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Columns - Magazine

The Gambling Solution: Week 8

by Jeff Baldwin
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Both Jeremy and Jeff started with a 1,000 unit bankroll as they go head to head all season long.

 

Jeff nailed his selections last week as he had winners on the Cardinals, Jets, Raiders and under CAR/PHI.  Jeff finished the week plus 120 units.  Jeremy also had a great week as he went 3-1 on his picks.  He had winners on the Jets, Dolphins and Vikings.  His only defeat was on the over in the Cardinals/Ravens game.  Jeremy finished the week plus 80 units.  Jeff continues to lead the season-long contest by 110 units.  Can Jeremy cut into Jeff's lead?  Let's get to the picks for Week 8.

 

Editor's Note: Play against our writers in the Rotoworld Football Championship – a series of one-week fantasy contests on FanDuel with $20K in FREE prizes! Enter the Week 8 contest before it fills.

 

 

Jeff Baldwin

Record: 19-9

Units: 1,360

 

Jeremy Wardwell

Record: 19-9

Units: 1,250

 

Giants at Saints (-3.5) - 35 units
The Saints come off an upset win in Indianapolis as they defeated the Colts 27-21.  The Saints built up a 27-0 lead, and got a key first down late to seal the game.  The Giants got a much-needed home win against their rival in the Dallas Cowboys.  The Giants sit atop the NFC East as they have a one game lead.  The Giants’ passing game hasn't looked good the past few weeks as QB Eli Manning has managed only one touchdown pass during that timeframe.  They better turn things around quickly as they'll need the passing offense to show up on Sunday in New Orleans.  I think Manning gets back on track here as he'll look to WR Odell Beckham Jr to make big plays down the field.  RB Orleans Darkwa surprisingly led the Giants in carries last week as he rushed for 6 yards/carry.  Darkwa may get some more touches against a Saints team that gives up 129.1 yards/game on the ground.  The Giants’ defense will have their hands full trying to contain QB Drew Brees as he looks like he has overcome an earlier season shoulder injury.  The Saints have won three of the last four games after starting the season off 0-3.  However, I'm still not sold on this team especially from a defensive perspective.  I think the Giants’ offense can exploit this unit and make some big plays.  In the end, I'm expecting a very close, relatively high scoring game as a late field goal by either team will be the difference. 
Pick: New York Giants +3.5

Vikings (-1) at Bears - 35 units
The 4-2 Minnesota Vikings square off against the 2-4 Chicago Bears in an NFC North matchup in Chicago. The Vikings are coming off a 28-19 win over the Lions in Detroit in which QB Teddy Bridgewater put together his best game of the year throwing for 316 yards and two touchdowns. The Bears are coming off their bye week which came at a perfect time for them after they dropped a 37-34 game to the Lions and were dealing with injuries on both sides of the ball. QB Jay Cutler should have his full complement of weapons at his disposal against the Vikings’ talented defense. Minnesota ranks second in the league in points against as they are giving up just 17 PPG. Chicago meanwhile is tied for last in the league in points against with 29.8 and has been torched on the ground for 125 yards per game. This should line up nicely for Vikings RB Adrian Peterson who ranks 4th in the league in rushing yards and has averaged 143 rushing yards in his last four games against the Bears. The Vikings will be able to move the ball both through the air and on the ground against the Chicago defense. I expect Peterson to have another big game as he usually does against the Bears. Jay Cutler is still Jay Cutler and even brought his team back late in a couple games recently, I still have no faith in him against a top-flight defense. These teams have split their last six meetings with each team winning at home. I like the Vikings, who are 5-1 this year ATS, to break the chain and win at Soldier Field and cover, 24-21.
Pick: Minnesota Vikings -1

Vikings (-1) at Bears - 35 units
The Vikings come off a nice road win at Detroit as they defeated the Lions 28-19.  The Bears are coming off their bye week looking to get back in the win column after losing in Detroit in Week 6.  After a very poor Week 1 performance, the Vikings have won four out of their last five games.  The only game they lost was to the Broncos in their building by a field goal.  I like the way this team is playing as QB Teddy Bridgewater has done a solid job leading this offense.  RB Adrian Peterson has missed some practice time this week, but all signs point to him suiting up on Sunday.  The emergence of WR Stefon Diggs has given this offense another weapon at the wide receiver position which is something they were lacking.  As for the defense, they have been playing well limiting opponents to an average of 14 points/game in the last two week.  The secondary will have a big challenge in front of them as they'll need to contain WR Alshon Jeffery who returned from injury in the Bears’ last game.  I think the difference in this game will be Peterson in the run game.  Look for the Vikings to struggle slowing him down as Peterson will rush for over a hundred yards and get the in the end zone at least once.  This game will be close throughout, but in the end, look for the Vikings to get the win here as they'll come up with a big defensive play late to seal the game.
Pick: Minnesota Vikings -1
Cardinals (-6) at Browns - 40 units

The Arizona Cardinals travel to Cleveland to take on the Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Arizona is coming off a hard-fought win over the Baltimore Ravens while Cleveland will look to bounce back after getting throttled by the Rams in St. Louis. In that game, Cleveland was gashed by Rams RB Todd Gurley for 128 yards and the Rams totaled 158 yards on the ground. Cleveland has the worst run defense in the league and has now given up at least 100 yards on the ground in every game but one this year. They will face a difficult task again this week against Arizona's talented trio of backs. Led by Chris Johnson, the Cardinals’ running attack is averaging 125 yards per game and has accounted for eight of the team’s touchdowns. When Arizona goes to the air, QB Carson Palmer likes to spread the ball around to all of his receivers. Larry Fitzgerald has had a great season thus far but the big story recently has been the play of Michael Floyd who has scored in each of the last two games and become a favorite target of Palmer's in crunch time. Cleveland should be getting a boost in the secondary as top CB Joe Haden (concussion) and safety Tashaun Gipson (ankle) return after missing the past few games. Even with their return, Cleveland will struggle to contain the Cardinals who just have too many weapons. Defensively, Arizona didn't have a great game against Baltimore and gave up several long passes in third down situations that kept the Ravens in the game. I expect them to play better against Cleveland and QB Josh McCown who has come back to earth since his 457 yard two TD performance against the Ravens in week 5. The Browns are limited on offense and the Cardinals will be able to focus on shutting down WR Travis Benjamin and forcing McCown to look at other options. Arizona is 15-8 ATS in their last 23 games including 4-2 in their last six road games. I like Arizona to cover in this one as the running backs have a huge game, 31-21.  
Pick: Arizona Cardinals -6

Bengals (-1.5) at Steelers - 30 units
The Bengals head to Pittsburgh well-rested as they are coming off their bye week looking to make it seven straight wins to start the season.  The Steelers fell on the road to the Chiefs 23-13.  The good news for the Steelers is the anticipated return of QB Ben Roethlisberger for this key AFC North contest.  This line opened with the Bengals favored, but I can see the line moving to the Steelers as the favorite by the time Sunday rolls around.  The concern with Roethlisberger's return is how his knee will hold up, and how well he can move in the pocket.  Also, he hasn't played since Week 3 so he'll likely need some time to get back into game shape.  The Bengals’ offense has been clicking on all cylinders led by QB Andy Dalton.  He is doing a tremendous job spreading the ball around, and finding the open receiver.  Dalton should be able to take advantage of a Steelers’ secondary that is giving up 277 yards/game through the air.  The Bengals’ offense ranks in the top five in passing yards a game.  WR A.J. Green will have plenty opportunity to make some big plays down the field.  The Bengals have two solid running backs in RB Giovani Bernard and RB Jeremy Hill.  In what will be a back and forth game with multiple lead changes, look for the Bengals to come up with a big play on offense late which will propel this team to victory.
Pick: Cincinnati Bengals -1.5

Lions (+5) at Chiefs - 25 units
The 1-6 Detroit Lions face off against the 2-5 Kansas City Chiefs in London. This has been a difficult season for both teams as the Chiefs have been beset by injuries and the Lions have struggled so badly on offense that they replaced their offensive coordinator this week. A trip to jolly old England isn't great for either team right now but really hurts the Chiefs who possess one of the best home field advantages in the league. Under his new offensive coordinator, I expect Matthew Stafford to take advantage of Kansas City's porous secondary which has given up the second-most passing touchdowns in the league. Stafford will have to get some protection from his offensive line as one of KC's strengths is their front seven who not only can get to the quarterback but have been effective against the run holding opponents to 103 rushing yards per game. After losing Jamaal Charles in Week 5, the Chiefs have turned to second year RB Charcandrick West who after limited touches in Week 6 against Minnesota had his first 100 yard game and first touchdown in last week's win against the Steelers. West may see his touches drop a bit this week with the expected return of wideout Jeremy Maclin from a concussion. Prior to his injury, Maclin and QB Alex Smith had started to develop a nice chemistry with Maclin averaging 125 receiving yards in the three games before his concussion. I would expect that chemistry to continue against the Lions who are giving up nearly 400 total yards per game. Both teams are awful ATS this season with the Lions being 1-6 and KC being 2-5. I like the Chiefs to win this game but not cover as Detroit has enough offense to keep it close.
Pick: Detroit Lions +5

Buccaneers at Falcons (Total: 49 points) - 20 units
The Falcons come off a very lackluster offensive performance against the Titans as they held on for a 10-7 victory.  The Buccaneers gave up a touchdown late which was the difference as they fell to the Redskins.  The Falcons return home and face a Buccaneers’ defense that is giving up a league-worst 29.8 points/game.  I'm expecting a big bounce back game from the Falcons’ offense.  Expect a heavy dose of RB Devonta Freeman as he'll have a solid all-around game in both the running and passing game.  Freeman should score at least once in this game.  QB Matt Ryan needs to get this passing game going after a dismal performance against the Titans where he managed only 251 yards passing, one touchdown and two interceptions.  Look for Ryan to get WR Julio Jones involved early and often in this contest.  As for Tampa, this team has averaged 30 points a game in their last three.  QB Jameis Winston is coming off a 297 yards passing and two touchdown performance against the Redskins.  The key stat is for the second straight week he didn't throw an interception.  The Buccaneers will move the ball effectively with the running of RB Doug Martin, and the big capability of WR Mike Evans.  I'm expecting offense to be at a premium in this game as three out of the last four games in this series have gone over the posted total.  Expect more of the same on Sunday.
Pick: Over 49
Buccaneers at Falcons (Total: 49 points) - 20 units
The Atlanta Falcons play host to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Georgia Dome. Atlanta is coming off a strange 10-7 win over the Titans in which the offense was hurt by penalties and turnovers. The Bucs suffered an embarrassing 31-30 meltdown loss in which their secondary was torched by Kirk Cousins to blow a 24-7 halftime lead. Despite only scoring 10 points last week Atlanta should put up big numbers against Tampa Bay who is giving up 30 PPG. Julio Jones appears to be completely healthy and will most certainly be QB Matt Ryan's favorite target. With Tampa Bay giving up 109 yards per game on the ground I expect RB Devonta Freeman to have another big game this week after gaining 130 total yards last week. The Buccaneers come into this one banged up on the offensive side of the ball. WR Vincent Jackson will likely miss the game with a knee injury and their third receiver Louis Murphy was placed on IR this week after tearing his ACL. This leaves Mike Evans to do the majority of the heavy lifting as Jameis Winston's primary target. TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins has returned to practice this week but it is unclear if he will play and if he does, how effective he will be. This game lines up very well for the Falcons who are stout against the run and struggle against the pass. With Tampa Bay's limitations in the passing game, it will allow them to key even more on RB Doug Martin who is averaging 90 yards rushing per game. The posted total for this game is 49. With the offensive firepower the Falcons possess combined with the weakness of the Bucs’ secondary, Atlanta could approach that number themselves. However, more realistically, I see the Falcons winning relatively easily and the total going over the number as Evans and Martin score for Tampa Bay, Falcons 38-17.
Pick: Over 49

Editor's note: Both Jeremy and Jeff started with 1,000 units as they go head to head all season long.

You can follow Jeff on Twitter @JeffBaldwin4 and Jeremy @jdwardwell5.

Jeff Baldwin
Jeff Baldwin has written Rotoworld's 'Gambling Solution' on Season Pass since 2011. He can be found on Twitter @JeffBaldwin4.