Welcome back to The Degenerates Gambit! Once again, please remember 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.
Another week of .500 ball, my friends. It’s not the best way to keep myself profitable, but it’s honest work. As the year goes on, Vegas tends to get sharper with their lines, so finding value can get tough. They’re trying to break me this week, since even with all 32 teams playing in week 8, the lines are super low and the obvious mispriced lines were a bit harder to find. However, as they say: life is hard, be harder.
I’ve got a fully charged vape, the seminal 2002 Christian Bale vehicle Equilibrium is on the TV, it’s time to make some money.
Jacksonville -1.5 (-108)
The Jags ride a 4 game-win streak into Pittsburgh to play the Steelers this week, and to be honest, I think the spread is generous in our favor here. Travis Etienne has scored two touchdowns in three straight games, Trevor Lawrence has thrown five touchdown passes to one interception, and the offense has averaged 29 points a game during this heater. While I hate Steelers fans, I’ll give credit where it’s due: the team itself has outperformed expectations this year, coming in at 4-2. However, while the team has kept it competitive in almost all their games this season, they haven’t scored above 26 points yet this year, and that defense isn’t stopping anyone. I’m taking the Jaguars and the points here.
Houston -3.5 (-102)
Here it is: pick 1 versus pick 2 (and pick 3). Bryce Young has shown some things that make you optimistic that he could be the guy in Carolina, but at the same time, CJ Stroud already appears to be THE GUY in Houston. So, here’s my thought: Carolina is dead last in pressure generated on defense, while Stroud is completing 77 percent of his passes this year from a clean pocket, with a 9-1 TD/INT ratio. Carolina is allowing the second most rushing yards per game this year, which means this Texans team can build a lead and bully the Panthers’ defense. While the Texans are 3-3, their wins have been by an average margin of 17 points. I’m not taking Carolina to win, so I’m pushing for the trend to continue behind the golden arm of CJ Stroud.
Minnesota -1.5 (-115)
Vegas is treating this game as more of a toss-up than they should; one of the two teams playing at Lambeau this week is the far superior one. Jordan Love is turning the Packers Subreddit into, well, what the Bears sub has looked like since time immemorial. Green Bay has been exposed as a team that had no exit plan from Aaron Rodgers other than one WR with decent draft capital (hurt), and a physically gifted rookie tight end with an ADOT of 6.7. Yuck. To make matters worse, the Pack just put two defensive backs on IR, and while Eric Stokes going back out doesn’t make them materially worse this week (he has only played 4 special teams snaps this year), losing safety Darnell Savage is a big problem. Minnesota hasn’t looked great this year as they sit at 3-4, but Monday’s big win against San Francisco was exactly what this team needed to be considered a legitimate contender to win the division, and if they can’t bury the helpless Packers, pack it in. I don’t think the Grim Reaper visits the Vikings this early in the season, so I’m taking the road team once again to cover.
Long Shot Play of the Week: Cleveland Moneyline (+154)
I don’t care who plays at QB or RB this week for Cleveland, because the only player that matters is Myles Garrett. The Seahawks are pressured at the 7th highest rate in the league, and the Browns pressure the QB at the 3rd highest clip. We’ve seen this before from Seattle: a major talent advantage at the skill positions that gets outclassed by some terrible offensive line play. The Seahawks enter this game banged up, with Kenneth Walker and Tyler Lockett logging two straight non-participant tags in practice this week. Even if they play, this Browns defense has not only the rush to get in Geno’s face (not to mention a huge matchup advantage), but also the guys on the outside to make it difficult to complete those balls as it is (the Browns allow the 3rd fewest receiving yards to receivers, and the fewest to tight ends). Everything here is pointing to a Browns upset except Vegas. Let’s make ’em pay.
Last Week: 2-2
Season Total: 17-11 (2-5 on Long Shot Plays)