Week 8 NFL betting: Gotta love these outliers

Saturday, 31 October 2020 18:24 EST

NFLbets already put out some picks for week 8 in reference to the My Bookie pick-5 Super Contest, but none of those really excited like a good solid high-wager (well, relatively) single-game pick. Luckily, the Chargers and Broncos have been deemed Covid-free enough to play – and so bet on. And that 20- to 20½-point line on Jets-Chiefs is just way too tempting...

Our best bets for week 8 are therefore…

“Los Angeles” Chargers -3½ at Denver Broncos

Clearly, Vegas is done underestimating the Broncos; Denver started the season 4-1 ATS before the beatdown by the Chiefs. The sportsbooks still aren’t sure how to gauge the Chargers, either, as this 2-4 SU side is a crazy 5-1 ATS. Two pretty notable outliers playing against each other means we have to bet this one based on the football and chalk those 3½ points up to ostensible homefield advantage.

The Broncos are still playing reasonable defense this season without Von Miller, currently ranking 7th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric. Everyday statistics such as points allowed and pass attempts against are more indicative of the greater problem in Devner, i.e. the offense. The Broncos passing game, whether “powered” by Drew Lock, Jeff Driskel or Brett Rypien is bottom-5 is every major meaningful statistical measure, most importantly points scored and time of possession.

Speaking of those low point totals, the Broncos have scored a single touchdown in the past two games combined, that coming when already in a 28-point hole against the Chiefs and playing against a lot of second-string defenders.  They’ve topped 21 points themselves just once in their five games – against who else but the Jets – while the opposition is averaging over 27 points per game thanks to the aforementioned handicaps saddling the defense.

The Chargers are hardly playing as bad a defense as Jacksonville’s this week, but if given the opportunities based on turnovers and 3-and-outs, exciting young gun Justin Herbert is capable of serving up not quite a Chiefs-level beatdown, but enough points to cover half a touchdown against his low-watt counterparts. Take the “Los Angeles” Chargers -3½ at Denver.

New York Jets -20½ at Kansas City Chiefs

OK, NFL bets is recommending this one based on a) a tipster contact who has been hitting just about everything this season, and NFLbets needs to bet with more often, and b) the sheer joy in cheering on the Kansas City point-scoring machine.

Some historical perspective on what you’re asking when you take the Kansas City Chiefs -20½ vs the Jets:

Since 1990, just 27 regular-season and 1 playoff games have kicked off with point spreads of 17 or more. Underdogs are an unsurprising 1-27 SU and 8-20 ATS. Naturally, the underdog’s chances of covering increase as does the point spread; favorites drop to just 3-8 ATS when giving 20 or more.

Another interesting note: The 17-point plus point spread has recently become increasingly common. Between the 2013 playoffs and the 2019 season, zero games kicked off at such a high ’spread. In 2019, four did – though three of these involved the Brady ‘n’ Belichick Patriots and two involved the Miami Dolphins.

But hey, enough confidence-shaking. You’ve seen the Jets play, you saw what the Chiefs are capable of last week. Besides, like NFLbets said (wrote?), cheering for the point-a-minute offense is more fun than going against it…

–written by Os Davis