As the NFL enters Week 8, one of the most interesting trends of the season to follow has been the lack of scoring across the league. Through seven weeks of games, the NFL is on pace to post its lowest points per game average since the early 2000s.
Several theories have emerged as to why, including red zone ineffectiveness, defensive scheme adjustments, and the lack of elite-level quarterback play. To those betting overs, the results have been scary — only 39% of overs have hit this season. Two totals and a spread make up our NFL Week 8 betting picks and predictions.
Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys (Under 42.5)
Dak Prescott returned to the starting lineup for Dallas last week, leading the Cowboys to a 24-6 win over the Detroit Lions. They’ll continue their tour of the NFC North with a home bout against the Chicago Bears. The Cowboys are heavy favorites but the under is one of our best bets for NFL Week 8.
NFL · Sun (10/30) @ 1:01pm ET
|AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas|
Even with Prescott at the quarterback position, the Cowboys look to keep the ground game going with running backs Ezekiel Elliot and Tony Pollard. They’ll be able to control the pace of the game against a Bears defense that has allowed the third-most rushing yards per game. Although Prescott is still an upgrade from Cooper Rush, this team won’t start airing it out and his return is unlikely to move the needle too much on the Cowboys’ 19.1 points per game average.
The Cowboys have relied on their stingy defense to suffocate opposing teams which is a huge reason for their 5-2 record. They’ve recorded a league-leading 29 sacks — five more than the second-place 49ers — and are allowing the second-fewest points per game. They’ve been particularly stout at home, holding visiting teams to an average of 13 points. All four games in Dallas have gone under the total this season so far.
This Dallas defense certainly has the edge against a Chicago offense that has allowed the most sacks in the league. Chicago pulled off a surprise rout of the Patriots last week, winning 33-14, but quarterback Justin Fields and company will have a difficult time replicating that success at AT&T Stadium this week. It was their first time scoring over 30 since last December, a loss to Green Bay.
Chicago enters this week as double-digit underdogs and they may struggle to score more than 10 points against the Dallas defense. Both these teams have combined to go 9-5 on under bets this season and Prescott will rely on his two star running backs to control the game down the stretch.
A 23-10 Dallas victory is our prediction for this matchup which is why under 42.5 is one of our best bets for NFL Week 8.
New England Patriots (-1.5) at New York Jets
The New England Patriots head to Metlife this weekend for the first of two matchups against divisional rival New York. After being trounced by the Bears as large favorites, the Patriots look to bounce back against a 5-2 Jets squad reeling with injuries on offense. In one of our best bets of NFL Week 8, Belichick breaks a tie for second on the all-time wins list with a win and cover over New York.
There hasn’t been a lot of offense for Zach Wilson’s team since he returned from injury, and he’s averaging under 200 passing yards a game and has thrown for just one touchdown. The stats may not be pretty, but the second-year quarterback is 4-0 as a starter this season. With standout rookie running back Breece Hall and versatile linemen Alijah Vera-Tucker out for the season, the Jets have injury concerns to overcome this weekend.
Bill Belichick and his Patriots teams have won 12-straight against the Jets. The future Hall of Fame coach is tied with the legendary George Halas with 324 wins and what’s more fitting than breaking the record against the team he’s haunted for two decades?
New England is in the thick of a quarterback controversy between Bailey Zappe and Mac Jones. Regardless of who starts — or finishes — they’ll face a much-improved Jets defense. However, with a sputtering Jets offense on the other sideline, New England can tire out the Jets’ defense with long and methodical drives.
This game may likely come down to which quarterback makes the fewest mistakes. Both teams have strong defenses, but the Patriots have routinely out-coached the Jets and are better suited to take advantage of New York’s injuries. Whether it’s Zappe or Jones behind center, the Patriots have the edge as one of our Week 8 NFL best bets.
Look ahead: NFL Week 9 odds
Las Vegas Raiders at New Orleans Saints (Over 49.5)
Scoring may be down this year with unders hitting at an impressive rate, but this midseason matchup between the Raiders and Saints features two of the league’s worst defenses. Both teams are allowing an average of at least 25 points per game, which is why the under is one of our best bets for NFL Week 8.
NFL · Sun (10/30) @ 1:00pm ET
|Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana|
The Raiders came out of their bye with a resounding 38-20 win against the Houston Texans last week. After losing their first three games to start the season, the Raiders have won two of their last three and scored at least 29 points in each — including a 30-29 loss in Kansas City.
On the defensive side of the ball, Las Vegas has struggled to get off the field. Their nine sacks are tied for the fewest in the league and are allowing the league’s highest quarterback rating to opposing signal callers.
New Orleans is coming off a 42-34 loss to the Arizona Cardinals last Thursday. The 2-5 Saints have been gashed on defense in recent weeks, allowing a whopping 34.6 points per game in the last three contests.
The Saints’ biggest issue on offense has been sustaining drives. Their 398.3 yards per game is the third-best mark in the league but they have turned the ball over 16 times — the most in the NFL. Fortunately for Andy Dalton and the Saints, the Raiders have forced the fewest takeaways in the league on defense this season.
The lack of quality defense will make scoring possible for these two offenses. While neither team has been world-beaters on offense, they’ve combined to go 9-3-1 on overs this year. Desperate offenses and porous defenses are a recipe for a surprise shootout in this best bet of NFL Week 8.