Best spot bets for the NFL Week 8 odds: Eagles enter a rare – and rough – schedule spot

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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.

Running up the points with Rockets, and the college football bets you need to make in Week 12

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Are you ready for some more MAC-tion? Because there are two more games on the schedule Wednesday night. We break down the best bets for these games and take a look at the weekend ahead in college football – from sides and totals to props and everything in between.

ROOM TO ROAM

The Toledo Rockets might be only slight favorites for Wednesday night’s MAC tilt with visiting Northern Illinois, but they have a significant advantage in at least one area – and it could turn this one into a bit of a laugher. The Rockets come into the game with the nation’s No. 12 rushing offense, averaging nearly 251 yards per game on the ground – and they’ve been especially dominant over their previous two games, racking up a combined 664 rushing yards in narrow victories over Eastern Michigan and Kent State. The Huskies, meanwhile, are coming off getting routed 48-10 to Central Michigan in which the Chippewas posted 327 rushing yards.

An edge like this makes Toledo a terrific option in a variety of different bet scenarios; we recommend buying a few points in their favor and taking an alternate line of -6.5.

MIAMI (OH) FOR 3

The Miami (OH) Redhawks should have little trouble filling the board Wednesday night as they host a Bowling Green defense that ranks among the worst in the nation in points allowed. But while the Falcons have surrendered a mind-boggling 33.8 points per game so far this season, the Redhawks might not necessarily be headed for a parade to the end zone. Miami (Ohio) has one of the worst touchdown-to-field-goal ratios in the country coming into Week 12, having scored 22 TDs compared with 16 FGs – six of those coming over the course of their current three-game winning streak.

Miami (Ohio) is a big-time favorite here, and is a good bet to open the scoring given BGSU’s 2.5 first-half-points-per-game average on the road this season. We like the Redhawks FG to kick off the point parade.

GILBERT  GETTING BACK

Kansas State’s premier rushing threat might be back on the field this weekend. Wildcats senior James Gilbert practiced on Tuesday and is trending in the right direction as he recovers from an undisclosed ailment that kept him out of last week’s 27-24 loss to the Texas Longhorns. It was originally thought that Gilbert would be in the lineup vs. Texas, but he was a late exclusion – and Kansas State struggled in his absence, finishing with a paltry 51 rushing yards on 26 attempts. Gilbert ranks ninth in the Big 12 Conference in rushing yards (558) while adding five touchdowns on the ground.

Gilbert’s return would invigorate a Kansas State rush attack that has a favorable matchup against a West Virginia defense allowing 173 rushing yards per game. We recommend the hosts ATS if Gilbert is deemed fit to return.

WAKING NIGHTMARE

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons have seen their season take a terrible turn with word that standout wide receiver Sage Surratt will miss the remainder of 2019 with an undisclosed injury. Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson confirmed Tuesday that Surratt, who wasn’t featured on the team’s depth chart ahead of its Week 12 encounter with Clemson, would be out for the rest of the season – though he wouldn’t specify what was wrong with the star wideout. Surratt finishes the year with 1,001 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns on 66 receptions as the premier target for quarterback Jamie Newman.

The absence of Surratt should give bettors even less of a reason to bank on Wake Forest, which has seen the line shift as far as four points in Clemson’s favor. Look for the Tigers to keep the undermanned Deacons below their team total.

Too late to start fading the Fins, and the NFL bets you need to make in Week 11

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This may require a double-take, but listen up. The Miami Dolphins have been the best bet in the NFL since the start of October. Yes, those Miami Dolphins. We break down the odds and let you know what bets we like in Week 11 of the NFL as we dive into sides, totals, props and more. 

STAYING HOT IN Q1

The hottest team in the league right now is Lamar Jackson’s Baltimore Ravens. After knocking off the Patriots in Week 9, they turned their crosshairs on the winless Cincinnati Bengals in Week 10. The Ravens ran just 48 offensive plays but managed to put up 49 points. Lost in the 49-13 win was the fact that Baltimore moved to 8-1 against the first-quarter spread after winning the first 15 minutes 14-0.

This week, Baltimore is a 4-point home favorite versus a Houston team that is coming off their bye. If you don’t trust a team coming off a blowout win versus the worst team in the league and/or covering their last three games, take a look at the 1Q Ravens -0.5 (-105) as an alternative.

Baltimore is second in the league in first quarter points per game at 9.5 and third in the league in points against in the first quarter at 3.67 while the Texans are 0-3-1 on the road this year in the first quarter. Take the Ravens 1Q -0.5.

FEAST AWAITS EVANS

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will face a very motivated New Orleans Saints team Sunday, but NOLA will be without their top cornerback in Marcus Lattimore. The third-year CB is week-to-week with a hamstring injury meaning Bucs WRs Mike Evans and Chris Godwin will face sub-par corners in P.J. Williams and Eli Apple.

As Brad Evans pointed out on twitter, this is especially great news for Mike Evans who has struggled over his career versus Lattimore. Evans put up a donut early this year in Week 5 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and averaged 9.5 targets for three catches and 34 yards in two games in 2017 (last year Lattimore struggled following up his 2017 DROY but has been much better this year).

Even with Jameis Winston getting sacked nearly four times a game, Evans is averaging 139 yards a game over his last four contests. Jump on Evans’ receiving yard total on any number below 85 and check in on his reception total, hitting the Over on any number below 7.

LOADING SCREEN

No team in the league relies on the screen game more than the Minnesota Vikings. Per ESPN, Minnesota is averaging 9.8 yards per screen attempt which is 3.5 yards more per attempt than the No.10 team.

The beneficiary of this is running back Dalvin Cook who gashed the Cowboys in primetime every time he got the ball with blockers ahead of him. Over the last three games, Cook has amassed 193 yards receiving and will face a Denver Broncos’ defense that is giving up 8.6 yards per pass to RBs since Week 8.

Grab the Over on Cook’s receiving yards on any total less than 40 yards.

LOADING SCREEN PT. 2

If you’re tailing the Cook receiving yards play and want some action on the other side of the ball, maybe look to fade the Broncos’ backfield in receiving yards. Denver is the worst team at generating yards on the screen game (3.7 yards per attempt) and neither Phillip Lindsay nor Royce Freeman has topped 17 yards receiving in the last two weeks. In the only game Brandon Allen has started at quarterback, Lindsay wasn’t targeted at all and Freeman saw one target which he lost a yard on.

Feel confident in taking Lindsay’s Under receiving yards on anything greater than 19 and Freeman’s Under on any number greater than 25.

AIN’T FADING THE FINS NOW

The best team ATS over the last five weeks has been the Miami Dolphins. The former 0-7 team has rattled off five-straight wins ATS and face a Buffalo Bills team that has zero offensive identity of late and trailed the Dolphins by five points heading into the fourth quarter just four weeks ago.

We are a little bearish on Miami hitting a sixth-straight win ATS but have no problem fading Josh Allen’s Bills who are putting up just 288 yards of total offense over the last three weeks, good for sixth-worst. Their once stellar defense now sits 12th in Wtd DVOA — 9th against the pass and 27th against the run.

The Bills needed 22 4th-quarter points in their last meeting to cover their team total and we don’t see Brian Daboll’s offense clearing 23.5 points since they are 2-5 O/U that total in their last seven.

Get on the Bills’ team total Under 23.5 now, as it may drop under this key number later in the week.