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Ballin' on a Budget Week 8 Picks

We’re finally in the black as promised. That was hard. Now, the hard part is staying there. That starts with Week 8 picks, which seem particularly tough. It looks like odds makers are fine tuning their lines well as the season gets deeper, because it was really hard to find bets to like this week. Still, we have a column to write, so there were five worth writing about.

Since there’s nothing that jumps out at me as a “lock” (there’s no such thing), we’re just going to throw the same amount of money on all these games and hope we at least go 3-2 and keep building up our stacks of cash.

Colts -3 at Raiders (-115)

In case you hadn’t noticed, the Raiders are in complete disarray. The trade of Amari Cooper isn’t going to affect their on-field product through lost production. He had been injured and under performing all year long. However, it is the beginning of a long rebuilding process and nobody wants to deal with that mid-season.

This game might be in Oakland, but with running back Marshawn Lynch headed to the injured reserve, what reason do some of these guys have to be out there? I’m not saying the team is going to completely give up (although they might), but the Colts have more on the line in a mediocre AFC South, so the desperation for the win alone might give them the slight edge. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.48.

Packers +9 at Rams (-110)

It’s just hard to imagine an Aaron Rodgers led team losing by double digits. Yes, they are playing the NFL’s best team on the road and are coming off a near disaster against the 49ers, but it’s still hard to imagine. Green Bay’s pass defense is in the top 10, but it’s run defense is ranked 20th in yards allowed per game. They can’t allow Todd Gurley III to shred them. Easier said than done.

In a game that should take on a playoff-like atmosphere, Rodgers is going to show up. He probably can’t will his injury-riddled team to victory on one leg against football’s best team, but he can certainly keep it within 10 points. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.64.

Vikings -1 vs. Saints (-110)

In a rematch of last year’s classic NFC Divisional Round playoff game, Minnesota and New Orleans square off again, this time with the No. 2 seed in the NFC potentially at stake. That might be getting ahead of ourselves, but this is a big one. The fact it’s in Minnesota makes all the difference. They’ve been rolling and getting this game at home is huge.

The Saints are coming off a lucky 24-23 win in which Justin Tucker missed an extra point that would’ve sent the game into overtime. Rarely, do the football gods let you get away with that unscathed. Expect New Orleans to come crashing back down to earth against another good defense and for Minnesota to hold on late in a potential playoff preview. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.64.

Broncos-Chiefs UNDER 55 (-110)

Divisional games, especially in the AFC West, always seem to be tough. In fact, this very match up already proved to be tough with Denver falling late at home, 27-23. Now, the Broncos are faced with stopping a Kansas City offense that just put up 45 against the Bengals on Sunday Night Football.

While Denver’s defense isn’t nearly as strong as many anticipated it would be, there is reason to believe in this under. One is that Denver’s own offense has really struggled. That opens the door for the under to still hit, even in the case of a blowout. This simply seems like too high an over/under given how these teams have played on defense as of late. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.64.

Patriots-Bills OVER 44 (-110)

If nothing else, bet this over just so you can be entertained watching Derek Anderson try to out duel Tom Brady. Of course, that won’t happen, but the Patriots defense is bad and the Bills should be able to do something on offense. This is likely to be a two-score game, but not 21-7, more like 42-28. We’ve seen it all year long: New England wins shootouts.

Of course, the Bills are depleted on offense, but again, they should put up enough points (grouped with how many points they get gashed by the Patriots for) to easily cover 44 total points. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.64.

No bonus picks this week; there simply aren’t enough good games to give you any more options. Let’s hope the sports betting gods don’t take spite on us for winning two bets on that Justin Tucker missed extra point last week. Those things always seem to have a way of evening themselves out...

Jacob Kornhauser
Jacob Kornhauser is a sports reporter in Southern Oregon covering all sports, including Oregon and Oregon State athletics. He has been a national baseball writer for Bleacher Report and Rant Sports and has written two baseball books. He also specializes in sports betting analysis. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School.

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