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Betting Against the Spread: NFL Picks For Week 8


As kids go out for Halloween festivities this weekend, we also can try and figure out the tricks and treats in the NFL. There will be one less undefeated team with Denver and Green Bay playing on Sunday night. The funny thing about that matchup is we get to see how the Packers’ offense does against a real good defense while the Broncos’ offense tries to improve from its slow start. Carolina and Cincinnati are also undefeated and will get tests of their own.

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Record: 18-9-1 (4-1 last week)

Detroit Lions (1-6) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (2-5) (London)

The last London game of the season (already?) features a cross-conference affair between a pair of struggling teams. Kansas City is coming off a solid win at home over the Steelers although it wasn't a focused spot for Pittsburgh as we pointed out last week. KC's offense hasn't been that good since losing Jamaal Charles. The Chiefs now rely now on Alex Smith to get the ball to Jeremy Maclin and Travis Kelce. Detroit's defense has been hit-or-miss this season, allowing three teams to throw for 250 yards or fewer while three others have put up 300 or more. I have a little bit more faith in Detroit to take advantage of a porous Kansas City secondary with Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate and Eric Ebron. KC is just 2-5 ATS this season. SELECTION: Lions +5

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San Francisco 49ers (2-5) at St. Louis Rams (3-3)

The 49ers continue to struggle on offense as they head to St. Louis. San Fran has scored 10 points or fewer in it last three games including the loss to the Seahawks this past Thursday night. Colin Kaepernick is back to being the struggling quarterback he was when the season began. St. Louis is hot defensively especially at home, holding the Steelers and Browns to a combined 18 points. San Francisco doesn't have much of a run game to speak of. St. Louis's offense has improved now that Todd Gurley is healthy. His success is impressive considering the Rams have thrown for more than 200 yards just once, in the season opener against Seattle. The Rams have played four unders in six games this season while the 49ers have played 20 unders in their last 32 against conference opponents. SELECTION: Under 40

San Diego Chargers (2-5) at Baltimore Ravens (1-6)

It's been a terrible season for the Ravens, as they continue to suffer tough losses and even tougher injuries. Baltimore lost its sixth one-possession game on Monday night in Arizona. Joe Flacco isn't playing well and it's probably because he has no one to throw to other then Steve Smith Sr. and Crockett Gillmore. The Chargers’ strength is in their secondary so the struggles could continue. San Diego has had a hard time running the ball and probably won't be able to do so against the Ravens, who have allowed just two teams to rush for more than 100 yards. These two met in a shootout last year in Baltimore, but I just don't see that happening again in 2015. San Diego has gone under in 21 of its last 30 games against conference opponents including 14 of 22 on the road. This number seems a bit high. SELECTION: Under 50

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New York Jets (4-2) at Oakland Raiders (3-3)

The Jets hit the road for the second straight week after losing a tough one in New England. Now they get a confident Raiders team that won in San Diego last time out. New York's defense continues to be the story having allowed just 75 points in its first five games before giving up 30 to New England. Oakland's offense has shown flashes of brilliance, but could struggle to move the ball. What has been a surprise is the Raiders’ D, which has held all of its opponents to fewer than 130 yards on the ground. Their struggles have come against the pass, which the Jets can do pretty well with Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall. Last year these two played a 19-14 game in New York and that was with a worse Oakland squad. SELECTION: Under 44.5

Green Bay Packers (6-0) at Denver Broncos (6-0)

It's a battle of undefeateds in Denver Sunday night. The Packers’ defense has put up good numbers, but look at the opponents. The Chargers gashed them for over 500 yards before the bye. Denver’s offense has had its issues and it's not the same Peyton Manning, but at home with the weapons he has, I'm not ready to give up. Denver's issues on offense have been masked by an all-world defense that features a secondary that has allowed just one team to throw for more than 250 yards. Aaron Rodgers has had three straight pedestrian efforts and it's perhaps because the running game isn't keeping teams honest. Denver has been a home underdog of three points or less just 14 times since 1992 with none of those coming in the last three years. The Broncos have covered in 21 of their last 31 games after a bye week. The Packers are 9-9 ATS the last three seasons on the road. SELECTION: Denver +3

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— A potential unfocused spot takes place in Cleveland with the Cardinals on a short week against the Browns. Arizona beat the Ravens and will now get a third road game in three weeks. The Cards have Seattle on Nov. 15, which will certainly get more of their attention. The problem with this is how bad Cleveland is defensively and how the Browns may struggle to slow down even an unfocused Cardinals team. The Browns’ offense is capable of scoring so if their defense can play better than it has this one should be close.

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— In a game that would have been a lot better before the season, the Cowboys host Seattle. Dallas could get Dez Bryant back, which will help keep the Seahawks’ defense honest. Matt Cassel was not the savior the Cowboys hoped he would be last week against the Giants. Russell Wilson could  be on the run once again, as the Cowboys’ defensive line is a solid unit. The Seahawks have a bye then a home game against the Cardinals while the Cowboys host the Eagles next week. I don't think I can lay that many points on the road with this team, but I certainly can't take the home squad either.

— Your best spot play of the slate actually comes on Monday night. The question is if you have the bankroll to pull off a play that makes no sense statistically. Carolina has not lost this year and is hosting a Colts team that has lost two straight. Andrew Luck turned the ball over a couple of times in a six-point home loss to the Saints, but the talent is there. The Panthers beat the Eagles last time out and have the Packers next on their current three-game homestand. Logically there's no reason to think the Colts can win this game. Indy has been a road underdog this big just four times in the last three years. The line is big enough that the Colts could backdoor their way to a cover.

— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.