The Lions are vulnerable to the deep ball. Can Dez Bryant exploit that for a Cowboys upset? (Tony Gutierrez/AP)
Week 8 of the NFL season is here. Time to place your bets. Which games should you pick and which should you avoid? Joe Fortenbaugh and Tom Mantzouranis break down everything you need to know entering this weekend’s NFL action.
Joe Fortenbaugh: Cardinals -2.5 vs. Falcons. The Cardinals are 2-1 both straight-up and against the spread (ATS) at home this season and enter Sunday’s showdown on nine days rest against a banged-up Atlanta team. The Falcons are just 1-4-1 ATS over their last six road games and 2-7 ATS over their last nine games overall. Laying anything less than the full three points for home-field advantage in this one is a good value bet.
MORE COVERAGE: Week 8 Picks | More betting advice, analysis | Week 7 Power Rankings
Tom Mantzouranis: Seahawks - 11 at Rams. Brett Favre. Tim Tebow. Brady Quinn. The fact that the Rams have been linked to those names (eventually signing Quinn) in the wake of Sam Bradford's season-ending injury is all you need to know about how much faith they have in Kellen Clemens, who, despite the revolving door of sub-mediocre quarterback options St. Louis has looked at, will start for the team Monday night. Against Seattle. The Seahawks are 5-2 against the spread this season. The Rams played them tight last year, but this isn't last year.
BURKE: Brett Favre? Tim Tebow? Examining the Rams' options at QB
NFL Week 8 Betting Odds
|Matchup||Date & Time||Line||Over/Under|
|Dallas at Detroit||10/27 1 p.m. ET||Detroit -3||51|
|Buffalo at New Orleans||10/27 1 p.m. ET||New Orleans -11||48.5|
|NY Giants at Philadelphia||10/27 1 p.m. ET||Philadelphia -5||51.5|
|San Francisco at Jacksonville||10/27 1 p.m. ET||San Francisco -16.5||40.5|
|Cleveland at Kansas City||10/27 1 p.m. ET||Kansas City -7.5||39.5|
|Miami at New England||10/27 1 p.m. ET||New England -6.5||45.5|
|NY Jets at Cincinnati||10/27 4:05 p.m. ET||Cincinnati -6.5||41.5|
|Pittsburgh at Oakland||10/27 4:05 p.m. ET||Pittsburgh -2.5||40.5|
|Washington at Denver||10/27 4:25 p.m. ET||Denver -11.5||58|
|Atlanta at Arizona||10/27 4:25 p.m. ET||Arizona -2.5||45|
|Green Bay at Minnesota||10/27 8:30 p.m. ET||Green Bay -9||47|
|Seattle at St. Louis||10/28 8:30 p.m. ET||Seattle -11||43|
Stay Away From
Fortenbaugh: Eagles -5 vs. Giants. Big Blue has looked absolutely putrid this season, but how do you lay five points with an Eagles team that hasn’t covered a spread at Lincoln Financial Field since 2011? That’s right. The Birds have gone 11 straight home games without cashing a ticket for their backers. But that doesn’t mean you should get behind a Giants team that is 2-8-1 ATS over their last 11 meetings with Philadelphia. This is the most volatile game on the Week 8 board.
Mantzouranis: Lions -3 vs. Cowboys. Who knows with these two teams? I'd like the Lions normally, especially with it looking unlikely that DeMarcus Ware plays. But the Cowboys are good, and Dez Bryant is a matchup nightmare against any defense, let alone one that has let up 25 pass plays of 20 yards or more, fifth-most in the league. Then again, the Cowboys have ALSO given up 25 pass plays of 20 yards or more, and the Lions have a pretty good receiver too. These teams are actually not too dissimilar; beyond the secondary woes, they each have maligned quarterbacks quietly posting improved seasons, and each is historically capable of not playing up to its talent level. In my gut, I think the Lions win, and if this spread were 2.5 or lower I might advise you to put your money down on them. But a three-point spread in a game either team can win just scares me too much.
Best Of The Rest
Fortenbaugh: Raiders +2.5 vs. Steelers. Home dogs are 21-18 ATS on the season, but the real reason I like this play is because of the situation. Oakland is rested coming off the bye while Pittsburgh has to travel across the country following an extremely physical and emotionally draining encounter with the Baltimore Ravens. Take note that the Steelers are just 1-4 ATS in their last five meetings with the Raiders.
Lions -3 vs. Cowboys. The spot favors Detroit, who is coming off a home loss to Cincinnati in Week 7 and desperately needs to put one in the win column to keep pace with the Packers. Meanwhile, Dallas is on the second leg of back-to-back road trips and could get a bit complacent after seizing control of the NFC East with last Sunday’s 17-3 win at Philadelphia. Be advised that Dallas is just 6-15 ATS over their last 21 games following a straight-up win.
Saints -11 vs. Buffalo. As long as Jimmy Graham plays, we’re on it. New Orleans is 5-0 ATS over their last five games coming off a bye, while the Bills are in a real tough spot playing a road non-conference game following a road divisional matchup. And don’t think for one second that Rex Ryan didn’t tip off brother Rob with everything he knows about the Bills after Rob was kind enough to inform Rex about New England’s field goal shenanigans.
Mantzouranis: Steelers -2.5 at Raiders. Oakland is coming off its bye, but that won't be enough to get a banged-up and underperforming offensive line to turn things around. Meanwhile, the Steelers are coming off of two straight wins and are starting to show new life as they climb back into the AFC playoff picture. Their defense has allowed just one touchdown over the last two contests, and the unit's physicality should prove too much for the Raiders to handle, even if they're undefeated at home.
49ers -16.5 at Jaguars. The 49ers have outscored opponents 132-51 over the course of a four-game winning streak. The Jaguars have lost every game this season by double digits. San Francisco has an extra long way to travel this week, going to London, so if they get out to a monstrous halftime lead you may see starters rest in the second half. That won't matter, though. This is going to get ugly.
BURKE & FARRAR: Previewing Bengals-Jets, Lions-Cowboys, more Week 8 games