Week 8 NFL Best Bets: Sell High On Pair Of AFC Teams Against The Spread

Written By Eli Hershkovich on October 31, 2021
Week 8 NFL Best Bets

Another week, another round of public bettors cashing in at sportsbooks around the country. Favorites are 18-14 against the spread (56.2%) over the last three weeks, which also helps teaser and moneyline parlay positions. Will we see it again among Week 8 NFL best bets?

“Those are the questions that start coming up when you have three straight losing weeks,” BetMGM trader Christian Cipollini told TheLines podcast, discussing whether the book will inflate favorites in effort to attract more underdog ATS bets. “We’re gonna kind of stick to where we’re at. Hopefully, water usually finds its level, and these will come back. We’ve had a few weeks in a row where the favorites have kind of just run away with these games.”

That stance shouldn’t drive a bettor towards wagering on the largest spreads, but it should impact one’s perception of market overreactions. For instance, the Broncos opened as 6.5-point underdogs at the Browns and closed +1.5, allowing Cleveland backers to jump in under a key number.

Without further ado, let’s break down my Week 8 NFL best bets. My plays are 30-15 (+11.88 units) thus far, and we’re only going downhill from here.

Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts

Here we go again. The Titans are coming off consecutive wins over the Bills and Chiefs — two teams that the betting market is high on. Whether or not you believe Kansas City is a Super Bowl contender, its sides continue to attract plenty of interest.

The look-ahead line for this matchup pegged the Colts as 2.5-point home favorites, so bettors have shifted towards Tennessee after Ryan Tannehill’s team dominated Patrick Mahomes & Co. in yards per pass attempt (9.2 to 4.2) in Week 7.

In their first meeting on Sept. 26, Mike Vrabel’s team outgained Indianapolis in yards per play (5.7 to 4.6) despite losing the turnover battle (3-0). But keep in mind, Carson Wentz’s ankle injuries were more concerning at the time, limiting the Colts’ offensive attack in the process. Frank Reich’s playbook has expanded ever since Wentz’s health began improving.

There’s no coincidence Indianapolis generated the ninth-fewest expected points added (EPA) per play in its first three games versus the fifth-most over its last four matchups. EPA is calculated by expected points scored based on the down, distance, and field position at the start of a play — juxtaposed with the play’s conclusion.

Toss out the Colts’ win over the 49ers in the monsoon, and Reich’s offense sits No. 2 in that department — behind only the Buccaneers.

Why Will The Colts Expose The Titans?

Vrabel’s defense is allowing the league’s eighth-most EPA per carry while also yielding the fourth-highest rushing success rate (SR). The latter metric exhibits whether a play is successful if a team gains:

  • 50 percent of the yards needed to move the chains on first down
  • 70 percent of yards to gain on second down
  • 100 percent of yards to gain on third or fourth down

With Wentz operating Reich’s RPO system to its full potential, expect Jonathan Taylor to continue to provide a positive game script with All-Pro left guard Quenton Nelson back in the lineup.

Plus, Matt Eberflus’ defense ranks No. 1 in EPA per carry and No. 2 in rushing SR, respectively. Although Titans tailback Derrick Henry found success in Week 3, Colts defensive end Kwity Paye missed the game with a hamstring injury. Paye slots in as the fifth-rated run defender among defensive linemen (via Pro Football Focus).

Digging into the futures market, the Titans have the consensus ninth-lowest Super Bowl odds. They’re overvalued as a result, and I’ll be on the home underdog.

Eli’s Week 8 NFL Best Bets: Colts ML (DraftKings — placed at 5pm ET on Monday, Oct. 25; bet up to Indy -2)
Best Available Odds: Colts

Los Angeles Rams @ Houston Texans

This matchup is covered in my NFL Week 8 underdogs piece.

Eli’s Week 8 NFL Best Bets: Texans +14.5 (PointsBet — placed at 3pm ET on Wednesday, Oct. 27; bet down to +14)

Best Available Line: Texans

New England Patriots at Los Angeles Chargers

After the Patriots‘ blowout win over the Jets, the market bumped the look-ahead line down of Chargers -6 to -5.5.

Despite Brandon Staley’s team coming off a bye week, this matchup boils down to Los Angeles’ defense ranking dead-last in both EPA per carry and rushing SR.

On the other side, Josh McDaniels’ bunch is above-average in both categories this season, and it even ranks No. 1 in EPA per carry since reinserting tackles Isaiah Wynn and Mike Onwenu from the COVID-19 list in Week 6. Right guard Shaq Mason (abdomen) left midway through Jets game after making his brief return to the lineup, but that move was reportedly because of precaution.

Similar to New England’s blueprint in its overtime loss to Dallas, look for running back Damien Harris & Co. to help grind clock and keep Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert on the sidelines. Staley’s offense is racking up the fifth-highest pace in neutral situations (per Football Outsiders), and Bill Belichick will be game planning around avoiding a shootout.

Moreover, the Chargers have accumulated the NFL’s fifth-highest passing rate, which will be a test for the Patriots’ secondary after losing starting nickel back Jonathan Jones (season-ending shoulder surgery). Safety Devin McCourty (abdomen) also left midway through the Week 7 matchup, and he’s considered day-to-day.

Nevertheless, with rookie signal caller Mac Jones appearing more comfortable in McDaniels’ system, there’s value with New England ATS above a field goal.

Eli’s Week 8 NFL Best Bets: Patriots +5.5 (PointsBet — placed at 5pm ET on Monday, Oct. 25; bet down to +4)
Best Available Line: Patriots

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Eli Hershkovich

Eli Hershkovich is a lead sports betting writer with TheLines and Catena Media, formerly with Audacy and The Action Network. His goal is to provide you with data and information to lead you to winning bets. Eli is an avid college basketball gambler — among many other sports — and still hasn't forgiven Virginia for ruining his 2018-2019 Texas Tech futures.

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