Here is a 5-Pack of NFL value plays for Week 8 to help build your bankroll, starting in London in the morning and ending with a Battle of the Unbeatens on Sunday Night Football.
Almost unbelievably, we are already almost at the midway point of the 2015 NFL season in a year that feels like it just began. And amazingly there are still five undefeated teams at this relatively late stage, although we are 99 percent certain there will be at least one less unbeaten team when this Week 8 is over, barring an unlikely tie between the Packers and Broncos! And here we are back again with another of our weekly 5-Packs of NFL picks for Sunday.
Speaking of undefeated teams, this week began with Thursday Night Football as usual and the New England Patriots remained one of the five unbeatens with a 36-7 blowout of the Miami Dolphins as eight-point favorites, thus becoming just the third team in NFL history to begin a season 7-0 while simultaneously averaging at least 35 points! Unfortunately for ‘over’ bettors the Dolphins did not hold up their end, so the contest stayed ‘under’ the closing total of 51
But enough of that as we now move on to Sunday, where our 5-Pack this week is comprised of three sides and two totals. And identical to last week, we are again sticking to our natural contrarian nature across the board as we have three underdogs and two ‘unders’. Also, as has become our norm in recent years, all of these NFL odds come from Pinnacle Sports.
Sunday, November 1st
Detroit Lions, Kansas City Chiefs ‘under’ 44½ (-101) (9:30 AM ET): For the third and final time this season and for the second time in as many weeks, the NFL invades London again with a matchup that is much less enthralling than the league probably thought it would be at the start of the season. The Lions enter this weekend with the worst record in the NFL, mainly due to a very predictable offense that led to the firing of offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi earlier this week, just hours after head coach Jim Caldwell had announced that Lombardi would continue to call the plays. And the Lions were not done there also firing offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn and assistant offensive line coach Terry Heffernan. While these changes were probably necessary after some opponents had told wide receiver Golden Tate that the defense knew what plays the Lions had called just by the Detroit formations, the timing of the firings was not ideal, as with the long trip to London this week there was not much time to make a smooth transition, so the offense could sputter one more time this week before having two weeks to adjust with a bye next week. And the Chiefs have also been disappointing at 2-5, snapping a five-game losing streak with a 23-13 win over the Steelers last week. Kansas City lost its all-world running back Jamaal Charles a couple of weeks ago and is now ranked 21st in the league in both scoring offense (21.4 points per game) and total offense (346.1 yards), so we do not expect an offensive explosion by the Chiefs either.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons ‘under’ 48½ (-105) (1:00 ET): The Falcons managed to improve to 6-1 last week, but it was not pretty as they barely got by the lowly Tennessee Titans 10-7. Atlanta moved the ball decently enough amassing 378 total yards, but it constantly bogged down save for a short eight-yard touchdown pass to Julio Jones. This offense simply does not look like the same one that dominated opponents earlier in the year, and that is despite Devonta Freeman continuing to run wild as he rushed for another 116 yards vs. the Titans. Then again, Freeman is also the main reason that the Falcons have become more run-oriented in recent weeks, and as long as they keep feeding him the ball often, they could be a sneaky-good ‘under’ team in the immediate future until the oddsmakers adjust their posted totals. They are getting another seemingly easy opponent here in the Buccaneers, and with Tampa Bay surprisingly ranking fifth in the league in passing defense but 16th in rushing defense, there is no reason not to keep giving the ball to Freeman. Another surprise is that the 2-4 Buccaneers are fourth in the NFL in rushing offense at 133.7 yards per game thanks to a rejuvenated Doug Martin, but the passing offense has struggled as expected at 23rd as number one overall draft pick Jameis Winston goes through his growing pains. Thus look for a heavy dose of Martin here to, which is conducive to an ‘under’ at this relatively high number.
New York Giants +3½ (-123) over New Orleans Saints (1:00 ET): The Saints find themselves in an interesting situation here as they are now favored after posting back-to-back upset wins, and they are favored over a first place team no less! This is not to say that they are not capable of winning here, but they were underdogs in their last two wins for a reason and there were actually outgained while beating the Falcons two weeks ago and let the Colts back in the game last week after leading 27-0 before holding on 27-21. New Orleans has not had much trouble moving the football this year but the offense has been inefficient. That is because while the Saints are sixth in the NFL in total offense with 395.9 yards per game, that has only translated to 23.0 points per contest, which ranks only 15th. The Giants have been the exact opposite as they may be only 23rd in total offense, but they have scored more points than the Saints at 23.7 per game. Perhaps most importantly, New York had its best rushing game of the season vs. the Dallas Cowboys last week running for 132 yards on a nice 5.3 yards per carry as the world was introduced to Orleans Darkwa, who had eight carries for 48 yards after not having a single carry the first six games! If that effort was not a mirage and the Giants truly have some offensive balance to go along with a great receiving corpse led by Odell Beckham, Jr., then they will become tough to catch in the NFC East, not to mention being dangerous underdogs in this spot.
San Francisco 49ers +8 (-109) over St. Louis Cardinals (1:00 ET): First of all, we totally get that the Rams have been a different team since Todd Gurley made his NFL debut, as he is already their leading rusher this season with 442 yards despite appearing in just four games, with 433 of those yards coming in the last three contests in his first three NFL starts. So now we see why St. Louis took him in the first round with the 10th overall pick, which was higher than most expected. With that being said however, does it justify St. Louis suddenly being favored by over a touchdown, especially inside the division? To give you an idea of just how rare of an occurrence this is, consider that the Rams have been favored by more than a touchdown just once since 2004, and that was in 2013 vs. what was then one of the worst teams in the NFL in the Jacksonville Jaguars. Now, some may suggest that these 49ers are almost as bad as those Jaguars, but we disagree as they have looked horrible vs. elite teams this year but have actually held their own vs. teams closer to their level, beating the Vikings and Ravens and even taking the Giants right down the wire. We see no reason why this game should not be much closer than this line suggests.
Denver Broncos +2½ (+100) over Green Bay Packers (8:30 ET): In what on paper could be one of the best Sunday Night Football games ever, the undefeated Denver Broncos find themselves as home underdogs. That might bear repeating: the undefeated Denver Broncos find themselves as home underdogs! In case you were wondering, the last time the Broncos were home underdogs, they had a starting quarterback named Tim Tebow. We get that the also undefeated Packers have been the more visually impressive of these two teams on the field this year as they are winning their games handily by an average of +10.5 points while going 5-1 ATS, ranking fifth in the NFL in points scored while also surprisingly leading the NFL in fewest points allowed defensively. However, they are now going up perhaps the best defense in football with Denver ranking second in points allowed while leading the league in total defense surrendering just 281.3 yards per game, and the Broncos have no defensive weaknesses, leading the league in passing defense while ranking fourth in rushing defense. The worst unit for either of these two teams has been the Denver offense, but the Broncos are now up to 23.2 points per game and it is simply impossible to resist backing Denver as a home underdog just on principle alone!