The NFL’s Week 8 schedule has 3 prime-time games, and the best one should be the first of the week in Buffalo, but we also got two others.
- On Monday night, the Detroit Lions are also trying to improve after a 38-6 blowout in Baltimore by getting to host the Las Vegas Raiders, who have yet to score 20 points on offense this year.
- On Thursday night, the Buffalo Bills will look to move on from Sunday’s disappointing loss in New England with a chance to get to 5-3 against Tampa Bay.
- On Sunday night, the Los Angeles Chargers can end a 2-game losing streak by beating the Chicago Bears at home.
We made our top pick for each prime-time game in Week 8, and you can find the best betting odds using OddsTrader.
- Raiders-Lions Under 45 Points (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook (check our Caesars Sportsbook Review)
- Chargers -4.5 First Half Spread (-110) at Bet365
- Bills Under 27 Points (-115) at Bet365 (check our Bet365 Review)
Lions to Bounce Back Big vs. Raiders
Detroit’s 38-6 loss in Baltimore was the team’s worst loss under Dan Campbell since a 44-6 loss to the Eagles in 2021. But it’s all about how you bounce back, and the Lions are 13-9 ATS after a loss since 2021.
Meanwhile, the Raiders just lost 30-12 to a bad Chicago team with a rookie quarterback (Tyson Bagent), and now they are a 9-point road underdog in Detroit. Of course, anything can happen this NFL season as last Monday proved when Minnesota upset the 49ers. But we are looking at the under in this one as the under is now 8-1 on Monday nights this season.
Monday, October 30, 2023 – 08:15 PM EDT at Ford Field
Pick a Quarterback, the Raiders Still Stink
Our prediction is not even dependent on whether Jimmy Garoppolo, Brian Hoyer, or Aidan O’Connell starts at quarterback for the Raiders. The team has tried all 3 players this year, and they all have stunk. Garoppolo would still be the ideal choice since he gets the ball out the best and most accurately, but he also has more interceptions (8) than touchdown passes (7) this season.
The Raiders are averaging 16 points per game, which ranks 30th in the NFL. The only game where the Raiders scored more than 18 points was the 21-17 win over New England, a game they only broke 20 points in thanks to a late safety scored by the defense.
You have to go back to the 2009 Redskins to find the last time an offense never scored 20 points without the help of a safety or return touchdown in each of the first 7 games of the season. Those Redskins made their streak last 8 games too, so this can go on longer.
It is hard to believe this offense produced a rushing champion last year as Josh Jacobs is still averaging 2.9 yards per carry this season, a stat the Raiders rank dead last in. Davante Adams is currently averaging 7.4 yards per target, his lowest season since 2015 when most fans thought he was a poor excuse for a starting receiver in his 2nd season with Green Bay.
The Raiders are broken, and Josh McDaniels lacks the answers to fix it. That is how he can lose wire-to-wire to Tyson Bagent last week in Chicago.
Detroit Isn’t Clicking on Every Cylinder This Year Either
While the Raiders should do the heavy lifting on the under hitting, the Lions are not quite a lock to drop 30 points themselves in this game. In fact, Detroit has already been held to 21 points or fewer in 4-of-7 games, and that includes a win in Kansas City, where a pick-6 by the defense provided a third of the points.
The Lions just scored 20 points in Tampa Bay and 6 points in Baltimore the last 2 weeks, road games where leading back David Montgomery was either inactive or knocked out early with injury. It is possible he returns for this one, but the Raiders have held 5-of-7 opponents to 24 points or less. That probably would have been the number of points allowed in Chicago had it not been for a late pick-6 that produced the 30-12 final.
Still, 6-of-7 games with the Raiders have finished under 45 points this season. The Lions do better at home offensively, but when 27-17 still satisfies this under (and spread) in this game, we’ll take that for this one.
The under is now 8-1 on Monday nights this season. This is the night offense goes to die in the NFL in 2023. The only game where both teams scored more than 17 points was Browns-Steelers, and that even involved Pittsburgh returning 2 touchdowns on defense.
A defensive return touchdown might be the only way the Raiders break 21 points this season. But Jared Goff rarely throws picks at home for the Lions.
NFL Pick: Under 45 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook
Bears and Chargers Are the No. 14 Seeds in Their Conferences
There was an opportunity to flex this game and the NFL did not take it for some reason. So, in Week 8 we will see the marquee game of the week take place between 2-win teams that enter the week ranked 14th in the standings in their conferences.
The Chargers need to come through as an 8.5-point home favorite, but we think there is better value in taking the first-half spread (Chargers -4.5) as this team usually does better before halftime.
Sunday, October 29, 2023 – 08:20 PM EDT at SoFi Stadium
Chargers Disappeared at Halftime in Kansas City
The Chargers were playing very well in Kansas City on offense, hitting a pair of long plays against that defense that has played so well. It looked like the Chiefs might finally allow more than 21 points in a game this year when the Chargers had 17 points at halftime.
But the Chargers never scored again. Justin Herbert had a pass tipped at the line in the red zone, and that was unfortunately intercepted. Herbert later threw a 2nd pick, making it his first NFL game where he threw multiple interceptions and took 5 sacks.
The growing narrative around Herbert is that he does not elevate the Chargers enough and throws too many interceptions in big games. The problem is the nation is usually watching him in games against teams like Dallas, Kansas City, and Miami when his defense gets shredded, and he is forced to throw with the game on the line.
A team like Chicago is one of the weaker opponents the Chargers will have faced in the Brandon Staley era. In fact, the Chargers are rarely ever a favorite this big. The 8.5-point spread would be the 3rd largest of the Staley era, and the Chargers are 4-1-1 ATS when favored by at least 6 points.
The Chargers led by at least 7 points at halftime in 5-of-6 games they were favored by at least 6 points to win.
The Bears have not faced many quality offenses this year. The one time they definitely did, they were down 34-0 at halftime in Kansas City. The Chargers are clearly not on that level, but they are better than the team we’ve seen the last 2 weeks, which was stuck on 17 points against Dallas and Kansas City.
The Bears have had some fast starts lately, but they were down 12-6 at halftime to the Vikings at home a couple of weeks ago. They had to start rookie quarterback Tyson Bagent last week for an injured Justin Fields, and the Bears were wise to throw a lot of short passes and not ask him to do much or hold the ball too long. Hopefully, the Chargers will study the tape and see what’s going on here as it’s not like the Bears are going to morph into a prolific passing team with an undrafted rookie quarterback.
The Chargers are being left for dead at 2-4, but they have lost to some very good teams this year in the Dolphins, Cowboys, and Chiefs. They usually start games well as last week in Kansas City was the first time in 17 games that the Chargers weren’t within a field goal or better at halftime.
Look for the Chargers to start strong at home and for Herbert to take an early lead against one of the weakest pass defenses in the NFL. That doesn’t guarantee the Chargers won’t find a way to blow the game, but that’s why we’re choosing the first-half spread instead of the final score.
NFL Pick: Chargers -4.5 First Half Spread (-110) at Bet365
Buffalo’s Offensive Struggles
We know the Bills have suffered many high-profile injuries on the defensive front this season, but the offense has been struggling arguably more the last few games. Scoring, especially in the first 3 quarters, has been rough for Josh Allen and company.
The Bills are an 8.5-point home favorite with a total of 42.5 points. But we are focusing on Buffalo’s team total (over/under 27 points).
Thursday, October 26, 2023 – 08:15 PM EDT at Highmark Stadium
What’s Wrong with the Bills on Offense?
After destroying the Miami defense in a 48-20 win, the Bills have not looked right on offense:
- Buffalo was stuck on 7 points going into the 4th quarter against the Jaguars in London, though arriving so late in the week overseas while Jacksonville had been there all week may have played a factor.
- Buffalo was scoreless at home against the Giants going into the 4th quarter before Allen threw 2 touchdown passes in a 14-9 comeback win.
- After a lot of pressure on Allen, Buffalo was down 22-10 with half a quarter to play in New England before rallying for a pair of touchdowns, only to see the defense not hold the lead.
Allen is too good of a quarterback to be going into the 4th quarter with a combined 17 points over the last 3 games. The Bills have turned it over multiple times in each of the last 3 games, they are not running the ball consistently, and they are not getting enough out of the receivers behind Stefon Diggs.
Gabriel Davis has been held to 27 yards the last 2 games, and he does not have a catch longer than 40 yards this season. Rookie tight end Dalton Kincaid is 2nd on the team in catches (25) and 3rd in yards (193), but he hasn’t found the end zone yet and isn’t a go-to player for Allen yet.
Allen’s overall numbers this season are still very solid, but this offense needs to be more consistent and make up for some of the slack on defense with the injuries.
Tampa Bay’s Defensive Opportunity
Todd Bowles’ defense is having a strange season in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers are No. 6 in points allowed but No. 20 in yards as they cannot get off the field on 3rd down, ranked dead last.
But they still usually force field goals and stop drives short of touchdowns. They also blitz at the 3rd-highest rate (35.7%) and are getting below-average pressure out of it. But turnovers have saved this defense as only the Bills (14) and Jaguars (16) have more takeaways than Tampa Bay (13), which has produced multiple takeaways in 5-of-6 games this season.
The Buccaneers have also allowed 5-of-6 opponents to score under 21 points. Only the Eagles made it to 25 points, and that included a safety and a 16-yard field goal that was set up on a short field.
The Bills should win this game at home with a struggling Tampa offense coming in on a losing streak. But it is hard to see this being the night the Bills put it all together on offense and score over 27 points again. The Buccaneers can blitz and create turnovers, and we know Buffalo is prone to making mistakes. Take the Buffalo team under for your NFL picks.
NFL Pick: Bills Under 27 Points (-115) at Bet365
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