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NFL Line Movement Analysis for Week 8

by October 30, 2020

Week 8 of the NFL season is upon us, which means sports bettors have had nearly half of a season to get a better read on all 32 teams and perfect their handicapping process. With that being said, so too have the oddsmakers. As the lines are initially set with more precision by the sportsbooks, a general synopsis of the Week 8 NFL line movement might note that there have been fewer major line moves overall relative to other weeks. Nonetheless, a few games have seen significant sharp action with the market adjusting accordingly. Read on for an in-depth look at some of the most notable line moves and just what might be the reasons behind them.

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Line Movement Analysis for Week 8

Refer to the side by side comparison of consensus opening lines and current odds for all Week 8 games in the table below. For games that have experienced especially significant or interesting movement, analysis of and reasoning for the changes are included in the sections below.

Game Opening Lines Current Odds
Falcons at Panthers Panthers -2.5; O/U 51 Panthers -2; O/U 51.5
Steelers at Ravens Ravens -3.5; O/U 49 Ravens -3.5; O/U 46.5
Rams at Dolphins Rams -3.5; O/U 47 Rams -3.5; O/U 46
Jets at Chiefs Chiefs -22; O/U 48 Chiefs -19.5; O/U 49
Patriots at Bills Bills -3; O/U 46 Bills -3.5; O/U 41.5
Vikings at Packers Packers -7; O/U 55.5 Packers -7; O/U 51
Colts at Lions Colts -3; O/U 51 Colts -2.5; O/U 50
Raiders at Browns Browns -3; O/U 55.5 Browns -2.5; O/U 51
Titans at Bengals Titans -3.5; O/U 55.5 Titans -5.5; O/U 54
Chargers at Broncos Chargers -1.5; O/U 44.5 Chargers -3; O/U 44
Saints at Bears Saints -2.5; O/U 46 Saints -4.5; O/U 43.5
49ers at Seahawks Seahawks -5.5; O/U 54 Seahawks -3; O/U 54
Cowboys at Eagles Eagles -3.5; O/U 43.5 Eagles -9; O/U 43
Buccaneers at Giants Buccaneers -8.5; O/U 47.5 Buccaneers -12.5; O/U 45

Week 8 Point Spread Movement Analysis

Odds courtesy of FOXBet

Jets at Chiefs

+20
-118
o49
-110
+1200
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-20
EVEN
u49
-110
-2500

The biggest spread we have seen thus far in the 2020 NFL season naturally pits two teams at opposite ends of most expert power rankings. The defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs remain one of the best teams in the league and opened as 22-point favorites for their game this week against the miserable New York Jets. In classic sharp fashion, it is the winless underdog who has seen the line move in their direction, down to 19.5 at FOXBet.

The Chiefs represent everything about a tremendously run franchise at present. The offense is loaded, the defense is underrated, and aside from a slip-up against the Las Vegas Raiders, the Chiefs have won every game they’ve played this season, with most of those victories coming in comfortable fashion. There are rumblings as to whether or not Kansas City will be active at the trade deadline to shore up their run defense and/or the offensive line. With Patrick Mahomes and the bevy of offensive talent on the roster, it’s tough to bet against this team any week, let alone when they are playing the worst team in football.

Despite this notion, that’s just what the wise guys are doing this week. While it’s difficult to quantify just how significant the 2.5-point line move in the Jets’ favor is given how large the spread is, working through the numbers 20 and 21 is certainly worth something. The Jets controlled their game last week against the Buffalo Bills for the first half before mustering a whopping 4 yards of offense after the break. The defense managed to keep the Bills out of the end zone for the entire game and New York earned their first ATS win of the season. As big of a mismatch as this game is on paper, laying 3 touchdowns in the NFL is simply unthinkable.

Saints at Bears

-5
-110
o43.5
-110
-225
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+5
-110
u43.5
-110
+188

A battle of NFC heavyweights has seen the short road favorite attract favor from the betting market thus far. The New Orleans Saints, who opened as 2.5-point favorites for their road tilt against the Chicago Bears, have taken sharp money to move the line up to -4.5 at FOXBet. This move of two points draws added significance in that it has gone through the key NFL betting number of 3.

Both the Saints and Bears are in the thick of the NFC playoff race, but neither team has truly impressed to date. New Orleans’ offense is predicated on the play of skill-position talent, namely Alvin Kamara. With Drew Brees struggling to get the ball downfield at this point in his career, what Kamara and others have been able to do after the catch is key to the offense’s success. The Saints were hoping to have top wideout Michael Thomas back this week, but a hamstring strain has held him out of practice up to this point.

Thomas’ absence could prove significant against the terrific Chicago Bears’ defense. The Bears are a top-10 adjusted defense overall and are particularly stingy against the pass where they rank third (Football Outsiders). The Los Angeles Rams managed to score 24 points last Monday in their win, but that game was more about what Nick Foles and the Chicago offense failed to do than a poor defensive showing in my opinion. Meanwhile, the Saints barely squeaked by a Carolina Panthers team that Chicago defeated the week prior. This move feels like a bit of an overreaction to me. If I had to bet it at the current price, I’d be looking to back the home underdog with the vastly superior defense.

Cowboys at Eagles

+9
-110
o43
-110
+350
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-9
-110
u43
-110
-450

Talk about a massive line move. The Philadelphia Eagles opened as 3.5-point home favorites for their Sunday Night Football matchup against the Dallas Cowboys. Given the events that have transpired on the Dallas side throughout the week, perhaps it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that the Eagles are now laying 8 points at FOXBet and more than that at other books.

The Cowboys season that started with so much promise has gone up in smoke. A bad defense undoubtedly got worse this week with the trade of Everson Griffen to the Detroit Lions. With Dak Prescott and Andy Dalton both injured, the Cowboys quarterback outlook for Week 8 is bleak. After getting trounced by the Washington Football Team, who many people consider to be inferior to the Eagles despite both having 2 wins, it’s no surprise that the Cowboys are again seeing a line move heavily against them.

Philadelphia still has several issues and injuries that they are nursing, but the Eagles have looked better in recent weeks. Moving the ball and scoring points should be no problem against arguably the league’s worst defense. Boston Scott has shown the ability to fill in fine for the injured Miles Sanders, and Richard Rodgers the same for tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. It’s a big game for the Eagles in terms of the division race, so it’s safe to say they’ll show up. I’d still rather bet on them to cover the enlarged spread than back the Cowboys at this juncture.

Week 8 Totals Movement Analysis

Patriots at Bills

+4
-110
o41
-110
+175
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-4
-110
u41
-110
-213

This AFC East battle has admittedly lost a bit of its luster given the poor play by both the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills in recent weeks. Regardless, there are still significant stakes in terms of the division on the line this Sunday in Western New York. The total for the game opened at 46 and has seen heavy sharp action on the under, moving it down to the current line of 41 at FOXBet.

Low-scoring affairs are the handicapping strategy when it comes to the Patriots right now. Cam Newton has looked more than out of sorts since returning from the COVID-19 list two weeks ago. New England has only managed 28 points in their last three games combined. Sunday’s contest presents an opportunity to get right against a suspect Bills defense, but it’s hard to trust the Patriots offense given the lack of difference-makers. New England will also be without receiver Julian Edelman for the game.

After a high-flying start to the season of their own offensively, Buffalo has also come back down to Earth in recent weeks. Failing to find the end zone against the Jets last week was the latest disappointment. While New England’s defense isn’t what it has been in recent years, the unit is still plenty talented and obviously well-coached. With high winds expected in the greater Buffalo area Sunday, Buffalo may be forced to run the ball more, something the offense hasn’t shown an ability to do consistently. The under movement makes perfect sense, although I would prefer to buy back on the over at the current line.

Vikings at Packers

+6
-110
o50.5
-110
+210
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-6
-110
u50.5
-105
-250

The move to the under for Sunday’s NFC North battle between the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers is certainly interesting given the 77 combined points the two teams accounted for when they faced off back in Week 1. The total opened at 55.5 and has come down to currently rest at an even 51 at FOXBet.

The Vikings offense forgot to show up in their last game two weeks ago. Going up against a bad Atlanta Falcons’ defense at that, Kirk Cousins and Co. failed to get anything going. With a bye week to get right, it will be interesting to see how Minnesota bounces back on Sunday. The Vikings defense also doesn’t exactly bode well for unders, particularly going up against a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers, given their inexperienced secondary.

I fully expect the Packers to score plenty in this game. Where Green Bay will most significantly impact the result of the over/under is in terms of how effective the defense is at slowing the Vikings attack. It is worth noting that the first meeting between the teams was never in doubt/ Minnesota scored most of their points in second half garbage time playing catch-up. I can understand betting the opening 55.5 down, but I’d want nothing to do with an under on the current line of 51. It’ll be interesting to see how much, if any, the total moves from here.

Find consensus odds from all major sportsbooks for Week 8 of the NFL >>


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Henry John is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Henry, check out his archive and follow him @HankTimeSports.

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