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November 18, 2018

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

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

Dallas Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper (19) runs a pass route during NFL football practice in Frisco, Texas, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018.

Week 8: Packers at Rams

Which side would you take in Packers at Rams? (Poll consensus year to date: 7-0)
Packers plus-9.5 — 62.2%
Rams minus-9.5 — 37.8%

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.

So much for sports books needing to protect against a pro-Raiders bias.

There was a lot of chatter about casinos getting flooded with bets on the Raiders on a weekly basis when the franchise announced its impending move to Las Vegas before last season. Maybe that’s still a long-term possibility once the relocation from Oakland is complete for the 2020 season, considering all the draft picks the team has amassed.

But it’s certainly not happening in the interim.

The Raiders (1-5 straight-up, 2-4 against the spread) continued their season-long fire sale this week by dealing top receiver Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys for a first-round draft pick. While it may have been a wise move for the future of the franchise, it will far from embolden current fans and bettors.

Effects were immediately seen in sports books as the Raiders raised to 1,000-to-1 at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook — behind only the Bills and Cardinals at 5,000-to-1 —in future odds to win the Super Bowl.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Raiders drew fewer tickets than their opponents in each of their final 10 games of the season. That’s mostly been the case so far anyway, as bookmakers have become accustomed to rooting against Oakland.

One of the biggest losses for the house this season came on Monday Night Football in Week 1 when the Raiders lost 33-13 to the Rams as 7-point home underdogs. Oakland went on to draw some money in midseason games against the Browns and Chargers — as a 2.5-point favorite in a 45-42 win and a 5-point underdog in a 26-10 loss, respectively — but those were the exceptions to the rule.

There’s no future-hometown betting from the heart when it comes to a team struggling as badly as the Raiders.

Check below for picks of every Week 8 game against the spread. The blog has gone 58-42-7 overall on the year after an 8-5-1 record last week. Picks are listed in rough order of confidence and separated in three confidence categories with attached records. Lines are the best currently available in Las Vegas on the chosen sides.

Plays (12-10-1)

Seattle Seahawks plus-3 at Detroit Lions This line should not be the standard minus-3 in favor of the home team, because these teams are not evenly matched. The Seahawks have given up 0.7 yards less per play on defense, which outweighs the 0.6 more yards per play the Lions have gained on offense. Seattle’s point differential is plus-26 to Detroit’s minus-1.

Oakland Raiders plus-3 vs. Indianapolis Colts Oftentimes, the hardest bet to make is the best bet to make. There’s undeniable value on the lowly Raiders considering this spread was Oakland minus-1.5 last week and even Indianapolis minus-1.5 a few days ago. Losing a top receiver, even when combined with No. 1 running back in Marshawn Lynch going down to injury, is not grounds for that much of a line move.

Leans (19-9-3)

Miami Dolphins plus-7.5 at Houston Texans Houston appears to have gotten a boost in its power rating because of its four-game winning streak, even though the run has been wholly unimpressive. Not only has Houston won the games by an average of less than a touchdown, but it’s also yet to beat a team with a winning record — meaning Miami might be its toughest competition.

Cleveland Browns plus-8.5 at Pittsburgh Steelers Buying low on Cleveland, which has seen its power rating dive back down toward the bottom of the league after two straight losses, though it belongs more in the mediocre range. The Browns have covered four straight against the Steelers, losing none of the games by more than four points, with largely identical personnel and staffs in place.

San Francisco 49ers pick’em at Arizona Cardinals Despite a 28-18 loss as 3-point favorites three weeks ago, San Francisco severely outplayed Arizona. The 49ers fell as a result of the Cardinals being fortunate to recover four of the game’s five fumbles. That’s highly unlikely to repeat.

Jacksonville Jaguars plus-3 vs. Philadelphia Eagles in London The look-ahead line on this game last week was a pick’em. Jacksonville wasn’t bad enough in a 20-7 loss to Houston to inspire a 3-point move — nor was Philadelphia impressive enough in a 21-17 loss to Carolina. Jacksonville’s offense has always been unreliable, and often goes from dormant to middling on a week’s notice.

Green Bay Packers plus-9.5 at Los Angeles Rams The Rams have been the most successful team in the league but they’ve secretly not been all that great on defense. Los Angeles ranks 18th in the NFL in giving up 5.7 yards per play. There should be enough openings for Aaron Rodgers to keep this close as the biggest underdog he’s been in his career.

Guesses (27-23-4)

Minnesota Vikings pick’em vs. New Orleans Saints The Vikings haven’t failed to cover since Week 3, looking back to their old ways under coach Mike Zimmer as they’ve performed consistently and limited mistakes. At 47-23-1 against the spread, Zimmer has been the most profitable coach to bet on in the NFL.

Baltimore Ravens minus-1.5 at Carolina Panthers Panthers have played a weak slate of opposing defenses — the average DVOA rank of their first six opponents is 22nd — and are still fortunate to be 4-2 considering every game has been close. The Ravens’ top-ranked defense is the lone one in the NFL that’s been consistently dominant every week.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers plus-5 at Cincinnati Bengals Hate to have missed the plus-6, as this line was bet down almost immediately, but the Bengals still feel a smidgen overvalued. They’ve given up a combined 1,032 yards over the last two weeks and now face another one of the NFL’s best offenses in the Buccaneers.

Denver Broncos plus-10 at Kansas City Chiefs Let’s not forget that statistically, Denver — not New England — gave Kansas City its toughest game of the year. The Broncos outgained the Chiefs by 0.7 yards per play in a 27-23 loss as 3.5-point underdogs four weeks ago. They’ve only had one truly terrible performance, a 34-16 loss to the Jets the week after the Chiefs’ game, and therefore might be slightly undervalued.

Buffalo Bills plus-14 vs. New England Patriots Refuse to lay two touchdowns on the road in the NFL, even in a situation as dire as this one. The Bills’ defense ranks inside the NFL’s top five in giving up only 5.1 yards per play, so it’s not too far-fetched to think they could slow the Patriots enough to slip within this massive spread.

Washington Redskins pick’em vs. New York Giants Despite cries to the contrary, the Giants’ offense isn’t the primary problem — it’s a defense that ranks 28th in the league by DVOA. It’s easily the worst defense the Redskins have encountered this year, which should help them get their offense on track.

Chicago Bears minus-7 vs. New York Jets Prefer to attempt to buy low on the Bears, which haven’t played poorly despite two straight losses straight-up and against the spread. At plus-36, Chicago still has the third-best point differential in the NFC and must feel pressure to keep pace with its better-than-expected division.

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

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