Expert NFL Picks for Week 8, Including Giants-Seahawks, 49ers-Rams and Packers-Bills

A trio of handicappers offer their insights on five of this week's best games

October 28, 2022 7:08 am
The San Francisco offense lines up against the Los Angeles defense at Levi's Stadium.
San Francisco and Los Angeles will meet on Sunday for the second time his month.
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty

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 professional football season. Here are our Week 8 NFL picks.

You’ve got places to go, people to see and possibly some wagers to make, so let’s get right to it with some help from Thomas Gable, the director of race and sportsbook at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, sports betting reporter Josh Appelbaum of VSiN and Odds Assist CEO Dave Rathmanner.

Las Vegas Raiders (-1.5, O/U 49.5) at New Orleans Saints

A compelling matchup because…usually tough at home, the Saints will look to improve upon their 1-3 home record when the Raiders, who have yet to win on the road this season, come to New Orleans. The Saints have lost two in a row and uncertainty and uneven play at quarterback and wide receiver have really hurt a team that is still trying to find itself following the departure of Drew Brees. Meanwhile, the Raiders have a chance at their first winning streak of the season as Las Vegas has yet to win consecutive games despite somehow having a positive point differential (+13).

Appelbaum’s Assessment: This line opened at a pick’em and quickly shot up to Raiders -2 on the road. We’ve since seen some buyback on the Saints, dropping the line back down to 1.5. Without a clear read on the spread, I’ll look toward the total. It opened at 47.5 and sharp over money has steamed it up to 49.5. Currently, 59% of bets but 77% of the money at DraftKings is taking the over, a sharp over-bet discrepancy. Both teams have been big on the over this season, with the Raiders 4-1-1 to the over and the Saints 5-2 to the over. I’ll take the over 49.5 and hope that both teams can put up 25 points or more in the dome.

Gable’s Guess: Jameis Winston started the first three games of the season before he injured his back and then the team turned to Andy Dalton for the last four games. Now Dalton is also dealing with a back injury. The Saints have been missing key pieces for weeks, but the good news is they’re only one game back in the NFC South. The Raiders are only a two-win team, but I feel like they could be over .500 right now. Their four losses have come by combined 14 points. They’re finally using running back Josh Jacobs to his full potential and he is in a contract year. Neither of these teams can afford a loss here and expect to make the playoffs. I believe the Raiders are in a better position than the Saints, so I’m going to lay the points with Vegas.

Rathmanner’s Reckoning: Both of these teams come into this game struggling on defense but making up for it on offense. The Saints have allowed 33 points per game over their last four contests and have scored 31 points per game over the same span since Andy Dalton took over at QB. Despite Jameis Winston being cleared to play, the Saints will stick with Dalton, which should help them keep the offensive rhythm going against a Raider defense that is allowing 25 points per game on the season. Offensively, the Raiders are third in the league in scoring with more than 27 points per game and they should have no trouble getting points against a struggling Saints defense. I’ll take the over on Sunday afternoon.

Our Pick: If the Raiders are going to right their season, they need a win. Will take them to cover.

New England Patriots (-2.5, O/U 40.5) at New York Jets

A compelling matchup because…The Patriots have won 12 straight games over the New York Jets with six straight series sweeps (2016-21). If the Patriots win their 13th straight game against the Jets this week, they will tie the Kansas City Chiefs (13 straight wins over Denver) for the longest current streak in the NFL. For that to happen, Mac Jones will need to notch his first win as a starter since Week 2 as he is expected to take back his QB1 job from rookie Bailey Zappe. It won’t be easy as the Jets are riding a four-game winning streak and have given up just 19 points combined over the past two weeks. Both of New York’s losses this season have come at home.

Appelbaum’s Assessment: This game opened at roughly a pick’em and has moved to Patriots -2.5 on the road following the news that Mac Jones will likely get the start at quarterback.  The market still respects Bill Belichick based on the line move but I’m not sure it’s warranted. The Jets match several betting systems: dogs are 58% ATS this season and dogs that missed the playoffs last year, like the Jets, are 60% ATS. New York also has correlative betting value as a dog in a low total game (40.5). I’ll hold out for a +3, but if not I’ll take Jets +2.5 at home in a big divisional rivalry game.

Gable’s Guess: Mac Jones started last week against the Bears, provided no spark whatsoever and threw an interception. Besides the quarterback issues, New England’s defense was somehow trounced by a very weak Chicago offense. The Jets have had success running the ball lately and haven’t been making the mistakes they were early in the year. Losing Bryce Hall is a big blow but they struck a deal to add James Robinson from Jacksonville to fill that spot. They are 4-0 since getting away from that pass-happy offense they were running under Joe Flacco. I certainly would expect Bill Belichick to make some major adjustments this week in practice. He’s given QB Zach Wilson fits in the past. I’m going to lay the points with the Patriots. I see them bouncing back.

Rathmanner’s Reckoning: Normally, this is a spot you would expect Bill Belichick and the Patriots to bounce back, but they simply don’t have the talent they have had in past seasons. They have a lot of uncertainty at the QB position with Mac Jones struggling with his recovery from an ankle injury and Bailey Zappe coming back down to earth in the second half last week against a tough Bears defense. The Jets will be without RB Breece Hall for this one, but they have a very capable backup in Michael Carter to face off against a bottom-10 Patriots rushing defense. I like the Jets to cover getting points at home.

Our Pick: The Pats may kind of stink, but Belichick hates the Jets and will pull out all the stops. Laying the points.

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San Fransisco 49ers (-1.5, O/U 42.5) at Los Angeles Rams

A compelling matchup because…one of three intrastate matchups on the schedule in Week 8, the 49ers will travel south to LA to take on the Rams as the NFC West rivals meet for the second time this season. When the Rams went to San Fran earlier this month, they were shellacked on Monday Night Football as Matthew Stafford was pounded and Nick Bosa of the 49ers registered two of the team’s season-high seven sacks. San Francisco has won seven consecutive regular-season meetings over Los Angeles dating back to 2019. The Rams did beat the 49ers in the playoffs last season to advance to Super Bowl LVI.

Appelbaum’s Assessment: The lookahead line on this game was Rams -2.5 at home. We saw the line quickly adjusted to 49ers -2.5 early this week. But all the late money seems to be grabbing the points with the Rams as the 49ers have fallen from -2.5 to -1.5. The Rams are contrarian (only 25% of bets), have value as a divisional dog (57% ATS this season) and also have a rest advantage as they’re coming off a bye while the 49ers played on Sunday. Keep an eye on Deebo Samuel’s injury status heading into this game. I’ll take Sean McVay and the points after two weeks of rest and preparation.

Gable’s Guess: The issues that plagued the Rams before their bye last week are not going to go away that easily. The protection for Matt Stafford has been terrible. They still have five offensive linemen on injured reserve and a few key defensive players are also still out. Stafford is completing 71% of his passes, but his TD-to-INT ratio isn’t great. He has to cut down on the costly turnovers. For San Fran, there’s little doubt that the weaknesses of the team are their offensive line and their secondary. Kansas City exposed both and exploited them on Sunday. With a full week of practice for new running back Christian McCaffrey, I think we could start to see some dividends. I’m going to lay the points with the Niners.

Rathmanner’s Reckoning: Two division rivals face off in a crucial meeting to determine who will have a leg up in a division where no team has been able to pull away so far. These teams are very familiar with each other and both have very capable defenses and suspect offenses. Both teams have gone under in eight of their last 10 games and seven of the last 10 games between these two teams have stayed under the total. In terms of yards allowed per game, both teams are in the top five, with the 49ers allowing 294.9 yards per game and the Rams allowing 301.3 yards per game. Points will be at a premium again Sunday. The Rams are averaging only 17.3 points per game and the 49ers are averaging a slightly better 20.7 points per game. I like the under in this one.

Our Pick: The Rams can’t keep losing games to the 49ers, can they? Taking LA with the points.

New York Giants (+3, O/U 44.5) at Seattle Seahawks

A compelling matchup because…riding a four-game winning streak, the first-place Giants head to Seattle to take on the first-place Seahawks. If the Giants win, they will become just the fifth NFL team since 2002 to go 5-0 in the month of October in a season. Each of the four previous teams to accomplish the feat finished the season as the No. 1 overall seed in their respective conference. New York running back Saquon Barkley has been dominating the league thus far, but Seattle rookie running back Kenneth Walker is the only player in the NFL this season with two rushing touchdowns of at least 65 yards. Walker is the first rookie with two rushing touchdowns of at least 65 yards since Barkley.

Appelbaum’s Assessment: This line opened with Seattle listed as a short 2-point home favorite. The public thinks the wrong team is favored and they’re rushing to the window to grab the points with the Giants. However, despite 70% of bets taking New York, we’ve actually seen this line move further to Seattle -2 to -3. This looks like a sharp contrarian play on the Seahawks, with pros fading the trendy dog. Now that we’re up to the key number of 3, I’ll pay the extra juice and take Seattle -150 on the moneyline to win the game. 

Gable’s Guess: I sound like a broken record about the Giants every week and they just keep winning games as underdogs and making me look foolish. Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones both rushed for over 100 yards last week. Jones has now led four fourth-quarter comebacks this season. Seattle may be one of the most pleasant surprises of the season along with the Giants. Seattle is now in sole possession of first in the NFC West. The defense seems to be turning things around and they had another good showing against the Chargers last week. QB Geno Smith is playing as well as the top quarterbacks in the league right now and rookie running back Kenneth Walker is the favorite to win Offensive Rookie of the Year at this point. I’m not picking against the Giants again so I’ll take the over.

Rathmanner’s Reckoning: These are two of the worst rushing defenses in the league and that is a clear advantage for the New York Giants and Saquon Barkley, who is second in the league with 726 rush yards this season. He should have plenty of opportunities against the Seahawks as Seattle allows 149.7 yards per game on the ground. The Giants have only allowed seven passing touchdowns on the season, so they should have some success containing the Seahawks’ best receivers. The Giants have covered six of seven games this season. Look for them to get another cover at +3 or better on Sunday.

Our Pick: Maybe this is where the slide stops for the G-Men. Maybe not. But will take Seattle to cover.

Green Bay Packers (+10.5, O/U 47.5) at Buffalo Bills

A compelling matchup because…fresh off their bye week and the Bills will be looking to add to their league-best points margin (+95) at home against a Green Bay team that is searching for answers after losing three straight. It will be tough sledding for the Packers in Buffalo Bills as top receiving option Allen Lazard could be out with a shoulder injury. If he sits, Aaron Rodgers will have Sammy Watkins (8 catches), Romeo Doubs (26 catches), Amari Rodgers (3 catches) and Samori Toure (1 catch).as his receivers. The Bills are looking for their fourth win this season over a 2021 division winner after already knocking defeated the Rams, Titans and Chiefs.

Appelbaum’s Assessment: This line opened as low as Bills -8.5 at home. The public is relatively split on this one. On the one hand, how can you not back high-flying Buffalo at home against the struggling Packers? On the other hand, how do you not take the big points with Aaron Rodgers? Despite 50/50 betting, we’ve seen the Bills get steamed up to -10.5 or -11. Favorites off a bye, like Buffalo here, are 57% ATS over the past decade. This line seems fishy high, but it might be high for a reason. I’ll lay the points with the Bills to cover.

Gable’s Guess: The Bills have been the most explosive offense in the NFL which is a reason why the Packers find themselves as double-digit underdogs for the first time in Aaron Rodgers’s career. Buffalo is the second-highest-scoring team in the league and the Bills’ defense leads the NFL in quite a few categories including yards allowed per game. For Green Bay, there’s just no explosiveness in the offense right now. It wasn’t until late in the fourth quarter that Rodgers threw his first pass over 10 yards on Sunday. Their defense also isn’t doing them any favors. They can’t stop the run and I’m not sure how they’re going to stop Buffalo at all in this game. This could end up being a very ugly game for Green Bay. I want the under because I don’t know how Green Bay is going to score on Buffalo with the way that defense has looked this year.

Rathmanner’s Reckoning: The Packers have struggled to score this season and are averaging only 18.3 points per game. The team simply does not have enough offensive firepower surrounding Aaron Rodgers to put up a ton of points. The Packers may be able to contain Bills QB Josh Allen given they have the best pass defense in the league and are giving up only 170 yards through the air per game. The Bills, despite a reputation as being a team that can score at will, are actually 5-1 to the under on the season. The under is 5-2 on Sunday night this season, so look for that trend to continue again and take it.

Our Pick: It’s a huge number. So, guessing the Packers slow down the Bills and Buffalo plays slower. Going under.

Last Week: 4-1-0; This Season: 15-20-0

Editor’s note: Betting lines fluctuate throughout the week based on injuries, the weather and other factors. Make sure to double-check the odds before making your own Week 8 NFL picks.

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