Bettors keep shuffling off to Buffalo on their sports betting apps. Dallas and Philadelphia are also public favorites, and they’re siding with the Jets in New York. Here’s an overview of NFL betting trends for Week 8.
When the Bills open NFL Week 8 on Thursday night, they are not only a bold -8.5 (Best Live Odds: ) chalk against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but sport 85% of the early DraftKings handle.
Gamblers also like the heavily favored Philadelphia Eagles visiting the Washington Commanders, the Dallas Cowboys hosting the Los Angeles Rams, and the New York Jets over the New York Giants in the battle for MetLife Stadium bragging rights.
Dog bettors had a glorious 9-4 mark in Week 7 — capped by major upsets with the New England Patriots beating the Buffalo Bills 29-25 at +7.5 and the Minnesota Vikings topping the San Francisco 49ers 22-17 at +7 — but the big early support for Week 8 is on the favorites.
The Enigma of the Bills
Which version of the Bills will bettors get?
Buffalo, and its high-powered offense behind Josh Allen, delighted chalk players during a three-week stretch in late September and early October. The Bills clobbered the Miami Dolphins, Washington Commanders, and Las Vegas Raiders by a combined 90 points.
But in the last three weeks, Buffalo has a net of -4 points, a moneyline mark of 1-2, and a spread-bet record of 0-3. The Bills were lucky to win one of the three on the moneyline, holding off the New York Giants 14-9.
The Giants’ bid to win the game died at the Buffalo 1 on the game’s final play.
Anyone who sensed Buffalo may have peaked after its three blowout wins has been riding an underdog gravy train against the Bills now.
That’s been a slick, well-compensated minority.
More Chalk Talk for the Cowboys, Jets, and Eagles
The public throws 90% of the DraftKings handle on the Jets, slight favorites against the Giants on the home field both teams share.
The Jets and Giants combine for five straight covers and are playing their best ball of the season.
The Cowboys, always a public team, drew 86% early handle at -6 (Best Live Odds: ) against the Los Angeles Rams.
The Eagles, who authored an impressive 31-17 triumph over the Miami Dolphins in Week 7, ride 84 % support against the Commanders. Eagles’ money pushed the line up from -6.5 to -7 (Best Live Odds: ) before some Washington support registered at the attractive new number.
Bettors pound the chalk, but even weak teams will get hot at some point. The trick for bettors is forecasting when.
If one takes the “parity principle,” bad teams often hit some streak where they began covering and winning. We have mentioned the Giants throughout the season as being due for a run — they did lead the league with a 14-5 mark against the spread last year — and they have quietly notched two in a row.
“You have to remember, when teams look bad, they are not as bad as they seem,” Johhny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told Gaming Today. “They can often come back with a big effort. And a really good team is not necessarily going to repeat that form the following week. This is the NFL. It’s hard to know what to expect.”
Cases in point: the Denver Broncos were blown out by 50 points against the Miami Dolphins one week. They came back from a 28-7 deficit to beat the Chicago Bears the next.
And the Bears rebounded from that embarrassment to pound the Commanders.
Gamblers expect something unique this week. The Carolina Panthers, who have not recorded a cover this season, have 88% of the handle when they face the Houston Texans at +3 (Best Live Odds: ). The Texans are rolling with four straight covers, but this might be a game Carolina is viewed to be competitive.
Sportsbooks Rolling As Dogs Bark Loudly
Operators gained excellent results with upset victories by the Patriots, Vikings, and Giants.
The Patriots victory was the biggest, a development bettors hinted at on Sunday morning.
Late bettors were all over New England, driving the line down from Buffalo -9 to -7.5. But books already had such high liability on early Buffalo money that New England’s triumph became a big win for them.
The cherry on top for books was the game-winning touchdown with 12 seconds left. That torched the multi-legged moneyline parlays tied up on Buffalo. Books gladly paid +310 to the small number of players who took New England on the moneyline.
Generally speaking, a big day for the dogs is a good one for the house. Bettors collectively do well when favorites reign, in part because they have connected a string of moneyline parlays to chalk teams.
“It ended up being another big week for us because of some upsets,” Avello noted. “The Patriots were really big for us. So were the Vikings. You go through these streaks. I am sure the players are going to have a couple of big weeks too, like they did early in the season. It’s good all the way around when they do.”
Minnesota Moolah: 15,000 Reasons to Play a Parlay
Talk about living right.
What’s the key to cashing a major multi-legged parlay with a small investment? It helps when at least one of the legs is a longshot.
A DraftKings bettor turned a $10 seven-leg parlay into a whopping $15,000 after several things broke right in the Niners-Vikings game. This parlay was all Vikings, all the time.
Among the highlights:
- Kirk Cousins clearing 300 alternate yards against the talented Niners’ defense was a nice leap of faith.
- So was the game going Under 44 and Minnesota covering -3. It’s not easy to squeeze a cover and an Under into a medium-sized total. Especially with a dog.
- The Vikings were +7 at kickoff, so taking them -3 was a gutsy call, rewarded in the 22-17 triumph.
- Hitting the Under 44 was the gift a major parlay needs.
- Kickers left seven points on the table with missed field goals and an extra point, rare for an indoor contest.
- The Vikings also could not hit the end zone on two separate trips of first and goal from the 1 and first-and-goal from the 2. Each resulted in a field goal. That’s eight more potential points lost.
- This ticket even had the over-under for Camryn Bynum tackles. The gambler took Over 4.5. Bynum had seven.
All of these events are unlikely to happen on one ticket. But when they do, they pay well.
Vikings Struggle Near the Goal Line
Minnesota, which visits the Green Bay Packers Sunday at -1 (Best Live Odds: ), played its best game of the season, by far, in toppling the Niners. But Vikings’ bettors will rightly be concerned about the points Minnesota leaves on the table. Being unable to hit the end zone on first-and-goal from the 1 and then the 2 on two separate drives is what keeps teams under .500.
This has been a recurring theme for a 3-4 team that could easily be 5-2.
“Look at the Vikings compared with other teams,” Avello noted.
“Whether it’s the Eagles with Jalen Hurts, the Kansas City Chiefs with Patrick Mahomes, or the Ravens with Lamar Jackson, the quarterback is a real threat to score. The reason Minnesota has struggled is that Kirk Cousins is not really a threat to run the ball in.
“A defense takes away the quarterback run and now they only have to guard against a running back or wide receiver. That’s why the Vikings have been struggling in the red zone.”
Giving a Shove to the Brotherly Shove
The Vikings tried their own adaptation to Philly’s famed quarterback sneak on Monday night, but the Niners stuffed it, in unique fashion.
San Francisco had a player leap over the top of the line, which is legal, landing right in front of the QB. That move blew up the play. Defenses are going to become more creative in addressing the Brotherly Shove, which is a major intangible for offenses.
Avello believes defenses may start launching their own push from the back of the back, putting strong players behind linemen and shoving back from the other direction.
Will it be a run or a scrum? This battle will be interesting to watch all season. And some top teams will practice a defensive move against the Shove, but not use the move until deep in the postseason.
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NFL Week 8 Injury Updates
Bijan Robinson, the talented Atlanta Falcons running back, looks to be fine heading into his team’s matchup with the Tennessee Titans.
He carried the ball only three times last week after being ill.
On the other side of the ball, Ryan Tannehill’s ankle injury could sideline the Tennessee quarterback. If he doesn’t go, Malik Willis and Will Levis are expected to split time.
Levis has been hyped, as Tennessee traded up to get him in the second round of the 2023 Draft. Once a team does that, the clamor begins for that player to start.
Bettors don’t know if they will see either of two players named Watson — Deshaun and Christian — in Week 8.
The Browns quarterback remains impaired with a shoulder injury, as backup PJ Walker is likely to seek his third straight victory when the Browns invade the Seattle Seahawks.
Christian Watson, the Packers’ wide receiver, got hurt on the final drive of Green Bay’s 19-17 loss to the Denver Broncos. The oft-injured Watson can’t quite get back to being healthy and his top form.
Saquon Barkley, the New York Giants’ running back, said he should be ready to go despite a hyperextended elbow sustained last week.
Dawson Knox, Josh Allen’s prize tight end, is having wrist surgery and will be gone indefinitely. Dalton Kincaid, who led the Bills with eight catches for 75 yards against New England, looks like the next man up. Quintin Morris is next behind him.
Division and Super Bowl 58 Futures (FanDuel)
The time between games is an excellent chance to seek value in fluctuating season-long bets. Conviction at the right time can create a significant payoff in January.
Here are some of the best division races for value bettors at FanDuel.
- Miami -160
- Buffalo +175
- N.Y. Jets +1100
- New England +5000
The price is not attractive on the Dolphins. If bettors feel the Bills will turn it around, this is good value. Buffalo also has an earlier victory over Miami, which it trails by one game.
AFC North (Excellent Prices on Four Strong Teams)
- Baltimore -105
- Cleveland +250
- Pittsburgh +500
- Cincinnati +600
Gamblers can place faith in any of these teams. The division went 3-0 last week.
The Ravens, Steelers, and Browns all have only two losses, with the Steelers and Browns playing above expectations. The Bengals dug a hole with early losses to the Ravens and Browns, hence the high price.
But the team is finding its stride with two straight wins. Should they beat the Niners on the road, they will be considered a viable division contender.
The Niners and Bengals are expected to produce the biggest handle of the week in Sunday afternoon games.
- Atlanta +100
- New Orleans +175
- Tampa Bay +380
The Falcons are pulling slightly ahead in the division someone will be reluctant to win.
Super Bowl 58 Futures (BetMGM)
Here is the BetMGM overview of Super Bowl futures.
The Ravens made a significant step up into respectability, although they are not the biggest liability for the book.
Line Movement (Last Week to Current)
- Chiefs +500 to +450
- Eagles +750 to +600
- Ravens +1400 to +1200
- Eagles 9.5%
- Bengals 8.9%
- 49ers 8.7%
- 49ers 13.9%
- Bills 10.3%
- Chiefs 9.5%
- Favorite: Chiefs +220
- Highest Ticket%: Chiefs 13.6%
- Highest Handle%: Bills 19.1%
- Biggest Liability: Steelers
- Favorite: 49ers +225
- Highest Ticket%: Lions 41.8%
- Highest Handle%: Lions 44.9%
- Biggest Liability: Lions