Against The Spread: Sheasby's Week 8 NFL Best Bets

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Week 8, the halfway mark. If you’re profitable on the season at this point, you’re most likely far better at betting than all your homies. I thankfully, too, am profitable so far, putting up numbers that are the equivalent of shooting say, a 92 in golf. Better than the masses, but not quite good enough yet.

Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

It hasn’t been easy grinding to +7.23 units, but no one said it would be. Let’s dive into the Week 8 board.

Detroit Lions +3 vs Indianapolis Colts

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I’ll admit I’m a bit of a homer with these Detroit Lions, as I did lock in the OVER on their wins this season. After a rocky start, Stafford has seemingly righted the ship (1-2 followed by 2-1 to get us to 3-3 on the season), and this is a team that, for the first time really in a decade, is FIGHTING for wins. 

Just last week, as Todd Gurley mistakenly took a garbage time TD in for the score rather than going down after getting the first down  to win the game, what did Matt Stafford do? Marched down the field in 60 seconds with no timeouts to score the game winning TD. That is GRIT, baby!

Enter the Colts. The Colts on paper boast an impressive resume: they’re 4-2, one game back of the division lead, with a defense ranked 4th in DVOA (defensive efficiency), 4th in opponent points per game, and 2nd in opponent yards per play. Not bad, especially when comparing it to this Lions team: 18th in DVOA, 20th in opponent points per game, and 20th in opponent yards per play. 

So what gives? Why is the line so small, at +3? Naturally, that small line showcases Vegas’s belief in this Lions team, and is a strength indicator for the Detroit Lions.

The first red flag for the Colts is their strength of schedule. Yes, their defense has been great. No, their offense has not been, but according to Power Ratings, this Colts defense is 32 of 32 in strength of schedule. Such a poor SOS means we must deflate the elite defensive rankings, and further downgrade their subpar offense. 

Where does that leave us? I’m taking a Lions team with the 13th rated SOS and looking at yards per play and points per play both offensively and defensively on the season, and then juxtaposing that against the same stats from their last 3 games (reminder: games in which the Lions played good football):

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  • Very similar stats on the season offensively; downgrade the Colts due to SOS.
  • Defensive advantage for the Colts; downgrade the Colts due to SOS, and very similar.

Last 3 games defensively, we see a VERY similar opponent yards/play as well as opponent points/play:

Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Offensively, we actually see the Lions outperforming the Colts: 

Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Don’t sleep on the Colts lack-of-production in the red zone (50% vs. 76.92% TD rate) either. 

Lions +3, lock and load.

Las Vegas Raiders @ Cleveland Browns OVER 49.5

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As the great Patrick Henry said, “GIVE ME POINTS OR GIVE ME DEATH”, and points are for sure what I need this week. The bad news first: the Raiders are 6-0 towards the OVER this year, and Vegas of course is aware of that; a number that glaring generally should regress. Vegas has taken a step to curb that trend: the total of this week opened at 55.5 the highest total of the week, but has since moved SIX points lower to 49.5. The good news? The Raiders are loaded on offense and can’t stop anyone on defense, so naturally their game script is that of a shootout, and with that in mind, the six points of movement is enough for me to back the over once again.

There’s more good news when it comes to the over here, statistically, and that stems from the data surrounding these two defensive units. In short: they both blow. More specifically, the Raiders rank 31st in DVOA (defensive efficiency), 31st in opponent points per game, and 30th in opponent yards per play. The Browns are right there with them: 24th in DVOA, 29th in opponent points per play, and (a slightly better) 16th in opponent yards per play. Those numbers across the board scream POINTS, POINTS, POINTS.

Offensively, we have good things across the board. The Raiders: 9th in offensive efficiency, 11th in points per game, 9th in yards per play. The Browns: 15th in offensive efficiency, 10th in points per game, 15th in yards per play (still a solid 5.8 YPP). 

Is OBJ out? Yes. Is that what’s driving this total down? Perhaps. Perhaps it’s the sharp money saying that the Raiders simply cannot keep up this over streak. Nonetheless, 6 points of movement (which has happened ZERO times) since 2017) is too much for me not to act on.

Raiders/Browns, OVER 49.5, straight to the bank.

As always, thanks for reading. Good luck this week. For all my last minute adds, follow me on Twitter here - I’m sure we’ll have a few more plays before kickoff.

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