A look, now, at the three biggest games for NFL betting fans from Week 8. All NFL football lines are courtesy of Sports Interaction.
Atlanta Falcons (4-2) at New Orleans Saints (6-0) Saints -10.0, Over/Under 54.5
Had the Falcons not melted down in Dallas last week and the Saints not posted a stirring second-half comeback in Miami, this game could have been for the NFC South lead. Instead, it’s all about the Falcons just trying to keep pace. Yes, 10 points is a lot to give a good Atlanta offense (24 point-per-game average) in a divisional rivalry game, but consider just how dominant the Saints have been thus far. Their 39.7 points per game and 427.3 yards per game are tops in the NFL and their point difference at home – New Orleans has outscored opponents 117-64 at the Superdome – is beyond impressive. This is a tall order for the Falcons and QB Matt Ryan, who was pounded last week in Dallas. If he can rebound from his four-sack, two-interception, two-fumble performance of last week, the Falcons should be in good shape to cover. If not? Well, it could be a very long day.
Denver Broncos (6-0) at Baltimore Ravens (3-3) Ravens -3.0, Over/Under 41.0
It’s not too often you see a 6-0 team getting points on the road against a .500 club. But it stays consistent with what oddsmakers have done to the Broncos throughout the 2009 season – despite the undefeated record, Denver has only been favoured twice this year (against the lowly Raiders and Browns). In respose, Denver is a perfect 6-0 ATS and seems to be reveling in the underdog role.
There’s also something of a role reversal heading into Sunday’s game in Baltimore. The Broncos pass defense – ranked 26th in the league last year – has vaulted to eighth-best in the NFL. Meanwhile, the stout Ravens pass defense – ranked second in the NFL – has fallen all the way to 23rd. That’s an interesting development for two young QBs in Joe Flacco and Kyle Orton; Flacco has been great this season (11 TDs to five INTs) while Orton has been steady-yet-unspectacular. This one could be decided by which signal-caller provides superior ball protection.
Minnesota Vikings (6-1) at Green Bay Packers (4-2) Packers -3.0, Over/Under 47.0
The Brett Favre Reunion Tour makes it’s highly anticipated stop in Wisconsin this weekend in what might be the most talked about football game of the year. This’ll actually be the second time Favre has faced his old club – he led the Vikings to a 30-23 win over the Packers in early October – and there are plenty of issues lingering from that game that Green Bay will have to address. Namely, how to stop Vikings DE Jared Allen. We’ve lauded Allen with tons of praise this year, but rightly so, as he’s been a real difference maker on defense. At no time was that more obvious than when these two teams last met – Allen sacked Aaron Rodgers 4.5 times, recorded a safety and made life miserable for Packers LT Chad Clifton. If the Pack can slow him down and continue their own defensive dominance (they’ve allowed just three points over their last two games), they should be good for a cover. But don’t understimate a Vikings team looking to rebound after getting punched in the mouth by the Steelers last Sunday.