NFL Week 8 Picks
By Zach Zaffos (Twitter: @zachzaffos)
Season To Date Against the Spread (ATS):
Best Bets: 6-1 (86%)
Units: 17.5-9 (66%)
All Bets: 11-8 (58%)
Week 7 Recap:
2 units (Best Bet): Detroit (-3) OVER MIAMI
And we’re back! Coming off our first ‘Best Bet’ loss of the season, we rebounded with a relatively easy win by Detroit. Our handicap delved into the road-favorite-off-a-bye trend, as well as some negative indicators with Miami. Thankfully, the game script followed suit.
1.5 units: SAN FRANCISCO (+10) OVER Los Angeles Rams
1 unit: ARIZONA (+2) OVER Denver
1 unit: NEW YORK JETS (+3.5) OVER Minnesota
Unfortunately, our three home underdogs all came up short in Week 7, and none were particularly close. Arizona was shellacked 45-10 on Thursday Night, New York couldn’t sustain a drive all day along, and San Francisco couldn’t get out of its own way with turnovers. With some hindsight, our biggest regret was definitely Arizona, a team that has had poor offensive metrics all year, and has relied on unrepeatable long touchdowns just to stay competitive. I’ve now downgraded Arizona to Buffalo status: Can’t bet on ‘em because they are so poor, but can’t bet against ‘em because they’ll always get too many points on the spread.
With that being said, I’ve mentioned for a while now that we were due for a couple of down weeks. Luckily, we’ve now gotten them out of the way. We’re still crushing it for the season, and it’s time to get back to it with our Week 8 picks! (HOME teams in all caps).
MINNESOTA (PK) OVER New Orleans – 2 units
I get it – the Saints have won five straight, and Drew Brees and Co. certainly have revenge on their minds after the playoff debacle last year. But – these reasons do not outweigh the reality, and there are plenty of reasons to love the Vikings here:
• The Line: In last season’s playoff game in Minneapolis, the line was Vikings -5. Prior to last week’s wins by each of these two teams, the line was Vikings -3. So, tell me again – why exactly is this game a pick’em?
• Sandwich Spot for New Orleans: Many will cite the revenge factor this week, but the Saints actually played a road game last week against a tough Baltimore team. New Orleans also faces the world-beating Los Angeles Rams in New Orleans next week. Do we really believe they’re going to be that much more up for this game? Additionally, teams historically do not perform well against the spread in the second game of a back-to-back road series.
• Encouraging Signs for the Minnesota Defense: Finally – this squad looked like last season’s model. With improved quarterback play year-over-year as well, the Vikes could be primed to go on a nice run here.
Based on the above, give me a Minnesota team with a strong home-field advantage over a Saints team coming off a big road win. We absolutely love this bet.
OTHER BET I’ll DABBLE WITH
CAROLINA (+2.5) OVER Baltimore – 1 unit
Did everyone leave the Baltimore-New Orleans game last week thinking that we saw a sure-fire Super Bowl preview? Because that’s the only explanation for yet another head-scratching line here.
Let’s start with betting 101: Home teams receive three points in a typical NFL game, so Vegas is essentially saying Baltimore is 5.5 points better than Carolina, and would be favored by 8.5 if this game were to be played in Baltimore.
As the great Stephen A Smith would say – that is asinine, as-i-ten, as-i-eleven, as-i-twelve.
Let’s get to some facts:
• Home-field advantage cannot be underestimated. Since 2015, Carolina is second in the NFL with a 23-6 home record.
• Conversely, Baltimore is in the bottom half of the league with a 10-17 road record in that same span.
• The look-ahead line last week was a pick’em.
• Since then, the Panthers won a road game in Philly, and the Ravens lost a home game to New Orleans.
I agree that Baltimore may be the slightly better team, but the spread here is extremely out of whack. Let’s take advantage. Give me the far superior quarterback, the home-field advantage, and a few points.
“Money won is twice as sweet as money earned.” (The Color of Money). Good luck this weekend and may the picks be with us.