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We have seen seven weeks of NFL action come and go, and while the fates of some teams seem inevitable, the picture is far from being complete. Week 8 is upon us and with it comes a few questions. Can the Chiefs continue to go undefeated against the spread? Can Detroit and Cleveland keep on cashing tickets for their ATS backers? Can San Francisco, Atlanta or Green Bay start cashing in ATS tickets for their backers? We won’t have to wait much longer to find out the answers. After going 4-1 last week, let’s take a look at some of the best bets for Week 8.
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers (-8)
The Steelers will be well-rested after enjoying a bye week, and they will host their division rivals on Sunday. The 2-4-1 Browns come into this one looking for their first road win since toppling Baltimore in overtime more than three years ago. Despite their 2-4-1 record, the enter the game with a 5-2 ATS record which must make Cleveland backers happy. However, after generating a lot of chatter earlier on, the Browns have dropped three of their last four straight up and find themselves needing a win to stay within shouting distance of relevance n the AFC North.
The line opened with the Steelers being 7-point favorites and it seems like Pittsburgh backers see value as the line has risen to -7.5 and -8 in some places. This would be an excellent time to strike while the iron is hot. Cleveland is 3-0-1 ATS in the last four meetings between these teams, and the Steelers have covered just once in their previous eight home games. They have had a knack for playing down to the level of their opponents and aren’t deserving of giving so many points to anyone at this stage. Those who like playing totals might be interested in knowing that the Over is 8-1 in Pittsburgh’s last nine home games when favored.
My Pick: Cleveland +8
Baltimore Ravens at Carolina Panthers (+2)
The Ravens are coming off a very frustrating loss to the Saints in Week 7, and they will be looking to regain traction when they face the 4-2 Panthers. Carolina is undefeated at home and has won three of their last four. The Ravens defense has been stellar, but they aren’t exactly lighting it up on the offensive side while the Panthers have had their ups and downs on both sides of the ball.
Dating back to last season, the Panthers have won their last eight consecutive home games, and they have covered six of them. In their last eight outing as home dogs, the Panthers are 6-2 ATS and 4-4 SU. Carolina is an excellent bet when they are playing at home. Meanwhile, the Ravens have been a pretty impressive road team going 4-5 straight up but 5-3-1 ATS.
This game should see a lot of punting as both teams will struggle to move the ball and put up points. The Over/Under is set at 43 which should tempt Over bettors, but I’m not going to bite.
My Pick: Under 43
Green Bay Packers at Los Angeles Rams (-9)
This game opened with the Rams giving 8.5 points and it has climbed to -9 and -9.5 at a few sportsbooks. Rams backers remain unfazed by the fact the Pack has covered in the last five meetings between these teams. Green Bay, at 3-2-1 SU, has covered just one spread in their last four games and has just a pair of covers in their last eight overall. Of course, the Rams have also been slightly overvalued by bettors, having only one cover in their last four outings. Of course the Rams, as the NFL's last unbeaten team, have been asked to cover significantly higher spreads.
In a season that has seen a lot of scoring, the Rams have been able to notch more than 30 points in six of their seven games while doing a decent job defensively. They have been able to build leads and force opponents to abandon their running games, and it has worked very well. But Aaron Rodgers is better than the other QBs who have been forced to go to the air against LA. The Rams should be able to put up a bunch of points as per usual, but Green Bay should be able to answer with enough to put this one over the high total of 56.5.
My Pick: Over 56.5
New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings (-1)
Judging by the way this line moved from its opening mark of Minnesota -2.5 down to Minnesota -1, it seems that the early money is on the Saints who narrowly survived their last game against the Ravens. While this isn’t a must-win for the Vikes, they would certainly like to show that they are finally in a groove after a rough start to the season. They have won three straight, and their defense has tightened up considerably. They are 3-0-1 ATS in their last four, and they are atop the NFC North as many predicted.
The Saints come into this one riding a five-game winning streak in which they have gone 4-1 ATS. Like Minnesota, their defense has improved after a slow start, and they are now looking like the contender that many thought they would be. Minnesota just dropped a season-high 37 points on the Jets, and Drew Brees has had a nice couple of weeks as far as all-time passing records are concerned. Both teams look ready to put up a ton of points, right? After all, the books have set the total at 53. However, Minnesota plays stingy defense at home, giving up just 20 points per game while Drew Brees and the Saints have feasted on some struggling defenses like Atlanta and the New York Giants. I feel the Vikings defense, playing at home, slows down Brees just enough to keep the total in the mid-40s.
My Pick: Under 53