Last week we were oh so close to a great week of gambling – one more inch from the Chicago Bears, and one more point from the Buccaneers, and we could have come into Week 8 on the heels of a 4-1 week.
Unfortunately, gambling, like football, is a game of inches and close calls, and last week the fates didn’t go our way.
Still, we managed a truly neutral week on our best bets, going 2-2-1 on our five picks. We’re trending upwards, so let’s waste no more time in our quest to win big and make a run at $US1 million in the Westgate SuperContest.
Take a look below for our best five bets against the spread for this Sunday, plus a few other wagers to consider making this weekend.
Home teams get the asterisk.
Philadelphia Eagles (-3) over Jacksonville Jaguars (in London)
The Eagles looked like the team that went to the Super Bowl for three quarters last week, only to fall apart in the final 15 minutes, allowing the Panthers to score 21 unanswered points in a brutal defeat.
This week, they’re facing off against a Jaguars team that appears to be in similar shambles, struggling through an offensive slump so bad that Blake Bortles was benched last week in favour of Cody Kessler.
Philadelphia will be a public side this week, but after taking a look at the Jaguars injury report, they feel like a winner. Jacksonville will likely be without three of their top four cornerbacks, and Carson Wentz should be eager to take advantage with a big day to help the Eagles settle in and find their groove heading into the second half of the season.
Denver Broncos (+10) over Kansas City Chiefs*
Kansas City is still undefeated against the spread so far this year, but giving up double-digits to a division rival is where I draw the line. I think Patrick Mahomes is as impressive a quarterback I have ever seen through half a season, but everyone stumbles eventually.
The first time these two teams met, the Broncos held a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter before Mahomes miraculously led the Chiefs back from the brink. Even if the Chiefs win again, covering this number feels like a tall order.
Cleveland Browns (+8) over Pittsburgh Steelers*
Seven games into the season, the Browns have played in six games decided by four points or less. The only exception was a loss to the Chargers, who may be the third-best team in football.
The Steelers certainly look like they have gotten their act together a bit since their troubling 1-2-1 start to the season, but the team is still far from the unit football fans expected heading into the season.
Additionally, the Steelers and the Browns have played close games in their recent meetings – despite the Browns’ horrific record over the past two seasons, their past four games against the Steelers have been decided by less than four points.
Baker Mayfield has proven he can keep things close as the Browns’ signal caller, and the recent history between these teams is evidence of how tough they seem to play each other. Look for Cleveland to keep things close, or even take down the Steelers in Pittsburgh.
Indianapolis Colts (-3) over Oakland Raiders*
I hate betting a road favourite, but everything coming out of Raiders camp right now indicates the team is in shambles.
Players were reportedly not happy with how Jon Gruden handled the Amari Cooper trade and every move Gruden has made so far this year seems to have the future in mind. It just feels like Oakland is a broken team right now, and Andrew Luck has been playing well enough over the past few weeks.
Los Angeles Rams* (-9.5) over Green Bay Packers
This game has gotten a lot of press because it’s the biggest spread Aaron Rodgers has ever faced as an NFL quarterback. Despite the Rams’ undefeated record, bettors have been flocking to the Packers, trusting that the greatest quarterback of his generation will be able to keep the Packers within a touchdown.
It’s easy logic to follow, but is it correct?
Honestly, maybe. It’s gambling! We’re trying to predict the future here, and there are no sure things.
That said, with all the hype coming in on the Packers for this game, it feels possible that the Rams silence their doubters this week and roll. And while a “backdoor cover” usually refers to an underdog stealing a late, meaningless score to cover the spread, is it that hard to imagine the Rams grabbing a late cover on a final drive to drain the clock after a close, hard-fought game between these two teams?
We might be overthinking things here and outsmarting ourselves out of an easy win, but despite the obvious logic of backing the Packers here, we’re picking the Rams. It’s so crazy it just might work.
LAST WEEK: 2-2-1
Eliminator Lock: New England Patriots
Teams used: Saints, Rams, Vikings, Chargers, Panthers, Texans, Colts
After an up-and-down start to our Eliminator locks, we’ve hit a steady groove heading into the halfway point of the season. If you still have the Patriots live as a pick, congratulations on surviving through to the next week of your pool.
Beyond New England, it’s something of a risky week for Eliminator players – even the heaviest underdogs on the board feel like they could come up with something shocking. If you can’t find a team you feel sure of, it’s a good week to go with a game you like and hope one of the favourites loses a stunner – pickings are about to get slim anyways.
Money Dog: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+170)
The Buccaneers! They’re coming off of an overtime win and facing off against a Bengals team whose night as Cinderella appears to have struck midnight.
Marvin Lewis and the Bengals have had their share of spectacular collapses – who says this couldn’t be the start of Cincinnati’s next masterpiece in misery?
Weekly Tease: PHI/JAX Over 36, NO/MIN Under 58
We hit yet another three-team teaser last week, making our weekly teases, somehow, the most profitable segment in this weekly column.
This week is rather tough to tease, with lines stuck in awkward spots, so for Week 8, we’re teasing a few over/unders! Professional bettors would likely advise against it, but I have a winner locked up so forget what they say.
First, we’re bringing over in the Eagles-Jaguars game in London down to 36 – Philadelphia should cover that one on their own. Then, we’re teasing the total for Saints-Vikings up to 58 to take the under. That game should be competitive, but it looks like a potential slugfest much more than a matchup that’s going to light up the scoreboard.
Collect your winnings at the window on Monday morning.
Monday Night Chaser: Patriots (-8) 1H
We’ve been taking totals for our Monday Night Chasers all season, but with the Patriots facing off against the Bills this week, there’s a better opportunity on the board – the New England first half line.
Buffalo’s defence is better than you think at home, and the Bills will likely get the ball first, but there’s really nothing stopping Brady from scoring 21 points in the first half on Monday night. After the Bills only managed five points with Derek Anderson at the helm last week, it’s hard to imagine them scoring two touchdowns early to keep pace.
Bet the Patriots laying the 8-point spread for the first half and enjoy an early bedtime.
Now check out our best bets from the rest of the Week 8 NFL slate.
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