Written By Billy Attridge
This week on “Market Moves”, we head south to see if Atlanta has any fight left as 3-point underdogs against the defending NFC champs. The Eagles travel to Dallas in the battle of “who is healthier”, and finally we go to Monday Night Football to see if the market is tipping its hand on a game between the Jets and Patriots. Before investing this weekend, find out why numbers are on the move. We also trek West and reveal Week 8 look-ahead lines from Las Vegas.
LA Rams @ Atlanta +3 (-110):
In the battle of “who needs a win more”, the Rams opened -3.5 Sunday over the Falcons in a critical game for both organizations, and maybe more importantly, both head coaches. No, I’m not implying Sean McVay is on the hot seat or anything of the sorts. However, we saw a, lets call it … interesting … game-plan last Sunday, and the league seems to have quickly and efficiently closed the gap between McVay’s offensive prowess and “everyone else”. If there was ever a time to get his “Mojo” back, it would be against Atlanta’s defense that ranks 31st in passing success rate. So what’s the issue? Well, the Rams O-line continues to struggle, and if we’ve learned anything from this Rams team, it’s that Jared Goff is very poor when pressured. Now, Atlanta has struggled to create pressure on opposing QB’s, but has done a decent job stuffing the run, currently 9th in rushing success rate while facing 5th toughest schedule of opposing run offenses. If the Falcons can pin their ears back and get their DE’s up the field, Goff could once again be forced to perform in a collapsing pocket. On the other side, with the injuries and departures in this Rams secondary (Talib on IR, Joh Johnson season over, Marcus Peters traded), even a “healthy” Jalen Ramsey might not be enough to stop the Falcons pass attack that’s currently ranked 3rd in pass success rate. It’s not a surprise we’ve seen this # drop to +3.
Philadelphia +3 (-115) @ Dallas:
In what could be a season defining game for both teams, the Birds travel to Dallas for a Sunday Night Football contest where we’ve seen minimal movement thus far. This is a number that could move quickly once injury reports are confirmed for the game, as both teams have a couple key players who could miss it. On the Cowboys side, it looks like WR Amari Cooper will not be available, while T Tyron Smith, T La’el Collins, CB Byron Jones and CB Anthony Brown all did not practice on Wednesday, and their status remains up in the air for Sunday. We know the Eagles are solid across the board on offense, ranking in the Top 12 in both rush and pass success rate and 6th overall in efficiency, and now they face the 25th ranked overall defense, missing two starting cornerbacks and will now be without DL Tyron Crawford for the rest of the season. The weakness of the Eagles is their secondary (2nd in rush defense efficiency), and with Dallas being down possibly Cooper and using a banged up Randall Cobb, how much of that weakness will be exploited? Once reports are confirmed on the Cowboys injuries, this number could come off of the 3.
New England @ New York Jets +10 (-115):
It’s tough finding a silver-lining for the Jets looking at the numbers when breaking this game down, but lets try. Starting with New England, their efficiency numbers look great, especially on defense, but when you factor in their opponents, the Patriots have played the easiest schedule of opposing offenses. Additionally, New England is +9 in turnover margin, again, not totally shocking for a buttoned up and fundamental Patriots team, but they’ve been on the right side of two blocked punts for touchdowns, as well. The Jets have obviously started off in the wrong direction, but they’ve faced the 3rd toughest schedule of offenses and 10th toughest schedule of defenses. It’s also impossible to ignore the life they showed last week with their starting quarterback Sam Darnold returning. Bettors quickly forget the Jets were up 16-0 on Buffalo in the 3Q of the opening game with Darnold, albeit at the help of some turnovers, but that score looks more impressive week by week. C.J. Mosley has been upgraded, giving Gregg Williams the anchor of his defense back. It’s rarely an enjoyable experience backing a Patriots opponent, but the market will show support for the J-E-T-S at double digits.
Vegas Look-Ahead Lines for NFL Week 8:
Minnesota -14 vs. Washington
Seattle -3.5 @ Atlanta
New Orleans vs. Arizona (N/A – Drew Brees)
Chicago -5.5 vs. LA Chargers
Jacksonville -4 vs. New York Jets
Los Angeles Rams -9.5 vs. Cincinnati
Detroit -7.5 vs. New York Giants
Houston -6.5 vs. Oakland
Tennessee -2.5 vs. Tampa Bay
Buffalo -1 vs. Philadelphia
San Francisco -6 vs. Carolina
Indianapolis -4.5 vs. Denver
New England -10.5 vs. Cleveland
Kansas City -3.5 vs. Green Bay
Pittsburgh -16.5 vs. Miami
BYE WEEK: Baltimore, Dallas