Week 8 of the NFL season is on deck, featuring an NFC-AFC clash that’s missing one of the league’s biggest stars. Covers checks in on the opening odds and early action for that contest and three others, with insights from John Murray, director of The SuperBook at Westgate in Las Vegas.
Green Bay Packers at Kansas City Chiefs (+3)
Under the Sunday night lights, Kansas City won’t have prime-time quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who suffered a dislocated knee in the second quarter at Denver in Week 7. The Chiefs (5-2 SU, 4-3 ATS) still went on to win easily 30-6 as 3-point favorites behind backup Matt Moore, but will most certainly face a stiffer challenge minus Mahomes this week.
Green Bay stubbed its toe at home in the Week 4 Thursday nighter, but has otherwise been spotless this season. The Packers (6-1 SU, 5-2 ATS) rolled over Oakland 42-24 as 5.5-point favorites in Week 7.
The opening number was a healthy distance away from last week’s look-ahead line for this contest.
“The look-ahead number was Chiefs -4 before the Mahomes injury,” Murray told Covers on Sunday night. “We reopened with Green Bay a 3-point fave. Keep an eye on the other players Kansas City has been missing the last few weeks. They have a number of other key veterans that should be back soon.”
Arizona Cardinals at New Orleans Saints (-7.5)
New Orleans was without Drew Brees the past five weeks, yet went 5-0 SU and ATS in that stretch to stand atop the NFC South. The Saints (6-1 SU, 5-2 ATS) went off as 4-point underdogs at Chicago in Week 7 and emerged with a 36-25 victory.
Arizona is coming along much better than expected under rookie coach Kliff Kingsbury and rookie QB Kyler Murray. The Cardinals (3-3-1 SU, 5-2 ATS) nabbed a 27-21 road win over the New York Giants catching 3.5 points to win and cash for the third straight week.
There’s a chance Brees returns this week from a thumb injury, but Murray thinks that might be more talk than anything else.
“We opened this game Saints -7.5 and are up to -8.5,” Murray said. “I don’t see the Saints pressing Brees into action here. They have been winning without him and have a bye next week.”
Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers (-6)
San Francisco is one of just two remaining undefeated outfits, joining New England in that respect. The 49ers (6-0 SU, 4-2 ATS) battled through the rain at Washington in Week 7, slogging out a 9-0 victory as 10-point faves.
Carolina ripped off four consecutive SU and ATS wins without Cam Newton, who’s been out with a foot injury. The Panthers (4-2 SU and ATS), coming off their bye week, rode backup Kyle Allen to a 37-26 Week 6 win laying 2 points at Tampa Bay.
“The 49ers are 6-0 SU, but they’re going to need more from their offense to keep winning deep into the season,” Murray said. “The Panthers are coming into this game off their bye week. It could be a tricky spot for San Francisco.”
Philadelphia Eagles at Buffalo Bills (-1.5)
One team is putting itself in playoff position, the other is sub-.500, but it’s a bit of a surprise as to who’s who.
Buffalo is out to a 5-1 SU start (4-2 ATS), with the only loss a more-than-respectable setback to New England. The Bills struggled through three quarters against winless Miami, but scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns to win 31-21 giving a hefty 17 points at home.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia dropped two in a row and four of its last six to fall to 3-4 SU and 2-5 ATS. The Eagles went to Dallas as 3-point underdogs and got run 37-10 in the Week 7 Sunday nighter.
“It’s off the board now, but we opened Bills -1.5,” Murray said, noting this game was taken down ahead of Philly’s Sunday night loss, but it will go back up Monday morning. “The Eagles are on the third of three straight tough road games, after playing at Minnesota and at Dallas the last two weeks. The Eagles need to get healthy quickly, or they will fall out of the NFC playoff picture.”
Patrick Everson is a Las Vegas-based senior writer for Covers.com. Follow him on Twitter: @Covers_Vegas.