Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
Week 8 is actually a pretty good one in terms of teams on the bye because three of them in the Washington Football Team, Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans are among the NFL’s worst clubs. The fourth off is a good Arizona Cardinals team.
It’s rare that an NFL team makes major news during its bye week short of firing a head coach, but the Miami Dolphins hijacked the football news last week when they were off with the fairly shocking decision to make rookie No. 5 overall pick Tua Tagovailoa as their first-time starter for this Sunday’s home game against the Los Angeles Rams.
On the one hand, it makes sense to make that call during a bye week to give Tua plenty of reps in practice, but on the other Ryan Fitzpatrick was playing quite well and had led the Dolphins to three wins in their past four and into the AFC East race. Miami is a 4-point underdog but has won 19 of its past 23 when hosting West Coast teams.
Speaking of the AFC East, the New England Patriots visit the Buffalo Bills. No team in the NFL was happier to see Tom Brady leave the Patriots than the Bills because they could almost never beat him. Perhaps facing Cam Newton will bring a different result with New England on its first three-game losing streak in 18 years. Buffalo is -3.5 and 4-0 ATS in its past four games as a home favorite.
The other big storyline in Week 8 is the New York Jets visiting the Kansas City Chiefs in the clear mismatch of the season. The Jets look like one of the worst NFL teams ever and Kansas City is favored to repeat as Super Bowl champion.
The Chiefs opened as 21.5-point favorites but it’s down to -19.5 as of midweek. There have only been a handful of 20-point spreads in league history. Depending on which source, the biggest ever was the Denver Broncos at -28 over the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2013 or the Pittsburgh Steelers at -27 over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1976. Kansas City is 14-2 ATS in its past 16 games.
One of the league’s best rivalries is renewed when the Pittsburgh Steelers visit the Baltimore Ravens. They have combined for the past four AFC North titles and one of them is almost surely going to win it again. Sunday’s victor has a crucial early tiebreaker. Baltimore has one big advantage as it comes off a bye, while Pittsburgh, the NFL’s lone unbeaten standing, won at the Tennessee Titans in Week 7. Baltimore is -3.5, but the favored team has failed to cover five straight in this series.
The Monday night game to close Week 8 features Brady and the Tampa Bay Bucs visiting the shouldn’t-be-on-prime-time New York Giants. The Bucs are -11 with New York 7-1 ATS in its past eight games as a double-digit dog.