Broadway Best Bets is a weekly NFL betting article selecting the five preferred NFL lines of each week. Note: Sports gambling advice is intended for recreational purposes only. All odds and lines are from William Hill US Sportsbook unless otherwise noted.
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The theme for Week 8 is the weather. Games in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Green Bay, and New England could all see their outcomes severely affected by wind, snow, rain, and other elements.
We’re on a hot streak over the past two weeks! Our Best Bets are 8-2 in that span. Hopefully we can keep it going this week. And now that I’ve jinxed it, here are our five favorite lines on the Week 8 slate.
Broadway 2020 Season Record: 18-14-3
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (-6.5)
This is going to get repetitive, and for that I apologize, but the Vikings-Packers point total opened at 55.5. It has sinced moved over five points to where it now sits at 50.
The reason for the movement is an overreaction to the weather forecasts. Expectations of 20-25 mph winds have led the majority of public bettors to take the under. Throughout the past week, as more and more under bets came in, the line continued to drop.
The average bettor doesn’t pay attention to the line movement. They simply head to their favorite book to place a bet on the under because they heard about the weather impacts. They don’t realize that everyone is taking the under, thus artificially deflating the point total for this match. The line has moved almost a full touchdown because of concerns about the high winds!
If the line were still at 55.5, I wouldn’t be so quick to take the over given the windy conditions, but these teams will still be able to move the ball and both have struggled on defense more often than not this season. The Vikings cornerbacks are going to struggle to tackle the Packers in space whether or not Aaron Rodgers can cut through the strong winds. Dalvin Cook is back after some much needed rest against the Packers’ 22nd-ranked run DVOA defense.
These teams will be able to move the ball, and punts against the wind are going to result in some short fields. Don’t let the public overreaction sway you. I’m taking the over at a tremendous value.
The Pick: Over 50
Buffalo Bills (-4.5) at New England Patriots
This is another game expected to be impacted by weather conditions. Earlier in the week, it was forecasted that there could be near freezing conditions with rain and 20 mph winds. The point total opened at 46 and as a result of the weather, it has dropped all the way to 40.5.
It’s going to be windy and rainy, and while that will limit the downfield effectiveness, it shouldn’t slow down these particular offenses too much. They are based around the short game and rushing attack.
Both teams should find success running the ball all day. As long as they can punch it in the end zone when they have the chance (Buffalo was 0-5 in the red zone last week against the Jets), these teams should surpass the total no problem. I also like New England +4.5 in this spot quite a bit.
For the same reasons outlined above, I’m taking the immense value presented by the over.
The Pick: Over 40.5
Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles (-11)
I’m going to sound like a broken record, but the market has worked its magic on another game here. This line opened at Philadelphia -7.5, and, over concerns about rookie seventh round pick Ben DiNucci, it has since moved to Philadelphia -11.
The thing is, the look ahead line last week was Philadelphia -3.5. If that was still the line, I’d be all in on Philadelphia. But 11 points? More than a touchdown plus a field goal? Who has Philadelphia beaten this year to deserve an 11-point edge over anyone? We’re talking about a 2-4-1 team whose best win came by five points against a team starting their backup quarterback.
They beat the Giants last week by one point in a game that required a heroic final drive and an incredible catch by the backup running back Boston Scott. Daniel Jones turned the ball over twice and took three sacks. The Giants’ line is bad. Do we really think DiNucci and the Cowboys are ten points worse than the Giants?
There’s a phenomenon that seems to happen with young, inexperienced no-name quarterbacks who get randomly thrust into their first start: they often perform above expectations. Maybe that’s because expectations are so low, but I think DiNucci will do at least better than people are expecting. The Cowboys are getting a lot of players back from injury this week, including two starting offensive linemen in Zack Martin and Joe Looney.
Another factor at play is Dallas’s 0-7 record against the spread this year, worse even than the Jets. The lines continue to move against Dallas as fading the Cowboys becomes a popular trend. Even without the market’s activity this week, the line was already inflated towards Philadelphia as books look to take advantage of this trend.
When the market leans so strongly in one direction, the contrarian play is often the smartest move. I’ll take Dallas with the points.
The Pick: Dallas +11
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-12.5) at New York Giants
All signs are pointing to this game proceeding as scheduled on Monday night after a COVID scare with the Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay continues to look like one of the NFL’s best teams, sitting atop Football Outsiders’ DVOA rankings through seven weeks with the NFL’s best defense. That defense should eat Daniel Jones alive. I think Tampa Bay is at least two touchdowns better than the Giants even without Chris Godwin, and the Buccaneers have continued to score on teams late in games with a big lead. I don’t see how the Giants possibly keep up with the Bucs.
The Pick: Tampa Bay -12.5
Lock of the Week
Las Vegas Raiders at Cleveland Browns (-1)
I won’t spend too much time here as most of the points that apply were covered above. This is yet another game expected to be impacted by the weather with steady rain and high winds of 25-30 mph. As such, the market has overreacted and moved the point total from where it opened at 54.5 to where it sits now at 48.
While throwing the ball downfield will likely be difficult for both teams, that shouldn’t threaten either side’s ability to score and move the ball. The Browns offense centers around their rushing attack. The Raiders are 29th in run DVOA defense and 30th in rushing success rate allowed on defense. Cleveland will have no trouble running the ball.
Las Vegas ranks 6th in points per drive and Cleveland ranks 9th. Las Vegas is 32nd in points allowed per drive and Cleveland is 26th. Both of these teams can score and neither can play defense, regardless of weather.
Yet again, the public has provided an opportunity to exploit value in the market. Give me the over.
The Pick: Over 48
Bonus: Teaser Picks
I’ve been doing well with teasers this year so I thought I’d share a favorite combination of mine for this week. This 6-point, 6-leg teaser pays +600 and includes:
- Miami +9.5
- NE-BUF o34.5
- New England +10.5
- LV-CLE o42
- MIN-GB o44
- Tennessee -1
How Betting Lines Work
A quick reminder for anyone unfamiliar with betting lines. “Favorites” are listed next to a negative number, which represents how many points they must win by to “cover the spread.” Titans -2.5, for example, means that Tennessee must beat the Broncos by 3 points or more for bettors to win. Gamblers can also bet on the game’s “total,” betting on whether or not the teams’ combined score in the game is over or under a pre-selected number of points.
“ML” or “moneyline” is not against the spread, just picking the winner of the game. Many people refer to the moneyline as “straight up,” but this can be confusing, because if you’re ever at a betting window in Vegas, a “straight bet” means you are betting on the point spread. Instead of saying “straight up,” you’d want to say “moneyline” when you mean to pick the winner of the game regardless of the point spread to avoid any possible confusion.