Here’s a handicapping perspective on three Sunday games on the NFL’s Week 8 card: Patriots at Bills, Packers at Falcons, and Eagles at Cowboys.
New England Patriots (-6.5, 47) at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m. ET
Computer-based handicappers are on the Bills on Sunday, but computer-based handicappers ignore trends like 1) the Bills have not swept the Patriots in a season since 1999, 2) the Patriots having not been swept by any AFC East opponent since 2001, and 3) New England has won 26 of the last 30 (!) meetings with the Bills, going 16-11-3 ATS in those games. Also, Buffalo will be without stud running back LeSean McCoy on Sunday.
The Bills (4-3 SU and ATS) had a four-game winning streak snapped after relinquishing a 17-6 lead last week at Miami. Some may write it off as a look-ahead spot for the Bills, who now face New England and Seattle in consecutive weeks. The second game of the recent streak was a 16-0 shutout of the Patriots in New England, but third-stringer Jacoby Brissett, bad thumb and all, was under center for the Pats that day.
Throw out that Bills game (and you should), and New England is a perfect 6-0, both SU and ATS. But when a team is having this kind of success, the betting market asks more from it, hence Sunday’s rather hefty spread for a road team.
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons (-3, 53), 4:25 p.m. ET
The Falcons (4-3 SU, 5-2 ATS) have come down to earth a bit with two straight losses, but they built enough credibility during their preceding four-game winning streak to be favored over Green Bay, evidently.
The Packers (4-2 SU, 3-2-1 ATS) got back on track with a 26-10 win over the Bears last Thursday night, giving them a few extra days’ rest ahead of Sunday’s contest in Atlanta. They remain depleted at running back, but their passing game provided reason for optimism last week, even it was against the Bears.
Green Bay has covered the spread in four of their last five opportunities as road underdogs.
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys (-4.5, 43)
It’s rookie QB vs. rookie QB in this NFC East showdown, as Carson Wentz leads the Eagles into Dallas to face Dak Prescott and the Cowboys.
The Cowboys are is in fine form, going 5-1 both SU and ATS through six games, but the line here marks a major leap of expectations from where they’ve been priced most of the season. From a wagering perspective, covering Sunday’s spread looks to be Dallas’ toughest task so far.
Philly (4-2 SU and ATS) got an ugly home win over Minnesota last week to end a two-game skid. Both of their losses were as road favorites (at Detroit, at Washington), so getting points in this spot is an inviting proposition for Eagles backers.
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