Welcome back to week 8 of The Degenerate’s Gambit! Before we get too far, I wanted to once again re-establish that these articles are for fun, and while I love writing them and gambling on football, if you or someone you know is addicted and needs help, please get help or get help for them. The national helpline number is 1-800-522-4700.
Well, now I went and did it: for the first time in Degenerate’s Gambit history, my hit rate is below .500. I am completely broken, despondent, and out of inspiration. You, dear reader, you come to me as I sit shiva, pooling lukewarm broth into my mouth between the tears. The matzah ball soup is extra salty this afternoon, and I write this article surrounded by well-wishers who are also crying since they followed my bet on the Colts to win straight up last week.
However, I have a secret to tell you! I have learned the error of my ways, and last night, an apparition came to me with some gold-plated foolproof bets for week 8. I’m usually pretty turned off by ghosts as a general rule, but this one gave me a list of wagers that all seemed pretty sensible at the time, and in return, all I have to do is go get vengeance on Claudius on behalf of the murdered king. Someone tell me how the bets do, I’m catching a plane to Denmark.
Jacksonville (-2.5) over Denver
Get thee to a nunnery, Russ Wilson! You’ve gone mad, overthrowing passes as if they were the royal order of succession. Brett Rypien actually looked about as good as Wilson last week, but without the tryhard obnoxiousness of the latter, the former came up short. The ghost told me that Denver has a strong matchup on the ground this week, but the many-headed backfield hydra won’t do much with it. I expect Jacksonville to control the trenches this week, and use Travis Etienne’s speed to keep the Broncos honest. London is essentially a home game for the Jags, and whatever annoying shit Russ does on the flight over could very well carry over into the game itself.
Carolina vs. Atlanta UNDER 41.5 points
Side plot prediction: if this isn’t the week we see Desmond Ridder, I got this bet wrong. There’s no way these two teams combine for over 41 points, is there? The Arthur Smith offensive game plan has made Drake London and Kyle Pitts into Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, but not the cool Gary Oldman and Tim Roth versions. Expect a healthy dose of 4-yard Tyler Allgeier runs up the middle. Carolina is also flying high on what has to be the organization’s biggest win in a couple of years, but I have zero faith in them to keep the momentum going. There’s a good chance this is the lowest-scoring game of the week, a game you forget was even happening until Redzone breaks in at like two hours into their broadcast to let you know PJ Walker threw a pick and Yunghoe Koo kicked a 56 yard field goal.
Miami vs. Detroit UNDER 51.5 points
Once again, as the ghost was telling me this, I didn’t believe him at first. However, he pointed out some things that actually made a ton of sense: it’s the Lions, who are at their “most Lions” when letting you down and failing to meet expectations. I think the Steelers gave teams a stronger blueprint for slowing down the Dolphins’ offense, and as a result, I can see this game being a Miami win, but a slower, more plodding final total. Jared Goff has turned back into Jared Goff, and who knows what key Detroit skill position player gets injured on the first series and doesn’t return. It could be any of them! Tua seems to be primed for a huge game, but I said that last weekend and he threw so many potential interceptions. I think he got lucky last week, and some of those bad balls get picked off. I’m taking the under here and hoping I’m wrong once again because the Lions’ shootouts are the best ones.
Tennessee (-2.5) over Houston
Remember the optimism surrounding Tennessee earlier this year? I don’t, probably because I made it up. The Titans put a fork in their own season when they traded AJ Brown away, and asked Ryan Tannehill to throw passes to the emaciated corpse of Robert Woods, Kyle Phillips (aka the “we have Hunter Renfrow at home” archetype of wide receiver that will always be called sneaky fast for some mysterious reason), and Austin Hooper. Yuck. Even worse? Tanny might be out this week, but it still won’t matter. Houston is a sieve on both offense and defense right now, a real threat to have the first overall pick in next spring’s draft. Tennessee can slow this game down and let Derrick Henry pad his stats.
LSPOTW: Arizona Moneyline over Minnesota (+148)
Yeah yeah yeah I know, there’s a new Call of Duty game dropping Friday. Supposedly that means Kyler is gonna have a bad game, but have you maybe considered that Kirk Cousins has been so obsessed with the new Sam Smith single that he spent the entirety of his bye week purposely misgendering the singer on 8kun in an attempt to pretend the song doesn’t rip? Oh, you haven’t? Sucks to be you because it’s literally all I think about. I feel like Kirk has put himself in the place of the main character of the song, asking/telling all the people at the body shop (which he thinks is an actual automotive repair facility) that they “like that.” Minnesota’s pass defense has looked suspect at times, and let’s not forget that even without Hollywood Brown, Kyler put up numbers last year with Hopkins, Rondale, and Ertz as his wideouts. There’s a chance this game is a shootout, but I like the Cardinals’ offense to do something unholy to the awful Minnesota cornerbacks.