NFL odds Week 8: Betting edges on Bears-Cowboys, Giants-Seahawks and extra

This week’s NFL slate options some nice matchups, together with the Bears-Cowboys sport on FOX. Whereas not all of those video games characteristic Tremendous Bowl contenders, they current worth from a betting perspective.

I ran my fashions to provide you my favourite betting edges and predictions for Week 8 of the season. My objective for this weekly column is at all times to supply tidbits you didn’t know earlier than studying. 

So, let’s leap into my favourite edges of the week, with odds courtesy of FOX Wager.

Impressed with Dak Prescott’s return to Cowboys lineup?

Impressed with Dak Prescott's return to Cowboys lineup?

David Helman discusses the return of Dak Prescott to the Dallas Cowboys beginning lineup.

Bears at Cowboys (1 p.m. ET Sunday, FOX and FOX Sports activities App)

General, Dak Prescott’s return to the NFL final week was successful.  

At first, the group gained.   

Second, there naturally was some rust to shake off, and Prescott carried out significantly better within the second half: 

  • First half: -0.19 EPA/att, 40% success, 7.4 YPA, 64% completions, 14.2 air yards/att
  • Second half: +0.63 EPA/att, 83% success, 9.4 YPA, 91% completions, 6.4 air yards/att

Lastly, the day might have been even higher if Dak was higher on third downs: 

  • Third downs: -1.10 EPA/att, 25% success, 25% conversion fee, two sacks taken

However the excellent news was, vs. the horrible Lions protection, the Cowboys have been compelled into simply 9 third downs on the day. 4 of them have been passes (one conversion), and 5 have been runs (40% conversions). 

Now that Dak’s rust is shaken off, the Cowboys host the Bears, who’re off a brief week. 

The excellent news for the Cowboys is that they’ve performed the sixth-toughest schedule of run defenses and now get to tackle the Twenty fourth-ranked Bears run protection. That ought to give Dak Prescott loads of assist. 

But when that is such a very good matchup for the Cowboys, why didn’t they dominate a fair worse Thirty first-ranked Lions run protection final week? 

As Dallas eased Dak in, this speeding assault was problematic within the first half of the sport towards the Lions. However within the second half, Dallas averaged +0.32 EPA/rush, 59% success, and 4.6 YPC. 

I’m intrigued by the matchup with the Cowboys protection vs. the Bears offense. However I additionally recall that the very best outcomes for the Bears this 12 months have come towards the most effective defenses. 

  • Week 1: outright win vs. the No. 7 San Francisco protection
  • Week 7: outright win vs. the No. 9 New England protection

Now they face the second-best protection within the Cowboys. To achieve this sport, they might want to run the soccer. 

The Cowboys run protection ranks No. 12 however is simply twenty second in EPA/att and has performed the fifth-easiest schedule of opposing run offenses. Dallas has performed three bottom-10 run offenses (LAR, WAS, TB) and No. 20 Bengals. The Bears rank higher than all of them.   

However Chicago simply misplaced their beginning middle towards the Patriots. And I don’t know in the event that they’ll have sufficient success on the bottom towards the Cowboys on this one. And if that occurs, they’ll need to drop again to move extra. 

Moreover, their heavy reliance on Justin Fields to run with the ball will completely not catch the Cowboys without warning because it did the Patriots on Monday evening. 

And once they do drop again to move, will probably be very problematic.   

The Patriots ranked above common in stress fee on early downs within the first three quarters (32%) however will not be near the top-ranked Cowboys move rush (42% stress fee). 

Fields is being pressured on 50% of his dropbacks (the best fee within the NFL) however has performed an insanely troublesome schedule of opposing move rushes. 

There’s a purpose Fields has been pressured a ton. A few of it’s on the road, a few of it’s on him, however a few of it’s completely on the defenses confronted. 

It will not be straightforward to beat when Fields will get pressured by the Cowboys. Quarterbacks acquire simply 3.9 YPA and full simply 39% of passes when the Cowboys stress them, and have recorded 28 sacks. 

If the Bears misplaced towards the Patriots final sport, this may have been an ideal spot to guess on Chicago this week. I’m passing however leaning in the direction of Chicago regardless of being concerned in regards to the sport script and the potential for Dallas to ship a well-rounded effort after Dak shook off final week.  

Raiders at Saints (1 p.m. ET Sunday, CBS)

One of many season’s most under-discussed and underrated tales is the effectivity of this Raiders offense.  

The one group within the NFL changing early downs into first downs at a better fee than the Raiders is the Chiefs. 

On the 12 months, the Raiders are changing 32% of their early-down performs into a brand new set of downs, second-best within the NFL. 

Have a look at what number of factors groups scored vs. the Broncos: 

  • 32 factors – Raiders
  • 19 factors – Chargers
  • 17 factors – Seahawks
  • 16 factors – Jets
  • 12 factors – Colts
  • 10 factors – 49ers
  • 9 factors – Texans

Now the Raiders get to tackle the Saints protection, and there is probably not a extra disappointing protection year-over-year.   

In 2021, the Saints had the No. 1 protection on early downs, permitting a primary right down to be gained simply 21% of the time.   

This 12 months they’re struggling massively, and it begins up entrance. 

They’re recording the bottom stress fee of any protection on early downs within the first three quarters. 

Simply 17% on the 12 months. 

The opposite a part of their drawback?   

They permit a ton of speeding effectivity as a result of their line is getting moved off the ball too simply. 

On the season, they rank Thirty first in opponent yards earlier than contact per rush, permitting over two yards earlier than contact. Solely the Giants run protection is worse.   

During the last three weeks, the Saints are permitting the second-most EPA/rush and the secondmost yards earlier than contact to opposing operating backs.

That’s a scary proposition when dealing with Josh Jacobs. 

As a result of Jacobs is main the Raiders offense to the most effective rating within the NFL in EPA/carry, they usually rank seventh in yards earlier than contact per rush. And over the past three weeks, the Raiders rank first in EPA/carry and second in yards earlier than contact per rush. 

With the Raiders seemingly to have the ability to run effectively, it would arrange Derek Carr within the passing sport. And we all know Carr is delicate to stress, so the truth that the Saints rank useless final in stress fee is big for the upside of the Raiders passing assault. 

On the opposite aspect of the ball, the Saints offense ought to be wanting ahead to this matchup vs. the Raiders protection. 

The Raiders protection would be the best confronted by the Saints since Week 1. 

The Raiders are common vs. the run however haven’t performed a single above-average speeding offense. 

The Saints rank second in speeding effectivity regardless of not having Alvin Kamara for 2 of the primary 4 video games this season. He returned in Week 5, and since then, he’s totaled 251 yards in three video games, and the Saints offense is averaging 33 factors per sport. 

Not solely is he a distinction maker on the bottom, however he’s added 172 yards by means of the air.   

And the Raiders rank because the Twenty fifth-best move protection towards RB targets. 

In addition they rank thirty second in pink zone effectivity. They not solely permit pink zone touchdowns on the highest fee per pink zone drive, however additionally they permit 39% of drives to succeed in the pink zone, which is thirtieth within the NFL. And when opponents are within the pink zone, the Raiders rank within the backside 10 in each EPA/play and success fee.   

Many journeys and horrible pink zone protection is a large drawback vs. any opponent, notably the Saints. 

That’s as a result of the Saints are one of many NFL’s greatest red-zone offenses. They merely have a ton of performs at their disposal. Primarily due to their personnel. They’ve the Swiss military knife of Taysom Hill. They’ve Alvin Kamara, who can run and catch the ball. And so they have a myriad of TEs and receivers that you could be not overly respect however might be schemed open. And that’s why the Saints rank third in EPA per play contained in the pink zone and sixth in pink zone TD fee. 

PICK: Over 49.5 factors scored by each groups mixed at FOX Wager

Dolphins at Lions (1 p.m. ET Sunday, CBS)

Final week we mentioned how the Dolphins offense was extra environment friendly than given credit score, on account of the brutal schedule of defenses they confronted and the truth that backup QBs performed half of their video games on the season, and, even worse, backups of backups. 

The Dolphins sport was nearer than anticipated, largely on account of the offense turtling up within the second half and enjoying ultra-conservative in an effort to maintain Tua wholesome in a primetime sport as soon as the sport was gained. 

Within the first half, the Dolphins had 5 drives and didn’t punt as soon as.  These first 5 drives, that they had the next move charges: 

  • 1st downs:  53% move
  • Early downs: 64% move

After they handed the ball, they have been excellent. 

  • 1st downs: +0.33 EPA/att, 10.0 YPA
  • Early downs: +0.22 EPA/att, 9.0 YPA

However within the second half, enjoying with a lead, they massively modified course and basically solely handed on third down once they completely wanted to: 

  • 1st downs:  30% move
  • Early downs: 39% move

And that’s although these performs weren’t environment friendly in any respect.   

First down runs averaged -0.28 EPA/att and a pair of.3 YPC.  All early down runs averaged -0.22 EPA/rush and three.3 YPC. 

What was an excellent signal, nonetheless, was that Tua got here out the gates enjoying rather well.  Most quarterbacks off multi-week layoffs need to shake off early rust.  Tua led three-straight scoring drives. 

Now, every week after his first begin, enjoying in a non-Nationwide TV 1 p.m. kickoff, Tua lastly will get to face a nasty protection. 

His first three begins of the season, Tua performed nothing however top-10 defenses: Buffalo, Baltimore and New England.  Final week was a sport towards No. 14 Pittsburgh, along with his former coach calling the protection towards him. 

Tua by no means performed a mean protection, and he by no means performed a below-average protection… till now. 

The Lions rank No. 31 defensively and are No. 31 vs. the move and No. 29 vs. the run. 

Detroit employs a protection scheme akin to what Tua confronted rather a lot in follow from the Dolphins – a blitz-heavy scheme (fifth highest) that runs a ton of man protection (second highest). 

This could assist Tua a ton. 

Moreover, Tua has been nice towards these schemes.   

In opposition to man protection, Tua averages +0.25 EPA/att and eight.3 YPA.  These rank sixth and eighth within the NFL.   

Most groups haven’t been ballsy sufficient to make use of man protection towards the velocity of this WR corps, with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.   

In Weeks 1 and a pair of, the Patriots and Ravens used it on a mixed 24 dropbacks. 

Tua went 18-of-21, 85% completions for 11.2 YPA, 4 TDs and 0 INTs whereas averaging +0.80 EPA/att and 71% success. 

After that, groups didn’t play it towards the Dolphins fairly often. 

However the Lions?  

They tried twice to play a zone-heavy scheme – as soon as vs. Carson Wentz and as soon as vs. Geno Smith. 

Wentz had one among his greatest days as a professional in years: 337 yards, 7.3 YPA, 3 TD, 1 INT, 65% completions.

Smith threw for 320 yards on simply 30 makes an attempt whereas averaging 10.7 YPA, 2 TD, 0 INT in his second-best output of the season. 

It’s clear the Lions are in a pickle.  After they attempt to use zone, they aren’t nice, however they will’t use an excessive amount of man vs. Tua or these receivers will eat them alive. 

We additionally ought to point out Mike McDaniel was the offensive coordinator for the 49ers towards this Aaron Glenn Lions protection in Week 1 of 2021.  The 49ers led 31-10 at halftime and the Lions clawed again, as they at all times do, to a closing rating of 41-33. 

This seems like a great spot for the Dolphins offense.  And with the way in which the Lions offense pushes issues, a backdoor will likely be open for this sport to recover from the full, however I don’t see sufficient worth to play the total sport over at 51 factors. 

Giants at Seahawks (4:25 p.m. ET Sunday, FOX and FOX Sports activities App)

Final week I warned in regards to the Giants down in Jacksonville.  It appeared just like the PERFECT spot to take the Jaguars from a purchase low, promote excessive perspective.  Made a ton of sense. 

However the MATCHUP was horrible for the Jaguars. 

And except you’re digging deep into the metrics, you wouldn’t have seen it. 

Trevor Lawrence was the fourth most delicate QB to stress and the Giants have been getting stress on the fourth-highest fee. 

Geno Smith however? 

He laughs at your stress.   

On all downs vs. your stress, Geno ranks: 

  • Second in completion share
  • Fifth in success fee
  • Fifth in YPA
  • Sixth in EPA/att

How do the Giants get stress?   

They blitz.   

And I’ve obtained a secret in regards to the Giants protection. 

They really aren’t an environment friendly stress group. 

All downs, all sport, have a look at the Giants stress charges: 

  • No blitz stress fee: 26% (No.25)
  • Blitzing stress fee: 38% (No.23)
  • Blitz fee: 43% (No.1)

That’s proper – the Giants are a BOTTOM-10 stress group whether or not they blitz or don’t blitz.   

BUT, as a result of they blitz on 43% of quarterback dropbacks and the NFL common is simply 25%, and since stress fee for each group is greater when blitzing than when not blitzing, the Giants total stress fee per dropback is 31% which is twenty first within the NFL. 

The Giants play the NFL’s highest fee of man protection, and it’s far more than even the second-highest group. 

And Geno is the man-coverage killer. 

He has the most effective splits within the NFL when groups play man towards him: 

  • Geno vs. man: +0.62 EPA/att, 51% success, 10.4 YPA
  • Geno vs. zone: -0.03 EPA/att, 49% success, 7.3 YPA

Geno vs. Wink would be the largest story of this sport, however on that aspect of the ball, it’s additionally going to be the Seahawks run sport vs. the Giants horrible run protection. 

After enjoying three league-average defenses, the Seahawks get the No. 30 Giants protection which additionally ranks bottom-5 vs. the run. 

And that’s the place the Seahawks speeding assault can take benefit. 

The Giants run protection is permitting an insane 2.5 yards earlier than contact on early down RB runs. 

Actually, it’s the NFL’s worst fee for any group since 2015. 

Final week the Giants performed the Jaguars. Earlier than the sport, the Jaguars RBs have been averaging 1.6 yards earlier than contact per early down rush, which ranked No.11 within the NFL. 

In opposition to the Giants, they gained an insane 5.6 yards earlier than contact per early down rush.   

Now, they need to go up towards the fourth-best RB corps of the Seahawks. 

Seattle ranks fourth in yards earlier than contact for RBs on early-down runs and fourth in EPA on these runs. 

The perfect speeding assault the Giants can have confronted this season. 

PICK: Seahawks (-3 at FOX Wager) to win by greater than 3 factors

Warren Sharp is an NFL analyst for FOX Sports activities. He’s the founding father of Sharp Soccer Evaluation and has labored as a marketing consultant for league franchises whereas additionally beforehand contributing to ESPN and The Ringer, amongst different retailers. He studied engineering earlier than utilizing his statistical acumen to create predictive soccer fashions. You possibly can comply with Warren on Twitter at @SharpFootball.

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