5 NFL Betting Trends for Week 8, Including an Edge for Packers-Chiefs
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Andy Reid
Although I am not a “trends bettor,” I find that trends help me identify spots I should consider further when analyzing games.
Using our Bet Labs database, I have uncovered five NFL trends I like for Week 8.
Odds as of Monday evening and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
Thursday Night Football
Vikings -16 vs. Redskins
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:
- 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).
Sunday, 1 pm ET
Bills-Eagles Under 43.5
The over hit last week, but the Bills are a league-best 5-1 to the under this year, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence.
Sean McDermott is a defensive-oriented head coach, and since he joined the franchise in 2017, the Bills have been 22-16 to the under.
In his first year, the Bills allowed a middling 5.3 yards per play, but over the past two seasons, they have been the league’s third-stingiest defense with 4.9 yards per play allowed last year and 4.7 this year.
And with quarterback Josh Allen, the Bills have a perfectly under-prone offense. Allen is inaccurate (56.4% career completion rate). Allen turns the ball over (19 interceptions, 13 fumbles in 18 games). Allen runs whenever possible (7.4 carries per game).
And yet Allen is just good enough to keep drives going and to prevent opposing offenses from incessantly getting the ball back.
In Allen’s 17 career starts, the Bills since last season have played a strong style of low-scoring complementary football (per RotoViz Team Splits App).
- Allen’s starts: 19.2 points scored, 17.0 points allowed
- Other starts: 12.8 points scored, 32 points allowed
The Eagles are diminished on offense without field-stretching wide receiver DeSean Jackson (abdomen), and the Bills rank third in the league with just 5.0 adjusted yards per passing attempt allowed.
Against a strong Bills secondary, I expect the Eagles to struggle through the air, and if they can’t get anything going via the passing game, it will be hard for them to drive this total to the over.
In Allen’s 17 starts, the Bills under is 12-5 (36% ROI).
Rams -13 vs. Bengals (in London)
The Bengals are probably not as bad as the Dolphins, but I’m not sure they’re significantly better.
Last week, they were without starting cornerbacks Dre Kirkpatrick (knee) and William Jackson III (shoulder), and I expect both to be out this week as well.
So the Bengals currently have a backup-laden group of corners, some of whom are playing out of position, and the Rams have probably the league’s best trio of wide receivers in Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks.
As I highlighted in my Week 8 WR/CB piece, all the Rams wide receivers get large upgrades in this matchup relative to their opponent-neutral expectations. The Rams should be able to throw on the Bengals at will.
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 ATS (28% ROI). And regular-season favorites on a neutral field are 26-12-2 ATS (31.9% ROI).
Sunday, 4 pm ET
Patriots -10.5 vs. Browns
In the history of the Bet Labs database (since 2003), the Patriots are 157-97-8 ATS (21.3% ROI).
I feel like that trend on its own should be enough. HC Bill Belichick gets the job done. On average, the typical outcome for a Pats game is a cover of +3.88 points. That’s a massive margin.
And Belichick is even less generous against poor opponents. When facing teams that failed to make the playoffs in the previous season, the Patriots are 110-58-5 ATS (27.9% ROI). On average, they have scored 4.79 points more than their non-playoff opponents.
And as impressed as everyone was with the Browns entering the year, the truth is that they were 7-8-1 last season, and they are 2-4 now. They have an edge in that they are coming off a Week 7 bye, but they are still playing like a non-playoff team.
Under the Belichick regime, the Pats have been a “no mercy” franchise. When they face bad teams, they don’t just win. They lay it on. They punish their opponents. They humiliate them for even bothering to step onto the field.
In other words, they cover.
Sunday Night Football
Chiefs-Packers Under 48
Whenever the Chiefs are home, I almost always automatically bet the under.
That might seem counterintuitive: If the team with one of the best offenses in the league is at home, shouldn’t we expect that team to score more points than usual? And wouldn’t that drive the game to the over?
With the Chiefs, that has historically not been the case.
In the Reid era, the Chiefs have actually scored 3.3 fewer points at home than on the road. That’s easily the most negative home/away offensive scoring differential in the league.
In fact, Chiefs games have an NFL-worst home/away total differential of -8.4 points. In Kansas City, NFL games rank No. 26 with a mediocre 43.1 points. On the road, Chiefs games blow out with a league-high 51.5 points.
Arrowhead Stadium is a tough place to score, for both the home and visiting teams.
Since head coach Andy Reid joined the franchise in 2013, no home team has made under bettors more money than the Chiefs have with their 34-19-1 under record (including playoffs), good for an A-graded 24.9 ROI.
That quarterback Patrick Mahomes (knee) is out makes the under only more intriguing.
To see the bets I’m making for Week 8, follow me in The Action Network App. I will continue to fill out my card into the weekend.