Week 8 EARLY Best Bets

This is a great article to write when you just won a lot of money, let me tell you. If you’re wanting more info, you can go and check out last week’s parlays or wait to the Best Bets article later this week.

Right now, though, you’re probably perplexed as to how I made money when I went 2-3 on Best Bets, but this speaks to my betting strategy and the larger problem with the Best Bets article.

Each week, I lay out my five picks here and try to include a diversity of opportunity while also contributing some sort of narrative. When I go to bet, however, I weight these bets differently and then attempt to find pieces of value as the week goes on.

In other words, I try to provide you with the most solid and unmovable lines of the week. Lines that should produce profitable bets under most circumstances. When I bet, however, I often try to find riskier positions that offer some opportunity.

An example from this week were the moneylines on New Orleans, Arizona, and Baltimore. In each case, the team was an underdog, but in my opinion they were at least even with their opponent. In the case of New Orleans, people were vastly overreacting to the news that Alvin Kamara was out and missing the point the Chicago had no offensive line, running game, or quarterback. For Baltimore, they underrated Lamar Jackson’s ability to change a game. For Arizona, they overrated the Giants.

So, moving forward, in order to better express what I am actually doing (and just to be clear I’m up 300% this season) we are going to debut new sections to the Best Bet Article.

Each week from here on out there will be a lock, three good bets, and an underdog to watch. I will indicate my interest in each bet on a ten point scale and try to justify as much as possible as I go. The record will still count each equally, but hopefully this gives you an opportunity to act upon them more realistically.

A shout out to Owl Eats Football superfan Robert, who reached out to me and let me know he had taken a couple of my bets. Unfortunately, he went 1-1 on those, and even though his choices were sound, it made me realize the flaw in the system.

With that being said, though, today’s article is just a first look. For Early Best Bets, we will continue to just roll out the bets I have my eye on this week. The logic might indicate where I stand on the value of them, but I will make a firm declaration of those later in the week.

If you are wondering why, the answer is easy. Stuff changes. The Kamara news broke later last week and made the Saints a better value. The San Fran weather situation developed on Sunday itself (more in the next article on how that cost me $1500). Late movement made Baltimore a better value.

So, as we wait for the news that will shape the week, let’s take a first look. without further ado, Week 8’s Early Best Bets:

BUF -1.5 vs PHI

There is a new credo at OEF: Don’t bet the Bills big, bet the Bills small.

I was foolish to think that playing Miami automatically insured a big margin of victory. Especially when it applies to the Bills.

Buffalo is a team that will never blow anyone out, but who can win games by suffocating their opponents on defense and making enough plays on offense to get by. That is what they did to the Dolphins, which got them a win, but didn’t allow them to cover.

In this case, being a small at home favorite offers us the best possible scenario for Buffalo. They win games consistently, so we don’t need to figure out how they will overcome this spread to feel confident that they will.

But because this is an informational and important website for bettors everywhere, let’s take a look at how this might happen.

As currently constituted, Buffalo should be able to take advantage of Philly’s weakness, their secondary. At every turn this season, Philly has gotten beat by the passing game despite being able to stop the run at one of the best rates in the league. There is the small problem that after trading away Zay Jones last week, Duke Williams left Sunday’s game with an injury, but the larger picture here is that the Eagles have an exploitable weakness.

On the flip side, Buffalo does not have a soft spot on a defense that had not allowed over 20 points to a team before they allowed 21 this past Sunday.

Perhaps the easiest stat to explain why that is an issue is this one circling Twitter: Philadelphia has allowed 20 points in the first half of a league high five games this season (and one of the ones they didn’t was to Luke Falk). The chances of Philly scoring 20 points in this game are extremely low, the chances of them giving up 20 are extremely high. That spells a win for Buffalo and us.

To go beyond this, I would point out that the Eagles seem to be crumbling and that there have been wide spread reports of problems on the team. Alshon Jeffery has been identified as the source of criticism for head coach Doug Peterson and QB Carson Wentz. Against the Cowboys they appeared to quit halfway through the game.

Whether by the numbers or by the appearance, Buffalo is a much better team who are being undervalued at home against a dysfunctional Philly squad.

TB +2.5 @ TEN

This game is a bettor’s nightmare.

On the one side you have Tennessee, who I have documented as my gambling kryptonite. When I bet on them, they lose. When I bet against them, they win. This season they have been shut out by the Broncos and scored 43 against the Browns. They are an enigma.

On the other side, the Bucs have been the source of fantasy gold but gambling headaches. They beat the Rams by 15 in LA, lost to the Giants by 1 at home, and split games against Carolina. They are another enigma.

So why, then, you ask, would I be betting on a matchup of two enigmas. The answer is as simple as saying that although these teams are mysterious, their parts are fairly well know.

First, we know that Tampa Bay stops the run. They stop the run at a league best rate, despite the fact they have faced Alvin Kamara, Christian McCaffrey twice, and Saquon Barkley. On the flip side we know that the Titans run the ball at the eighth highest rate in the league and rely on volume to overcome their 24th best yards per attempt.

So, knowing that Tennessee wants to run the ball a lot but isn’t very successful and that Tampa stops even the best rushing attacks, this game will be in the hands of Ryan Tannehill. This is an advantage for Tampa Bay.

I will grant you that Tannehill had a great game against the Charger’s depleted secondary, and that Tamp Bay has issues in that department too, but in six seasons as the Dolphin’s starter he had only one season above a QBR of 50. He is a below average quarterback.

On defense, Tennessee is about league average in all metrics available, and do not possess any game-breaking talents. They like to keep the ball in front of them and let offenses rack up shorter plays without giving up any bigger ones. The issue with this, going into Sunday, is that the Bucs possess just the right compliment of players to prevent that strategy from working. Between Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, Tennessee would be foolish to allow the ball to get to them frequently, as they can turn anything into a big play.

Jameis Winston is always a dangerous player to bet on, but for comparison he has been over a 50 QBR in all four of his full seasons. This year he has thrown the ball well outside of disastrous against Carolina and San Francisco, both top end pass D’s.

The bottom line is that Tennessee wins games by playing it safe, and this is a game they will have to unleash their passing offense. The problem for them is that Tannehill is at the helm of that, and I just don’t see him keeping up with the Bucs.

MIA +14.5 @ PIT

Can you keep a secret? Miami’s offense with Ryan Fitzpatrick is not that bad.

After Fitzpatrick took over against Washington and led the team on two scoring drives, he orchestrated a three touchdown day against a Bills defense that hadn’t allowed more than two all season.

He showed the ability to get the ball to playmakers at the receiver position, as five Dolphins had more than 3 catches and Devante Parker, Preston Williams, and Allen Hurns combined for 14 catches for 190 yards and a touchdown.

In the backfield, Miami used a rotation of their three backs and Fitzpatrick to rush for 109 yards and two TDs against Buffalo’s top ten rushing defense.

What that all means is that Miami can score points. If we pencil them in for 20 against a soft Pittsburgh D (which is giving up 21.8 per game), that means that the Steelers will need to score 35 to hold this line. That feels unlikely given that they have been unable to top 27.

Now this is the prime example of a game that we will benefit from being patient with. As it currently stands, the status of Pittsburgh’s starting (aka second string) quarter back Mason Rudolph is in question as is starting running back James Conner. Backup RB Jaylen Samuels is already out, so if the Steelers are missing their top two RBs they may be less able to take advantage of Miami’s poor run defense, not to mention their poor pass defense.

If as the week goes we find out Pittsburgh will be undermanned, then this line is too high and we can make money by exploiting the overreaction to Miami’s poor record.

SEA -5.5 @ ATL

Oh sweet Atlanta, how I love you.

Finding a team like this is rare, it is a team that the public loves and overvalues, but who is secretly bad. Their lines are consistently too low and their results are consistently one-sided.

This particular line has been in some flux because Matt Ryan has not practiced yet this week. Whether he plays or not, if this line is not double-digits I’m betting it.

The main reason for that is Atlanta’s offense is not super correlated to their bad start. That falls upon the defense. Through seven games, the Falcons allow the second most points in the league at 31.9. That gets even worse when you see that they have allowed 41 per game in their last three.

On Seattle’s side, they have been moving the ball at will against most opponents, and in spite of some suboptimal fourth down and red zone decisions by Pete Carrol, are firing on all other cylinders. Russell Wilson is a MVP front-runner, Tyler Lockett is a top 12 wide receiver, and Chris Carson is averaging 100 yards over his last four games. Beyond these stars, DK Metcalf has proven capable of taking the top off of any defense and Jaron Brown and David Moore should provide vital in overcoming the loss of Will Dissly.

Even more encouraging for this bet is the fact that Atlanta traded Mohammed Sanu to the Patriots for a second round pick. Although not an essential player on the team, Sanu was a staple of the Super Bowl team and the Falcons had refused this same trade in the lead up to the draft. It signals a shift in their thinking and their desires to go from a team who is competing to one that is not in need of above average role players. They may not be tanking, but the trade is certainly telling the team that this will not be another Super Bowl year.

So, all in all, Seattle’s offense is great, Atlanta’s defense is bad, the Falcons may be without their starting quarterback, and they could be bailing on the season.

Let’s keep hitting up Atlanta until the rest of the betting world catches on.

SEA @ ATL under 53.5

And why not keep the good times rolling?

I am considering getting out of the totals game, as they are often too precise and too volatile, but I think this might be a good indicator.

In my mind there is approximately 0% this total goes over. If I’m wrong, then I know totals aren’t for me. If I’m right then I can continue to try to spot the place where Vegas has overshot their mark.

For this particular line, I am so confident for two reasons: 1) Seattle slows the game down when they get a lead 2) Atlanta might not be able to score.

Let’s deal with #1 first.

The Seattle philosophy has been clear since day one. They want, desperately to be a running team. Seattle ranks fourth in the league in rush attempts per game despite playing in almost exclusively close games.

From this we can infer that if Seattle gets up big in this game it will be a steady diet of Chris Carson runs, thus depressing the total and lowering the number of plays that will be run in the game. A good comp for this game would be Seattle’s win against Arizona. They scored 20 points in the first half against an equally bad defense, but then just seven the rest of the game as they sat on the ball and grinded out a win.

And one reason we can project Seattle for a big lead is #2 from above: Atlanta can’t score like we think they can.

In two of the Falcon’s last four games they have scored 10 points. In five of their seven games, they haven’t topped 24. If you remove a shootout against Houston and a matchup with a fast-paced, poor defensive Arizona team, then Atlanta is averaging 16 points a game. Now that their offense could feature an injured Matt Ryan and the loss of their third receiver, it is not crazy to say that they might not even be capable of that.

A big part of that is an offensive line that can’t perform and a running game that can’t move the ball. Atlanta has the second lest rushing attempts in the league and only averages 64 yards per game. This puts all of the pressure on Ryan and the passing offense which in turn means the offensive line has to protect against a pass rush that can disregard the run. The result is frequent quick passes or sacks that mean Atlanta has the tenth worst yards per completion in the league, just behind Teddy Bridgewater’s New Orleans Saints.

This is a long way of saying Atlanta’s offense is predictable and bad.

In a game with Seattle up big and running the ball and Atlanta struggling to do anything, the under is too appetizing to pass up.

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