With just one upset last week, oddsmakers are hoping normal business has resumed in the NFL. That one upset came in the form of a Tennessee victory over Buffalo that didn’t really surprise anybody – other than the offensive output that smashed the over.
But what oddsmakers want, they might not get. Normal business could well take a smack to the chops this week, as no fewer than seven games feature pointspreads under three. This is going to be a very interesting week for football bettors.
New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys
In one of this weekend’s most anticipated encounters, the New York Giants (5-2, 2-1 road) head to Cowboys Stadium to take on a Dallas (3-3, 1-1 home) side that took an upset victory in New York to open the season.
The Giants arrive in Texas with a four-game winning streak and a burden of expectation. Despite leading the NFC East comfortably, the Giants have yet to hit form and are currently 1-2 within the division, a record that needs to improve to prevent the Cowboys, Eagles, and Redskins keeping it close.
Dallas has been a hotchpotch of solid play and big mistakes. The number seven passing offense in the league is hindered by an inability to score touchdowns (eight) and an over ability to throw interceptions (nine). A loss for the Cowboys on Sunday could really make any hopes of making the postseason fade.
Odds: The Cowboys opened as two-point favorites but the line has shifted in favor of the Giants (33). The over under is 48.
Take: Dallas – Dallas has not won two straight games against the Giants since 2007 and hasn’t beaten their division rivals at Cowboys Stadium since it opened in 2009. Everything points in favor of the Giants. So why the Cowboys? The way this season has gone, an upset here wouldn’t feel like that much of an upset. They’ve had both awful and impressive performances this year – it’s a crapshoot as to which you’ll get – and have shown they have the ability to beat the Giants. What’s more, the Giants have yet to really roll, and looked very beatable against Washington last week. Take the total to go under.
Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets
The Jets stink. Let’s get that out of the way before we go any further. The green side of New York (3-4, 2-2 home) is an absolute car wreck of a football team, something that’s not all that surprising.
What is surprising is that Miami (3-3, 1-2 road) does not stink. Ahead of the season, few positive words were written about the Dolphins, but a 3-3 record represents an overachiever. Consider this then: two overtime losses stand between Miami and a 5-1 record!
The Dolphins head to MetLife Stadium with a two-game winning streak and an extra week of rest. The Jets return home having lost three of four games and looking very much like a lost side. Sure, injuries have taken a toll, but this is the worst Jets team to take the field in years. And that’s saying something.
Odds: Despite the team’s inadequacies, the Jets will be favorites come kickoff. That being said, an opening three-point advantage has fallen to just one point, a sign that nobody has faith in this side. The over/under is 38.
Take: Miami – Kings of the close game, expect the Dolphins to get the better of what is almost certain to be an ugly game. Don’t be surprised if the Jets do something stupid and hand the Fins the game. Take the total to go under; Miami doesn’t score big and the high-scoring Jets have shown up two weeks in a row, which suggests an off week is imminent.
Atlanta Falcons @ Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia (3-3, 2-1 home) has lost three of the last four games and welcomes an unbeaten Atlanta (6-0, 3-3 road) to The Link on Sunday and yet is somehow favorite.
This particularly anomaly stems more from Atlanta’s schedule than Philadelphia’s abilities. En route to a 6-0 record, the Falcons have beaten the entire AFC West (‘Big deal,’ I here you say) alongside Washington and Carolina. A soft schedule like that is not going to get you any props.
In many ways, the Eagles could be the Falcon’s toughest challenge. Andy Reid’s side has lost the last two games by a combined five points, five points that are the difference between 3-3 and 5-1. The Eagles were able to find ways to win in early season games, and if they do the same, they’ll pose a big threat to Atlanta.
Odds: Philadelphia is a three-point favorite. The over/under is 43, having fallen from 48.
Take: Philadelphia – This is going to be a close one, and like so many of the other games on this week’s schedule, an upset would not necessarily feel like an upset. You may as well go with the better moneyline. Both teams have had an extra week to plan for this one, so expect a very close game. A loss is a much bigger deal for the Eagles so expect them to come out as though they’re fighting for their lives. Take the total to go under.
Week 8 Schedule
Thursday: Tampa Bay 36-17 Minnesota
Sunday: (1 PM ET) Carolina @ Chicago | San Diego @ Cleveland | Seattle @ Detroit | Jacksonville @ Green Bay | Miami @ NY Jets | Atlanta @ Philadelphia | Washington @ Pittsburgh | New England V. St. Louis (London, UK) | Indianapolis @ Tennessee; (4:05 PM ET) Oakland @ Kansas City; (4:25 PM ET) NY Giants @ Dallas; (8:20 PM ET) New Orleans @ Denver
Monday: (8:30 PM ET) San Francisco @ Arizona
Bye: Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Houston