We move ahead to Week 8 in professional football and with a quick perusal of the sportsbooks betting odds, three value plays for sports picks just jumped off the page and I cannot wait to explain why.
In each case as a football handicapper, a strong characteristic stood out to me right away and while these might not be my actual NFL picks later in the week, I can certainly see the value in each of these given their current number from the oddsmakers.
Minnesota's Odds to Good to Pass Up in Windy City
It was brought up to Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer at his Monday press conference the last seven Vikings teams to go to Chicago had lost (0-7 ATS), including his last year. "I was hoping you'd bring that up," Zimmer said.
Those familiar with Minnesota have seen enough of Zimmer to know he has a very good pulse on this team and through sarcasm, perceived slights and negative numbers, he's become skilled at understanding what motivates his players.
He's also worked with his assistants to make quality in-game adjustments, to place his team in best position for success. The Vikings are 4-2 and covered five in a row and though their track record at the Bears has been odious, Minnesota down to a Pick from -2.5 offers a great deal of value. Though the two offenses are comparable, the Vikes are tied for second in points allowed (17.0) and Chicago is 31st at 29.8 PPG conceded. At this price, Minnesota just has to win the game.
NFL Pick: Minnesota PK (-109) at Pinnacle
Saints Heavenly Choice over Giants
New Orleans is beginning to find itself and build momentum in winning last two contests and three of four after repulsive 0-3 start. The Saints have covered four of five and when looking at the New York Giants, they are starting to go backwards statistically, if not record-wise yet.
After having the top running defense in the NFL after four games, they have conceded 170.6 yards per game in past three outings, to the tune of 4.8 yards a carry. Also, nobody is fearing them to stop the run, averaging 35 carries a game. The secondary is surviving somehow with all the injuries they have incurred and subtract Eli Manning's masterful performance against a San Francisco 31st ranked pass defense, Manning is averaging 178 yards a game the rest of the last month.
I will give the three points with Drew Brees and Saints versus a New York club which is 3-11 ATS after allowing six or more yards a play in their previous game the last three seasons. Saints by 10.
NFL Pick: Saints -3 (-115) at Bookmaker
Baltimore Covers against San Diego
An old betting axiom is to take the points when bad teams play. With it being difficult to surmise which is the worst of the lot, taking the points is often a wise choice.
Between San Diego and Baltimore they have three wins and only three covers. The Ravens have played in six games decided by six points or less and the Chargers have been involved in five contests in which the final outcome was a touchdown or less. Both have not shown an inclination to finish games either offensively or defensively.
Thus, in what appears to be an even matchup of mediocre squads, why would I want to hand out three points with a less rested team whose made four trips to the Rocky Mountains or beyond in seven weeks? Simple, San Diego is 4-12 ATS against conference opponents since last year and Baltimore is 26-13-1 ATS as a home favorite versus non-division competition. Ravens by 8.
NFL Picks: -3 (-120) at The Greek