Week 8 picks: Betting on blowouts and low-scoring affairs

Wednesday, 23 October 2019 13:35 EST

According to My Bookie and every other sportsbook out there, week 8 of the 2019 NFL season will be characterized by blowouts and/or low-scoring games. That’s just fine and dandy with NFLbets, as we see much opportunity in Vegas’s pessimistic outlook.

Or maybe we’re just overconfident after NFLbets’ Picks of the Week are on an 11-3 run the past three weeks. NFL bettors may therefore take the following with the relevant grains of salt. Speaking (writing?) of overconfidence, once again is NFLbets taking on Thursday Night Football betting again, namely

Washington +16½ at Minnesota Vikings, over/under 42 points

There’s that magic 16½-point spread from which just one team has even won SU – ironically, the Buffalo Bills against these Vikings last season. With a little more betting, this line might drop to Washington +17, a handicap which no NFL team has ever won SU against, says the point spread conversion table.

Adding to the complexity of betting on a 16½-point spread is the recent reversal in Thursday Night Football betting trends: Whereas in 2016-17, underdogs won SU seven times of 29 for a winning percentage of just .241 on TNF (as opposed to the league norm of .326), ’dogs are 15-7 SU – you read that right – in 2018 and ’19 thus far.

Against the spread, favorites in 2016-17 were 18-10-1 for a .638 winning percentage, significantly above the expected .550 mark. Favorites in 2018-19 are just 9-12-1 ATS, but the home team is 12-9-1 ATS, implying that, during the last 22 games, this particular stat is only useful for home underdogs on TNF.

Balancing out all the uncertainty about Minnesota covering here is one unassailable fact: Washington is brutally bad. NFLbets wonders from whom Washington will score points even if the Vikings purely coast; these guys have scored 42 points combined in their past five games. Minnesota could easily get the shutout here but still lose ATS, as did the 49ers last week. Take the under on an O/U of 42 points.

“Los Angeles” Chargers -4 at Chicago Bears, over/under 40½ points

.At least this one’s easy. We laid down the loose guideline to cover the under in any Bears game until further notice. Naturally, the over is the expected 3-3 in Bears games, and the over hit in both the London game against the Raiders and last week’s destruction by the Saints. However, with Phillip Rivers again amassing more sacks than TD passes on one side and Mitch Trubisky demoralizing his own team on the other, the under is back, baby! Take the under on an O/U of 40½ points.

New York Jets +5½ at Jacksonivlle Jaguars, over/under 41½ points

Let’s see ... the Jaguars haven’t scored 28 points in a game all season, Minshu Miracle aside; and just when the generally discombobulated Jets showed signs of life against the Cowboys two weeks ago, that bitchslapping given them by the Patriots last week certainly (dare we say it?) deflated the morale there back to week 1 levels. So we’re saying take the Jacksonville Jaguars -5½ vs the Jets, and take the under on an O/U of 41½ points.

Cleveland Browns +13½ at New England Patriots

And a very easy one! Sure, the Patriots are playing (very) shorthanded on offense and the Browns indeed have a pretty decent pass rush, but just ask yourself this one question: Is there a single bigger coaching mismatch possible in the 2019 NFL than Bill Belichick versus Freddy Kitchens? Come on, there’s a reason this point spread is this high. Take the New England Patriots -13½ vs Cleveland.

Cincinnati Bengals +13½ at Los Angeles Rams (U.K.)

The accolades of coaching genius are not flying quite as fast and furiously in Sean McVay’s direction as they once were; thus NFLbets will not make a similar comparison as that above between McVay and the 12th President of the United States, Zac Taylor. Like Kitchens, Taylor is a promoted quarterbacks coach clearly in over his head.

Everything is lining up Rams for this game. They’ve just received morale boosts from an intake of new talent before the trade deadline and took care of business last week against the proverbially hapless Falcons. Though Jared Goff (justifiably) takes much flak for rampant turnovers and poor decision making, L.A. has scored 27 or more points in five of seven games in 2019, whereas the Bengals have yet to top 23.

Finally, from the Emperor Wears No Clothes Department, note that, since last season’s much-ballyhooed 105-point game against the Chiefs, the Rams are 5-1 against teams with losing records, 4-5 against all others. The course is clear: Take the Los Angeles Rams -13½ vs Cincinnati.

NFLbets’ Picks of the Week last week: 3-0.
NFLbets’ Picks of the Week this season: 18-12.

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