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
Browns (-3.5) over Steelers: There are still questions surrounding this game, but I’m willing to take the risk and bet Cleveland before knowing who will play quarterback for the Browns. Case Keenum started and led the Browns to a 17-14 win last Thursday night, and with Baker Mayfield battling a shoulder injury, the drop-off between Mayfield and Keenum is minimal in my opinion. Keenum is one of the most qualified backup quarterbacks in the league because of his familiarity with head coach Kevin Stefanski’s system dating back to their days with the Vikings.
The Browns have had other injuries recently, but RB Nick Chubb is practicing this week, which is important with Kareem Hunt on IR. Right tackle Jack Conklin is expected to play this week after missing the last two games, which means Cleveland’s offensive line could be fully intact against a strong Steelers pass rush. I’m low on the Steelers because of QB Ben Roethlisberger’s underwhelming play. While Pittsburgh just had a bye, that advantage is negated since Cleveland also got some rest by playing last Thursday.
Sides I’m Considering
Panthers (+3) over Falcons: I have bet against the Panthers the last three weeks, but now I think they are in a buy low situation. It’s also an opportunity to sell high on the Falcons, who just needed a last-second field goal to beat the Dolphins. Atlanta has one of the weaker home-field advantages in the NFL, so getting the Panthers at +3 or better is an easy bet for me to make.
Titans at Colts (-1.5): This is another in-season divisional rematch. The Titans closed -4.5 at home in Week 3 and won 25-16 against the Colts and Carson Wentz, who played on two injured ankles. Wentz has since improved and the Colts have gotten healthier as a team. The Titans can also be upgraded after notching impressive home victories as underdogs against the Bills and Chiefs in a span of six days.
I like the Colts in this spot with the Titans playing on the road after two huge wins at home. The Colts need to avoid a second loss to the Titans to stay alive in the AFC South. In November, the Colts host the Jets and Jaguars, so there’s a path for Indianapolis to win the division if they win this game.
Jets (+10.5) over Bengals: This is an ugly one, but I’ll consider betting on backup QB Mike White and the Jets getting double digits at home. The look-ahead line for this game was Bengals -3.5 before QB Zach Wilson sprained his PCL last week. There will be a drop-off between him and White, but Wilson wasn’t playing well enough to warrant that big of a downgrade in the point spread.
This is also a tough scheduling spot for the Bengals. Cincinnati is playing their third-straight road game after a dominant win over the Ravens last week. Looking ahead, they have a home game against a Browns team that beat them twice last season. The number and situation is enough for me to consider New York at this point in the week.
Jaguars (+3) over Seahawks: This will be the third game Geno Smith starts for the Seahawks. They lost the previous two games, but were able to cover in back-to-back primetime matchups as underdogs. Now, the Seahawks are favorites and have a short week to prepare against a Jaguars team coming off their bye. While I don’t rate the Jaguars highly, I would expect their best effort coming off their first win of the season.
Saints (+5.5) over Buccaneers: The Buccaneers had a nearly flawless performance against the Bears last Sunday, while the Saints struggled to beat Geno Smith and the Seahawks on Monday night. This becomes a perfect situation for me to consider betting the underdog after their win and non-cover on national TV. I’ve been worried about betting on Jameis Winston as a favorite, but it’s a different situation when him and Sean Payton are underdogs — especially at home.
Last season, the Buccaneers eliminated the Saints in the playoffs in a game where the Saints closed as a 2.5-point favorite without fans in attendance. There’s now been an eight-point adjustment from that matchup. Yes, the currently red-hot Bucs would go on to win the Super Bowl, but the only difference for the Saints that could be reflected in the point spread is 42-year-old Drew Brees retiring. I believe this line is inflated, and I hope it gets to Saints +6 before I bet the home team.
Sides I Plan to Use in a Six-Point Teaser
Vikings (+2.5) over Cowboys: The Cowboys should be favored in this game, but if it gets to Vikings +3, I’ll bet that number instead of using Minnesota as a teaser leg. As good as the Cowboys have been this season, they are overvalued. I bet against them the last time they played, and they covered as 3.5-point favorites at the Patriots because they scored a touchdown in overtime.
With this current number hovering in a similar price range, I don’t see why I shouldn’t once again bet against the Cowboys as road favorites. The Vikings have a very strong home-field advantage, and this game is on “Sunday Night Football.” Because it’s being played in primetime and the Cowboys are a public team, I would suggest waiting as long as possible to back the Vikings in a single bet so that you get the best odds.
Packers at Cardinals (-6.5): The Cardinals were my early look in this Thursday night game when they opened -3.5 on Sunday evening. That number ticked up early on Monday and then moved to -6 after Packers WR Davante Adams was placed on the COVID-19 list. With fellow wide receiver Allen Lazard recently joining Adams on that list, it’s now at -6.5. I’m going to pass on this game now that the best numbers are long gone.
Dolphins at Bills (-13.5): These two teams played in Week 2 and the Bills closed as a 3.5-point road favorite against the Dolphins, winning the game 35-0 after an early Tua Tagovailoa injury. There has been a big adjustment for this point spread, but it’s justified. The Dolphins’ lone win was in Week 1, and they’re currently coming off a demoralizing home loss against the Falcons. The Bills had their bye and are arguably the best team in the NFL. It’s tempting to take a shot at Miami now that they are getting almost two touchdowns, but I’ll likely stay away.
Eagles (-3.5) at Lions: We are seven games into the Dan Campbell era with the Lions and I think we know what we are going to get with them. They cover or stay close to the closing point spread in games against much better teams. In the smaller spread games (against the Bears and Bengals), they’ll lose and fail to cover the number.
The Lions are coming off a 28-19 loss and cover against the Rams in a game where Campbell threw everything at Los Angeles, with an early onside kick and two fake punts all working to perfection. Despite all that, it wasn’t enough to win the game, which shows how little talent Detroit has on their active roster. I don’t have interest in betting on the Eagles as a favorite, especially after they let me down last week in Las Vegas.
Rams (-14.5) at Texans: If Tyrod Taylor starts for the Texans, then I’d probably take a shot with Houston at the current number. Even if Davis Mills starts, the Texans are tempting because I don’t think the Rams are going to look to dominate.
49ers (-4) at Bears: I have no read on this game. The Bears are not a team I’m looking to bet right now, but I don’t think the 49ers are currently good enough to bet on as favorites in a game with a total of 39.5.
Patriots at Chargers (-5): At first glance, I thought this line was a little high because the Chargers don’t have much of a home-field advantage and the crowd for this game will be filled with Patriots fans. But after looking a little closer, I might be giving the Patriots too much credit. Their only wins were twice against the Jets and at the Texans, and they were the only team to lose to the Dolphins. As for the Chargers, they’re coming off a bye week, and I’d expect a bounce-back performance after they were humbled by the Ravens the last time they took the field.
Washington at Broncos (-3): The early money has come on the Washington Football Team despite their loss and non-cover last week in Green Bay. Washington only scored 10 points in the game despite having six drives that went inside the Packers’ 25-yard-line. Maybe we’ll see some scoring from Washington’s offense, but that is built into the current number. I don’t know what to make of the Broncos after losing four-straight games following their undefeated start.
Giants at Chiefs (-9.5): The line for this Monday night game was from Chiefs -13 to -10 after what we saw in Week 7 and now it has dipped below double-digits. The Chiefs looked completely unprepared against the Titans, while the Giants won outright as a home underdog to the Panthers. Kansas City is currently a mess, so I have no confidence backing them as a heavy favorite. Giants head coach Joe Judge is 8-2 against the spread in the road underdog role, making a case for New York. I would like to know more about the Giants’ injury situation before making a decision on this game.