Situational handicapping – or spot betting as it’s more widely known – is one of the most popular methods to find NFL betting value from week to week.
The most common spot bets are: 1. Letdowns – a team coming off an important matchup and failing to meet the intensity of the previous game. 2. Lookaheads – a team looking past this week’s opposition to a bigger, tougher game the following week. 3. Schedule – a difficult situation in scheduling, such as consecutive road games, short weeks, or extended travels.
Now that you’ve had your crash course in spot bets, let’s see what NFL Week 8 has in store.
LETDOWN SPOT: OAKLAND RAIDERS AT HOUSTON TEXANS (-6.5, 51.5)
Letdown spots aren’t just reserved for teams coming off big wins, they can also impact teams coming off big losses. Houston fell short in its AFC South showdown with Indianapolis last Sunday, a game that had massive implications for the division and potential playoff seeding.
The Texans, who are regulars in our weekly spot bets and was our featured “letdown spot” in Week 7, was dealt a 30-23 loss and allowed Colts QB Jacoby Brissett to dress up as Andrew Luck for Halloween, passing for 326 yards and four touchdowns. Houston allowed the Colts to go 8 for 16 on third downs and gave away 54 yards on 10 penalties – two aspects of the game which have haunted Houston all season.
Enter the Raiders, who could qualify for the schedule spot by playing their fifth straight game away from home (including a trip to London in Week 5 and a bye in Week 6). Oakland has overperformed in the eyes of most, specifically on offense in recent outings.
The Silver and Black are averaging almost 420 yards per game over their last three, putting up 26.3 points per game in that span – a huge jump in efficiency from the team that managed only 18.1 points a contest in 2018. If the Texans are at all hungover from that missed opportunity in Indy, this one could be closer than the near-touchdown spread indicates.
LOOKAHEAD SPOT: SEATTLE SEAHAWKS AT ATLANTA FALCONS (+5.5, 53.5)
In another twist on conventional spot bets, the floundering Falcons could get caught looking ahead to their Week 9 plans: a bye week. At 1-6, Atlanta is an absolute mess – namely on defense where it allows almost 32 points per game – and the fingers are pointing at head coach Dan Quinn.
The rumblings coming out of Georgia is that Quinn will likely get canned after this Sunday’s home game versus the Seahawks. Not only will that weigh on the head coach, but his staff may be busy getting their resumes ready instead of focusing entirely on Seattle.
A losing stretch impacts the players’ moral as well. And with the way the Falcons are molting (QB Matt Ryan nursing an injured ankle), and with the recent trade of WR Mohamed Sanu and a potential fire sale on the horizon, guys are looking forward to time away from a losing locker room but are also antsy about their future with the team.
In a bit of irony, Quinn’s former club – Seattle – could be the one to deliver his pink slip Sunday.
SCHEDULE SPOT: PHILADELPHIA EAGLES AT BUFFALO BILLS (-2, 43.5)\
The Eagles enter Orchard Park for their third straight true road game in Week 8 – a rare spot for the 2019 season. Apparently, the schedule makers were counting on the Philadelphia Phillies to be playing for the World Series in October and didn’t want to jam up the area in which both Citizens Bank Park and Lincoln Financial Field reside. That made the Eagles the only team forced to play three straight roadies this year.
Three teams found themselves in this nasty schedule squeeze in 2018: L.A Rams, New Orleans, and Baltimore. They were a combined 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS in those games, playing Under the total in all three. However, Philadelphia has been wretched on the road, going 1-3 ATS as a visitor this season including losing at Minnesota and at Dallas in the first two legs of this trying trifecta.
The Eagles are allowing host teams to blow up the stat sheet with 426.8 yards of offense per game – second-most in the NFL – which has equated to 31.5 points against in those road stops. Quarterback Carson Wentz has been off as the away team, posting a passer rating of just 85.0 on the road (compared to 103.1 at home) and has seven TD passes to four interceptions (compared to six TDs and zero INTs in Philadelphia) in those four road games.
Buffalo boasts the fourth-ranked passing defense in the NFL, giving up only 201.3 yards through the air per contest, and has limited opposing QBs to a passer rating of 70.3 on the season – third lowest in the land.