NFL expert Tom Selwyn (@Tom_Selwyn) shares his expert opinion on the best bets available from Sunday's action on Week 8.
Washington Redskins @ New York Giants | Sunday 28th October 2018, 18:00
Is there a team in a more sorry state than the New York Giants right now? You could make a case for the Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills or the Oakland Raiders, but none of those team have hit the reset button quite like New York has done.
Two defensive starters in DT Damon Harrison, who was one the league’s best run-stoppers, and CB Eli Apple have already been traded away and we’ve still not hit the trade deadline.
I’ve been burned by the inconsistent Washington Redskins before, but I’d be loath not to take the value they represent at almost evens this week (49/50 888). They lead the division at 4-2, yet are somehow slight underdogs against a 1-5 team that has started blowing up its roster.
I can’t quite work out if it’s the play calling or the OL, but no team that features Odell Beckham and Saquon Barkley should be as tedious to watch as the Giants are. My inclination is that it’s a combination of the two – the OL can’t protect Eli Manning long enough to stretch the field, so we end up with runs straight into an eight-man box and repeated check downs to Barkley coming out of the backfield.
Barkley’s pure talent is the only reason that this strategy works every so often. Barkley will have a tough time this week as the Redskins DL is the strength of their defence – they are the third best against the run. The whole unit is also 12th best against the pass and, despite not achieving the sacks, boast the best pressure rate in the league.
With Adrian Peterson running well (96 yards or more in four of six games and now going against a Harrison-less Giants defence) and Alex Smith taking care of the ball as usual, I think the Redskins stand a great chance of walking away from East Rutherford with a win.
Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs | Sunday 28th October 2018, 18:00
I was deliberating between the Los Angeles Rams and the Kansas Chiefs Chiefs for my final pick this week before finally settling on the Chiefs.
Both teams have scored in every quarter in the last four games and both teams have led after every quarter in two of their last four, but, for me (you could quite easily go the other way), Kansas City has the better offence at the moment and certainly the better home-field advantage.
Despite what appears to be an improving defence on the surface, with the Chiefs only giving up 10 points to the Bengals and 14 to the Jaguars, they still sandwiched these two efforts with 43 given up against the Patriots.
Yes, the Patriots boast the more superior offence, but this is still a divisional game against the Broncos so I’m going to be backing Kansas City to score in every quarter at evens (Bet365), rather than to lead after each quarter.
At this point, it does feel like a bit of a shock when the Chiefs don’t fire on all cylinders each game. In Patrick Mahomes, Kareem Hunt, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce they can hurt you in so many different ways. It says something that the only team to beat them this season needed 43 points to do so.
The Broncos did run them close in the reverse fixture earlier this season though and if not for a wayward pass from Case Keenum would have beaten the Chiefs. But despite the loss to New England and the let-off in Denver, Kansas City still scored in each quarter.
The odds offered for them to do so again are definitely worth a play.
Indianapolis Colts @ Oakland Raiders | Sunday 28th October 2018, 21:05
The Oakland Raiders are coming off a bye, but the week before that they were on the end of a shellacking in London at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks and are certainly a worse team than they were two weeks ago, in my view.
Marshawn Lynch is now on injured reserve and Amari Cooper has been traded to the Dallas Cowboys.
They’ll be facing the Indianapolis Colts, who despite being 2-5 have been in every single game and are looking the healthiest they’ve been a while, especially along the offensive line.
The Colts have only given up a single sack over the last three games, giving Andrew Luck ample time to throw. Given that Oakland is dead last in sacks this season, Indianapolis’ OL should continue their upward trajectory. This is just one of the reasons I’ll be taking the Colts -3 (1/1 SkyBet) on the road here.
Along with greater pass protection than we’re used to seeing from the Colts, they finally were able to get the running game going last week, putting up over 220 yards on the ground. I doubt we’ll be seeing 200+ again, but having balance and not Luck throwing it 40+ times a game will serve them well.
The Raiders are ranked a lowly 27th against the run, giving up 131.8 yards per-game, so I think that Indianapolis should be able to run the ball well once more.
I can’t see a short-handed Oakland offense being able to hang with Indianapolis, especially if they fall behind. The Raiders throw deep less than 6.5% of the time, partly due to the talent at WR and also due to Derek Carr being given no time to stand in the pocket. Colts win!