The sportsbooks have released their betting odds for Week 8 in the NFL, and three games interest me: Steelers vs. Jaguars, Bengals vs. 49ers, and Bears vs. Chargers.
For your best bets, I will recommend that you wager on all three underdogs. I like investing three-quarters of a unit in the underdog ATS and the remaining quarter in the underdog ML.
- Steelers ML (+125)
- Bengals ML (+210)
- Bears ML (+325)
Sunday, October 29, 2023 – 01:00 PM EDT at Acrisure Stadium
I find it absurd that Jacksonville is favored on the road.
If the Jaguars were at home, they would be favored by over a touchdown, which is too much against a Steelers team that, at 4-2, has improved since its season opener and has proven to be especially strong at home.
Since their first game, the Steelers are 2-0 at home. They won both of those games, against a healthy Browns team and against Baltimore, despite being underdogs.
Pittsburgh’s Pass Defense
Except for their season-opener and for their debacle in Houston – the Texans enjoyed a two-game stretch in which they manhandled both Jacksonville and Pittsburgh’s defense – the Steelers have been great at limiting the opposing quarterback’s passer rating.
Both of their last opposing quarterbacks, Matthew Stafford for the Rams and Lamar Jackson for the Ravens, struggled to extreme degrees. Stafford failed to complete half his passes and Jackson suffered his lowest passer rating of the season.
On the season, the Steelers are yielding an 83.4 passer rating. They succeed with the likes of All-Pro pass rusher TJ Watt, who is difficult to contain. Especially cornerback Joey Porter Jr. has been hard to throw on – he is allowing a 28.5 passer rating when targeted.
Scheme-wise, Pittsburgh likes to employ defensive backs in place of defensive linemen, challenging opponents to run on them. However, Jacksonville won’t win on the ground, because its ability to pass is decisive.
The Jaguars are 0-2 SU and ATS when quarterback Trevor Lawrence’s passer rating is lower than 90.
Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett is improving: he made a big throw to lead his team past Baltimore two weeks ago, and last week against the Rams, he had one of his best games of his season.
Diontae Johnson‘s return has proven valuable, as it gives Pickett another reliable target. Last week, Johnson caught five of six targets for 79 yards. The Steelers’ pass-catching crew will be especially effective if Jacksonville’s top cornerback Tyson Campbell remains injured.
Even if Campbell plays, Pickett will have a much easier time against Jacksonville’s 31st-ranked pass defense – the Jaguars allow the second-most passing yards per game – than Lawrence will against Pittsburgh’s pass defense.
NCAAF Pick: Steelers +2.5 (+100) at Bet365
NCAAF Pick: Steelers ML (+125) at Bet365
Sunday, October 29, 2023 – 04:25 PM EDT at Levi’s Stadium
Cincinnati Off A Bye Week
The Bengals are coming off their bye week, placing them in a good spot against a 49ers team that, after playing on Monday Night Football, has a short week to prepare for them.
Cincinnati is in a good spot not only because it has had extra time to prepare for its opponent: the Bengals tend to score a lot of points in the game following their bye week. After their bye week two years ago, they beat the Raiders on the road 32-13. Last year after their bye, despite missing their top wide receiver, they beat the Steelers on the road 37-30.
Burrow to Chase
The Bengals will score a lot of points again, primarily because they can rely on their quarterback-wide receiver connection.
San Francisco is susceptible to allowing big performances from opposing wide receivers. Last week, for example, Minnesota’s Jordan Addison went off for seven receptions, 123 yards, and two touchdowns.
The week before, despite having a career backup throwing to him, Amari Cooper exceeded over 100 receiving yards for Cleveland.
Especially with San Francisco’s front seven struggling as part of its ongoing two-game losing streak – the 49ers now rank 27th in sack rate – Joe Burrow, one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks, will have the time he needs to find his targets in the secondary.
Struggling Brock Purdy
The 49ers won’t keep pace. Brock Purdy has looked uncomfortable in his most recent games, as he’s been both inefficient and turnover-prone. Part of his struggles are owed to his decreased ability to rely on great talent around him.
Versatile weapon Deebo Samuel remains injured. Also important is tackle Trent Williams’ injury. His absence would give a boost to Cincinnati’s highly-ranked pass rush, which will take advantage of the vulnerability of San Francisco’s other offensive linemen, which is evident in the number of pressures they allow.
Running back Christian McCaffrey won’t win the game by himself, especially given the Bengals’ success against running backs who aren’t of the immensely powerful sort, such as Cleveland’s Nick Chubb and Tennessee’s Derrick Henry.
NCAAF Pick: Bengals +5.5 (-110) at Bet365
NCAAF Pick: Bengals ML (+210) at Bet365
Sunday, October 29, 2023 – 08:20 PM EDT at SoFi Stadium
The Chargers are favored by over a touchdown. This spread is much too flattering for them given the fact that they have yet to win a game by over a touchdown.
Their best win came against the Raiders. The Raiders were playing their third-string quarterback, a rookie who was taken in the fourth round, in Aidan O’Connell. Nevertheless, they stayed within seven of the Chargers.
Chicago’s Pass Attack
The Bears form a major upgrade over the Raiders.
Their quarterback, Tyson Bagent, has been much more impressive – he has stirred the prospect of a quarterback controversy after he led them to a 30-12 win over the Raiders.
L.A. allows, by 36.1 yards more than any other team, the most passing yards per game, so this is a game in which Bagent will thrive even more strongly.
Among other things, the Chargers are vulnerable to pass-catching running backs. The resurgence of D’Onta Foreman, who caught three passes for 31 yards and a touchdown last week, will give Bagent an easy go-to target if he ever can’t find weapons downfield.
The Bears have improved defensively. It’s not just that they held the Raiders, who missed their starting quarterback, to twelve points.
Two weeks ago, they also locked down Minnesota. Against Chicago, the Vikings mustered 19 points and 220 total yards of offense.
Owing to a switch at defensive coordinator, improved linebacker play, and stronger overall chemistry, the Bears have shut down opposing rush attacks, which is helping the overall defense because opposing offenses are repeatedly confronting third-and-down situations.
Cornerback Tyrique Stevenson, as evident in his performance against star Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams, is developing nicely and contributing to an improved secondary.
L.A. with its perpetually underperforming offense will fail to reach 20 points.
NCAAF Pick: Bears +8.5 (-110) at Bet365
NCAAF Pick: Bears ML (+325) at Bet365
*The line and/or odds referenced in this article might have changed since the content was published. For the latest information on line movements, visit OddsTrader’s free betting odds tool.