Two out of three ain’t bad, right?
A week ago, in this very space, we gave you three betting favorites to avoid (as we do every week), and two of those teams failed to cover their respective spreads. It’s not entirely surprising in hindsight — not just because we’re so smart — but also Week 7 was a good one for the ‘dogs, who covered in eight of 14 contests.
Fading the favorites has been somewhat profitable this season; underdogs have covered five more times than the favorites.
We’re back at it for Week 8 looking to find those trendy favorites you might want to avoid at the betting window or in the pools this week.
(-3.5) Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots
There’s no reason in the world to bet on the Patriots now, correct? However, that doesn’t mean you should bet against them, especially this week against the Bills. There are two reasons we’re skeptical about laying the points with Buffalo. The first is Bill Belichick and the Patriots know that team like the back of their hand. Perhaps a familiar foe gets New England back in the right frame of my mind. More important: The Bills struggle to defend the one thing the Patriots do really well, which is to run the ball. Buffalo is allowing 4.6 yards per carry, which is tied for ninth-worst in the NFL. The Bills’ run defense is even worse by DVOA, ranked 26th with the Patriots ranked seventh in rushing. Again, we’re not saying the Patriots are the pick, but we’re gonna stay away from Buffalo regardless.
(-4) New Orleans Saints at Chicago Bears
The Bears looked terrible Monday night against the Rams. They have an inexplicably bad offense that doesn’t show a ton of signs for improvement. But they still have a very, very good defense, and it’s that unit that should give pause when betting on a Saints team that seems like a layup in this spot. New Orleans could be without its two top receivers, Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, which makes a matchup on the Midway even more difficult. We’re also looking at cold temperatures (in the 40s) with winds of more than 20 mph. It just feels like it’s gonna be tough for either team to score points, and if that’s gonna be the case, do you really want to lay the points on the road against the better defense?
(-5.5) Tennessee Titans at Cincinnati Bengals
This certainly looks like a get-right spot for the Titans, who came roaring back last week only to lose on a last-second missed field against the Steelers. But as the season reaches the midway point, the Titans have a very clear problem and it’s their defense. Mike Vrabel’s team is allowing more than 400 yards of offense per game. Tennessee already has allowed at least 30 points in three of its six games and has been torched for 63 points over the last two weeks. The Bengals might not have the offense of Pittsburgh or even Houston (the team the Titans played two weeks ago), but the Joe Burrow-led bunch is coming around. Cincy has scored at least 27 points in four of its seven games and partially as a result is 5-2 against the spread this year. That combination of a leaky Titans defense and the upstart Cincinnati offense certainly should put you on notice that the backdoor might get left open for the Bengals to cover.