The most volatile game in the betting market for Week 8 is Thursday night's matchup between the Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers. Packers star WR Davante Adams likely being out due to COVID-19 protocols initiated a ton of steam moving the opening line from Packers +3.5 to +6.5 at BetMGM. Allen Lazard has joined Adams on the COVID list while sports bettors braced all week for the next name to drop. The total has also moved down significantly from the opening consensus line of 52.5. The question now: Does the line move create value on the over?
How much scoring should we expect in a marquee matchup between two potential MVP quarterbacks? Overs are hitting in 59% of prime-time games, but are only 2-3-1 the last two weeks. Scoring dipped 6.4 points per game last week while unders hit in eight of the 13 matchups. Each week I weigh in on the totals for all three prime-time games. This week's slate features some of the league's most explosive offenses with all three totals lined in the 50s. Here are my best bets for each.
TNF: Green Bay at Arizona (Over 50.5)
The Packers missing Aaron Rodgers' favorite weapon has pushed this total down, but I am not sold we will see less offense from the Packers. Rodgers has made a career of doing more with less and has made bettors who doubted him pay along the way. Per betting analyst Joe Osbourne, the Packers averaged 33.5 points with Rodgers throwing seven TDs in two games without Adams last season. With JJ Watt out, Rodgers should have ample time to dissect the Cardinals' secondary.
The betting line implies a team total of 22 points for the Packers, who have scored at least 24 in six straight games. If Aaron Rodgers does his part, Kyler Murray should be able to do his. The Cardinals have the fourth-ranked scoring offense and surpassed 30 points in six of seven games this season. Injuries to the Packers' defense leave them without their top pass rusher and one of the best cover defenders in the league. Green Bay is 1-6 to the over but mainly due to the struggling offenses they have faced. It's quite the opposite this week.
SNF: Dallas at Minnesota (Under 55)
Every bet has a buy point. This total continues to soar high enough to where the value is on the other side. The Dallas offense has been dynamite. They are ranked first in scoring (34.2 ppg) and yards per play (6.6), and second in offensive success rate. Will the bye week take them out of their rhythm? Probably not, but I wouldn't mind a slow start.
The Vikings secondary, even without Patrick Pederson, can neutralize Dallas' outside weapons enough for Minnesota's second-ranked pass rush to get home. A couple of drive-killing sacks can go a long way to slowing down the Cowboys' output. Penalties are another drive-killer. Head referee Scott Novak throws more flags per game than any other official, but makes the second-fewest amount of pass-interference calls. Anything that can potentially slow the game down works in favor of the under.
Minnesota gets a recharged rushing attack with Dalvin Cook fresh off a bye week. After dialing up 36 rushing attempts against Carolina, I am sure Zimmer will want to establish the run and chew up some clock with his superstar running back. Dallas' 19th-ranked defense against the run should provide just enough resistance to make Minnesota sustain some long drives. Dallas is 5-1 to the over, but failed in the only game in which the total reached 53. I'm betting 55 is a little too high.
MNF: N.Y. Giants at Kansas City Chiefs (Under 52.5)
Kansas City's elite offense hit rock bottom last week. After averaging only 18 points in the last three weeks, I think Andy Reid has to find a way to limit the turnovers. The Chiefs lead the league by a wide margin with 17 giveaways, which is five more than any other team in the NFL. Patrick Mahomes is at his best when he can get the ball out quickly and let his receivers make plays. Long, sustained drives fueled by a short effective passing game could be Reid's recipe on Monday night.
The Giants' offense is 27th in Football Outsiders' efficiency metrics and scored less than 15 points on three separate occasions this season. They got some key offensive players back on the practice field Wednesday, but it's unknown how many will get the green light for Monday night. Giants coach Judge knows his only shot is keeping Mahomes off the field by winning time of possession. On a cold night in Kansas City, I think both offenses could take some time to warm up. Give me under 52.5.