NFL Betting: Week 8 Best Picks and Advice

During the NFL season, Stadium sports betting analyst Nate Jacobson will break down every single point spread using lines as of Thursday morning. Here are his thoughts on the Week 8 slate.

Note: Nate will discuss all of his college football and NFL bets on the Sharp Lessons podcast that drops every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Subscribe on Spotify and Apple for episodes and follow Stadium Bets on Twitter for more sports betting content.

Sides I Like

Patriots (-2.5) over Jets: Before the Patriots’ Monday night loss against the Bears, I was very close to betting New England in this game. I wanted to fade the Jets off their win over the Broncos, and thought if the Patriots beat the Bears that this line would go towards -3. Instead, I decided to wait, and the Patriots lost 33-14 and created a quarterback controversy between Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe. However, reports on Wednesday indicate Jones will get the start in this game, so I bet on the Patriots -2.

I originally wanted to bet against the 5-2 Jets because of Zach Wilson’s struggles against the Broncos. It’s not the first time he has had difficulties against a good defense, throwing four interceptions in his first game against New England last season. Injuries on the Jets’ offense are also mounting with rookie RB Breece Hall and OL Alijah Vera-Tucker out for the season. Now that we know Jones is starting this game, I would play the Patriots up to -3.

49ers (-1.5) over Rams: Four weeks ago, I wrote up the 49ers as a strong play against the Rams in the team’s first meeting of the season. Kyle Shanahan’s regular season success against Sean McVay and the 49ers’ pass rush against a patchwork Rams offensive line were two factors for betting on San Francisco at a similar point spread at home. The 49ers went out and won the game 24-9.

Now, the 49ers are favorites on the road, but the amount of fans they’ll have in LA will negate the home-field advantage for the Rams. Los Angeles’ offensive line is still in flux, so with the 49ers defense getting healthier, I expect that unit to bounce back after struggling against the Chiefs last week.

The 49ers offense should continue to fare well against the Rams, especially now that Shanahan has a new toy in RB Christian McCaffrey. I’d expect McCaffrey to have an expanded role this week after just seeing a handful of snaps in his debut. This is a big game for my “49ers to win the NFC West” future, and I’m looking to bet on them this week to complete the season sweep of their division rival.

Sides I’m Considering

Cowboys (-9.5) over Bears: Chicago just stunned the Patriots in a 19-point win as a heavy underdog on Monday night. Now the Bears are going back on the road on a short week to face a Cowboys team with QB Dak Prescott finally back. The matchup for the Bears offense is much tougher against Micah Parsons and the Dallas pass rush.

Chicago benefitted from going 11-for-18 on third down at New England, which is unsustainable in the long run. If the Bears closed +8.5 in New England, then they should be over a 10-point underdog at the Cowboys. The situation, matchup and point spread all point to Dallas being the side in this game if you’re willing to lay a big number.

Saints (+1.5) over Raiders: Like all Saints games this year, I need to know more about their injury report, but I do like the setup here to bet on New Orleans as a small home underdog. The Saints are coming off a mini-bye after playing last Thursday at the Cardinals. The Saints lost the game 42-34, but it was an odd game where Andy Dalton threw two inopportune pick-sixes.

The Raiders are coming off a 38-20 win over the Texans, but Las Vegas trailed in the fourth quarter before scoring the last 21 points of the game. I still have doubts about Josh McDaniels as a head coach and betting against him as a road favorite interests me. I’m hoping the extra time off for New Orleans will elevate some key contributors to the active roster for this game.

Cardinals (+3.5) over Vikings: Going into the season I was high on the Vikings, as I liked their players and new coaching staff. I also thought they would win some of the close games they lost last season, and they have, as proven by their 5-1 record. But Minnesota overachieving makes me interested in betting against them off a bye week because they aren’t quite as good as their record indicates.

The 3-4 Cardinals are a rollercoaster, but one spot I like betting on Arizona is when they are a road underdog. Kliff Kingsbury’s team was 6-0 straight-up in that role last season and is 2-0 this year with wins over the Raiders and Panthers. The Cardinals are coming off an extended rest after winning last Thursday behind a huge performance from a fresh DeAndre Hopkins, which negates some of the Vikings’ potential advantage off the bye. I agree with the early-week line move from Cardinals +5.5 and would still consider playing Arizona against an overvalued Minnesota.

Packers (+11.5) over Bills: The early point spread for this one had the Bills as an eight-point favorite, but Green Bay went out in Week 7 and lost their third-straight game as a favorite while the Bills were idle on a bye. Now we’ve seen one-way traffic on Buffalo throughout the early portion of the week.

Despite no one wanting the Packers, I have some interest in being a contrarian for this Sunday night game. Yes, the Packers are coming off a stretch of games where they lost to the Giants, Jets and Commanders, and Aaron Rodgers is now publicly calling out his teammates. But with Green Bay in the underdog role, I have interest in going back to a Packers team who had a lot of respect in the betting market just a few weeks ago.

Game-Time Decisions

Ravens at Buccaneers (-2): There has been a downgrade to the Buccaneers for this game. Before Week 7, Tampa Bay were installed as a three-point home favorite in this Thursday night game. The Bucs then lost outright and only scored three points as 13-point favorites to the lowly Panthers, and they were a short home underdog in this game for most of the week. The Buccaneers flipped back to being a favorite on Wednesday afternoon.

The Ravens sit at 4-3, but their record could be a lot better if they didn’t squander three double-digit second-half leads. However, they struggled in a win and non-cover last week against the Browns in which Cleveland out-gained Baltimore by two yards per play. Now that Tampa Bay is the favorite, I’m likely going to have no action on this one.

Broncos vs. Jaguars (-2.5): This is a game where the odds are dictated by a quarterback injury. Russell Wilson missed last week’s game for the Broncos with a hamstring injury and Denver closed as a home underdog to the Jets with Brett Rypien under center. While Wilson has had a nightmare start to his time in Denver, he’s still a clear upgrade to Rypien. The question is how healthy will Wilson be after a long flight to London. I just have no interest in betting this game at the current number.

Panthers at Falcons (-4.5): The Falcons were sitting as a six-point favorite and then money came in on the Panthers Monday to shorten this price. I agree with the line move because the Falcons aren’t good enough to be favored by that many points against anyone, and the Panthers showed a pulse by beating the Buccaneers on Sunday. It’s either Carolina or pass in this game, but I don’t have interest in betting a worse number than what was available a few days ago.

Steelers at Eagles (-10.5): Kenny Pickett and the Steelers are coming off a loss and cover on Sunday night against the Dolphins. The 6-0 Eagles had a bye and are the only undefeated team in the NFL. I believe this line is correct, so I will stay away from the Battle of Pennsylvania.

Dolphins (-3.5) at Lions: The Lions ended up being a strong bet for me last week week at +7 against the Cowboys. I liked the idea of Detroit coming off a bye, but five turnovers proved costly in a game where the total yards and yards per play were equal. I think it’s pretty telling that the Dolphins got bet up from -3 to -3.5 across the board on Wednesday. Miami should have a matchup edge with WRs Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle against the Lions’ secondary, but I don’t have much of an opinion on this game at the current line.

Titans (-2) at Texans: The Titans were as high as a four-point road favorite in this game going into Monday, but news about Tennessee QB Ryan Tannehill having an ankle injury caused a line move through the key number of -3 to as low as Titans -1.5. If Tannehill can’t go, it would be third-round rookie Malik Willis getting the nod for the Titans, and I’m not sure how to quantify the drop-off between the two quarterbacks.

Giants at Seahawks (-3): After picking on the Giants the last few weeks (and losing money doing so), I’m relieved they are playing another team I have no interest in betting on at current numbers. If anything I would bet the Giants at +3. However, this is a tough spot for New York traveling three time zones for their second-straight road game. They also lost two starting offensive linemen last week, including rookie right tackle Evan Neal. I don’t think I’ll have a bet in this game.

Commanders at Colts (-3): A few weeks ago, a lot of us would have thought this game would’ve been Carson Wentz seeking revenge against Indy and Matt Ryan. But that is not the case, as Taylor Heinicke has taken over for an injured Wentz while former Texas QB Sam Ehlinger is the Colts’ new starting QB.

Before Colts head coach Frank Reich announced Ehlinger was going to replace Ryan, Indianapolis was a four-point favorite. Ryan was turnover prone in seven games with his new team, but regression from the Colts’ offensive line really hurt the immobile QB. I’m definitely going to pass on this game.

Bengals (-3.5) at Browns: The Bengals were a team I had doubts about early in the season, but now their offense is humming with Joe Burrow. Early money has been on the Bengals pushing this line off -3 to -3.5. Ultimately, this game will be a stay away because this is the Browns’ last chance to salvage their season, and they showed promise in the box score in a loss to the Ravens last week.