Week 7 of the 2021 NFL season wasn’t exactly kind to bettors that were hoping for some close games. That said, it helped them learn some key lessons as they track the latest trends, sort through the latest odds, lines, and spreads, and ultimately make predictions for NFL Week 8.
Week 8 looks a lot more favorable for bettors than Week 7. Last week saw four double-digit spreads that confounded betters. There are once again four double-digit spreads in Week 8, but they are a bit easier to predict, especially the ones where AFC teams like the Bills, Bengals and Chiefs are favored.
Even if you don’t like betting the spreads in those big-line games, there are still some quality over-under bets to choose from. And the competition is a bit weaker than the teams that were involved in double-digit spreads last week.
MORE: Full list of odds for NFL Week 8
Also, there are more games from which bettors can choose this week. Only the Ravens and Raiders are on bye this week, and the Cowboys, who are 6-0 against the spread, are returning to action. The Chargers (4-2 ATS) and Bills (4-2 ATS) are also back in action, so if you’re a believer in trusting the “hot” team, now would be the time to do it.
Injuries and line movements will continue to create betting opportunities for gamblers, and the No. 1 line to watch this week will be that of the Texans. It opened at +14.5, as Houston is set to play the Rams, but if Tyrod Taylor comes back, that could drop into the single digits. If it doesn’t drop as much as anticipated, it could be a good spot in which to bet the Texans.
Here’s a look at Sporting News’ best bets for Week 8 of the 2021 NFL season, including picks against the spread, moneyline bets, over/under wagers and some player props.
(All odds are courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook.)
Patriots (+6) at Chargers
The Chargers are a better team on paper than the Patriots. However, this spread is something that the Patriots should be able to cover if they play like they have for most of the season.
The Patriots won their two games against the Jets by a combined score of 79-19. Four of their other five games have been decided by one score. That includes a game against the Buccaneers, where Nick Folk barely missed a go-ahead 56-yard field goal with less than a minute left in the game, and an overtime loss against Dallas.
New England would have a 5-1-1 record against the spread if they played against a 6-point spread every week. Their two non-victories ATS would be a 15-point loss to the Saints, where a couple of dropped-ball interceptions really hurt them, and the overtime loss to the Cowboys, which would have been a push.
Meanwhile, the Chargers have played in a game decided by more than one possession just twice this year. They have won just one of those games — a two-TD victory over the Raiders on “Monday Night Football.” So, the Patriots look appealing given the trends of both teams in close games.
New England is even more appealing when looking at the Chargers’ performance against them last year. The Patriots walloped Los Angeles 45-0 in L.A. despite the team throwing for just 126 yards and two TDs. They used their defense to rattle Justin Herbert, and it worked.
Herbert will be better prepared to compete this time, especially under new coach Brandon Staley. But the Patriots still have the talent on both sides of the ball to get the job done here. After all, the Chargers are just middle-of-the-pack defensively and are allowing 25 points per game, good for the 11th-most in the NFL. If the Patriots can match that, they will make it hard for the Chargers to cover.
Bengals (-10.5) at Jets
The Bengals ended up being a good call last week, so we’ll stick with them here again. That may not seem optimal, as this line has shifted from Bengals -3.5 to Bengals -10.5 in rapid order, but the 7-point shift is easy enough to explain.
First of all, Cincinnati was underrated on the advanced spread. They are the No. 1 seed in the AFC right now, after all, so they should be heavily favored to beat the Jets. A 10.5-point spread is far more indicative of that than a 3.5-point spread.
Secondly, the Jets are preparing to start a new quarterback in Week 8. Their options are Mike White, Josh Johnson or the recently acquired Joe Flacco. It’s hard to argue that any of these are good options, though to be fair, Zach Wilson isn’t yet either after his woeful start to the season.
White saw his first NFL regular-season action against the Patriots and completed 20 of 32 passes for 202 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Perhaps he can cut down on the turnovers, but the Patriots backed off at the end of the game with a big lead, so that’s part of why he posted solid numbers.
Elsewhere, Johnson is playing for his 13th professional team and has largely relied on one-year stints to keep him going. He also has played in the UFL, AAF and XFL. He is 1-7 in eight career NFL starts.
Meanwhile, Flacco was acquired for a sixth-round draft pick late on Monday afternoon. Flacco was once a decent starter and he was with the Jets last year. However, he struggled and failed to win a game for New York.
|Year||Player||Record||Completion %||Passing yards||TDs||INTs|
If Flacco plays, he should be more accurate than Wilson. Or, at least, he should throw fewer interceptions than Wilson, who leads the league in interceptions thrown with nine. Still, the Bengals and their improved defense just held Lamar Jackson and the Ravens to 17 points in a blowout win. They should similarly limit the Jets, regardless of who is starting at QB.
And given that the Jets have allowed the fourth-most points per game at 29.2, the Bengals could be in for another big win.
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Colts (+1.5) vs. Titans
The Colts and Titans have already squared off once this year. That was in a 25-16 Titans win back in Week 3. However, the two teams look a lot different now than they did in that contest.
Notably, the Colts are healthier. Quarterback Carson Wentz played that game on two sprained ankles and wasn’t able to do much. Nonetheless, the Colts were able to hang in the game and entered the fourth quarter with just a one-point deficit. They should have a better chance to close out the Titans and potentially win with Wentz at full strength.
It’s not just Wentz who is healthy, however. Cornerback Xavier Rhodes, a key part of their defense, is healthy. When he plays, the Colts are significantly better against the pass. The team also has guard Quenton Nelson back. He is their best offensive lineman and should help to block the Tennessee defensive line, which is the best part of their defense. Receiver T.Y. Hilton could also return, and that would upgrade Wentz’s supporting cast.
The Colts have a trend going against them in this game. They are just 1-4 as home underdogs since Frank Reich took over in 2018. That’s good for an NFL-low cover percentage of 20. That said, Wentz is the most talented quarterback they have had since Andrew Luck’s surprise retirement, so he is a good candidate to buck this trend.
As such, Indy looks like a good pick here. They aren’t too risky as 1.5-point home underdogs and you could even bet the moneyline if you’re feeling confident enough. Either way, this seems like a good spot for Indy with the Titans coming off two important wins over the AFC’s best.
WEEK 8 STANDARD RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker
Best NFL moneyline bets Week 8
Carolina Panthers moneyline (+132) at Falcons
I get it. You don’t really want to bet on Sam Darnold after the performances he has put up in recent weeks. After all, the Panthers were just blown out by the Giants, so why would they be able to beat the Falcons?
Simply put, the Falcons are just as hard to trust as the Panthers right now. Atlanta may have a 3-3 record, but two of their wins have been on field goals at the very end of regulation. One was to break a 14-all tie with the Giants and one was to emerge as a two-point winner over the Dolphins.
Atlanta is also allowing 362.7 yards per game this year, but that number is skewed a bit by a London game during which the Jets posted just 230 yards of offense. Eliminate that outlier and teams are averaging 389.2 yards per game against the Falcons. That would be good for the eighth-most in the NFL.
The Falcons have also been outgained in all but two of their four games — the aforementioned one against the Jets and a game against the Buccaneers during which they posted seven more yards than their opponent.
|Week||Falcons yards||Opponent’s yards|
|1 vs. Eagles||260||434|
|2 at Bucs||348||341|
|3 at Giants||296||346|
|4 vs. Washington||374||412|
|5 vs. Jets||450||230|
|7 at Dolphins||397||413|
What does all of this mean for the Panthers? They should have a good chance to move the ball despite Darnold’s recent struggles. If Matt Rhule comes in with the right game plan and Darnold doesn’t make too many mistakes early, then the Panthers should be able to move the ball on this Falcons defense.
Carolina has lost four straight games, but three of those four have been single-score games. The Falcons are arguably the weakest team they’ve played since Week 4, so this is a good bounce-back spot for the Panthers — especially if cornerback Stephon Gilmore can make his debut to help replace Jaycee Horn, who the Panthers are sorely missing.
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Best NFL over/under bets Week 8
Eagles at Lions: UNDER 48 (-110)
Betting the under usually isn’t fun, but if ever there was a time to do it, this would be the game. This point total of 48 seems a bit high for these two teams. Have both of these teams had some good offensive outings? Sure.
Is either consistent? Not at all.
The Eagles have twice scored 30+ points this season through seven games. In the other five, they have had no more than 22 points scored and have averaged 19.4 points.
Meanwhile, the Lions have scored more than 20 points just once this year. That came when they posted 33 in their season-opener against the 49ers. However, most of those points came with the 49ers already leading big and thinking they had the game wrapped up.
In their last six games, the Lions have averaged just 15.8 points per game. That would rank fourth-worst in the NFL if not for their Week 1 outlier bringing up their average.
Could the Eagles pop off, post more than 30 points and make the over cash here? It’s possible, but it seems more likely that they’d score 20 to 24 points with the Lions posting 17. That keeps us comfortably under, so unless you expect the Lions to finally break 20, it’s hard to go with the over here.
Bills point total vs. Dolphins: OVER 31.5 (-104)
Betting on a team to score more than 30 points in any NFL game is a risk. However, the Bills have absolutely dominated the Dolphins recently. They have won six consecutive games against their divisional rival and have had stellar offensive performances in each of those contests.
The Bills have scored 31 or more points in each of their six wins against the Dolphins. They are averaging 38.7 points in those contests and it appears that Sean McDermott’s team simply has the advantage over Brian Flores’ Dolphins.
This year, Miami’s defense hasn’t been nearly as good as it was last year, either. The team’s front seven has been weak and its secondary, while solid, has continued to have trouble dealing with all of Josh Allen’s weapons.
The Dolphins have struggled against all competition of late. That’s part of why they have allowed the second-most points per game in the NFL this season at a mark of 29.6. It’s hard to imagine them slowing down the Bills’ offense with Buffalo coming off a bye, so the Buffalo over seems like a good bet in this game. The OVER 49 (-110) total for the game doesn’t look too bad either.
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Player props will be added throughout the week leading up to games.
DeAndre Hopkins receiving yards: OVER 64.5 (-114)
Hopkins has had one of his quieter seasons to date from a receptions and yardage standpoint with the Cardinals. He is averaging just 60 yards per game and is on pace for a 1,020-yard season. However, this matchup with the Packers figures to be a favorable one.
Green Bay is missing its best cover corner Jaire Alexander, who got hurt in the third quarter of the team’s Week 4 win over the Steelers. That’s just about when their trouble guarding No. 1 receivers appeared to begin.
Since Week 4, the Packers have allowed three games where No. 1 receivers have gone for at least 92 receiving yards. The only one that wouldn’t have eclipsed this 64.5 mark in that span is Allen Robinson, who plays in a woeful Bears offense.
Hopkins could follow up on the success of these receivers in a game that’s sure to feature a lot of offense as two of the NFL’s best quarterbacks, Kyler Murray and Aaron Rodgers, go head to head.