National Football League
Betting action report: Public backs Eagles, books need Cowboys in NFL Week 8
National Football League

Betting action report: Public backs Eagles, books need Cowboys in NFL Week 8

Updated Oct. 26, 2023 11:54 a.m. ET

NFL Week 8 odds help reveal what the difference is between Brock Purdy and, say, Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen or Jalen Hurts.

The news of the week thus far is that Purdy is in concussion protocol and therefore questionable for the San Francisco 49ers' home game against the Cincinnati Bengals — arguably the best matchup of a rather lackluster slate. And the point spread certainly had a notable shift.

But not a Mahomes-like shift, by any means.

Oddsmakers and sharp bettors weigh in on that and much more as we dive into this week's NFL and college football betting nuggets.


Questionable Quarterback

On Wednesday afternoon, the Purdy news broke. Response was swift in the Bengals-Niners market, with The SuperBook going from San Fran -5.5 to -4.5 and -3.5, literally in less than a minute.

Within 20 minutes, the 49ers were down to -3 (-120, bet $10 to win $18.33 total). Shortly thereafter, the line stabilized at -3.5 (even).

"We took some Bengals bets as we were moving down, including a sharp bet at +4.5," SuperBook senior risk supervisor Casey Degnon said Wednesday evening. "And some people are following along still, betting the Bengals at +3.5."

RELATED: Myles Garrett surging in Defensive Player of the Year race

So The SuperBook is down two points from its pre-Purdy-news number and down 2.5 from its Sunday night opener of 49ers -6.

BetMGM saw similar movement Wednesday, going from 49ers -5.5 (-115, bet $10 to win $18.70 total) to as low as -3 (-115), before settling at -3.5 (-105, bet $10 to win $19.52 total). If Purdy can't go Sunday, then Sam Darnold will be under center.

"From Purdy to Darnold, it's probably two points," BetMGM senior trader Cameron Drucker said in assessing Purdy's value to the spread.

And how does that compare with Mahomes/Allen/Hurts?

"Obviously, the backup QB makes a difference, but those three are easily worth six points, at minimum," Drucker said.

NFL Sharp Side Professional bettor Randy McKay got the best of the number on the Bengals. He bet Cincinnati early this week at +5.5.

"I liked it with Cincy getting healthier off the bye. Purdy may not play, and I still like the Bengals at +3.5," McKay said.

Two more wagers McKay has already made:

Browns +3/+3.5 at Seahawks: "I like Cleveland, even with Deshaun Watson not playing. PJ Walker has filled in OK, and the Browns can run the ball. Cleveland also has a big advantage on the defensive line, versus a weaker Seattle offensive line."

Chiefs-Broncos Under 46: "These two teams just played a low-scoring affair in Kansas City two weeks ago," McKay said, alluding to the Chiefs' 19-8 Week 6 victory. "The weather in Denver is supposed to be cold and snowy Sunday. This looks like another low-scoring game."

Snowfall is predicted to start falling Saturday, with one to three inches possible, before it tapers off by Sunday afternoon. But it'll still be a frosty 31 degrees in the Mile High City.

Is something else going on with Deshaun Watson, Browns?

College Football Rocks on FOX

FOX's Big Noon Kickoff pregame show originates from Lawrence, Kansas, at 10 a.m. ET Saturday. Immediately afterward at noon ET, FOX will air No. 6 Oklahoma versus Kansas.

BetMGM opened the Sooners -10 and spent several hours Tuesday at -9.5, before moving to -10 (-105). That's where the number sat late Wednesday night.

"We took a couple sharp bets early on Kansas +10," Drucker said. "It will be interesting to see who the public ultimately ends up on. Kansas usually gets strong support with us, but Oklahoma appears to be the public side thus far."

Once Oklahoma-Kansas wraps up, FOX keeps it going with arguably the best game on the college football Week 9 oddsboard: No. 8 Oregon vs. No. 13 Utah at 3:30 p.m. ET. 

BetMGM opened Oregon a 5.5-point road favorite and quickly moved to -6.5 Sunday night, then went to -7 Monday. On Tuesday, the Ducks receded a tick to -6.5, where the line remains Wednesday night.

"Early sharp money on Oregon," Drucker said. "It seems like the public will be on the Ducks, as well. So we will certainly be cheering for Utah."

Drucker provided insight on two more notable games:

Colorado vs. No. 23 UCLA: Coach Prime and the Buffaloes are coming off a bye and have lost three of their last four games. It won't get easier at UCLA, but that's not stopping the casual bettors from taking Colorado +17. "As you would expect, the public is and will continue to be in on the Buffs."

– No. 20 Duke vs. No. 18 Louisville: The Cardinals haven't moved off -4 all week at BetMGM. "Not a ton of action either way thus far. I would expect the injury status of Riley Leonard to determine who we need here." The Duke quarterback suffered an ankle injury in the third quarter of last week's loss at Florida State.

On-Campus Sharp Side College football betting expert Paul Stone is intrigued by the FOX Big Noon Kickoff. Utah standout QB Cam Rising was expected to return at some point this season from a torn ACL suffered in the Rose Bowl. But he didn't play through eight weeks, and after the Utes' 34-32 win at USC, coach Kyle Whittingham announced Rising wouldn't return this season.

Stone said Utah has arguably been hit harder by the injury bug than any other Power 5 team. Yet the Utes are 6-1 and definitely in the Pac-12 chase, with an outside shot to make some noise in the College Football Playoff odds market.

Stone is convinced, jumping on home underdog Utah +6.5 vs. Oregon.

"Utah is off an emotional victory at Southern Cal. But Whittingham does as good a job as any coach in America of maximizing the talent of his players," Stone said.

Stone noted that as an underdog, Utah is 19-11 against the spread (ATS) since the start of the 2013 season.

Staying in the Pac-12, Stone is going against a struggling USC program. He likes 11-point home underdog California.

"USC's goal of a playoff appearance is out the window," Stone said. "So I'll take Cal at home over a deflated Trojans squad, getting double digits."

Coach Prime, Colorado head to UCLA: Can Shedeur Sanders, Travis Hunter get Buffs back on track?

FOX NFL Smorgasbord

Degnon provided insights on a few more NFL games, including a quartet of matchups airing Sunday on FOX: Browns-Seahawks, Eagles-Commanders, Rams-Cowboys and Vikings-Packers.

The Browns-Seahawks tilt, at 4:05 p.m. ET, is perhaps the most intriguing. Cleveland is coming off a wild win at Indianapolis, in which Watson (shoulder) got hurt again, so he's out this week. Seattle has won and covered in four of its last five games.

"We took a sharp bet on Seattle -3, and we're up to -3.5," Degnon said. "There are more tickets and money on Seattle, and I don't see that changing. That's definitely gonna be the public side this week."

Defending NFC champion Philadelphia is coming off a solid Sunday night win over Miami, while Washington has lost four of its last five. The Eagles opened -6 and are up to -6.5 at The SuperBook.

"There are more tickets and money on Philadelphia, which is not surprising. We're starting to get some parlay liability built up on the Eagles, as well," Degnon said of a 1 p.m. ET kickoff.

Dallas is up from -6 to -6.5 at The SuperBook, though midweek, Los Angeles is getting some interest for a 1 p.m. ET matchup.

"More tickets and money on the Rams right now, actually. I could see the public getting involved on both sides," Degnon said. "But Dallas will be in all the teasers/moneyline parlays and such. Right now, we need Dallas, but I'm sure that will change."

And while there are plenty of early bets on Minnesota — coming off an upset of San Francisco — Green Bay is seeing action, too. The SuperBook opened the Packers -1.5 and initially went to -2.5 Monday afternoon. But the line receded to pick ‘em after the Vikings' impressive Monday night win.

"Ticket count is about 4-1 in favor of the Vikings, but there's more money on Green Bay," Degnon said of another 1 p.m. ET start.

Degnon also chimed in on the Las Vegas Raiders-Detroit Lions Monday night game. The Lions, a public darling this season to be sure, opened -7 and were bet up to -8.5 by Tuesday morning.

"Money and tickets are all Detroit, even on the moneyline at -400," Degnon said. "And the Lions are already involved in a bunch of parlays. We're definitely gonna need the Raiders on Monday."

I Like Big Bets and I Cannot Lie

As of late Wednesday night, there's not a whole lot cooking yet — at least that sportsbooks have released — with regard to major wagers on college football Week 9 odds or NFL Week 8 odds.

On Wednesday afternoon in X Spaces (or as I like to call it, Twitter Spaces), Caesars Sports vice president of trading Craig Mucklow noted that the Buffalo Bills drew two six-figure moneyline bets for their Thursday night game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, the exact amount and the odds weren't mentioned.

Buffalo is currently a hefty -455 on the moneyline. So if the bets were for exactly $100,000, the potential profit on each would be $21,978, for a total payout of $121,978.

And here are a couple of painful leftovers from the Week 7 Monday night game between the 49ers and Vikings, also at Caesars Sports:

– $324,670 49ers -4 alternate spread (-179, bet $10 to win $15.59 total). At the time the bet was made, San Francisco was -7 (-105) on the standard point spread. But it wouldn't have mattered either way, since the Niners lost outright 22-17.

– $220,000 49ers -6.5. This was the garden-variety spread bet, at a price of -110. But the house was again the big winner. Between the two high-roller bets, Caesars pocketed $544,670.

Which again serves as a reminder: keep it reasonable. Never bet more than you can afford to lose. Enjoy the football betting weekend!

Patrick Everson is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and senior reporter for He is a distinguished journalist in the national sports betting space. He's based in Las Vegas, where he enjoys golfing in 110-degree heat. Follow him on Twitter: @PatrickE_Vegas


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