Bill Speros for Bookies.com

By Bill Speros | | 9 mins

NFL Week 8 Betting Recap: No-Name QBs No More After Upsets

NFL Week 8 Betting Recap: No-Name QBs No More After Upsets
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The Jets, Saints and Cowboys faced nightmare scenarios on Halloween during Week 8 of the NFL betting season.

Jets QB Mike White had not won a game since 2017 when he was at Western Kentucky and faced the top team in the AFC.

Saints QB Trevor Siemian came in relief for an injured Jameis Winston against the Super Bowl champs.

Cowboys QB Cooper Rush replaced the ailing Dak Prescott to start for the Cowboys vs. the Vikings.

Neither White nor Rush had ever started an NFL game. The last time Siemian won a game in which he played was 2017.

The result?

Game Score Spread ML
CIN at NYJ 34-31, NYJ NYJ +11.5 NYJ +475
TB at NO 36-27, NO NO +4 NO +170
DAL at MIN 20-16, DAL DAL +4 DAL +180

Three huge outright underdog upsets and three covers against the spread.

Those games helped deliver an overall financial victory for the nation’s legal sportsbooks and betting sites against the betting public. It was the first black Sunday for the books since Week 5.


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The most financially pivotal unheralded QB victory of the day came at MetLife Stadium. White, technically a rookie, threw for 405 yards and found his inner Joe Willie Namath in a 34-31 stunner over the Bengals. Gang Green closed +11.5 at PointsBet and +475 at BetMGM on the moneyline. Since 2018, White has been cut by the Cowboys once and the Jets three times.

In all, 77% of the public backed the Bengals against the spread and 62% supported them on the moneyline at -526, according to our consensus analysis of the action at Caesars, BetMGM, bet365, Resorts, PointsBet, SugarHouse, 888, FOX Bet and DraftKings.

“Mike White is the sportsbook’s best friend. The day was defined by underdogs winning outright and White's Jets beating the Bengals was PointsBet's second biggest result of the season, behind only the Patriots covering in Tom Brady's return to New England. Bettors believed in the Titans as underdogs but otherwise heavily backed favorites, who after weeks of covering consistently finally failed to do so," said Jay Croucher, Director of Trading at PointsBet.

The Bengals absorbed 85% of the spread handle and 96% of the moneyline (-550) handle at PointsBet backed Cincy's Black and Orange cats on Halloween.

NFL Week 8 Betting Recap: No-Name QBs No More After Upsets 1

Meanwhile, Tom Brady and the Buccaneers (-5) were on the short side against the Saints and Siemian. Brady threw a pick-six with 1:24 to play that sealed the 36-27 win for New Orleans. The public stood behind the Bucs – now 6-2 overall and just 3-5 ATS – with 71% of its spread handle and 54% of its moneyline cash backing the losers.

Dallas upped its record to 7-0 ATS and 6-1 overall after a 20-16 victory over the Vikings. Rush completed 60% of his throws and tossed a pair of TD passes against one pick. The Cowboys kept the Vikings out of the end zone at home over the final three quarters. Dallas opened up as 2.5-point favorites last week. That line moved as Prescott’s status moved from uncertain to eventually, out. The Cowboys were 4-point underdogs at PointsBet and -200 on the moneyline at BetMGM when the game began.

“It’s been a strong performance for us thus far. Of course, the Jets winning outright helped us greatly as it broke up multiple moneyline favorite parlays. The Buccaneers losing was also a good result for us,” said Alan Berg, Senior Trading Manager at WynnBET on Sunday night.

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Underdogs Bite Back

After a recent run in which betting favorites dominated, the dogs bit back. Underdogs are 9-4-1 in the 14 games played thus far in Week 8. After 121 games in 2021, NFL betting underdogs hold a 67-53-1 (54.2%) edge ATS.

At BetMGM, sharp action pushed the lines on the Patriots, Saints, Vikings, Colts and 49ers. The Patriots (+4) and Saints (+4) covered and won outright as underdogs. The Colts (+1) lost in overtime. The 49ers (-4) won 33-22. And the Vikings, as noted above, went down with the ship at home.

The real stressor continues to be a mix of tight spread and moneyline games that have kept in-game bettors active and/or agitated. Four games in Week 8 have been decided by three points or less, with the Titans beating the Colts 34-31 in overtime.

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Down To The Wire

NFL Week 8 Betting Recap: No-Name QBs No More After Upsets 2

There were three double-digit spreads on Sunday. Two of them weren’t decided until the game’s final minutes.

Bills Mafia backers got either a welcomed push or scored a late cover – depending on when they bet – after QB Josh Allen skipped into the end zone from 7 yards out with 1:14 to play against Miami. The Bills beat the Dolphins 26-11 after closing as 15-point favorites at bet365 and elsewhere. The line opened last week at Buffalo -13.5.

Houston rookie David Mills remains the most-unheralded QB when it comes to delivering spread wins for terrible teams. Mills rallied the Texans to a thrilling back-door cover against the Rams in a 38-22 loss. Down 38-0 entering the fourth quarter, David threw a pair of TD passes and the Texans scored 22 unanswered points in the final quarter to nab the hook on a 16.5-point closing line. The Texans are now 4-4 ATS despite going 1-7 overall.

The other big spread, as noted above, came in New Jersey with the Bengals giving 11.5 points to the Jets at the close before losing outright.

“It was a bit of a mixed bag for us today. We lost six figures on the Buffalo game with the Bills covering but we made it back with the Jets winning outright. I think with Wilson out and White starting, even Jets fans were skittish to back them today. We lost two bigger decisions in the later slate with the Broncos covering and the Patriots covering and winning outright,” said Borgata AC Director of Race and Sports Book Thomas Gable on Sunday.


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Don’t Forget About Geno

The Seahawks (-4, -190) rolled to 31-7 win over the Jaguars. Fill-in Seahawks QB Geno Smith scored a cover in his eighth straight start, going all the way back to 2014 when he was with the Jets.

Overall in his career, Smith is 19-13-1 ATS, covering in 57.5% of his 33 career starts.


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Week 8 Rookie Report

NFL Week 8 Betting Recap: No-Name QBs No More After Upsets 3

Four rookie quarterbacks started in Week 8. Mac Jones and the Patriots upset the Chargers 27-24, winning outright as 3.5-point and +167 underdogs at the close. Trevor Lawrence fell to 1-6 and 2-5 ATS as the Jaguars bowed to Geno Smith and the Seahawks. It was Smith’s first win as a starter since 2014. Justin Fields continued to struggle in a loss to the 49ers.

Here’s our Week 8 rookie breakdown:

TeamQB C/AttYPass TD INT Spread Final
JAXTrevor Lawrence32/5423811JAX +431-7, SEA
NEMac Jones18/3521821NE +3.527-24, NE
HOUDavis Mills29/4324300HOU +16.5 38-22, LAR
CHIJustin Fields19/2717511CHI +533-22, SF

Mills became the sixth rookie QB to play in 2021 after Texans QB Tyrod Taylor was hurt in Week 2. Fields was pressed into service for the Bears after Andy Dalton suffered a knee injury.


Major Week 8 Wagers

There were Big Bets aplenty in Week 8. Here are some notable net wins and losses:

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Plays Of The Day

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Monday Night Preview: Chiefs at Giants

Check out the latest Chiefs vs. Giants odds ahead of the matchup on Monday Night Football.

The Kansas City Chiefs are alone in the basement of the AFC West heading into their Monday night game against Big Blue in KC. Kansas City is just 3-4 overall and 2-5 against the spread. One more loss, and the Chiefs will clinch the under on their season total of 12.5 wins.

There’s been some shrinkage in this line (cold weather, you know), which opened with the Chiefs as 13-point favorites.

The public is backing Kansas City but has faded just a bit in its intensity. According to our consensus analysis, the public is supporting the Chiefs with 65% of the spread and 76% of the moneyline handles.


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(All odds and handle information is accurate as of time of publication.)

About the Author

Bill Speros for Bookies.com
Bill Speros
Bill Speros is an award-winning journalist and editor whose career includes stops at USA Today Sports Network / Golfweek, Cox Media, ESPN, Orlando Sentinel and Denver Post.