NFL Week 8 picks, predictions & best bets from NFL expert Jared Smith: Pats present problems for Jets

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) on the line of scrimmage against the Tennessee Titans in the second half at Gillette Stadium.

NFL spooky season has arrived. Before we dive into this week’s analysis, I owe you all a mea culpa. Last week was our first winless column of the season. Hopefully it will be our last, but I’ve never been one to hide from bad results as they are unavoidable in my line of work and most always present an opportunity to learn and grow.

I consistently get asked about how I handle losing streaks. I used to get very emotional and I still do to an extent, but the longer I’ve been doing this the more I’ve taught myself how to detach, recharge, and breathe. Another thing I’ve learned, the best time to start tailing a good capper is right after a lengthy losing streak. So with that, onward we go.

As per usual, our oddsmaker pal Casey Degnon from Westgate offers his expertise as we highlight some of the most impactful injuries, trends and key matchups to watch this week. Please check my portfolio at the bottom for the official column plays.

Week 8 market update: Which games have seen movement, possible injuries to monitor

Giants at Seahawks: Can Big Blue’s magic continue in Seattle?

Another week, another spot for the Giants to prove the market wrong. New York is 5-0 straight up as an underdog this season, playing way over their skis in terms of what the numbers are saying. So no surprise the smart money is fading them again this week.

“We took some sharp money on Seattle at -2.5 pushing us to -3,” added Degnon. “A lot of metrics don’t like the Giants so it makes sense that we see money against them almost every week.”

I feel like a broken record, but we bet numbers not teams around here, and things just don’t add up for the Giants, who are just 24th in EPA/play on defense and are very limited on offense outside of RB Saquon Barkley. They will also be without 2 starters on the offensive line (RT Evan Neal, LG Ben Bredeson) and their 3rd leading receiver (TE Daniel Bellinger) who are all out with injury.

That’s good news for the Seahawks defense which is trending up under first-year DC Clint Hurtt. Hurtt’s improved play-calling Seattle is a big reason why 2nd in EPA/play over the last 2 weeks with impressive wins over Kyler Murray and Justin Herbert, two vastly different styles of quarterback.

The secondary has also shown massive improvement. Rookie CB Coby Bryant has allowed just 8 catches on 13 targets for 36 yards the last 2 game while starting CB Tariq Woolen and S Ryan Neal are grading out very well in college.

I don’t see Daniel Jones, who is 34th out of 36 qualifiers in air yards, having a big day against this secondary. Geno Smith also deserves some love here. The former Giant backup leads the NFL in CPOE (completion percentage over expectation) and seems very much at home in this offense. He could be without WR DK Metcalf this week who missed practice time with a knee injury. RB Kenneth Walker could be in for another big workload as he improves his positioning for Offensive Rookie of the Year.

49ers at Rams: Will San Francisco continue to dominate?

The market flipped on this game after the Niners made it through against the Chiefs relatively healthy, at least physically. I’m curious to see how the San Francisco defense responds to getting gashed by Patrick Mahomes, facing a QB this week who they have had a ton of recent success against.

The Rams were forced to play the Niners in Week 4 with a third string center which led to Matthew Stafford getting sacked 7 times in a 24-9 loss. Starting C Brian Allen returns this week, but LT Joe Noteboom who played in the last matchup won’t suit up here. Overall it’s fair to say LA is healthier on defense this time around with a few pieces back in the secondary including starting CB David Long.

“I would say the public is definitely more interested in San Fran as opposed to LA up to this point in the week,” added Degnon.

That makes sense considering the narratives surrounding both teams. The Niners may have lost to the Chiefs but still made a splash in the market trading for Cristian McCaffrey. Meanwhile the Rams have been mired in a Super Bowl hangover and didn’t play last week.

For now, I still believe in this San Francisco team over the long haul this season. That being said, I decided against betting them straight up this week. Instead I added to my futures position on the Niners to win the NFC West.

We’ll have picks and predictions for EVERY NFL game this season!

Talking Totals: Unders continue to hit at alarming rate

The Under is hitting at almost 60% this season (64-44-0) while divisional games are staying under at a 71.4% rate (25-10). That’s noteworthy since we have 5 divisional games this week.

Patriots at Jets (40.5)

Panthers at Falcons (41.5)

Titans at Texans (40.5)

49ers at Rams (42.5)

Bengals at Browns (47)

Based on the trend, if you bet all 5 of these, it’s fair to expect at least 3 wins, but I would not be surprised if the market eventually caught up. Especially if you consider 4 of the 5 games are below the key number of 44, which is the most landed on total in the NFL over the last 2 seasons.

“At some point you would think a regression is coming, just not sure when,” added Degnon. “Feels like I’ve been saying that for the last couple weeks though.”

I’m passing on the totals board this week but we will revisit this trend next week and reevaluate the market.

Teaser Time: Rankings the best home dogs

Home divisional underdogs are 8-3 ATS this season, which bodes well for the Texans, Rams, Jets, and Browns this week. Overall home dogs are 20-15 ATS, and we have several to choose from this week using our traditional teaser strategy of moving short underdogs through both key numbers (3 and 7). Please check the portfolio at the bottom to find out which two I chose.

Texans +2.5 to +8.5 vs Titans

This one is all about the injury report, most notably QB Ryan Tannehill (ankle) who was limited in practice this week. Derrick Henry has absolutely owned this Texans defense with 673 rushing yards and 7 TDs in the last 3 meetings. We’ll see what Lovie Smith comes up with this week to try and slow down King Henry.

Saints +1.5 to +7.5 vs Raiders

New Orleans is off the mini-bye and hopefully will be getting healthier. The secondary is of particular concern with starting CBs Marshon Lattimore and Paulson Adebo both missing last Thursday’s loss in Arizona. Both starting WRs Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry also missed practice this week. Despite a pair of quick pick 6’s last week, I still trust Andy Dalton to operate this offense effectively, and I like the changeup Taysom Hill brings in the red zone. I definitely see this game staying close.

Broncos +2.5 to +8.5 vs Jaguars

This one technically isn’t a home dog, but Wembley Stadium should be a favorable environment for Russell Wilson to operate, as long as his hamstring fully cooperates. Last week I learned the ugly truth about this Jacksonville team, which is that they have the talent to compete with anyone, but don’t have enough polish to close games out. I don’t see the Jags stretching their legs (see what I did there) against this stout Broncos defense, especially after trading away James Robinson this week and thinning out their depth chart in the backfield.

Week 8 Best Bet: Patriots -1.5 (-110)

Bill Belichick has won 12 straight over his former employer and 32 of the last 38 dating back to 2003. Sure a lot of those games were with Tom Brady under center, but the last 4 weren’t, including a 79-19 scoring margin in the 2 meetings last season with Mac Jones starting.

Jones will get the nod again this week despite the emergence of Bailey Zappe. Don’t get me wrong I love Zappe Hour more than anyone, but Jones is the guy in New England, and I think he will play much better this week.

I’m also not overreacting to the Bears beatdown on MNF. Not only was Chicago rested off the mini-bye but they also went against tendency on offense, utilizing more QB rollouts and motion with Justin Fields, which helped set up the running game in the 2nd half.

New England will be much more buttoned up on defense this week against a less mobile QB in Zach Wilson and more predictable Jets offense that will be missing 2 key pieces in the run game.

Rookie star RB Breece Hall is out for the year with a torn ACL and starting RT Alijah Vera-Tucker is also done for the season with a triceps injury. They did trade for Jaguars RB Brian Robinson, but WR Corey Davis left Sunday’s win with a knee injury and is questionable this week.

“I like the injury fade angle,” added Degnon. “Losing Hall and Tucker for the year is a tough blow for them. It’s Pats or pass for me here.”

Stopping the run has been a problem for the Patriots defense all season allowing almost 50% of rushing plays to be graded successful, but because of the injuries they’re catching the Jets at the perfect time.

On the other side of the ball, the Jets defense has looked great thanks to Sauce Gardner’s elite play in the secondary, but I’m not sure that matters much in this particular matchup since I don’t think the Patriots will try to force the ball towards Gardner in 1-on-1 matchups. They would much rather establish the run and take what the defense gives them in the passing game.

New England has some of the most conservative splits of any team in the NFL with the 6th fewest passing attempts (28.7) and 8th most rushing attempts (28.1) this season. The Jets success rate on defense drops from 5th against the pass to 29th against the run.

Week 8 portfolio: 

Patriots -1.5 -110 (risk 2.2u at BetMGM)

Seahawks -3 -110 (risk 1.65u at Superbook)

6-point teaser: Saints +7.5, Broncos +8.5 (risk 1.8u at William Hill)

NFL 2022 best bets: 4-3, +0.21u (+1.7% ROI)


Best Bet




Bucs/Cowboys u51 -110




49ers -8.5 -108




Commanders +7 -110




Cardinals +1.5 -110




Bucs -8 -110




Colts -1.5 -110




Jaguars -3 -110




Patriots -1.5 -110

NFL 2022 column: 12-14-0, -6.84u (-16.7% ROI)


























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