It was another profitable weekend for us here at Pats Pulpit HQ, going 4-2 on best bets and 16-10-1 overall for Week 7. We are still hitting on a stellar 69 percent (Borat voice: Very nice!) on our best bets, and now move on to Week 8, featuring some huge spreads like in New York-Kansas City, and some close divisional battles, like New England-Buffalo and Los Angeles-Denver.
Let’s see what we like for Week 8 of the 2020 NFL regular season.
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills (-3.5), O/U 42.5
This is a big motivation spot for New England here, sitting at 2-4 and needing this game to stay alive in both the division race and the wild card race. The Patriots have looked terrible for two straight weeks now, and it’s hard to feel confident taking them in this spot, but this team knows Josh Allen as well as anybody, and Allen hasn’t looked good for three straight weeks.
I expect Bill Belichick to toy with Josh Allen on defense, and bait him into at least two turnovers this week. Both teams should be able to gash the other’s run defense, and with New England’s offense still a big issue, I’ll take New England getting over a field goal and will also take the under.
The Picks: Patriots +3.5 / Under 42.5
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens (-3.5), O/U 46.5
The Steelers are the hottest team in the NFL after holding on for a win over the previously undefeated Titans last week, and will take their perfect record into Baltimore against Lamar Jackson and the Ravens.
While the Ravens haven’t looked like the elite team that many expected yet, this is still one of the best teams in the AFC, and one that will be highly motivated to prove themselves against an undefeated divisional foe.
Pittsburgh hasn’t faced a defense like Baltimore’s yet, and on defense, the Steelers D almost blew a 20-point second-half lead against Titans. I’m going to sell high on Pittsburgh and take the Ravens here, although I will wait until Sunday to see if this spread gets any lower.
The Picks: Ravens -3.5 / Under 46.5
New York Jets at Kansas City Chiefs (-19.5), O/U 49
This started out as nearly a 21-point spread in most books, before heavy action on the Jets took it down a couple of digits. Vegas has caught on to the fact that the Jets are an awful team, and even with this massive spread, it’s tough to take Adam Gase’s team on the road against the Chiefs offense.
The Jets covered as 10-point underdogs against Buffalo last week, although that was a team that was missing John Brown at wide receiver. Kansas City tends to stagnate a little bit on offense against inferior opponents, and this would be a prime situation for a letdown performance. I would stay away from this game but if forced to pick would reluctantly take the Jets.
The Picks: Jets +19.5 / Under 49
Tennessee Titans (-5.5) at Cincinnati Bengals, O/U 53.5
The Bengals offense has the weapons on offense to pick on a poor Titans secondary, and this could be high-scoring game with two offenses that have the personnel to pick on the other.
I love the over here, and think that Joe Burrow and his pass catchers can keep this close for Cincinnati in a closer-than-expected matchup.
The Picks: Bengals +5.5 / Over 53.5
Los Angeles Rams (-3.5) at Miami Dolphins, O/U 46
This is a hard game to handicap because of the fact that Miami is starting rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa this week, and it’s uncertain what the Dolphins offense will look like with Tagovailoa under center compared to Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The Rams are coming off a convincing 24-10 win over the Bears, and defensive coordinator Brandon Staley’s unit will be a tough first test for Tua in his first NFL start. I expect this to be a close game, but I think the veteran Rams will win out in the end against a rookie quarterback in his first NFL start.
The Picks: Rams -3.5 / Under 46
Indianapolis Colts (-3) at Detroit Lions, O/U 50
The Lions have won their last three games, and now will look to show they are for real when they host the 5-2 Colts. It’s possible that Indy’s defense has been a bit overrated, as the Colts D has allowed 50 points in the last two weeks total, to the Browns and Bengals.
Detroit wide receiver Kenny Golladay should feast all day on a Colts secondary that has allowed almost 800 yards of offense in the last two weeks.
I think this will be a back-and-forth game, with both teams being able to score on the other’s defense.
The Picks: Lions +3 / Over 50
Las Vegas Raiders at Cleveland Browns (-2.5), O/U 51.5
After a strong start to the season, the Raiders have dropped three of their last four games, and will now travel to take on a 5-2 Browns team that lost Odell Beckham Jr. to a torn ACL last week.
The total for this game started at 55.5, but came down drastically due to weather concerns. With wet and windy weather in the forecast for Sunday, both teams have the running games to be able to rely on that part of their offense more if the conditions limit their respective passing attacks.
The Picks: Raiders +2.5 / Under 51.5
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (-7), O/U 51.5
Strong wind will be a factor in this game, as will chilly temperatures, making for a classic NFC North battle between these two teams. If Good Kirk Cousins shows up, the Vikings have the pieces on offense to keep this closer than the seven-point spread that Green Bay is favored by. I think Green Bay wins this, but by a tighter margin.
The Picks: Vikings +7 / Over 51.5
Los Angeles Chargers (-3.5) at Denver Broncos, O/U 44.5
Justin Herbert continues to impress since stepping in for Tyrod Taylor, and the Chargers have gotten a nice boost from the former Oregon QB, as LA now has the seventh-ranked passing offense according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA metrics.
I’m eyeing the over here. LA should be able to pass against a Denver D still missing its top cornerback in AJ Buoye, and put up points. The LA defense is strong, as evidenced by their five sacks of Gardner Minshew last week, but I expect Denver and Drew Lock to attack downfield to keep up with the offense of LA, and put up some points of their own.
The Picks: Chargers -3.5 / Over 44.5
New Orleans Saints (-4) at Chicago Bears, O/U 43.5
After a deflating loss on the road against the LA Rams, the Bears will head back to the Windy City, licking their wounds and hoping a matchup against a diminished Drew Brees will be just what the doctor ordered for them. With Michael Thomas likely to be out again for New Orleans this week, this could be another grind-it-out game for the Saints on the road. Facing a tough Bears D that will be motivated after getting beat up by LA last week could be a tall task.
This game comes down to if Nick Foles can have a better performance than he did against LA. The Bears offense looked horrendous against LA, but the Saints defense is a little softer than LA’s unit. I think the Saints are a little over-valued here.
The Picks: Bears +4 / Over 43.5
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (-2.5), O/U 54
The lookahead spread on this game was five or six points depending on what book you were looking at. Do we really think the gap between these two teams has closed that much since the season began? I don’t buy it.
Seattle loves to keep these games close, but if I can get them at below the key number of 3, I’ll jump all over that.
The Picks: Seahawks -2.5 / Under 54
Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles (-8), O/U 43
The Cowboys are starting a player named Ben DiNucci at quarterback. The rookie signal caller wasn’t expected to see the field at all this year as the third-string QB, but is now thrust into action with Andy Dalton out this week.
The Eagles are getting some weapons back, with Jalen Reagor cleared to play this week. I see a NFC East beatdown coming for Dallas this week, as their miserable season continues.
The Picks: Eagles -8 / Under 43
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-10.5) at New York Giants, O/U 47
The Buccaneers are rounding into form as the Super Bowl contender that many expected them to be when the season started. Chris Godwin will be out for this matchup, which should hamper the Bucs offense, but they should still have enough to easily handle the Giants on Monday night.
In terms of the total, a stout Tampa defense should have its way with the Giants offense, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Daniel Jones cough up the ball once or twice.
The Picks: Buccaneers -10.5 / Under 48
And finally, for completeness’ sake, the Thursday night pick as well:
Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers (-2), O/U 51.5
The Falcons keep on inventing new ways to lose, this time coughing up another late lead against the Detroit Lions when running back Todd Gurley scored a touchdown despite trying...not...to score a touchdown. Which totally makes sense.
Anyways, the Falcons keep Falconing, and the Panthers have their heads screwed on straight and are a well-coached team, which is enough to make me comfortable laying just two points with Carolina this weekend.
With the forecast in Charlotte calling for rain and temperatures in the low 50s, what would normally be a very appetizing over to bet on is a little risky here. These two teams have gone under in three of their last four matchups, and the bad weather in the forecast for Thursday has me ready to take the under here.
The Picks: Panthers -2 / Under 51.5
Pick Six Best Bets
49ers/Seahawks Under 54
Titans/Bengals Over 53.5
Jets/Chiefs Under 49