It’s Week 8 of the NFL season and with the schedule at the halfway mark, the battle against the bookmakers gets even tougher. That means you’ve got to look wide and far for betting edges, which is why we don’t stop at sides and totals. We give our best bets and pick predictions for this week’s NFL odds, including team totals, player props and derivatives.
SACK TO THE FUTURE
Sunday’s match between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Tennessee Titans will feature the Top-2 teams in the league in sacks given up. Combined, the two teams are averaging 9.7 sacks allowed per game over their last three contests and the Bucs are coming off a Week 6 showing that saw Jameis Winston get taken down seven times in Jolly Old London.
The Bucs are really struggling on the right side of the offensive line as they’re without starters Demar Dotson at tackle and Alex Cappa at guard. Even with these two in the lineup for Week 5, Tampa Bay surrendered six sacks to the New Orleans Saints. Cappa will not be available this week and Dotson is questionable.
The Titans may be able to clear the sack total themselves, but it doesn’t hurt that they gave up seven sacks themselves in Week 6 and new QB Ryan Tannehill has been sacked six times in less than six quarters since his promotion. Take the Over 5.5 combined sacks.
We had to remember this play as the subject of our fade got a breather in Week 7. Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield leads the NFL in interceptions since 2018 with 25 and has been picked off at least once in every game this year (11 in total).
The former 2018 No. 1 overall pick is last in passer rating with a clean pocket as well as last in passer rating when pressured. It’s safe to say he isn’t going to break out this slump Sunday when the Browns travel to Gillette Stadium.
The New England Patriots just made Sam Darnold, the No.3 overall pick in that same 2018 draft, see ghosts Monday and finish with a 3.6 passer rating with five turnovers. Even with the Week 7 bye, Baker and the boys are in for a world of hurt offensively versus Belichick. The Pats stop unit is making it a point to embarrass opposing QBs as their league-leading opponent passer rating of 35.6 indicates.
Making early prop predictions allows us to predict the line that we can then compare to the real prop odds when the markets open. We will take the Under on Mayfield’s passing total on any number above 214 and the Under on his completions on any number above 18.
Texans Defense MASSACRE
The Houston Texans’ defense can’t get off the field. The Texans have the second-worst opponent third-down conversion percentage at over 50 percent and have a secondary that is allowing over three passing touchdowns a game.
The team knows they have a problem with their passing defense as they just acquired cornerback Gareon Conley from the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders must have a good understanding of Conley’s underachieving skillset as the Raiders travel to the Conley’s new home, Houston, this week.
If Conley (55.6 PFF grade) suits up Sunday, look for Derek Carr and Jon Gruden to game plan against the former teammate and a porous secondary one week after putting up nearly 500 yards of offense at Lambeau Field. Josh Jacobs is coming off his best game and the passing attack may get a little more help if No.1 receiver Tyrell Williams returns after missing Week 7.
We're taking the Over on the Raiders’ team total of 21.5.
BORN TO RUN
An offense with a quarterback in the Bottom 3 in QBR and one of the league’s best defenses passed the ball 54 times last week and ran the ball just seven times. It’s safe to say that Mitch Trubisky and the Chicago Bears lost to the New Orleans Saints, as Bears head coach Matt Nagy said he thought his run game would be better coming out off a Week 6 bye.
Trubisky and the Bears are 5-11 when the QB throws over 30 pass attempts and 13-2 when he doesn’t. Chicago will look to get the run game going Sunday versus the Los Angeles Chargers, who are allowing 4.6 yards per rush attempt as hosts in what can loosely be called a home stadium.
We will be waiting to see Trubisky’s passing-attempt total as well as the rushing attempt total for Bears’ running back David Montgomery when their respective markets open later in the week. We will be putting our money on the Under for passing attempts above 27 and also backing the Over on any Montgomery rushing attempt total of 15 or below.
BRONCOS ON THE HITCH POST
The Denver Broncos are in full yard-sale mode after shipping off Emmanuel Sanders to San Francisco yesterday.
Last week’s lackadaisical loss to the Kansas City Chiefs may have had something to do with that, as Joe Flacco put in as much effort as Jay Cutler does lining up wide. Now the immobile quarterback will be without his No. 2 receiver ahead of the Broncos’ matchup against the Indianapolis Colts.
The Colts sit on top of the AFC South, have their defensive leader Darius Leonard back, have a quarterback coming off his best game as a professional, and just won convincingly over their divisional rival. These are two teams going in opposite directions and whose locker rooms are probably polar opposites heading into Week 8.
We're riding the home favorite here and taking the Colts -6.