NFL odds: Are double-digit favorites worth betting in Week 8?

·Betting analyst
·4 min read

The Arizona Cardinals covered last week as a 20-point favorite to the Houston Texans. A 31-5 win validated the highest spread of the 2021 season. Historically, underdogs have fared well, covering approximately 70% of the time when the spread reaches 20 points. The past two seasons have seen both 20-point favorites bring home the money as the Chiefs cruised past the Jets, 35-9, in 2020 as well.

The bigger the favorite, the better? It sure seems that way this season. Double-digit favorites are 8-3 this year, covering at a 72% rate. The defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 3-0 in this spot after embarrassing the Bears, 38-3, as 12-point favorites. The Houston Texans and Detroit Lions account for 7-of-11 games that featured spreads of 10 or more, with Houston failing to cover in its last three. The Texans find themselves right back in the same role as double-digit underdogs to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. Let's take a look at that game plus two others featuring double-digit favorites and punch in some solid bets for Week 8.

Los Angeles Rams (-14.5) at Houston Texans

The Texans failed to cover as 20-point underdogs and now get 5.5 points less versus the 6-1 Rams. This line indicates Tyrod Taylor is expected to return from injury this week. Taylor's last start was coincidentally the only time this season that Houston has covered as a double-digit underdog.

Don't let Taylor's success against Jacksonville fool you into believing you are getting a good price with Houston. It's already accounted for in the number. If Taylor can't go on Sunday, the spread should move three or four points in L.A.'s direction.

Taylor's success came against a Jags defense that is 31st in completion percentage allowed while this Rams team is second in interceptions. This is a big step up in competition for Taylor in his first game back from injury. L.A. maintains a huge advantage on the other side of the ball as well. Not only do they rank top five in scoring, but Stafford is also third in passing yards and is matched up against a Houston defense that is 32nd in success rate allowed per dropback. The combined pressure from Aaron Donald and the scoreboard will be enough to make Taylor's return a miserable one. Lay the big number with the Rams.

General action between the Houston Texans and Los Angeles Rams in the second half at NRG Stadium in 2019. (Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports)
General action between the Houston Texans and Los Angeles Rams in the second half at NRG Stadium in 2019. (Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports)

Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills (-13.5)

I would love to make a case for the Dolphins here because I still believe they are underrated by the market. I just can't. The Bills blasted this same team 35-0 in Miami six weeks ago. Tua Tagovailoa continues to allow defenses to force him into bad decisions and the Bills have the firepower to make you pay for every mistake. Let's be honest. It's a real possibility Tagovailoa is not a member of the Dolphins by the time this game kicks off. Even factoring him in for the full game, this number is probably warranted.

The Bills closed as 19-point favorites to the Texans. Would you favor Miami by 5.5 points right now against Houston? I think it would be closer to -3. Josh Allen's explosive offense always carries legitimate blowout potential. They have covered four of their last five games and by an average of 11 points per game, which is second-best only to Arizona. I am a big fan of Brian Flores but I am a bigger fan of winning bets. Let's cash in on the big favorite with the Bills.

New York Giants (+10) at Kansas City Chiefs

Is there a bigger surprise this season than the struggles of Patrick Mahomes? One of the biggest mistakes we make as sports bettors is not believing who teams are when they are screaming the truth at you loud and clear week after week. It's just one of those years for the Chiefs.

BetMGM released lines on every game before the season started. This game was Chiefs -10. If you believe absolutely nothing has changed from August to now in regards to this Chiefs team then fire away. There is no better indicator for success in a game than turnover margin and nobody is giving it away more than Kansas City. The Chiefs are a league-worst -10 in turnover margin so I can't bet them as a -10 favorite. The Giants should be healthier and are coming off a big win. I'm banking on Big Blue delivering for bettors as a double-digit dog.

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