NFL Week 8 Betting Preview: Two West Virginia Fan Favorites Face Off

Posted on October 29, 2020

Here comes an abundance of emotional riches. And perhaps financial ones.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens, deeply loved NFL franchises by West Virginia sports betting fans, clash in one of the year’s top games Sunday.

Pittsburgh is suddenly the only unbeaten team in the NFL. It visits Baltimore, another team expected to advance deep into the playoffs.

The WV online sports betting crowd is watching the line that has remained stable at Pittsburgh +3.5 and the rich moneyline, +165, for a Steelers triumph. For two days, the spread line appeared land-locked.

Wednesday morning, it was nudged to 4 and would figure to attract a rush of Steelers’ action. Should that number come down and drop to 2.5, Ravens bettors will tee off.

Here are some of the early considerations.

Pittsburgh has won four straight against the spread, 5-1 overall. The Steelers led a charmed life in surviving nearly blowing a 27-7 lead Sunday against the Tennessee Titans to hold on, 27-24, at +1 by game time at DraftKings Sportsbook. The Steelers ranged between +1 and -2.5 all week.

Pittsburgh faces its most mobile opponent to date in Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. He’s a terrific running threat and has weapons like wide receiver Marquise Brown and tight end Mark Andrews as scoring and prop possibilities.

The Steelers have an array of talented receivers. JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool provide a speedy, talented group. Schuster is due to get into the end zone. Maybe Washington, too.

The over-under was 46.5 Wednesday morning. Both teams have been playing to the over in recent weeks.

The Ravens have won their last 15 Sunday games.

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Gut-check time for Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals have led a dual life. With rookie Joe Burrow, they are much improved and far more respected than in their 2-14 season last year. The Bengals are a league-leading 6-1 against the spread despite winning only one game on the moneyline.

Fans are waiting for them to turn the corner, while bettors are enjoying the party.

Here comes another stiff challenge. Cincinnati hosts the Tennessee Titans, one of the league’s top teams, after a heartbreaking setback to the Cleveland Browns last week. The Bengals went up 34-31 with 1:06 left only to surrender a 24-yard touchdown pass with only 11 seconds remaining. Cincinnati was one or two plays from putting the game in its pocket.

Because Cody Parkey missed the extra point, Bengals backers cashed at +3.5. And PointsBet convened a meeting of its Karma Kommittee to refund Browns backers with free bets.

Burrow is a budding star with Cincinnati, becoming its first rookie to throw for over 400 yards last week. Thinking about where the over-under could lead? Consider this: Tennessee, despite having an excellent team, is the NFL’s worst defense on third down conversions. That will play into Burrow’s favor if the team can emotionally heal from the last-second dagger.

Tennessee has won seven of its last eight road games.

The over-under is 54.5.

Cleveland rocks

What about the Browns, another popular team for West Virginia gamblers? They host a Las Vegas Raiders team that was thumped by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 45-20 on Sunday, allowing three fourth-quarter touchdowns.

Although this game screams “over,” the total of 53.5 won’t be easy to reach.

Cleveland is 5-2, righting the ship in Cincinnati after being blown out by the Steelers.

The Browns have won seven of their last eight home games. They have also scored more than 30 points in four of the last five weeks.

Overall, the AFC North is an excellent division. Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Baltimore have the inside track for playoff positions.

Opening the slate

The Atlanta Falcons visit the Carolina Panthers to launch Week 8 on Thursday night.

The Falcons may be the hard-luck team of all time. Their 1-6 mark should be 4-3, as they have suffered epic meltdowns against the Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys and, most recently, the Detroit Lions.

The Falcons were beaten on the final play of the game Sunday after a bizarre unintended touchdown by Todd Gurley put them up 22-16 with 1:04 left. With Atlanta trailing 16-14 and trying to run the clock down for a game-ending field goal, Gurley inadvertently scored. And the world changed.

FanDuel Sportsbook reported that the Lions were priced at +1600 to win the game at that moment, but something was in the air.

In the space of minutes after the Gurley TD was scored, 121 bets were placed on the Lions moneyline at +1600.  No big wagers, just customers feeling the game wasn’t over.

What a hunch.

Around the league

Seattle-San Francisco is a premier matchup. The host Seahawks always seem to play close to their spread number but haven’t covered in the last two weeks. San Francisco drubbed New England 33-6 last week at + 2 and is getting many of its players healthy. This is a fine game.

Buffalo is favored against New England for the first time in ages, and why not? The Bills have a 2.5 game lead on the non-Tom Brady Patriots, who simply have no offensive threats.

The Bills have been hard-pressed to score in the past two weeks and did not reach the end zone in an 18-10 win over the New York Jets. Is this the breakout week?

Or will another stat continue? Eight of New England’s last nine road games against AFC East opponents have gone under the point total. This week it’s 43.

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Different ways to win — the tease

Not every victory has to come from the spread or the moneyline.

Here was a three-team parlay on over-under point totals from DraftKings on Sunday, in which the over-under was “teased” or moved six points in exchange for a significantly different price.

  • Cleveland-Cincinnati teased from 50 to 44 and bet over, price of -230.
  • New Orleans Saints-Carolina teased from 50 to 44 and bet over, -230.
  • New England-San Francisco teased from 44 to 38 and bet over,-250.

Each bet individually is not attractive, price-wise. But put them together? This paid 2-1.

This wager made two of the overs more easily attainable and turned San Francisco-New England into a winner. The final score of 33-6 made that game triumph by just half a point. Without the tease, that game finishes under.

Extra points

There have been no punts returned for a touchdown this year. Seems strange until you consider that teams are punting a lot less. Perhaps they should do it more and play a little field position.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are coming. Really coming. They have an abundance of weapons and a revitalized Rob Gronkowski as their line against the New York Giants went to -10.5 on Monday.

Dave Bontempo Avatar
Written by
Dave Bontempo

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. He writes significantly about the emerging world of legal New Jersey sports betting.

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