks with Aqib Talib (ankle, injured reserve) sidelined and Marcus Peters (calf) playing hurt.
The Rams gave up an average of 7.7 points per game and 168 passing yards to the 49ers, Raiders and Cardinals compared to an average of 26.3 points per game and 271.8 passing yards to the Chargers, Vikings, Seahawks and Broncos.
Bet to watch: Packers +9.5
The Rams (aka the most complete team in football) have rolled to a 7-0 start. Their offense scores at will, Gurley is an MVP candidate and their defense — behind new additions Peters and Suh — doesn’t give you much wiggle room.
Week 8 finds them at home as anywhere from 8.5- to 10-point favorites against Rodgers and the Packers.
Yes, the Packers defense has not been very good — and Rodgers has been hobbled by a knee injury suffered in Week 1 against the Bears — but this line is too damn high.
Even if you think the Rams will win (likely), even if you think the Rams will control the game (also likely), giving Rodgers that many points is a recipe for disaster.
The man simply does not quit. He does not relent. He does not surrender. By laying this number you are begging for a back-breaking backdoor loss.
The best part is you can still get this line around +10 at some books (5Dimes). But be sure to jump on it quickly, because it’s fallen to +8.5 at others (which I still like).
As great as the Rams are, I love getting Rodgers in this spot off a bye. Take the Packers and don’t wait. — BlackJack Fletcher
Betting odds: San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals
- Spread: 49ers -1
- Over/Under: 42.5
- Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
Betting market: C.J. Beathard could close as a road favorite for the first time in his career, and bettors seem to be buying in.
Sixty-two percent of tickets are behind San Francisco, accounting for 78% of dollars as of writing (see live data here), which has moved the Niners from a pick ’em to -1. Similarly, the total has moved from 43.5 to 42.5 with 66% of bets and 61% of money wagered on the under. — Danny Donahue
Trends to know: The 49ers and Cardinals are tied with the Giants for the worst record in football at 1-6.
When two bad teams play (i.e. won 20% or less of their games), the underdog is 67-45-4 (60%) ATS since 2003. — John Ewing
This might be one of the worst divisional matchups in some time. Since 2003, when two divisional opponents meet in October or later and each has won less than 20% of its games, the favored team is 6-1 SU and ATS, with five of the seven games decided by single digits. — Evan Abrams
Since 2015, the 49ers are 5-23 SU and 12-15-1 ATS on the road, including 3-9 SU and 8-4 ATS under Kyle Shanahan. Over that span, only Cleveland has been worse SU on the road, and the Browns have won only one road game (1-26 SU). — Abrams
Biggest mismatch: Cardinals offensive line vs. 49ers defensive line
The Cardinals boast the week’s second-worst matchup in combined pressure rate between a team’s offensive line and the opposing defense.
Overall, the Cardinals join the Cowboys and Texans as the only offenses that have allowed their quarterback to be pressured on at least 40% of their dropbacks, while the 49ers’ defense ranks 12th in pressures per dropback.
It’s not surprising the over/under has fallen to 42.5 points since opening at 43.5. — Ian Hartitz
Which team is healthier? Cardinals
Josh Rosen (toe) and Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring) are fully expected to suit up, but the statuses of safety Tre Boston (shoulder/ribs) and left guard Jeremy Vujnovich (hamstring) remain murky.
The 49ers continue to be all kinds of banged up. Running back Matt Breida (ankle), cornerbacks Jimmie Ward (hamstring) and Richard Sherman (calf), receivers Pierre Garcon (shoulder/knee) and Dante Pettis (knee), right guard Mike Person (knee), and center Weston Richburg (knee) failed to get in a full practice on Wednesday.
DFS edge: A game total of 42.5 doesn’t seem like a great spot to target offensive players, but the Cardinals defense is in an appealing spot.
Overall, the 49ers have struggled to protect Beathard. He’s been pressured on 36.6% of his dropbacks and sacked on 23.3% — the eighth-highest mark in the league per Pro Football Focus.
Furthermore, the Cardinals rank seventh in Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Sack Rate and the 49ers are implied for a paltry 21 points. Arizona’s defense is a better value on FanDuel, where they cost just $3,400. — Justin Bailey
Bet to watch: Cardinals +1
I’m really struggling to understand this spread.
The Cardinals beat the 49ers by double-digits in San Francisco a few weeks ago, and now they’re underdogs against them at home?
This line suggest that San Fran is roughly four points better than the Cardinals on a neutral field, which I have a really hard time getting behind.
The Cardinals were just embarrassed on national TV by the Broncos, but Thursday games notoriously favor the better team: Favorites are now 5-1 ATS on Thursday Night Football, so I’m not holding that loss against Arizona.
On the other hand, the public wants nothing to do with the Cardinals.
Arizona has received only 38% of the tickets as of writing, and teams coming off a blowout loss with minimal public support have gone 89-62-5 ATS since 2003.
The Cards also fired offensive coordinator Mike McCoy after their embarrassing showing last week, so they should be motivated on Sunday. — Matt LaMarca
Betting odds: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings
- Spread: Pick’em
- Over/Under: 52
- Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
- TV channel: NBC
Betting market: Early betting on the Saints brought them down to a pick ’em — and even -1 at a few books — after opening at – 1.5. The Vikings have picked up only 39% of bets as of writing (see live data here), but those have accounted for 50% of overall money.
As for the total, 76% of tickets and 87% of dollars are on the over, yet this number has actually fallen from its opener, moving from 53 to 52. — Danny Donahue
Trends to know: The Saints and Drew Brees are on an absolute roll. They’ve won five straight games SU and four in a row ATS.
When the Saints and Brees are rolling, it has been a good bet to jump on the train.
- On 3+ SU and ATS Win Streak: 14-7 ATS (+5.5 ATS diff)
- On 4+ SU and ATS Win Streak: 9-2 ATS (+11.1 ATS diff)
Although … playing under the prime-time lights has been a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde situation for Brees since he arrived in New Orleans:
- At Home: 18-7 ATS, +8.2 ATS diff
- On Road: 7-10-1 ATS, -0.4 ATS diff
Meanwhile, the public is fading the Vikings at home for the first time in 2018. But recent history suggests that maybe that isn’t the best idea.
Since 2012, Minnesota is 19-7-1 ATS (73.1%) at home when receiving less than the majority of the ticket count, profiting bettors 11.1 units.
When the Vikings’ opponent is coming off a win, Minnesota is 13-2 ATS (86.7%), covering the spread by 6.9 points per game. — Evan Abrams
Since Mike Zimmer arrived to Minnesota in 2014, he is 11-5 ATS (+5.4 units) at home against teams above .500. The only coach more profitable in that spot? Bill Belichick at 14-6-2 ATS (+7.4 units). — Abrams
No coach has been better ATS at home during the regular season over that span. Zimmer has gone an absurd 24-10-1 ATS (70.6%) for a staggering 35.7% return on investment.
A $100 bettor would be up $1,250 by simply backing Zimmer at home since 2014. The only other coach that has generated a profit of greater than half of that is Belichick, who comes in second at home since 2014 at 23-11-2 ATS (+$1151/32% ROI). — Stuckey
Biggest mismatch: Saints run defense vs. Vikings run game
It’s no secret that the Saints have their issues in pass defense — you know times are hard when you have to bring in Eli Apple. But they’ve stonewalled opposing run games all season.
The Saints’ No. 2 ranking in Football Outsiders’ run defense DVOA is the polar opposite of their No. 30 ranking against the pass. New Orleans ranks No. 1 in FO’s Adjusted Line Yards allowed per rush (3.79), as well.
Despite showing signs of life over the past two weeks, the Vikings still rank No. 29 in both rushing DVOA and Adjusted Line Yards.
When these two teams met in the playoffs in January, the Saints limited the Vikings to 95 yards on 29 carries (3.28 yards per carry), including holding Latavius Murray to 50 yards on 19 carries (2.63). — Chris Raybon
Metrics that matter: The Vikings are dead last in defending the pass against opposing running backs (per FO), which could prove disastrous against Alvin Kamara. — Stuckey
Which team is healthier? Saints
The Vikings are once again expected to be without Dalvin Cook (hamstring), but defensive end Everson Griffen (illness, not injury related) is at least nearing a return. Zimmer is optimistic about linebacker Anthony Barr (hamstring) and cornerback Xavier Rhodes (ankle), but both joined safety Anthony Sendejo (groin) and left guard Tom Compton (knee) on the sidelines at practice.
Left tackle Riley Reiff (foot) and defensive tackle Linval Joseph (ankle/knee/shoulder) are tentatively expected to suit up.
With some luck, the Saints shouldn’t have anybody listed on their injury report, although left guard Josh LeRibeus (ankle, IR) will miss at least the next eight weeks.
DFS edge: The Vikings didn’t ask Rhodes to travel with Michael Thomas in Week 1 of last season because the first-team All-Pro corner was hobbled with a hip injury.
Things changed during the teams’ 2017 divisional-round matchup, as Rhodes chased Thomas all over the field and ultimately played a season-high eight snaps in the slot. Thomas won the matchup with a sterling 7-85-2 line on 13 targets, but Rhodes made life difficult for Brees and the best receiver he has ever thrown to.
The Saints’ willingness to move Thomas all over the field to create mismatches makes him one of the league’s most matchup-proof receivers. Thomas is the highest-rated receiver in the FantasyLabs’ Levitan model. — Hartitz
Bet to watch: Saints PK
The Saints are one early-season FitzMagic game away from an undefeated 6-0 record.
New Orleans is second in the league with 34.0 points per game, and Brees is in peak form: He leads the league with an absurd 77.3% completion rate and is the only starter yet to throw an interception this season. He also has maybe the best supporting cast of his career.
The Saints are reasonably healthy. The defense is rounding into form. It’s already strong against the run, and it might improve against the pass with the addition of Apple.
The Vikings running game has been subpar this season. And if the defense without Rhodes, Sendejo and Barr, the Saints could put up a lot of points.
Adam Thielen is likely to produce in the slot, but if Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore is able to shut down wide receiver Stefon Diggs — and Lattimore is talented enough to do it — then the Vikings offense could struggle to keep up.
It seems as if the Vikings will need to play a near-perfect game to win.
The Saints were probably the better team last season in the playoffs (even though they lost to the Vikings). They’re probably the better team now. — Matthew Freedman
Editor’s note: The opinions on theses games are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.