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Week 8 NFL Picks – TJ’s Weekly Picks Against the Spread

30 October 2020

Last updated: 02 November 2020 at 9:32 am

NFL Betting Picks

With the darkness and losses of the beginning of the season behind us, we truly turned the corner in Week 7 and will be back rolling Week 8. If you want to check out how Week 7 went, you can find the recap here.

This Weeks Betting Plays

MatchupBetting Play
Indianapolis Colts at Detroit LionsLions +3
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay PackersOver 51.5
Tennessee Titans at Cincinnati BengalsOver 52.5
Las Vegas Raiders at Cleveland BrownsOver 51
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore RavensSteelers +4

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With no games currently in danger of being moved or cancelled, let’s get to our five NFL expert picks for Sunday. You will see a trend of bettors being slow to react to some of the atrocious defenses in the league, and bringing big value to some over plays.

Indianapolis Colts at Detroit Lions

1PM EST
Opening Line: Colts -3 and 51.5
Current Line: Colts -3 and 50

The Colts are a 4-2 team, but are not nearly as good as their record suggests. Their current defensive rankings are second in yardage allowed and fourth in scoring defense. Both of those figures will consistently dip for the remainder of the season as they move past the Charmin soft portion of their schedule. They have also been worse on the road, already losing in Cleveland and have a truly horrific loss in Jacksonville. The offense is extremely limited and can essentially only go as far as the running game takes them. Quarterback Philip Rivers is about ready to be put out to pasture and he is truly a liability. Any deficit late in a game will be essentially insurmountable with Rivers current skill set. It is a difficult pill for me to swallow why this team would be favored in any road game against a capable offense.

The Lions have righted their ship, winning two straight after a 1-3 start. The three losses came against good teams, ones with a combined 14-5 record. They also have just one loss by more than a single score, and have been a competitive team in all their games but one. The one they were not competitive was on the road against the best version of the Packer offense, and there is simply a vertical threat with that team that does not exist from the Colts.

The Lions offense is one that is capable, finding balance and will put up a solid number of points on anyone. They are averaging 28 per contest over their last four, and are finally utilizing D’andre Swift and have not even required a massive splash game from ace receiver Kenny Golladay. Golladay has been fantastic, he just hasn’t been called on for the big volume games we have become accustomed to. Jusst using that 28 point scoring average, if they score exactly that figure and pit it against the Colts outputs thus far this season, the 28 points would have a record of 3-2-1.

While the Lions aren’t built to completely shut down any offense, even one as one dimensional and limited as that of the Colts, they won’t get run through and they will score effectively. The wrong team is favored in this game and we should look for the Lions to get a home win. Take the points here.

Betting Play: Lions +3

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Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers

1PM EST
Opening Line: Packers -6.5 and 56
Current Line: Packers -7 and 51

This is a rematch from the Week 1 Packers beat down. The 43-34 final tells a story that the game was closer than it was, but the one thing we can be sure of, is points will continue to come. I am somewhat perplexed that this total would be moved downwards by bettors in such a fashion. I would have leaned over on the opening line, but we now have an exquisite value after the line movement.

The Vikings have allowed at least 23 points in every single game this season, and average allowing 32 points per game to their opponents. News flash: that defense is not getting any better. They will continue to be carved up by opposing passing games and are only somewhat better against opposing run games. Given the nature of their defense, the offense plays faster as well, and they aren’t controlling the clock with a lead as they prefer to do. They have scored 30 points in three of their six and we can expect them to have to try to keep pace once again.

The Packers offense is the side we can count on in this one. They have scored 30 or more points in five of six games, including that 43 point output against this same Vikings team already. Aaron Rodgers dropped 364 and 4 in that game and it is difficult to see what adjustments can be made to slow him at all. The cornerback play is simply beatable at a level that they will have no answer for Rodgers and Davante Adams. The Packers have also allowed at least 30 points in half their games this year, and Dalvin Cook should be able to exploit them throughout.

All in all, the total is a head scratcher as it sits and is an easy bet on the over.

Betting Play: Over 51.5

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Tennessee Titans at Cincinnati Bengals

1PM EST
Opening Line: Titans -3.5 and 56
Current Line: Titans -5.5 and 52.5

Moving one game past a total that makes little sense, we get to one that makes absolutely zero sense, and has been pushed in the wrong direction.

Starting with the Titans, who I expect to win the game, they have issues in coverage. For an elite team, their secondary get scorched and they allow competent passing attacks to rack up points on them. They have allowed at least 30 points four times this season and now get Burrow and the Bengals, who are accustomed to playing catch up and passing the rock with incredibly high volume. Derrick Henry will be able to do as he pleases carrying the ball against the Bengals, and the Titans should see just about all of their drives end in touchdowns. The Bengals are simply completely unequipped to stop a dominant running game.

On the Bengals defense, they have allowed every opponent to score at least 23 points since week 1 and are averaging allowing 28.6 per game in that span. It should certainly be noted that they have faced the high end rushing attack of Cleveland twice, and have allowed 35 and 37 points in those games. We should see a similar output from the Titans in this one. The Bengals remain a losing team, but a competitive one. Their 1-6 record has meant playing catch up in mist games, and high passing volume for Joe Burrow. This is the exact recipe for scoring on the Titans and exactly what we want in an over play.

This game is more likely to be in the 70s than in the 40s and the total is set so low, it is a must attack.

Betting Play: Over 52.5

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Las Vegas Raiders at Cleveland Browns

1PM EST
Opening Line: Browns -3.5 and 55.5
Current Line: Browns -2.5 and 51

Another game and another total moving in the extremely wrong direction. The Browns are not that different than the Seahawks or Cowboys, with the offensive output being the variable. All of these listed defenses are truly horrific, but it might be undersold how bad the Browns are on that side of the ball, given their 5-2 record. They have allowed at least 30 points in five of seven games, allow nearly 32 points per game and the only teams they have held under that threshold were the anemic Football Team and Colts. Even they mustered 20 and 23 points, respectively. The Browns know they have to outscore their opponents as opposed to holding them down, and have been able to do so when playing with a lead. They have scored at least 32 in five of seven games and are now welcoming a Raider team that has allowed at least 24 points in every single game and are allowing opponents to score 33 per contest. The Raiders have shown an ability to score in volume on the road, averaging 32 points in their three road affairs. That figure comes close to the 33.7 points per game the Browns score at home.

These are two teams that are no stranger to playing high scoring games this year, and neither has a relative strength to lean on for either defensive unit. We will get more of the same from these teams and the fact that this is another total that was bet so far downwards is indicative that the public is unwilling to embrace the new normal in the NFL for 2020. I too was slow to react, but have embraced the higher scoring league and horrendous defensive teams that simply don’t have the ability to slow the scoring paces of their opponents.

Betting Play: Over 51

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Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens

1PM EST
Opening Line: Ravens -6.5 and 49
Current Line: Ravens -4 and 46.5

The 6-0 Steelers travel to Baltimore to try to keep this undefeated streak alive. I think this version of the Steelers matches up very well with the Ravens, and I think the biggest advantage comes on the defensive side of the ball. The Ravens offense generally hums when it is able to run the ball, either with Lamar Jackson or any of the running backs. The problem in this matchup is they run into a buzzsaw in the Steeler front. They, along with the Bucs are the league’s cream of the crop in rushing defense and the Steelers allow just under 69 yards per game. To put that in perspective, just two teams allow fewer than 88 per game and the league median allows 120 yards per game. This creates a real possibility, if not probability that the Steelers can force the Ravens into being a one dimensional passing offense, a situation in which Lamar Jackson has wilted in the early stages of his career. Any established lead the Steelers are able to get out to, may very well be an insurmountable one.

On the other side of the ball, I don’t expect the Steelers to be able to run the ball effectively either, but they are not a team that needs to. They have the best group of wide receivers in the NFL and are essentially matchup proof. Moreover, this isn’t an overall daunting matchup for passing games, as the Ravens are just in the middle of the pack in terms of passing yardage allowed, and I believe the Steelers will be able to sustain plenty of drives on the back of the passing game.

Highly notable is that since the Ravens Week 1 blowout of a flat Browns team, they have played just one team with a winning record, and were handled by the Chiefs 34-20. Their other opponents have a combined 6-20-1 record and it would appear the rest of league is beginning to figure out the Ravens offensive attack, at least at some level.

The four point line in this one is very wide and it intimates that the Ravens would be a one point favorite on a neutral field. I personally think the Steelers should be favored in this game and would deem them more likely to win, even on the road. Even if the Steelers lose a close game, getting four covers may outcomes but I think they are in play on the money line as well. Take the team that matches up better with the other in this rivalry game.

Betting Play: Steelers +4

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NFL Predictions at USsportsbonus.com
NFL Week 8 – 2019

We have some quarterback carnage to continue to navigate through in week 8. Ryan Tannehill might have the Titans on the right track after a win in his first start after replacing Marcus Mariota. Mitchell Trubisky remains a candidate for replacement for the Bears, and it would not be shocking to see that happen in game.

Week 8 NFL Picks

Matt Ryan is questionable for the Falcons, meaning we could see the return of Matt Schaub to our tv screens this Sunday. Note there is no good version of Matt Schaub. Sam Darnold does not get an easy matchup after his implosion on Sunday, but the Jets truly have nowhere else to turn, even if his confidence is fully rattled. Kyle Allen will continue to start for Carolina and they are closing in on a tough decision, which *should* ultimately lead to Cam Newton losing his job. The Chiefs will be without the class of the league, Patrick Mahomes on Sunday night for at least this week and probably an extra game or two. Finally on Monday night the Dolphins will stick with Ryan Fitzpatrick for at least another week and the Steelers should have Mason Rudolph back, sending Devlin “Duck” Hodges back to the bench. Generally the quarterback position is least susceptible to injury, and the league has taken steps to insulate the signal callers, so having this much injury and unrest at the position is a unique situation. Let’s get to how to navigate these situations and the betting plays.

Play Of The Week

There is a massive development to watch in this game. That is the status of Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. If he doesn’t play, it means the arguably worst defense in the league will be facing Russell Wilson while the offense is lead by a pick six waiting to happen named Matt Schaub. What’s more, the Falcons can’t effectively run the ball to try to shorten the game and hide Schaub, a line of 3.5 is not just play of the week territory, it’s play of the year if Ryan is unable to go. The Seahawks will remain a run first team, but this is one of those matchups where run volume will be effective and more importantly, Russell Wilson can make a huge day even if he is only in the 20-25 attempt range. If Matt Ryan plays, the Seahawks are a play. If Matt Schaub starts, the Seahawks are the play of the week. Get this one in early if possible, the line likely raises with any missed practice from Ryan.

Betting Play: Seahawks -3.5

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New York Giants at Detroit Lions

1PM EST

  • Opening Line: Lions -7.5 and 48.5
  • Current Line: Lions -7 and 49.5

Since Daniel Jones’ heroics in his debut against the Bucs, he’s been very ordinary and one could go as far as calling him subpar. He’s not been protective of the football and it would appear deep balls are not a realistic part of his skill set, at least not at this juncture. Despite the elite running back and tight end presence of Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram and the above average skill set of wide receiver Golden Tate, Jones is certainly in the midst of growing pains in is rookie campaign. He is also not aided by a defense that is highly susceptible to the pass but can be gouged by the run as well, and have allowed at least 27 points in every game this year, save for the Dwayne Haskins game. The Lions will be the next to capitalize on this matchup and perhaps keep their newfound fondness for the pass on display. Matt Stafford threw four touchdowns last week and he is finding pre 2018 form, while the defense laid an egg against the VIkings last week. This home matchup is a prime bounce back spot and one that should see plenty of points to get the over home. The Lions have allowed 23 points in all but one game this year as well, but have played a tough schedule of offenses. Take the Lions for a double digit win in a high scoring game.

Betting Plays
Lions -7
Over 49.5

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tennessee Titans

1PM EST

  • Opening Line: Titans -2.5 and 47
  • Current Line: Titans -2.5 and 46

The Bucs come off a bye with very clear strengths and weaknesses. They are and will be most exploitable in the defensive secondary while being stout against the run, creating a funnel defense. On offense they will remain just mediocre as a running team, but will have a potent and high end passing attack so long as Jameis Winston isn’t turning the ball over. With the strengths and weaknesses I just described, it stands to reason they will be involved in many high scoring games, and that trend will continue throughout the season.The Titans have a balanced and above average defensive unit as a whole that will keep them competitive in most games. What was new last week with Ryan Tannehill inserted into the lineup was life in the passing game. He was remarkably efficient while throwing for over 300 yards and the wide receivers were truly involved for the first time this season. Competent quarterback play for the second half would make this team a playoff contender, and this is quite a winnable game at home. The Titans should win a game that cruises past the total.

Betting Plays
Titans -2.5
Over 46

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Los Angeles Chargers at Chicago Bears

1PM EST

  • Opening Line: Bears -5.5 and 40.5
  • Current Line: Bears -4.5 and 40

Whew, the timing of the schedule is sometimes too perfect. These two teams have been two of the worst coached and inept teams in the league, despite the presence of capable talent on both rosters. Bears coach Matt Nagy has the look of a bit of fraudulence as he’s facing true adversity for the first time in his tenure. In his defense the offensive line play and quarterback play has been subpar, but in any event his offense lacks true identity. He has been half hearted in committing to a run game with rookie David Montgomery but is unable to bring effectiveness in a passing game lead by Mitchell Trubisky. The defense still a high end unit, but is more susceptible to the run after the loss of run stuffer Akiem Hicks. This should be the avenue the Chargers attempt to win with as they attempt to bring cohesion back to the offense with Melvin Gordon being reassimilated. The Chargers just haven’t been fluid on offense despite a wealth of talent and the coaching staff is not a competent one that can speed that process. They are also exploitable at every level on the defensive side and this game is likely a battle to see which team is less inept. Sit out and see which team could get their season on track.

No plays


Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons

1PM EST

  • Opening Line: Seahawks -3.5 and 54
  • Current Line: Seahawks -3.5 and 53.5

There is a massive development to watch in this game. That is the status of Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. If he doesn’t play, it means the arguably worst defense in the league will be facing Russell Wilson while the offense is lead by a pick six waiting to happen named Matt Schaub. What’s more, the Falcons can’t effectively run the ball to try to shorten the game and hide Schaub, a line of 3.5 is not just play of the week territory, it’s play of the year if Ryan is unable to go. The Seahawks will remain a run first team, but this is one of those matchups where run volume will be effective and more importantly, Russell Wilson can make a huge day even if he is only in the 20-25 attempt range. If Matt Ryan plays, the Seahawks are a play. If Matt Schaub starts, the Seahawks are the play of the week. Get this one in early if possible, the line likely raises with any missed practice from Ryan.

Betting Play: Seahawks -3.5

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New York Jets at Jacksonville Jaguars

1PM EST

  • Opening Line: Jaguars -4 and 41
  • Current Line: Jaguars -6 and 41.5

I really can’t stress enough how bad of a game Jets quarterback Sam Darnold had on Monday night. It was truly like watching a different player from the week before in the win against Dallas. He’s getting a matchup this week that is no walk in the park, but he should be able to simply play the role of game manager, as the Jaguars are softer against the run than they are the pass. Running back LeVeon Bell should get the large workload that could have stopped the bleeding last week , and he could be in for a large statistical day. On the other side of the ball, the Jets run front is stout and they are not inept at all in pass coverage. This unit is better than it gets credit for because of the problems the team has faced on offense. This is however a spot where quarterback Gardner Minshew and top receiver DJ Chark to get back on track, but don’t expect a ton of offense overall. I lean the Jets a bit after the line movement but not going to make a play as we don’t know where Darnold’s head is at.

No plays


Philadelphia Eagles at Buffalo Bills

1PM EST

  • Opening Line: Bills -1.5 and 41.5
  • Current Line: Bills -1.5 and 43

The Eagles are coming off an ugly divisional showing in which early turnovers dug a hole they never came close to climbing out of. It was apparent they missed left tackle Jason Peters on offense, and it remains apparent they miss wide receiver Desean Jackson. Jackson’s ability to stretch the field so effectively is not just a matter of his own production, he also softens coverage underneath as his ability to take the top off a defense must be accounted for. Even without these players, Wentz and co. played poorly last week, and the already pass funnel defense was hampered by short fields created by turnovers. The matchup this week isn’;t any easier, but the play can’t get much worse and we can feel confident in a much better showing than the 10 points mustered last week. The Bills defense had a bad outing last week as they allowed 21 to the Dolphins, a scoring high for them on the season. Overall the Bills defense is sound front to back without a real hole to exploit. On offense, they are trying to mold quarterback Josh Allen into a complete passer and it is having mixed results. He is certainly still better slinging bombs and taking off running, but is making some strides with the levels of being an NFL quarterback. This is a matchup that he would do well to unleash some of those bombs to John Brown, but we have no evidence the staff is looking to open it up like that. All in all the spread is around correct and this is a coin flip game to stay away from.

No plays


Cincinnati Bengals at Los Angeles Rams (In London)

1PM EST

  • Opening Line: Rams -9 and 47.5
  • Current Line: Rams -13 and 48.5

I almost bit on the Rams listed at home, don’t make the mistake. This is a 1 o’clock London game, so it’s neutral field. The Bengals remain one of the league’s worst teams with a defense that isn’t awful and somewhat balanced, but not one that can overcome the lack of offensive production. The offensive woes start with the offensive line and Aaron Donald and co. will be chasing Andy Dalton all day across the pond. For the Rams, cornerback Jalen Ramsey brought a calming presence to the secondary and the defense did a phenomenal job against Atlanta’s high end passing attack last week. The Rams offense looked good, as anyone should, against Atlanta and they get another soft enough matchup this week. There simply isn’t an element on either side of the ball where the Bengals have an advantage. The Rams are a play this week but the total is one to avoid as scoring output from the Bengals could very well not come to see the under hit.

Betting Play: Rams -13

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Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts

1PM EST

  • Opening Line: Colts -5 and 43.5
  • Current Line: Colts -6 and 44

The Broncos continue to go nowhere fast and have traded slot receiver Emmanuel Sanders to the 49ers this week. Fewer weapons for the impressively inefficient Joe Flacco simply cannot be a good thing, but this should increase the role of underutilized wide receiver Daesean Hamilton. In any event, there’s not really room for this to be an upgrade to an offense that averages just 16 points per game on the season. The defense is good enough that the team as a whole doesn’t appear to be an unmitigated disaster, but they are subpar as a whole, and selling off win now pieces. The Colts continue to be a nearly perfectly coached squad that isn’t the longest on talent, but they are never at a schematic disadvantage and are always set up for the best chance of a win. They are sound all around, run the ball effectively and force teams to beat them through the air, if they can. This is simply a lopsided home spot for the Colts and they should be favored by more than a single score. Take the Colts at home but fade the total.

Betting Play: Colts -6

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Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers

4:05 PM EST

  • Opening Line: 49ers -6.5 and 41.5
  • Current Line: 49ers -5.5 and 41.5

This should be a fun one to watch, despite likely not being a shootout, and it will give us some perspective on where these two NFC teams stand in relation to the cream of the crop in the conference. The 49ers defense remained as advertised last week in its shutout of lowly Washington. The offense was truly ugly as they only mustered 9 points despite four red zone trips. The Panthers come off their bye and bring one of the league’s best skill position units in which Kyle Allen generally just has to make the easy throws and let the pass catchers do the work. Christian McCaffrey is the unquestioned most dangerous player in the league and he will look to expand on the unreal season he’s authoring as both a runner and receiver. I believe he at minimum will keep this game close, if not lead his team to a win. This is an attractive spot to take the points with the Panthers as they’ve had two weeks to prepare for this one.

Betting Play: Panthers +5.5

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Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans

4:25 PM EST

  • Opening Line: Texans -6.5 and 48
  • Current Line: Texans -6.5 and 51

A week after getting smoked by the pass in Green Bay, the Raiders get no favors from the schedule and get the nightmare of containing Deandre Hopkins and the rest of the Houston passing offense. The Texans aren’t generally an overly effective rushing team and the Raiders are stout up front, but deep balls remain their achilles heel. This is likely a problem for the entirety of the game on Sunday as Deshaun Watson has a big day connecting with Watkins, Kenny Stills and perhaps even Keke Coutee. On the defensive side of the ball, the Texans generally need to be exploited by the wide receiver position, and this is truly a hole for the Raiders, particularly with Tyrell Willliams sidelined. Josh Jacobs is a great young back and they want to run their offense through him, but the viability of feeding him is quite game script sensitive and playing from behind generally will be disastrous for them. The Texans will get multiple splash plays in this one en route to a home cover.

Betting Play: Texans -6.5

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Cleveland Browns at New England Patriots

4:25 PM EST

  • Opening Line: Patriots -11 and 46.5
  • Current Line: Patriots -12.5 and 45.5

The Browns had a bye week to attempt to fix the schematic issues that allow a subpar offensive line to be a killer at times. The play calling often forgets to account for this fact and it leads to Baker Mayfield scrambling to make a play. They would be wise to feed running back Nick Chubb given the lack of chemistry and cohesion in the passing game. The defensive front will continue to be high end and the secondary should be much healthier. The Pats will continue to have a balanced and effective offense, but the story of their season so far is the passing defense. It has truly been dominant. If quarterbacks who played them simply spiked the ball on every pass they threw, they would have accumulated a higher passer rating than the one currently being surrendered by the Pats. The Browns defensive front combined with their ability to run the ball is the type of team that could give the Pats problems, but I am not at all ready to put faith in the coaching staff and make them a play. Sitting out of this one.

No plays


Green Bay Packers at Kansas City Chiefs

8:20 PM EST

  • Opening Line: Chiefs -4 and Off
  • Current Line: Packers -4.5 and 48

As previously mentioned, the Packer passing game had exponentially it’s most effective outing of the season last week. They go on the road after playing at home in five of their last six games to face a Chiefs offense with a wide range of outcomes sans Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs defense has been completely inconsistent, and we don’t know what we’re going to get, particularly if the offense sees a steep fall off. Andy Reid has had no shortage of effectiveness with lower end quarterbacks in the past, but Matt Moore under center just has no level of bankable output. There is no side or total in this game to play with any confidence.

No plays


Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers

8:15PM EST (Monday)

  • Opening Line: Steelers -16 and 42.5
  • Current Line: Steelers -14.5 and 43

The schedule makers got into the catnip on this one. My word, who thought it was a good idea to put the most obvious case of a rebuilding team in NFL history on Monday night? The Dolphins had their best offensive performance of the year at Buffalo, but were still not sound on defense, and ultimately remained winless. This trip to Pittsburgh will be an ugly one for the offense as the Steeler defense is playing at a very high level and coming off a bye week. Ryan Fitzpatrick could have a heavy turnover game, and even if not, the Dolphins will be unable to consistently move the ball. I do lean the Steeler side here but they are happy to keep the ball on the ground and let the game remain just a little closer than it needs to be and I can’t quite get to them as a play, but if you’re jonesing for some prime time action, the Steelers are the direction to go in.

No plays

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