Week 8 opens with a lopsided matchup between Washington and Minnesota, but can Stefon Diggs take advantage? We look into the odds for the Thursday nighter, as well as our favorite picks and best bets for the rest of the NFL board: from spreads, totals to props and everything in between. **video
THURSDAY NIGHT ACTION
Washington is getting 16 points against the Minnesota Vikings tonight after opening at 14.5. Minnesota is allowing just 15 points at home and is 4-1 ATS in their last five and 3-0 ATS at home, but they haven’t seen a double-digit spread this year. Washington has seen three games as double-digit underdogs in 2019 and is 2-1 ATS in those games.
One name that Minnesota will be aware of is Washington corner, Quinton Dunbar. Dunbar holds a top-of-the-class PFF grade of 91 as his Redskins are the best in the league at limiting opposing WR1s. Team’s best receivers are averaging just 49 yards per game against Dunbar who will see Vikings’ Stefon Diggs as Adam Thielen has been ruled out.
With the possibility that the game script will dictate a heavy run presence from Mike Zimmer and the Vikings, as well as the shutdown game of Dunbar, we are taking the Under of Diggs’ 85.5 receiving yards.
KEEPING THE TOP ON IT
We are going to make Thursday night’s contest a little more watchable — yes, even Washington’s offense. Of Minnesota’s 24 touchdowns, four have gone for more than 38 yards and three of those four are by Stefon Diggs (see above). Their defense has yet to allow a TD longer than 35 yards.
In Week 1, Washington scored two long TDs of 48 and 69 yards but since they have just one longer than 38 yards and their defense has given up just one long TD since Week 2.
As we mentioned, Diggs will have a tough time getting loose versus one of the best corners giving us great value on the Under 38.5 for the game’s longest touchdown.
LAST CALL ON CARSON
The Atlanta Falcons have the No.4 rush DVOA defense but will have a difficult time Sunday versus Chris Carson who is averaging 24.5 carries for 103 yards a game over his last four. Those last four games included a 118-yard performance versus the No. 2 rush DVOA defense.
The Seattle Seahawks won’t abandon the run, like many of the Falcons’ opponents, as they are running the ball at the third-highest rate since Week 5. Carson is the alpha-dog in the backfield hitting 80 percent or more of the offensive snaps over the last three and hitting a season-high 89 percent last week.
The Seahawks/Falcons prop markets aren’t currently open as books are waiting to see if Atlanta QB Matt Ryan will suit up Sunday. Once it opens, we will take the Over on Carson’s rushing yards on any total below 85 yards.
Yesterday we talked about how bad Baker Mayfield has been this year and how difficult a task he has ahead of his matchup with the best DVOA defense in the New England Patriots. Today, we are going to try to talk you into another great prop bet that is paying +200.
The Pats have scored three defensive touchdowns, which is the second-most in the league. Conversely, Tom Brady’s offense has allowed three defensive TDs while their special teams have crossed the plane twice to date.
Combine these New England stats with the fact that the Cleveland Browns are averaging three giveaways a game over the last four weeks, and we are hopping on Sunday’s prop bet of a special team or defensive touchdown scored and hitting the yes at +200.
PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE
Did you lose money on Melvin Gordon’s suck attack last Sunday? Yes, us too. We are going to focus our fade hate on the one-yard fumbler this week ahead of his match versus the Chicago Bears.
In Gordon’s 36 carries since coming back from his holdout, the runner has plodded to three-or-less yards on 27 of those carries with a long of seven yards. We may see Austin Ekeler’s snap count increase in Week 8 after seeing 59 percent last week and Gordon fumbling twice over his last 12 runs.
Want more reasons to get your revenge on Melvin? The Los Angeles Chargers’ opponent, the Denver Broncos, lead the league in yards per rush attempt against at 2.4 since Week 5. Hop on the hate-wagon and take Gordon’s Under on his total of 54.5 rushing yards.