Bontempo’s NFL Week 8 Betting Beat: Rare Full Schedule & Best Picks

Here’s an interesting NFL betting phenomenon: the byes are on a bye week. They won’t return until Week 9.

Week 8 offers a rare full schedule, a throwback to Week 1, and a jump start on betting riches with the Buffalo Bills’ 24-18 triumph over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday night.

Bettors already lined their pockets on Josh Allen’s first score (+750) and anytime tallies from Dalton Kincaid (+165) and Mike Evans (+200) at DraftKings. Already, the cover came down to one play, as Tampa’s 4th-and-10 TD pass to Evans turned a 24-10 Buffalo cover into a 24-18 Tampa Bay cash at +10.

Here’s Bontempo’s NFL Week 8 betting beat, breaking down a few key games and trends.

Also read: Super Bowl odds | NFL MVP odds

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NFL Line Movement of the Week: Niners A Smaller Chalk

 

An injury to San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy propelled the betting line from -5.5 to -3.5 and then -4 as the Niners host the Cincinnati Bengals in the spotlight game of the week.

That was the first significant line move before the weekend.

It’s attributed to the likelihood that Sam Darnold will replace Purdy as the Niners quarterback, with Purdy in concussion protocol from a late hit in San Francisco’s 22-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings Monday night.

If he sits, Darnold will test the angle of San Francisco being interchangeable parts, other than superstar Christian McCaffrey.

Darnold came into the league with high expectations for the Jets. He fizzled and got discouraged, but still has the tools to be an excellent quarterback. If he fits comfortably in the San Francisco system, he can be a mirror image of Purdy, who rose from being Mr. Irrelevant to notching 15 straight moneyline wins with this team.

Darnold, only 26, was 4-2 as a starter for Carolina last season. If there’s ever a game he will be fired up for, it’s this one. Backup quarterbacks PJ Walker for Cleveland, Tyson Bagent for the Chicago Bears, and Gardner Minshew of the Indianapolis Colts have risen to the task of being elevated into the No. 1 role this season. Darnold is on a good team. This could be his time.

Those who believe in the Niners system think there’s no drop-off in Darnold and that they are getting a two-point gift to play the Niners at -3.5. The line bolted back to -4 on Thursday night and may juggle between those points.

Those who believe Darnold is rusty, or turnover-prone, have taken their position.

San Francisco probably won’t have wide receiver Deebo Samuel and top lineman Trent Williams. Brandon Aiyuk is a candidate to step up. Darnold also is a fair runner.

Bettors line up behind Cincinnati with 63% of the handle.

The Bengals have two straight moneyline wins and covers, as their defense turned away the Seattle Seahawks in the red zone a couple of times in its 17-13 win in Week 6. The Bengals covered 3.5 and then went on a bye.

49ers vs Bengals Best Props

Hard to find a soft spot. Ja’Marr Chase has an Over/Under yardage total of 83.5 at -115 on both sides.

Joe Burrow’s yardage total of 245.5 looks reachable if he comes anywhere near what Kirk Cousins did in notching 378 against the Niners on Monday night.

His Over 1.5 touchdown passes at +120 is a reasonable value.

Broncos vs Chiefs Best Props

On a slightly lower scale, bettors moved the Denver Broncos from +8 to +7 when they host the red-hot Kansas City Chiefs, winners of six straight games.

75 percent of the handle favors the Chiefs at this new number.

Denver is +260 on the moneyline. That could be important for anyone thinking the Broncos can snap Kansas City’s 16-game winning streak against them. It is the longest active streak for one division opponent over another.

There are some tempting numbers for Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs QB has a price of +160 for Over 2.5 touchdown passes. He tossed three when KC topped Denver 34-28 here last December.

Mahomes’ yardage of 272.5 is a fair-priced consideration, but a little expensive at -115.

Numbers may suggest Kansas City controlling this game on the ground.

But gamblers who love Mahomes for his freewheeling style will jump on the Over for TD passes and yardage.

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A Difference of Opinion — To Put it Mildly

Here’s the widest and most interesting split all season between bigger bettors and smaller players.

The winless Carolina Panthers have 83% of the DraftKings handle against the visiting Houston Texans, even as the betting line rises to +3.5. But the Panthers have only 24% of the tickets.
Talk about two entirely different views of the contest. This is the biggest separation between these sets of gamblers all year, nearly 60%.

You can see why each side lays down stakes.

A Carolina bettor thinks this game “lays right.” The Panthers haven’t covered all season and at some point, weak NFL teams make a mini run of good games.

Witness the Week 7 shakeup with the New England Patriots topping the Buffalo Bills and the Minnesota Vikings beating the San Francisco 49ers as home dogs of a touchdown. Even the New York Giants had their best game last week after a 1-4 start, beating the Washington Commanders.

“I think the bettors are looking at it like Houston is a little overrated and that Carolina may be due for a big game at some point,” Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told Gaming Today.

On the Houston side, gamblers think this is a vastly improved team. The 3-3 Texans have four straight covers and sport wins over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Pittsburgh Steelers, and New Orleans Saints.

The Texans have found something.

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Panthers vs Texans Best Props

Not many individuals to target on either side, but Dalton Schultz is a Houston threat as a first and anytime scorer. So is Robert Woods. Shop for prices when you see them.

Carolina’s major threat is summed up in two words: Adam Thielen. Bettors will be sure to place him in any tickets.

There is an undercurrent of interest surrounding this game. It’s a matchup between first-round draft picks CJ Stroud for Houston and Bryce Young for Carolina at quarterback.

Miami Dolphins vs New England Patriots Best Props

Tua Tagovailoa, Tyreek Hill, and Raheem Mostert will be isolated plays for bettors on the first and anytime touchdown scoring props. Scour the sportsbooks for the best values.

A DraftKings special has Hill for 80 yards and a touchdown at +150.

A solid majority, 81% of the bettors, like the Under 46.5. That’s interesting with the Dolphins being explosive and the Patriots coming off a 29-25 triumph over the Buffalo Bills, their highest total of the season.

Miami comes off a 31-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, a win for the Under 52.

New England sports multiple targets but doesn’t have a marquee scoring threat. Zeke Elliott and Rhamondre Stevenson split carries. Elliott has scored in two straight games.

The Patriots are getting a lot of points, nine, in seeking to parlay the win over Buffalo.

Commanders vs Eagles

This game was loaded with offense when Philly nipped Washington 34-31 in overtime on Oct. 1. That’s why the touchdown scoring prop board has more relevance in this game than several others.

Touchdown Scorers: First and Anytime (DraftKings)

Jalen Hurts (+550 first, -120 anytime)
D’Andre Swift (+600, +110)
AJ Brown (+650, +115)
Brian Robinson Jr. (+800, +125)
DeVonta Smith (+800, +150)
Terry McLaurin (+1200, +215)
Dallas Goedert (+1200, +245)
Jahan Dotson (+1800, +370)
Kenneth Gainwell (+1800, +390)
Logan Thomas (+1900, +360)

Commanders vs Eagles Best Props

The AJ Brown watch continues. Can he make it a sixth straight game with more than 125 receiving yards? Brown paid bettors in the +350 neighborhood to notch No. 5 last week against the Miami Dolphins.

Dallas Goedert is a prominent weapon and hit the board first in Philly’s 31-17 triumph over the Miami Dolphins last week.

Wide receiver Terry McLaurin is Washington’s top weapon.

Bettors agree on the Eagles’ dominance and remain split over the total.

Gamblers favor Philadelphia with 79% of the handle at -7.

The Over/Under of 43.5 shows 64% handle and 41% of the tickets on the Under. Bigger bets favor the Under, while more tickets back the Over.

Read more: Eagles vs Commanders odds, props, and predictions

Giants vs Jets

So, both teams have a losing record. Bettors say “So What?” It will be one of the biggest handles of the day and will be an emotion-charged battle of MetLife Stadium, their shared home field. This is a mini-Super Bowl.

Daniel Jones again looks to be out for the Giants, who have looked motivated under backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor. He’s avoided mistakes, keeping them in one game and helping them win the other. Taylor is 2-for-2 on the cover.

Expect Saquon Barkley to be up for this game in the New York backfield. Darren Waller has emerged as a tight end threat and returned +1100 to score first last week, but is banged up. Hold off on his props until near game time, if possible.

A big variable is the Giants defense. It notched five first-half sacks last week against Washington, matching its entire season total.

The Jets are coming off a bye on the heels of beating the Philadelphia Eagles.

They also have a running back controversy, with Dalvin Cook seeking a trade because he has not received the big role he envisioned. Cook has taken the back seat to Breece Hall, an excellent back.

The Jets and Giants are both playing excellent defense. This may come down to which offense can avoid the big mistake.

Giants vs Jets Best Props

Pretty standard. Some big prices for longshot players, while Barkley (+475 first, +105 anytime) and Hall (+600, +130) have reasonable value.

Titans vs Falcons

It’s newcomer Will Levis and perhaps Malik Willis for Tennessee against a talented Atlanta Falcons defense. This is Tennessee’s first home game since Oct. 1, when it toppled Cincinnati as a similar 3-point dog.

The Falcons have hit the Under in 16 of their last 20 games.

Totals in Atlanta games have been under 30 three times this year. No wonder 85% of the handle rides with the Under 36.5 here. Both teams prefer the grind-it-out route.

Titans vs Falcons Best Props

Likely Atlanta targets include Desmond Ridder, Drake London, Kyle Pitts, and Bijan Robinson to score.

Younghoe Koo points 7.5 (Over -125, Under -105). He’s been money throughout his career. The Over is a little high on the juice, but he’s been dependable.

For Tennessee, Derrick Henry props will appeal to bettors. They will have to decide what’s good value and what’s not.

Both teams to score in first quarter (Yes +205, No -270). Goes against the grain of a low-scoring game, hence the nice price for Yes.

Total touchdowns 3.5 (Over +100, Under -130).

Cardinals vs Ravens Best Props

Lamar Jackson to score a rushing touchdown, Mark Andrews to notch a receiving touchdown, and Baltimore defense and special teams to score.

They are worth a look here.

So is the Justin Tucker point total. Anything up 6.5 is a great deal, anything over 8 becomes a tough ask.

Cowboys vs Rams Best Props

All the usual suspects. CeeDee Lamb and Tony Pollard will be fed the ball by Dak Prescott. Puka Nacua and Cooper Kupp will be where bettors direct Rams receiving money.

Read: Rams vs Cowboys odds, props, and predictions

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NFL Week 8 Sample (FanDuel)

Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, 15 or more total catches (+120)
CeeDee Lamb and Pika Nacua 175 yards (+180)
Jared Goff or Patrick Mahomes 350 pass yards (+220)
Lamar Jackson or Patrick Mahomes 350 pass yards (+240)

Highest Scoring Sunday Game: Favorites

Bears vs Chargers (+700)
Rams vs Cowboys (+800)
Patriots vs Dolphins (+800)
Chiefs vs Broncos (+850)
Ravens vs Cardinals (+900)

Lowest Scoring Game: Favorites

Falcons vs Titans (+500)
Jets vs Giants (+600)
Browns vs Seahawks (+700)
Jaguars vs Steelers (+950)
Vikings vs Packers (+1100)
Falcons vs Titans (+500)
Jets vs Giants (+600)
Browns vs Seahawks (+700)
Jaguars vs Steelers (+950)
Vikings vs Packers (+1100)

Highest Scoring Team: Favorites

Chargers (+850)
Dolphins (+850)
Ravens (+950)
Chiefs (+1000)
Cowboys (+1100)

Lowest Scoring Team: Favorites

Titans (+1100)
Giants (+1100)
Browns (+1200)
Cardinals (+1300)
Commanders (+1400)

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About the Author
Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo

Writer
Dave Bontempo is an award-winning writer and broadcaster, who has covered the sports industry since the 1970s. He won the Sam Taub Award for Excellence in Boxing Broadcasting by the Boxing Writers Association of America in 1997, and is in the New Jersey and Atlantic City Boxing Halls of Fame. Bontempo has broadcast major fights all over the world. The advent of legalized sports wagering shifted his focus to this exciting new industry in 2018.

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