For The Win: Week 8

NFL picks against the Las Vegas lines.

Here we are again this year, back for more NFL picks. It is with great pleasure that I take the reins from Jeff Pasquino after writing a guest edition last year. As someone who has won and lost their fair share of money on the NFL (and many other sports), this is bound to be a fun and unpredictable ride. Join me, won’t you?

As with the format in previous years, this article will help those of you who compete in confidence pools and in ranking selections, which may come in handy on those Las Vegas trips. Games are rated based on preference for both the point spread and other angles (such as totals or over/unders) with 1-3 “Stars”, which basically highlight the best bets for the week. Those games which have zero stars are not preferred one way or the other, but will still be covered, discussed and a winner will be predicted for those trying to get some advice for their weekly office pools.

The last couple of weeks have been a shock to the system, with injuries and changing situations throwing up some curve balls at the gambling public. Lines are sharper, so even the craftiest among us are being forced to question our every decision. While the landscape is changing beneath our feet, this is no time to wallow and hide in a corner. Spot the inefficiencies (and they will be there) and let’s get out of the hole this week.

The bye teams this week are Baltimore and Dallas.

Note that the over/unders are taken from VegasInsider.com

(Thursday) WASHINGTON at MINNESOTA (-14) (Over/Under 40)

Woe is Washington after yet another bumbling, stumbling, rain-soaked loss. The stands are emptying in the nation’s capital, though this franchise will remain in a cruel state of flux until the offseason when, presumably, a new coach will take the poison chalice that is the Redskins football coaching job. The race is on for Washington, Cincinnati, and Miami – that is, the race to the bottom. To put it bluntly, if Washington can hang in this game for more than a quarter, it would surprise me.

As for the Vikings, things could hardly be better. Yes, they may have had to endure some tricky times earlier in the season with rumors of discontent within the camp, but that has all disappeared now beneath of cloud of wins and Kirk Cousins' brilliance. Play action has been Cousins’ best friend in recent weeks; expect to see plenty more of it here, as well as a split backfield workload between Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison. Fourteen points is steep, but the Redskins are beyond hope.

Pick: Minnesota

SEATTLE (-3.5) at ATLANTA (Over/Under 54)

No Matt Ryan for Atlanta and yet the Seahawks are still only favored by 3.5 points? That may change before Sunday as Vegas realizes just how much of a liability Matt Schaub is. In Seattle’s favor here is the fact that only last week they dropped a home game to the Ravens in a rainstorm as their rushing attack faltered and Russell Wilson was forced to play the hero. The only problem was there was a hero on the other sideline named Lamar Jackson who scuppered their best-laid plans.

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