Art Aronson’s NFL Line Watch Week 8
By Art Aronson
Each week during the pro football season, Art Aronson looks at the NFL odds and tells you which spread to bet now, which one to bet later, and which total to watch as the week plays out.
Game to bet now
Minnesota at Cleveland (+9.5)
After going 1-15 last season, is it possible for the Browns to actually be worse than that this year? Cleveland will have reached the halfway mark of this season by this time next week, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone outside of Northeast Ohio who thinks they can reverse things and find a way to put up a W. Didn’t you just KNOW that they would lose last Sunday? How bad is it? A Browns promotion to give a prize to one fan when awry when the seat chosen at random was unoccupied. Oh, and their best lineman (tackle Joe Thomas, who hasn’t missed a game since 2007, looks lost for the year with a triceps tear. Money is already heavy on the Vikings, moving the line a full two points from 7.5. Expect more Minnesota money to change the line even more, so if you like Minnesota, best jump now.
Game to wait on
Dallas at Washington (+1)
Ten of the 16 teams in the NFC, including these two, have either two or three losses. Catching 6-1 Philadelphia is hardly out of the question, but this division game is vital for both when tie-breakers to determine playoff draws will almost certainly come into play. At 3-3 the Cowboys have to be a disappointment to National Anthem-obsessed owner Jerry Jones, but they better get their act together soon if they want to play in the post-season – next up are Kansas City, (at) Atlanta and Philadelphia. Washington (also 3-3), meanwhile, has a slightly easier schedule and would like nothing better than to slap down the Boys and take a giant step toward turning the East into a two-team race with Philadelphia.
Total to watch
Miami at Baltimore (37.5)
Lines in the high-30s/low-40s range were unicorns in recent years, but they seem to be coming back. The Dolphins are the second-lowest-scoring team in the league (thank you, Cleveland) and their 1-5 record against the over reflects that. Jay Cutler has one of the lowest QB ratings in the league (78.8). Still, there are signs that things might be moving in the right direction. The Fins have won three in a row, and in their last two games (Atlanta, Jets) have actually been able to move the ball. Miami (4-2 SU) is in the thick of it in a rejuvenated AFC East. Baltimore’s offense has been all over the map, and inconsistent QB Joe Flacco is being asked questions like “Is the offense completely broken?” Yikes.