This NFL handicapper's betting record is a solid 2-1 record on the three biggest spreads of Week 7, where no team was favored at sportsbooks by more than a touchdown. That's not the case in Week 8.
Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys (-10 at sportsbooks)
This is the Monday night game and this line took a jump early this week at sportsbooks when Redskins coach Jay Gruden announced Colt McCoy as his starting quarterback. Were you even aware that Colt McCoy was still in the NFL before Week 7? Kirk Cousins played terrific in place of an injured Robert Griffin III in Weeks 2-3 but then Cousins started turning the ball over at an alarming rate. He had two more in the first half last week and the Redskins were down 10-6 at home to pretty bad Tennessee team. Gruden inserted McCoy and he was great, going 11-for-12 for 128 yards with a touchdown as the Redskins won. It was McCoy's first important game action since 2011 with the Browns when he was that team's starter most of the season. Perhaps a return to the state of Texas will help McCoy as he starred at UT. I'm not sure why Gruden made the decision so early in the week as now the Cowboys can game plan just for McCoy. Obviously the Titans never did; McCoy hadn't even taken a single first-team snap in practice before this week. Washington is pretty solid defending the run, ranking 12th (103.3 ypg). That's the Cowboys' bread and butter as DeMarco Murray looks to extend his NFL record with an eighth straight 100-yard game to open a season. He could win the rushing title by Thanksgiving.
NFL Free Pick: Some sportsbooks like 5Dimes offer alternate lines and I'd certainly prefer 9.5, but even at 10 lean Cowboys. Washington is 1-6 ATS on NFL betting lines in its past seven after a win. Dallas is 6-1 ATS in its past seven vs. the NFC East. The home team has covered four of the past five meetings.
St. Louis Rams vs. Kansas City Chiefs (-7.5 on NFL odds)
Big sporting day in Kansas City on Sunday as the Chiefs kickoff at 1 p.m. Eastern, plenty of time for the fans in attendance to post-game tailgate a bit and get home before the first pitch of Game 5 of the Royals-Giants World Series in San Francisco. Something called the Governors Cup is on the line here. Both teams come off unlikely wins. The Rams were 6.5-point home dogs on NFL odds against what was supposed to be an angry Seattle team last Sunday yet St. Louis pulled the 28-26 upset thanks to a couple of wacky trick plays on special teams. The Rams had lost 16 of their past 18 vs. the Seahawks. Kansas City won 23-20 in San Diego for the first time in seven years as a 3-point dog at sportsbooks. The Chiefs are 5-0 in the regular season since the Rams moved to St. Louis. This game likely will have unique meaning for Chiefs QB Alex Smith. The last time he faced the Rams was Nov. 11, 2012, as a member of the 49ers. Smith suffered a concussion, which opened the door for Colin Kaepernick to start the next week. Smith would never start for the Niners again. Kansas City likely will again be without Pro Bowl strong safety Eric Berry, who has missed the past four games with a high-ankle sprain.
NFL Free Pick: The Rams are 1-4 ATS on NFL lines in their past five road games. The Chiefs are 1-6 ATS in their past seven at home. Take the Chiefs, but I'd also recommend a NFL pick on the 5Dimes alternate line of -6.5 (-135).
Oakland Raiders vs. Cleveland Browns (-7 on NFL betting lines)
Cleveland got caught in a pretty predictable trap game last week. The Browns were riding high off a very rare win over rival Pittsburgh and thinking playoffs. So of course they were dominated at winless Jacksonville 24-6 as 4-point favorites on NFL odds. You don't hear much about Cleveland worrying about re-signing free-agent-to-be Brian Hoyer this week because he was lousy against the Jags, going 16 of 41 for 215 yards and a pick against one of the NFL's worst defenses. Browns coaches even pondered putting Johnny Manziel in the game, so that's worth watching this week. Cleveland had 266 total yards and was gashed for 185 rushing yards by the Jaguars, making a fantasy football must-have pickup this week of Jacksonville running back Denard Robinson, the former Michigan quarterback. Thus winless Oakland probably will have Cleveland's full attention on Sunday. You think the Browns want to lose in back-to-back weeks to the NFL's two worst teams? Oakland has an astounding 15-game losing streak in the Eastern Time Zone. It did play fairly well this year at the NY Jets and New England. Oakland can't stop the run and that's what the Cleveland offense is based on.
NFL Free Pick: Cleveland, but again I'd go alternate line at sportsbooks and give 6.5. The Raiders are 3-7 ATS in their past 10 vs. the AFC. Cleveland has covered just once in its past seven vs. teams with a losing record.
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