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2018 NFL Sunday Week 8: Trends and Picks


Our power rankings composite performed ABYSMALLY in week 7. Fortunately for our audience, we anticipated some manner of negative reversion to the mean in the wake of our perfect showing in the weeks 5 and 6,. Our sitting out last NFL Sunday effectively spared our readers from the brunt of those hypothetical losses.

With that said, we could not resist trying the two games that book-ended the week's action. Our Thursday Night Football pick hit, but our Monday Night Football play whiffed. As such, our record on published picks is 16-8-1 ATS (67%).

For week 8, our power rankings work generated seven NFL Sunday plays, while our computer simulation framework validated two of those picks (shown in bold). Our against-the-spread model's output for the entire week 8 NFL Sunday docket is shown below.

Of interest, the Eagles, Bucs, Seahawks and Steelers all enjoy the backing of more than half of public spread bets. This is noteworthy as since 2004 consensus picks have been profitable between weeks 7 through 12 (3% ROI). More recently (since 2015), gains from backing public picks during this third of the season have been stark.

Additionally, Philly, Tampa Bay, and Pittsburgh feature a higher percent of dollar backing than the percent of bets (an indication of sharp action). Since 2016, the combination of the support of a majority of spread tickets, plus an even greater percentage of dollars wagered ATS has generated a 56% cover rate, on a record of 30-24-4 ATS.

Happy betting!!

 

Featured Week 8 Games:​

  • Jacksonville Jaguars @ Philadelphia Eagles

  • Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers

 

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Philadelphia Eagles u44 (-105)

As indicated above, our power rankings composite favors the Eagles to beat the number. Further, the direction of the change in the line suggests sharp bettors agree. However, we have observed mixed messages from history regarding whether or not Philly should be trusted to cover the chalk at London's Wimbley Stadium tomorrow morning.

Conversely, the evidence supporting the UNDER is less equivocal. First, from a big picture perspective, lower scores have cashed in after 57% of regular season NFL games hosted in neutral territory.

Even more compelling though, when winds are greater than 10 mph, the UNDER is 9-1 on an unbiased field.

Per, NFLWeather, winds are expected to range between 12-13 mph during tomorrow morning's proceedings.

Fundamentally, the Jags D, which ranks 7th in the League by DVOA and is the third most consistent defense in the NFL, will face an offense that is not only below average (23rd by DVOA), but is reliably so.

Conversely, Philly's defense, while slightly better than average by DVOA in aggregate, is highly unpredictable from one week to the next, so a top-ten or bottom-quartile performance might be expected Sunday morning. However, Jacksonville's offense, while indeed highly variable from one game to the next, is so bad overall that even a standout day is unlikely to elevate the 27th ranked unit to a level that undoes the UNDER.

 

Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers -8 (-110)

We make the Steelers at Heinz Field to be 13 or 14 points better than the Browns Sunday. Accordingly, we are comfortable laying the 8 with the home favorites.

In addition to the supportive indication from our power rankings work, we note several macro trends that likewise bode well for the home team. For one, quality teams with short-term momentum are good bets as significant home favorites.

Moreover, while the story of teams off BYE weeks is nuanced, well-rested big home favorites have exhibited consistent profitability. Teams that have not played in at least 10 days and that are expected to win by more than a touchdown at home are 42-28-1 ATS (60%) since 2003.

On the other side of the ball, after an improbable fourth quarter comeback and an OT cover at Tampa Bay last week, the present appears a good spot to fade the Browns.

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