WEEK 8 NFL REDZONE PICKS
There are eight games in the early slate this week, including a matchup between AFC North powerhouses. Steve Moore breaks down the betting angles for the 6pm tilts, starting with the Steelers at Ravens.
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Close game = Back The Underdog
Not often is the best game on an NFL slate in the early slot but that is certainly true here. Two of the best three teams in the AFC head into an AFC battle with the Steelers travelling to Baltimore.
This Ravens offense is not quite as explosive as they were last year. With Jackson down at 29th against the blitz, the Steelers D should have plenty of success. As a result, I consider this a coinflip game. With the Steelers (9/5 with various) considered underdogs. I’ll head that way.
Repeat, Close game = Back The Underdog
Another AFC North team who are in the play-off race host the Las Vegas Raiders, and the Browns are favoured to go 6-2.
There is a huge amount of recency bias there though. Before last week, the Browns were about a week away from turning to Case Keenum before Baker Mayfield got the opportunity to rip apart a bad defense.
Mayfield should have that opportunity again against a really poor Raiders D. However, people were also high on the Raiders offense that ran into a Bucs D and destroyed a Covid-hit, unpractised and then injured and ejected offensive line.
Myles Garrett aside, the Browns defensive unit isn’t great either. Expect a shootout that may end based purely on who has the ball last. With the Raiders (5/4 with SkyBet and Unibet) as the underdog, that’s the pick.
Sam Darnold's Bad Audition
The Jets are the worst team in the NFL and as a result are taking Trevor Lawrence no matter what. Therefore, Sam Darnold isn’t fighting to save his job, he is fighting to show the other 31 teams that he has a future in the NFL.
Playing the fifth ranked pass defense in the league is not a great start. The Chiefs are favoured by about 20 points which seems high. But the only reason they don’t cover that is if they decide to pull starters by the end of the third quarter, which is entirely possible.
However, I don’t see a world the the Jets get two touchdowns. Under 14.5 Jets points (13/15 with Betway) is therefore a simple bet to make.
Vikings Packing Up
One thing that might stop the Jets getting Trevor Lawrence is if the Vikings somehow end up 1-15. The biggest issue with the Vikings is their lack of pass rush – and that was before they lost Danielle Hunter and traded away Yannick Ngakoue.
Aaron Rodgers is playing, given the lack of receiving talent, at quite probably the best level he has ever done. Without the final three quarters in the Buccaneers game, we would be calling the Packers the bonafide best team in the NFC.
The idea that the Packers won’t win by at least a touchdown in this one seems insane. However Packers +6.5 (Evens with various) is apparently around the line for a game between a team who is on the cusp of tanking and a team that may well end up in the NFC Championship game.
There is no question that the Dolphins were a decent team with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center. However, in any other scenario where Tua looked close to the real deal, he would have been in by now.
It is entirely possible that over the long-term, if Tua plays clean, mistake-free games, it might put the Dolphins in a better position in the wildcard race. Maybe even the AFC East race compared to the boom-or-bust play of FitzMagic.
However, to ask a rookie who missed half of his last college season to come straight in against a top-tier NFC team and keep it close, seems a little hopeful.
The Rams should be much bigger than the +3.5 point (Evens with SkyBet) favourites they are for this one.
Accumulator: Steelers to win (9/5 with various), Raiders to win (5/4 with SkyBet and Unibet), Jets Under 14.5 points (13/15 with Betway), Packers +6.5 (Evens with various), Rams + 3.5 points (Evens with SkyBet)
A Welshman exiled in Luton, Steve Moore has been a Buccaneers fan ever since he thought a stadium with a pirate ship was cool (he was only 9 at the time!).
Steve has also hosted podcasts on both the NFL and British Universities football and was the statistician for 2008 College Bowl finalists, Staffordshire Stallions