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December 14, 2017

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Vegas pick’em: NFL Week 8 winners against the spread

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Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) in action during an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins, Monday, Oct. 23, 2017, in Philadelphia.

Week 8: Texans at Seahawks

Game of the Week: Texans plus-5.5 at Seahawks (Poll consensus year to date: 5-2)
Seahawks minus-5.5 — 60.3%
Texans plus-5.5 — 39.7%

This poll is closed, see Full Results »

Note: This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Las Vegas sports books are feeling the effects of the Philadelphia Eagles’ five-game winning and four-game covering streak, including two straight in standalone primetime affairs.

The Eagles are now the hottest bet in the NFL to win the Super Bowl. They’re down to 7-to-1 at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, behind only the Patriots and Steelers.

Philadelphia looks like an interloper among that group, considering it opened at 60-to-1 in the futures market. The Eagles have progressively dropped from there, getting down to 8-to-1 after taking down Carolina on the road 28-23 as 3-point underdogs on Thursday Night Football two weeks ago.

They fell another peg after controlling Washington 34-24 as 5-point favorites on Monday Night Football earlier this week. This means, of course, that Philadelphia is the current favorite to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl sitting at 3-to-1 odds.

It’s also the biggest favorite on the board this week, laying 13 points to San Francisco in a game on the Sunday morning slate.

Check below to find Talking Points’ pick on the game along with all the others in Week 8. The blog had its worst week of the year, going 5-9-1 in Week 7, to bring the season total to 58-46-2. Picks are separated in three confidence categories, with the lines the best available on the chosen side at the time of publication.

Plays (13-8)

Washington Redskins plus-2.5 vs. Dallas Cowboys There was a 3.5-point swing on this line following the results of Week 7, which saw the Cowboys wallop the 49ers 40-10 as 6.5-point favorites and the Redskins lose to the Eagles 34-24 as 5-point underdogs. The movement is asinine considering almost any metric paints these teams as even, meaning the home team should never take points.

Baltimore Ravens minus-3 vs. Miami Dolphins With a minus-20 point differential against one of the weakest schedules in the league so far, Miami is one of the worst teams in NFL history to start 4-2. Baltimore’s offense is just as bad, but a defense that ranks fifth in the NFL by DVOA gives it some hope.

Leans (15-17-1)

Seattle Seahawks minus-4.5 vs. Houston Texans As thrilling as Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson has proven in a 3-2 straight-up, 4-1 against the spread start to his career, he’s only faced one above-average pass defense. That was Cincinnati, which limited Watson to 5.2 yards per pass attempt in a 13-9 Texans’ win as 6-point underdogs, and Seattle is even better in the secondary.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers minus-1.5 vs. Carolina Panthers If the Buccaneers can just moderately improve a defense ranked last in the league by DVOA, they’ve got the offense to make a run to turn into the team many expected at the beginning of the year. Quarterback Jameis Winston has improved his numbers across the board from last year’s semi-breakout season.

Indianapolis Colts plus-10.5 at Cincinnati Bengals Bengals’ offense, which is gaining only 4.8 yards per play, is not reliable enough to give a big number on the point spread. Indianapolis was horrific in a 27-0 loss to Jacksonville as 3-point favorites last week, but Cincinnati’s defense is a slight step down in competition.

Buffalo Bills minus-2.5 vs. Oakland Raiders Feels awfully presumptuous to consider the Raiders’ cleared of their issues after a 31-30 victory over the Chiefs as 3-point underdogs, but that appears to be bettors’ stance after action chopped a half-point off of this line. Traveling nearly 3,000 miles for a morning kickoff against a stingy defense is a challenge that merits more than a field goal on the point spread.

Los Angeles Chargers plus-7.5 at New England Patriots Grab the half-point hook while it’s still available because this looks like a plus-matchup for the Chargers. Philip Rivers has come alive in the last three weeks with six touchdown passes to one interception, and should continue against a Patriots’ defense allowing 8.1 yards per pass attempt.

Guesses (30-21-1)

Denver Broncos plus-7 at Kansas City Chiefs Chiefs have a major offensive edge, gaining 6.5 yards per play to the Broncos’ 5, but no more significant than Denver’s advantage on defense. The Broncos have given up 4.5 yards per play on the season to the Chiefs’ 6.1.

San Francisco 49ers plus-13 at Philadelphia Eagles Laying two touchdowns is almost never advisable in the NFL no matter how much of a mismatch a game appears. The Eagles were only 10.5-point favorites in last week’s look-ahead Week 8 lines.

Cleveland Browns plus-9.5 vs. Minnesota Vikings in London As hard as it is to back the winless Browns, this line feels a point or two inflated — especially with signs of life shown from the Cleveland defense. The Browns are up to ninth in the NFL in giving up 5 yards per play.

New Orleans Saints minus-9 vs. Chicago Bears As long as it’s less than double digits, prefer to lay the number with the surging Saints, which have won and covered four in a row. The Bears have benefited from extreme fumble luck in each of their three upset victories.

Detroit Lions plus-3 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Expecting an inspired effort from the rested Lions in an effort to snap a skid that’s seen them lose three of four. And with an inspired effort, quarterback Matthew Stafford is dangerous enough to put up points on Pittsburgh’s defense and defensive end Ezekiel Ansah can cause enough havoc to limit Pittsburgh’s offense.

Atlanta Falcons minus-4 at New York Jets Falcons bungled scoring opportunities, but otherwise weren’t as bad as the final score indicated in last week’s 23-7 loss to the Patriots as 3-point favorites. Their troubles in finding the end zone should be solved against a mediocre Jets defense.

Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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