Game Flowbotics: Week 8 Picks Against the Spread
Week 8 is here, and we’ve gone from six teams on bye to only two. That gives us nearly a full slate of games from which to pick our best bets against the spread. As always, I’ll use the Game Flowbotics spreadsheet to analyze the matchups and make my picks. As was the case last week, we have a few big mismatches, but most of the spreads this week are pretty small. With so many supposedly evenly-matched teams, it will be interesting to see if the efficiency and pace numbers on the spreadsheet from Football Outsiders agree. Let’s dive in.
I went 5-2 with my picks last week for a gain of 2.85 units. Year to date, my record is 34-27-1 and I’m up 4.8 units overall. Despite some concern for the weather conditions associated with my over pick on last week’s Sunday Night Football game, the Colts and 49ers still managed to top 43.5 points. That outcome was a good reminder that we’re betting on teams, not on the Doppler radar, but I’ll admit I probably wouldn’t have written up the same pick if I had known about the troublesome forecast on Wednesday. As always, it’s better to be lucky than good.
My two misses were on the Panthers (-3) and the Eagles (+3.5). In each case, the quarterback I bet on played horrendously, and both games were blowouts in the opposite direction of my predictions. With the Panthers, I thought they would get back to beating up on bad teams as they did in the season’s first few weeks, but I failed to account for the fact Christian McCaffrey was part of those early-season wins. The absence of McCaffrey has put a lot more pressure on Sam Darnold, and he simply hasn’t held up to it. Some running backs do matter, or so it seems.
Meanwhile, the Philly-Vegas game looks like it was close-ish in the box score, but only because the Eagles scored 14 garbage time points in the fourth quarter. I was counting on that sort of production from Jalen Hurts when I picked Philadelphia, though. The possibility of a backdoor cover is part of why I liked them. Really, it was Philly’s defense that let me down. Through eight weeks, they’ve allowed an average of 26.4 points per game to opposing teams, which ranks ninth-worst in the NFL. The Eagles only rank 13th-worst in pass defense DVOA, so allowing that many points is a little curious. Philadelphia’s primary problems are their bottom-five run defense and their coupling of a high-pace offense (fourth in situation neutral pace) with an inconsistent quarterback, which has led to the Eagles allowing more drives to opposing teams than anyone else in the league (188).
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