Here is a 5-Pack of NFL value plays for this Sunday to build your bankroll on Week 8, highlighted by the Sunday Night Football game between the Packers and Saints in New Orleans.
Our very nice start this 2014 NFL season continued Thursday night with our winning call on the Denver Broncos, putting us back in the double-digits unit-wise this year at 42-31, 57.5%, +10.61 YTD as documented in the Sportsbook Review Forum. We can now only hope that our fine fortune continues into Sunday, because as usual we are back with our customary Friday 5-Pack of NFL picks for Sunday of Week 8.
Peyton Manning and the Broncos defeated the San Diego Chargers 35-21 on Thursday as the fact that both San Diego starting cornerbacks were hurt vs. a quarterback of Manning’s stature proved fatal as we predicted, with Denver covering as a nine-point favorite. That contest also went ‘over’ the closing total of 51, and the general public has been ecstatic about Thursday night ‘overs’ this season as they are now a blistering 7-1 thus far this year!
Now it is time to move on to Sunday where we have a bit of everything this week with our three sides and two totals, as the sides are divided between two underdogs and one small favorite while the two total are split with one ‘over’ and one ‘under’. As has become our norm, all NFL odds come from Pinnacle Sports.
Sunday, October 26th
Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ‘over’ 42½ (-110) (1:00 ET): High scoring is not the first thing that comes to mind with these two teams, but we see no reason why this game cannot reach the mid-40s at least, which would be all that is required to cash this ‘over’. And the primary reason for that is the Tampa Bay defense, a defense that allowed Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens to throw five touchdown passes at the end of the first five drives of the first half the last time the Buccaneers played two weeks ago before their bye. That lends hope that Teddy Bridgewater will match the success he had in his first NFL start when he threw for over 300 yards vs. an abysmal Atlanta defense. Sure Teddy has regressed in his two starts since then, but he also faced two strong defenses in Detroit and Buffalo. He is now facing a Tampa Bay team ranked dead last in the NFL in both total defense (422.8 yards per game) and passing defense (294.5 yards on 8.1 yards per carry). The Vikings have also found a running back to replace Adrian Peterson as Jerick McKinnon continued his strong play by rushing for 103 yards vs. a Buffalo team that leads the NFL in rushing defense. The Buccaneers are the favorites coming off their bye week, and they should score their fair share of points also as they have been much better offensively since Mike Glennon became the starting quarterback. He just passed for a career high 314 yards in the loss to Baltimore.
Seattle Seahawks, Carolina Panthers ‘under’ 44½ (-103) (1:00 ET): Both of these defenses have slipped severely statistically since having two of the best defenses in the NFL last season, and remember that the Seahawks’ run to being crowned Super Bowl Champions began with a tense, hard-fought 12-7 win here in Carolina on Kickoff Weekend of 2013. In fact, this is the Seahawks’ third trip to Bank of America Stadium in three years and the 2012 meeting was also low scoring with Seattle prevailing again 16-12. So can these defenses bring back those memories here after struggling in recent weeks? Well, probably not to those extremes but we do feel that both units will improve enough on their recent play to go ‘under’ again. The Seahawks welcome back cornerback Byron Maxwell, who has been dealing with a calf injury in recent weeks, which is huge because the cornerback tandem of Maxwell and of course Richard Sherman is one of the best in the NFL. That should hurt the passing game of Cam Newton, and with the Carolina running backs lacking right now, the Panthers may have to rely heavily on Newton runs to generate offense here. The Carolina defense has also been underperforming because of a key player missing, but in this case there is no help on the way with Greg Hardy suspended indefinitely. However, the Panthers could be made to look better by a Seattle offense that now lacks that big play receiver after some internal unrest led to the trading of Percy Harvin to the Jets. That will not make the Panthers’ rushing defense that is allowing a ghastly 5.3 yards per rush look any better though, so look for heavy doses of Marshawn Lynch and time consuming Seahawk drives that also help the ‘under’.
Buffalo Bills +3 (-101) over New York Jets (1:00 ET): So Percy Harvin lands with the Jets and this team that has lost six straight games since beating the winless Oakland Raiders (without covering the spread) on opening week is suddenly favored? Sure, Harvin could conceivably make the offense better as he suddenly gives New York a nice receiving tandem along with Eric Decker, but that may not happen immediately with Harvin still having to learn a new playbook. The ultimate beneficiary of the Harvin trade could be Jets’ quarterback Geno Smith, but on the flip side he now has no excuses for the inconsistency that has plagued him since becoming the starter last season. Sure, Smith may have had his best game of the year in a narrow 27-25 loss to the Patriots in Foxboro last Thursday night, but be now must deal with a great Buffalo pass rush that is tied for the NFL lead in sacks and perhaps trying to force feed Harvin in his first game as a Jet may not help matters. The Bills figure to have a pass-heavy game plan here with C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson both out and the Jets having a stout run defense anyway. That should suit Buffalo just fine though as Kyle Orton has looked surprisingly great since becoming the starting quarterback completing 68.5 percent of his throws while passing for 890 yards in three games with five touchdown passes, and superstar rookie wide receiver Sammy Watkins should have a field day vs. the terrible Jets’ secondary.
Philadelphia Eagles +2½ (-109) over Arizona Cardinals (4:05 ET): The 5-1 Eagles would be dangerous underdogs here even under normal circumstances, but the fact that they have had two weeks to prepare for this game with a bye following perhaps their most complete performance of the year makes them more dangerous. Philadelphia is renowned for its fast-break offense that Coach Chip Kelly brought with him from the Oregon Ducks of the NCAA, but the Eagles have been steadily improving on defense in recent games and that culminated with their first shutout in 18 years in a 27-0 whitewashing of their division rival New York Giants before the bye. Even more encouraging was running back LeSean McCoy busting out of his season-long funk with 149 rushing yards on a whopping 6.8 yards per carry vs. the G-Men. The Eagles will gladly take anything close to those performances by McCoy and the defense here vs. an Arizona team that, despite continuing to win, has not really been that impressive recently. Yes the Cardinals are 5-1 on their own right, but in their last three games, they were blown out 41-20 at Denver for their only loss, they surrendered over 400 yards of total offense to the struggling Washington Redskins in a 30-20 win that was not sealed until an interception return for a touchdown in the final seconds and they then had a tougher time than they should have putting away the hapless and winless Oakland Raiders 24-13 last week.
New Orleans Saints -2½ (-108) over Green Bay Packers (8:30 ET): Gamblers have short-term memories and the fact that the Packers are coming off of an impressive blowout of the Panthers while the Saints blew a 13-point lead in the final 3:38 in a road loss to the Detroit Lions could be combining to actually give New Orleans great line value as favorites of less than a field goal at home. The Saints have always had a tremendous home field advantage and wouldn’t you know it but dissecting their disappointing 2-4 record this season, they are a perfect 2-0 here at home and an “imperfect” 0-4 on the road! Granted Drew Brees has not been himself this year and his late interception cost the Saints the game at Detroit, but we simply do not see that continuing for much longer as he is just too good for that, and we see this home game in a contest the Saints absolutely have to have as a good time for the vintage Brees to re-emerge. And remember that after inexplicably being perhaps the worst defense in the NFL over the first five weeks, the Saints’ defense looked more like the second ranked total defense in the NFL that it was last season following a bye week vs. the Lions, and that progress will have to continue vs. Aaron Rodgers & Co. Finally, never forget that Brees has been at his best after a loss, especially with the Saints going 15-3 ATS at home following a road loss with Brees under center since 2007!