Week 8 NFL Best Bets: Checking Bills’, Steelers’ reputations

Thursday, 24 October 2019 17:07 EST

Running up against deadlines and nearly drained of ways to express another mediocre week of NFLbets’ Best Bets gone by, we’re keeping this introduction short. The following are our Best Bets for week 8 of the 2019 NFL season.

Philadelphia Eagles -2 at Buffalo Bills, over/under 43½ points

Just in case you can’t tap the brakes on the Buffalo Bills bandwagon yourself, this line apparently indicates that the sportsbooks are willing to help out with a point spread low enough so as to be within the margin of error. Do the sharps really still believe the downward trending Eagles are as good as or even better than the AFC’s current no. 2 team? Let’s consider the logic here.

Buffalo is currently 4-2 ATS (but just 1-2 ATS at home); Philadelphia is among the league’s worst at 2-5 ATS. The only team worse? Get this: The Atlanta Falcons at 1-6, whose sole ATS win came in week 2 *against the Eagles*. So, yeah. Regression clearly favors the Eagles -2.

In straight-up terms, the Bills are an impressive 5-1, to be sure. But NFLbets might pragmatically point out that four of the Bills’ wins came against basically bottom-5 teams (New York Jets, New York Giants, Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins) and the fifth was a 7-point win over quickly sinking Tennessee. And the week 4 SU loss/ATS win to New England is thought of by many fans as the Bills having played the Patriots tough, but such an assessment is only half correct: While the Buffalo D kept Tom Brady to 150 yards and zero TDs, Josh Allen and the offensive line were giving up three picks and four QB sacks.

Fair enough, then. Like the Patriots, the Bills were handed a first-half schedule that has proven, likesay, on the easy side. That 5-1 SU/4-2 ATS mark bears some scrutiny. But what positivity can we find on the Eagles’ side in what has been intensely underwhelming?

Not much. The only outstanding area NFLbets finds is in the ability to create and exploit turnovers – a quality that Allen does not want to see right about now. Over the past four games, the defense has averaged two TOs per game against the Packers a fumble recovery and a pick essentially won Philly the game. And overall, they’re top-5 in grabbing interceptions – and Allen’s top-5 in supplying them.

Is that enough? Should we take the Las Vegas line and believe that the Eagles have gotten a couple bad breaks? Should we believe that the Bills defense has gorged on easy meat all year thus far? Sure, we will. Take the Philadelphia Eagles -2 at Buffalo.

Miami Dolphins +14.5 at Pittsburgh Steelers, over/under 43½ points

NFLbets figures this matchup probably looked pretty good for a Monday Night Football matchup on paper to the schedule makers at the time. And we’re quite sure no one reckoned the starting quarterbacks in this game: Ryan Fitzpatrick and Mason Rudolph.

Rudolph will be starting under center, despite 3rd-string QB Devlin Hodges grabbing all the accolades in a fill-in start and questionable injury recovery. Bookmakers set the line at Dolphins +15½ presumably based as much on the Steelers’ reputation as on the on-field awfulness that Miami has displayed thus far this season.

Bettors, interestingly, are calling BS and by Thursday have already brought down that number 1½ points. As well they should. The truth is that it doesn’t matter who’s starting at QB for the Steelers, cumulatively they’re bottom-5 in both passing and rushing yardage. And despite all the gifts of field position the defense has provided in 2019 – Pittsburgh has the second-most takeaways in the league – the Steelers rank a low 21st in scoring. This is not a playoff team or even a particularly good one, to be completely honest.Betting on the 2019 Miami Dolphins may sound crazy, but crazier still would be covering a middling 2nd-string quarterback to maintain a league-best 5-1 ATS (3-0 ATS at home). Reputation does not win at the sportsbook, and in this game, NFL bettors are all over this notion. Take the Miami Dolphins +14.5 at Pittsburgh.

We’re also saying take the under on an O/U of 43½. Pittsburgh has scored between 20 and 27 in their last four games – against contenders and bottom-feeders alike – and though we’re looking for the Dolphins to cover a two-TD spread, we’re certainly not betting on a remanifestation of “Fitz Magic.”

NFLbets’ Best Bets last week: 1-1.
NFLbets’ Best Bets this season: 6-9.

–written by Os Davis

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