With that in mind, here are this week’s prime picks against the consensus point spreads as of Thursday morning.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-10½) at New York Giants
Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers -10½
This is a complete mismatch on paper. The Buccaneers are scoring 2.7 points per drive (seventh highest this season) and allowing 1.6 per drive (second lowest). The Giants, meanwhile, are scoring 1.5 points per drive (only the winless Jets are worse) and allowing 2.4 points per drive (20th). If you adjust each team’s scoring margin for strength of schedule, Tampa Bay should be a 22-point favorite over the Giants on a neutral field.
Las Vegas Raiders at Cleveland Browns (-2½)
Pick: Las Vegas Raiders +2½
The Cleveland Browns are 1-4 against the spread against conference opponents this year, failing to cover by an average of nine points. Plus, Cleveland announced that star wideout Odell Beckham Jr. suffered a torn ACL in his left knee on Sunday, ending his season.
Beckham had caught 23 passes for 319 yards and three touchdowns, with three rushes for 72 yards and another touchdown. Since Beckham joined the team in 2019, quarterback Baker Mayfield targeted the game-breaking receiver on more than 40 percent of his deep throws (20 or more yards), leading to three touchdowns. That’s as many as the other seven wideouts combined, with none of the others catching more than one touchdown on a deep throw over the past two years. Beckham also was targeted on a high share of throws within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage (19 percent, second to Jarvis Landry at 23 percent).
Season best bets record: 11-8-1.
The two games above represent our best plays of the week because our analysis shows the point spreads are the most divergent from what we expect to happen once the teams take the field. Below, you will find picks for the other games on this week’s schedule. However, trying to pick every single NFL game is something of a fool’s errand. The house wins so often partly because bettors try to make too many plays when the odds aren’t in their favor. Keep that in mind when evaluating the remaining games from the Week 8 slate.
Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers (-2½)
Pick: Atlanta Falcons +2½
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills (-3½)
Pick: Buffalo Bills -3½
Tennessee Titans (-5½) at Cincinnati Bengals
Pick: Tennessee Titans -5½
Indianapolis Colts (-3) at Detroit Lions
Pick: Indianapolis Colts -3
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (-6½)
Pick: Minnesota Vikings +6½
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens (-3½)
Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers +3½
New York Jets at Kansas City Chiefs (-19½)
Pick: New York Jets +19½
Los Angeles Rams (-3½) at Miami Dolphins
Pick: Los Angeles Rams -3½
Los Angeles Chargers (-3) at Denver Broncos
Pick: Los Angeles Chargers -3
New Orleans Saints (-4½) at Chicago Bears
Pick: New Orleans Saints -4½
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (-3)
Pick: Seattle Seahawks -3
Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles (-9½)
Pick: Dallas Cowboys +9½