The Jets are off the betting schneid. The Cowboys need to soon follow or risk setting a shameful bit of history.
No team has ever started the NFL season 0-9 against the spread, but Dallas is two losses away from becoming the first after it fell to 0-7 with a 25-3 loss as a 1-point favorite against Washington last week. It had some company at 0-6, but the Jets broke loose of their own cashless streak by hanging with the Bills in an 18-10 loss as 9.5-point underdogs.
Only two teams have ever sat at 0-8 against the spread, the 2003 Raiders and 1991 Bengals, according to CBS Sports. The asking price for Dallas to break free of infamy is in flux right now.
With no clarity on whether quarterback Andy Dalton will be able to return from the concussion protocol, betting odds for the Cowboys’ Sunday Night Football game at the Philadelphia Eagles are off many local betting boards. The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has it up, though, so I'll stand by my rule to pick every game if it's available and go forward with the full 14-game slate.
Read below for picks on every Week 8 game, separated into three confidence categories and listed in rough order of confidence. Lines are the best currently available in Las Vegas on the chosen side. The record for the year stands at 58-46-1 after a 9-5 Week 7 performance.
Baltimore Ravens -3.5 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers This is a fair line based exclusively on how these teams have played this season, but it feels a bit short-sighted to minimize last year when Baltimore was one of the most efficient teams in NFL history. Coming out of a bye week, there’s a good chance the Ravens can look that sharp again.
Tennessee Titans -5.5 at Cincinnati Bengals At -1.1 net yards per play, the second-worst mark in the NFL behind the Jets, the Bengals are overachieving to be 1-5-1 straight-up, 5-2 against the spread. Combined with discontent among the core of veterans in Cincinnati, anything less than 7 points presents unmistakable value on Tennessee.
Miami Dolphins +4 vs. Los Angeles Rams I’m operating under the (potentially dangerous) assumption that the Dolphins wouldn’t be throwing in Tua Tagovailoa for his first start if he wasn’t ready to perform at a high level. The former Alabama star gets a beneficial situational spot for his debut, as the Dolphins are off a bye week while the Rams are off a short week and traveling across the country for the fourth time this season.
New York Giants +10.5 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tampa Bay has officially reached the top of the market with books requiring a premium to back the Buccaneers. It’s not worth it to pay that premium in a game that already looked low scoring and now may be even moreso with weather forecasts calling for windy and chilly weather at the Meadowlands.
Las Vegas Raiders +3 at Cleveland Browns Las Vegas is getting healthier and Cleveland is getting more banged up. That’s enough to make a big difference in a game that otherwise projects as a coin flip.
Buffalo Bills -3.5 vs. New England Patriots The Patriots might be getting too much of a boost for their infrastructure and history of success. That’s the easiest way to explain what look likes too low of a spread considering the Bills have significantly outperformed them on both sides of the ball this season, as have most teams. The Patriots rate 25th in both offense and defense according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA.
Green Bay Packers -6.5 vs. Minnesota Vikings The Vikings’ pass defense has shown some progress but enough progress to disregard the Week 1 game between these teams when Aaron Rodgers went off for 364 yards and four touchdowns? Not likely.
Chicago Bears +4.5 vs. New Orleans Saints This line jumped from as low as Saints -2.5 following the Bears’ 24-10 loss as 6.5-point underdogs to the Rams on Monday Night Football. That’s an awfully large move off of what was a terrible spot and matchup for Chicago, which gets a more forgiving setup here against a New Orleans team that struggles outdoors.
Los Angeles Chargers -3 at Denver Broncos I’m just picking off a good number here, as the line appears well on its way to closing Chargers -3.5. Denver’s home field advantage means less against a team that plays it on the road every year like Los Angeles.
Atlanta Falcons +2.5 at Carolina Panthers Are these teams really all that different than we expected coming into the season? I’d argue from an efficiency standpoint, they’re not. And coming into the season, the Falcons were a 2-point favorite here.
Dallas Cowboys +7.5 at Philadelphia Eagles Don't let Dallas' problems obscure the fact that Philadelphia is far from a team that should be trusted laying a big number of its own. If Dalton plays, this is a steal. If he doesn't, the Cowboys still should be able to hang within a touchdown of the Eagles.
Seattle Seahawks -3 vs. San Francisco 49ers It’s hard to trust the erratic 49ers, which rank 31st in the NFL in variance by Football Outsiders. Still, they would have been the pick at the opening 3.5 and 4 prices but a straight field goal is too low when playing against Russell Wilson.
Kansas City Chiefs -19 vs. New York Jets Don’t get cute and bet the worst team in the NFL against the best team in the NFL. It’s not worth the heartache.
Indianapolis Colts -2.5 at Detroit Lions The flip-flop game of the week as I’ve changed my mind every few minutes for the last several days. I’m ultimately landing on the Colts because of their coaching advantage and being currently available on the right side of 3.