Sports | October 25, 2019 7:35 am

How to Bet Week 8’s Best NFL Games, From Eagles-Bills to Browns-Patriots

Paul Bovi of VegasInsider.com and Borgata sportsbook director Tom Gable offer their informed opinions

How to Bet Week 8’s Best NFL Games, Including Eagles-Bills and Browns-Patriots
Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is chased by Bills linebacker Lorenzo Alexander. (Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty)
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This is NFL Best Bets, a recurring series in which professional sports handicappers lend us their insights and picks for the most intriguing matchups for each week of the football season. 

For this edition of Best Bets, Paul Bovi, a sports betting expert from VegasInsider.com who’s been handicapping games for three decades, and Thomas Gable, the director of race and sportsbook at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, shared their opinions on five games on the NFL’s slate of Week 8 matchups, including Sunday’s

You’ve got places to go, people to see and possibly some wagers to make, so let’s get to it.

3-4 Eagles (+1.5, +110 , O/U 43.5) at 5-1 Bills

Picked by some as potential Super Bowl sleepers, the Eagles have been disappointing this season and have dropped two in a row after dealing the Packers their only loss of the season. The Bills have been almost the complete opposite as they have far exceeded expectations and only lost to the undefeated Patriots so far this season.

Bovi’s take: “The Eagles come in off an ugly performance which saw them take a beating at the hands of the home-team Cowboys who notched a 37-10 win. Philly gifted Dallas with back-to-back early turnovers which led to a pair of first-quarter Cowboy touchdowns. From that point, it got downright ugly with some feeling the Eagles threw in the towel in the second half. Philly entered the game with the second-ranked rush defense but was unable to contain Ezekiel Elliott who finished with 116 yards on 22 carries. They take on the Bills, who suffered their lone setback at home vs the Patriots, 16-10, courtesy of three Josh Allen interceptions prior to his leaving the game in the third quarter with an injury. They held the Pats to a mere 224 yards of offense with Tom Brady completing only 18-of-39 for 150 yards. Outside of that, they have taken on quarterbacks Sam Darnold, Eli Manning, Marcus Mariota, Andy Dalton, along with Ryan Fitzpatrick in Sunday’s 31-21 victory over the Dolphins. The Bills have had some difficulty stopping the run and, with that, we would look for Eagles’ running back Jordan Howard to enjoy a productive afternoon. On Sunday, the Dolphins eclipsed their rushing average four minutes into the third quarter. Look for an Eagle resurgence as they deal the Bills at 27-17 loss.”  

Gable’s take: “The Bills certainly didn’t look fantastic against Miami, but they didn’t really need to. Their defense is going to be the key here against the Eagles. The Eagles’ offense has not really been clicking and the secondary continues to be their main problem on defense. They were pretty good against the run until last week against the Cowboys on Sunday. It’s a little concerning now after that where they don’t really look good defensively on any front. The Bills right now are 1.5-point favorites. I could see a turn here. People were still betting the Eagles up through that Cowboys game, but after that performance on Sunday night, I could see the tide start to turn a little bit against them with the betting public and people could be backing the Bills, especially with just laying a point and a half.”

Our Pick: Hope the Eagles salvage their season and take them with the 1.5.

4-2 Panthers (+5.5, +210 , O/U 42) at 6-0 49ers

In this matchup of two of the NFC’s most surprising teams, the Panthers come off their bye week to take on an undefeated Niners team in San Fran. Both teams run the ball well and play good defense so it could come down to whether Carolina’s Kyle Allen can outplay San Fran’s Jimmy Garoppolo.

Bovi’s take: “The Panthers return from their bye while the Niners are back from D.C. having come away with a 9-0 win over the Redskins, a game played over a waterlogged FedEx field. Case Keenum threw for 77 yards, which was only one shy of Jared Goff’s 78 when the Niners shut down the Rams in Week 6. Quarterback Kyle Allen, replacing the injured and often inconsistent Cam Newton, has led the Panthers to four straight wins while completing 66 percent of his passes to go along with 7 touchdowns. He has yet to throw an interception. Carolina has played solid defense at times in having limited Houston QB Deshaun Watson to 159 yards passing in a 16-10 road win and sacking Bucs’ QB Jameis Winston 10 times in two games. The Niners field what is arguably the premier defense in the NFC as opponents have scored only 64 points in their six games, all victories. The status for a few key defenders for the Panthers looms in question, however, the assumption is they will be in the lineup. Expect a low-scoring game with a heavy dose of Panthers’ all-purpose back Christian McCaffrey. Side with the under while the Niners remain undefeated.” 

Gable’s take: “San Francisco is a 5.5-point favorite. Defensively they have just been phenomenal this year. Carolina, obviously Kyle Allen’s been undefeated as a starter this year. He’s 4-0. If he can beat San Francisco, this could be the game that solidifies him as the starter even when Cam Newton comes back. Seeing the reports out of Carolina, it looks like they still haven’t ruled anything on his Newton’s future status, but they’ve already named Allen as the starter. If Allen wins this game and can deal San Francisco their first loss of the season, I think the starting job is going to be his for the foreseeable future. But this is going to be the toughest defense that he’s faced. San Francisco has just been phenomenal defensively. I think the betting public is going to be on San Francisco in this on just because they’re undefeated and what they’ve done defensively. But we’ll probably see some Carolina money come in with how Allen’s been playing.”

Our Pick: Hope for a battle of field-goal kickers and go with the under.

2-4 Browns (+525, +13, O/U 45.5) at 7-0 Patriots

Of the Browns’ two wins, one is impressive (Ravens) and one is not (Jets). If they can knock off the Patriots, given where they are this season, it would be the biggest win for the franchise in a decade. Despite their record, the Patriots have only really excelled on the defensive side of the ball outside of Week 1 when Brady and the offense were clicking.

Bovi’s take: “On Monday Night Football, the Patriots handed down a 33-0 drubbing of the Jets which was not competitive from the outset as New York managed only 154 yards of offense. Tom Brady and the Patriots were efficient on offense, but this was more a case of the Jets’ futility than anything else. Five of the Patriots seven wins have come against the Jets, Dolphins, Redskins, and Giants. They escaped Buffalo with a 16-10 win despite being outgained by 150 yards and limited to 224 and they opened with a dominating 33-3 win over the Steelers. New England has been the beneficiary of an easy schedule while they have suffered numerous injuries throughout the year, the most recent to receiver Josh Gordon who was placed on injured reserve. This week, they added Mohamed Sanu who they acquired in a trade with the Falcons to replace Gordon. The Browns and particularly Baker Mayfield have been wildly inconsistent this year en route to a 2-4 record. The second-year QB has thrown 11 interceptions vs only five TDs. I have to feel that if Baker takes care of the ball, the Browns can stay within the inflated number and make this one competitive. Cleveland figures to put pressure on Brady as the Patriots’ protection has broken down at times. The Jets did not get to Brady in that Monday night whitewash, but in the prior two against the Giants and Redskins, Brady was sacked seven times. We’ll call this Patriots 26-20 as the Browns get the cover.”

Gable’s take: “New England’s laying a pretty big number here. While they’ve beaten up on some teams that haven’t been great this year, their average margin of victory is 25 points this year. So Cleveland honestly is going to be one of the better teams that they face. Cleveland has looked inconsistent at times and it’s going to depend on what Cleveland team shows up here. If they don’t win here, they’re not going to make the playoffs. They obviously had a very optimistic outlook this year coming in. I’d be looking at the total in this. It’s 46.5. I could see some sharp money coming in on the under on this game for sure. But I don’t know if the betting public will want to lay 13 points with New England here. It’s certainly great for Cleveland that they’ve had [the bye week] and time to prepare for this, but I don’t know how much effort New England really expended in the second half of Monday night’s game.”

Our Pick: Look for Mayfield to throw TDs for both teams and take the over

3-3 Raiders (+260, +7, O/U 52) at 4-3 Texans

Coming off their bye week following a win over the Bears, the Raiders went to Green Bay with the chance of establishing themselves as one of the AFC’s elite teams. The Texans had a similar opportunity against the Colts in Week 7 coming in off a big win over the Chiefs. Both teams are looking for redemption after failing in losses.

Bovi’s take: “Last week, the Raiders were exploited by quarterback Aaron Rodgers to the tune of 429 yards as he completed 25-of-31 passes for five touchdowns. Rodgers’ effort earned him a perfect 158.3 QB rating. This week, the Raiders traded what may have been their best cornerback in Gareon Conley to this weeks’ opposition, the Texans, who have been beset by injuries to their defensive backfield. In Week 2, Patrick Mahomes went for 443 against this Oakland secondary. This past Sunday, QB Jacoby Brissett lit up the Houston secondary for 326 yards as he completed 26-of-39 passes to go along with four touchdown passes, no doubt prompting them to shore up their secondary with the acquisition of Conley. Although one of Houston’s top receivers, Will Fuller, went down with a hamstring injury, Deshaun Watson figures to have his way with this Raider defense as coach Jon Gruden appears committed to a youth movement as indicated by the Conley trade. On offense, the Raiders have been efficient in moving the ball at times with QB Derek Carr completing 74 percent of his passes while running back Josh Jacobs is averaging 5.1 yards per carry. The over-under is high, as it should be given the defensive liabilities of both teams. Look for points here as these two play to the over with the Texans coming away with the win.”

Gable’s take: “That Oakland game last weekend against Green Bay really turned on that Derek Carr play where he fumbled the ball out of the end zone. There could’ve been a completely different result. Not that their defense had really any answers for Green Bay, but the Raiders are coming in 6.5-point underdogs to Houston and Houston did not play very well [last week]. They’re still having some issues protecting Watson. The Colts got to him, but Oakland didn’t look strong defensively. So the total on this is 51.5. I think this could possibly be pushed even higher by the end of the week. It’s just you have two teams that have struggled somewhat defensively and it could turn out to be a very high-scoring game. Houston should be able to put them away. But this is going to be a much bigger setback for Houston if they lose this game than if Oakland loses.”

Our Pick: Look for the Texans to rebound at home and lay the points.

6-1 Packers (-190, -3.5, O/U 48) at 5-2 Chiefs

In a game that should be Aaron Rodgers vs. Patrick Mahomes, this is now looking like it will likely be Rodgers vs. career backup Matt Moore. After Mahomes left last week, the Kansas City offense was basically limited to one big pass play to playmaker Tyreek Hill. It’s possible Mahomes does come back and play here, so obviously that will change things (and the line).

Bovi’s take: “The Chiefs defense came up big in their 30-6 win over the Broncos as they sacked Joe Flacco eight times before the Denver quarterback was mercifully pulled from the game They kept the Bronco running game in check too, which had been the weak point of the Kansas City defense leading up to the game. Chiefs QB sensation Patrick Mahomes sustained a knee injury early on and was replaced by journeyman Matt Moore who came in to complete 10-of-19 passes for 119 yards. Mahomes seems like he will be out indefinitely. The Packers are coming in off a blowout of the Raiders which saw Aaron Rodgers thrust himself into the MVP conversation as he completed 25-of-31 passes for 429 yards and 5 touchdowns. While Green Bay’s marquee receiver Devante Adams is still expected to be out with a toe injury, Green Bay should be able to exploit a Chiefs’ defense which has been inconsistent in stopping the run this year. With Mahomes out, the Packers have the edge on both sides of the ball even though Moore is more than capable of leading the offense at this point in his 12-year career. The Chiefs should be able to move the ball, particularly on the ground, though I have to feel the Packers pull away and get this one 30-20.”

Gable’s take: “I think the Chiefs definitely need Mahomes to be competitive. We’ve seen their defense not really hold up. They did play decent last week, but defensively they have been struggling throughout the year. Their run game, obviously, has not been there either. The question is, can Matt Moore step up? The big thing here, at least from a betting perspective, is how much is Mahomes worth to a point spread? Some people are saying 6.5-7 points. I tend to view it a little bit higher than that. You could go to 8.5 or even nine points that he’s worth to a spread. Green Bay is favored by 4.5 with Mahomes being out. But really, it’s going to be interesting to see what Matt Moore does. I’m sure he’s a serviceable backup for them, but Rodgers is coming off of what is basically one of the best games in a very long and illustrious career. So I don’t know if there might be a little bit of a letdown there, but I think Green Bay should have no problem handling Kansas City in this. I’m sure the public is going to be all over Green Bay after that performance last week and they also may be getting Davante Adams back as well. So that could be another weapon for Rodgers.”

Our Pick: If Mahomes is out, take the Packers and lay the points.

Last Week’s Picks: 2-3, Season: 19-16

Editor’s note: Lines fluctuate throughout the week based on injuries, weather reports and other factors. Make sure to double-check odds before betting.