Football Five carries a package of intrigue for NFL Week Eight bettors.

The slate opens with the Carolina Panthers hosting the luckless Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night. And we can’t forget about the searing Tampa Bay Buccaneers invading the one-win New York Giants on Monday night.

In between, the NJ sports betting card is a flood of the norm and the unexpected.

First, let’s touch on the norm. The Pittsburgh Steelers, football’s lone unbeaten team (with four straight covers) visit the Baltimore Ravens in the potential game of the week. And it’s hard to ignore the  Seattle Seahawks hosting the San Francisco 49ers in a potential NFC West barn burner.

The unexpected is the Philadelphia Eagles leading the NFC East and being lopsided favorites against the Dallas Cowboys. Second-string quarterback Andy Dalton’s status is up in the air after he suffered a concussion against Washington. The Cowboys, preseason favorites to win the NFC Least, are the only NFL team without a cover. That’s a shocking stat.

The New England Patriots, for the first time in ages, are underdogs against the Buffalo Bills this week.

Here is the Football Five, a handful of ideas to carry forward into the wagering week.

1. NFL Week 8 + Eagles odds confusion

The Eagles continue to frustrate their backers. Philadelphia left perhaps 10 points on the table while failing to cover a -4.5 point spread against the New York Giants. Bettors who took the moneyline cashed in on the 22-21 victory. Overall, the Eagles are 2-4-1 against the spread and moneyline.

Here’s the laundry list of lost points against the G-Men:

  • An end-zone pick in the first quarter
  • A missed field goal before halftime
  • A bypassed chip shot field goal early in the fourth quarter
  • A failed two-point conversion

The Eagles drove the length of the field late in the third quarter, trailing 14-10. On 4th and goal at the New York 3-yard line, they passed up the chip-shot field goal and failed to score.

So what happened, you ask?

The Giants started the fourth quarter with a drive of eight minutes and scored a touchdown to go up 21-10. The Eagles could not keep one of the league’s worst offenses pinned in near its own goal line.

The translation is the Eagles have an average offense and defense. They can’t afford to drive the length of the field and walk away without points.

And the Jalen Hurts experiment should be shelved when Philly gets in scoring position. When the rookie entered against the Giants, defenders knew he would get the ball and stuffed him. If he can’t be respected as a decoy, he won’t be effective.

The Cowboys are bad, but can the Eagles leave points on the table and still cover?

The team is two games under .500 and favored by more than a touchdown.

2. Pass the blood pressure pills

Several games on Sunday came down to the final play, which is more than any previous NFL week.

The Cincinnati Bengals, who host the Tennessee Titans this week, improved to a league-best 6-1 against the spread, although their bettors endured palpitations. The Bengals were +3.5 and seemingly victorious after pulling ahead of the Cleveland Browns, 34-31, with 66 seconds remaining.

But Baker Mayfield led Cleveland back, and with no timeouts, completed an improbable game-winning 24-yard touchdown with 11 seconds left.  What a dagger. Now the Browns went up by three, 37-34, and lined up to kick the covering extra point.

And then the real Hail Mary came in for Cincinnati bettors.

Cleveland’s Cody Parkey missed the conversion.

For Cincinnati bettors, it was a prayer answered. That never seems to come in on your behalf, but it did here.

For Cleveland bettors, it was a heist. Brown backers are ready to fill out a police report.

2a. PointsBet Karma Kommittee Watch

So the good news is the PointsBet NJ Karma Kommittee was watching and ready to take action.

On Monday, the operator lifted up Cleveland bettors by posting this Tweet:

Bad karma became good karma.

The Browns host the Las Vegas Raiders in a very bettable game. And those who catch the -2.5 will be happy they got it for less than a field goal.

3. Fate giveth, fate taketh away

Here was a real roller-coaster ride for Atlanta Falcons bettors, as their team is 1-6 heading into Thursday’s NFL Week Eight game against Carolina.

Multiple NJ sportsbooks had the Falcons line at -2.5 as of late Wednesday morning.

The problem is Atlanta keeps getting close, but fails to close out games. They trailed the Detroit Lions, 16-14, in the final stages of Sunday’s game as they drove toward a score.

Todd Gurley broke through for a first down and tried to go down at the 1-yard line. This would’ve allowed the Falcons to wind down the clock and kick the game-winning field goal as time expired. It would have been a half-point loss for Falcons bettors, but a badly needed win for the team.

But Gurley accidentally scored, giving Atlanta a 22-16 lead with 1:04 remaining. Falcon bettors had been given a gift, but it was snatched from them in gut-wrenching fashion.

Guess what happened next? Detroit got the ball and scored on the final play. Detroit prevailed, 23-22.

The Falcons could form their own division of any sportsbooks’ bad beat committee. Three epic fourth-quarter meltdowns have turned this team from a should-be 4-3 to 1-6.

4. Steelers play to the number

Entering NFL Week Eight, oddsmakers are uncanny regarding the Steelers, whose games gravitate to the number like a magnet.

Many Pittsburgh contests against the spread are determined in the final seconds. Sunday, it was clinched on the final play. Pittsburgh, +1 at DraftKings and FanDuel sportsbooks, had a 27-7 third-quarter lead.

A breeze for once, right? Nope. Tennessee closed to 27-24 and gained position for a field goal to force overtime on the final play. Fortunately for Steelers bettors, it went wide.

The Steelers remain the NFL’s only unbeaten team, and they are  5-1 against the spread.

5. Think moneyline for NFL Week 8

These cardiac covers present an alternative to snake-bit spread bettors: moneyline parlays.

This four-team parlay paid better than 3-1 at DraftKings:

  • Chiefs –355 versus Broncos
  • Rams -250 versus Bears
  • Chargers -370 versus Jaguars
  • Eagles -240 versus Giants

All bettors needed were straight-up winners.

Lumping prohibitive favorites on a moneyline ticket will usually put you in contention to cash.

What’s wrong with 3-1 odds?

photo by ASSOCIATED PRESS 

Dave Bontempo

About

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and IGaming Player, among others.