National Football League
Bettors all-in on Dolphins-Eagles, sportsbooks need Tennessee over Alabama
National Football League

Bettors all-in on Dolphins-Eagles, sportsbooks need Tennessee over Alabama

Updated Oct. 19, 2023 9:44 p.m. ET

Baseball season is racing toward its pinnacle, with the World Series on the doorstep. But even Mattress Mack firing away on his beloved Houston Astros can't overshadow the behemoth that is football betting.

Fortuitously, there's a major prime-time matchup in the NFL Week 7 odds market. 

On Sunday night, Tua Tagovailoa and his public darling Miami Dolphins travel to face another popular outfit in Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Along with a few more notable NFL games, there are intriguing contests on the college football Week 8 oddsboard as well. Bookmakers and experts help us dive into this week's NFL and college football betting nuggets.


Two-Way Play

Save for a beatdown at Buffalo, Miami is getting it done on the field and at the betting window, going 5-1 straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS). Philly is also 5-1 SU (3-2-1 ATS) but is coming off a 20-14 upset road loss to the New York Jets as a 6.5-point road favorite.

Both these teams are trendy with the casual/recreational betting crowd. The Eagles opened -2.5 on Sunday night and slid to -1.5 on Monday, in part due to their surprising loss but also due to being a bit banged up this week, particularly in the secondary. Still, Philadelphia rebounded to -2.5 on Tuesday, and that's where the number stood Wednesday night.

"This could be a Super Bowl preview," said Chris Fargis, senior director of trading risk at Fanatics Sportsbook "This will be one of our more popular games this week, for sure. Customers have a slight preference for the Dolphins so far. It’s likely to be balanced action here."

NFL Sharp Side Professional bettor Randy McKay has already gotten down on three games in the NFL Week 7 odds market, starting with the Thursday nighter. McKay is on Jaguars-Saints Under 40.

"To start with, I favor Thursday games Under the total, with teams having a short week to prepare their game plan," McKay said. "And with Jacksonville QB Trevor Lawrence questionable, that makes this a tough number to get to. The Saints have offensive line issues, as well."

Indeed, left tackle James Hurst (foot) and right tackle Ryan Ramczyk (concussion) are out. And tight end Juwan Johnson (calf) will miss a fourth straight game.

On the spread, Jags-Saints opened a pick ‘em at Fanatics Sportsbook. New Orleans moved out to -3 by Monday afternoon, fueled in part by Lawrence’s uncertain status. But the line shortened to Saints -1 Tuesday when Lawrence indicated he was optimistic about playing.

Late Wednesday night, the Saints sat at -2.

"Everyone is watching Trevor Lawrence's injury," Fargis said. "We have seen some sharp bets on both sides, trying to read the tea leaves of the news."

McKay noted two more plays, both in Sunday games:

Steelers +3 at Rams: "Pittsburgh has been winning games with defense and special teams. Hopefully with the bye week, the Steelers got a chance to clear up their offensive problems. The Rams could struggle to move the ball against a strong defensive line." This matchup is on FOX and the FOX Sports App at 4:05 p.m. ET.

Packers -1 at Broncos: "This is a bad scheduling spot for Denver, in between two Kansas City games. Green Bay comes off a bye and hopefully cleans up its offensive woes. And the Packers maybe get the return of running back Aaron Jones [hamstring]." McKay said this was a game he also bet preseason at Packers +4. "But I still like them to win the game."

Eagles gave game away to Jets, why they will be 'fine-ish' vs. Dolphins

Back To School

Obviously, the monster Big Noon on FOX clash pitting No. 7 Penn State vs. No. 3 Ohio State jumps off the college football Week 8 oddsboard, so much so that FOX has a completely separate article on the Big Ten battle.

But there are other notable matchups, including an 8 p.m. ET Pac-12 clash on FOX and the FOX Sports App: No. 14 Utah vs. No. 18 USC. The Trojans are coming off a dismal performance, getting rocked 48-20 at Notre Dame. Still, the wiseguys like host Southern Cal, which climbed from a -5.5 opener Sunday night to -7 by Monday night at BetMGM.

"Some sharp money coming in early on the Trojans," BetMGM senior trader Cameron Drucker said. "The belief is [QB] Cam Rising will still be out and Utah will most likely struggle to keep up with the USC offense, despite how poor the Trojans looked last week against Notre Dame."

Other games Drucker pointed out:

– No. 16 Duke at No. 4 Florida State: "It's really only FSU money so far. I would expect that to continue. We will be rooting for the Blue Devils this weekend," Drucker said. The Seminoles opened -13.5 (-115) at BetMGM and are up to -14.5 (-105) midweek.

– No. 17 Tennessee at No. 11 Alabama: The Crimson Tide dipped from -9.5 to -8.5 at BetMGM, but there's almost no doubt the book will need the Vols come Saturday. "Alabama seems to be the public darling this year, on a week-by-week basis. ‘Bama is also currently our biggest liability for the national championship — besides Colorado, of course," Drucker said.

Technically, BetMGM and several other books have mountains of Colorado liability in the College Football Playoff odds market. But in reality, with Coach Prime & Co. now 4-3, the Buffaloes will face a tough task just to get to 6-6 and make a bowl game.

On-Campus Sharp Side College football betting expert Paul Stone is enthused by the Tennessee-Alabama matchup, at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday in Tuscaloosa. In a wild shootout last season in Knoxville, the Vols edged the Crimson Tide 52-49.

This time around, Stone likes Alabama -8.5 at home. A couple key factors for Stone: This is just the second road game of the season for Tennessee, and the Vols lack the downfield passing game of the 2022 team, instead relying on their running game.

"Alabama only allows 3 yards per carry and hasn't allowed a running back to rush for 70 yards this season," Stone said, noting only South Florida QB Byrum Brown eclipsed 70 yards (92). "Jalen Milroe is really making strides at quarterback for the Tide. I made the number 10, and I look for Alabama to win by double digits."

Will the USC Trojans get revenge against the Utah Utes?

NFL Rocks on FOX

FOX and the FOX Sports App will air one of Sunday's more appealing games in the 1 p.m. ET window, when the Detroit Lions visit the Baltimore Ravens. The Lions' betting bandwagon is bursting at the seams, thanks to their efforts dating to the middle of last season. In its last 16 games, Detroit is 13-3 SU and 14-2 ATS, a money-making machine for spread bettors.

The Lions are 5-1 SU and ATS this season, but certainly face a difficult chore against Baltimore (4-2 SU and ATS). Fanatics Sportsbook opened the Ravens -2.5 and initially backed up to -2 on Sunday night. But the line has since spent the week bouncing between -2.5 and -3 at Fanatics, and it stood at -3 on Wedne night.

Fargis said Detroit bettors are opting against taking the 3 points and instead hitting Lions moneyline +130.

"Customers are riding the momentum of the Lions here, with 88% of the moneyline bets on that side," he said.

Other games Fargis noted:

Chargers at Chiefs: "The Chiefs will be a popular moneyline play for the public. But we've also seen some sharp money on Chargers +6 and the line has ticked down to 5.5 since then. Everyone is predicting a shootout here and backing Over 48 points."

49ers at Vikings: "Despite Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel being banged up and the 49ers coming off of their first loss, customers are overwhelmingly backing them on the road. The line has been pushed up from 49ers -6.5 to -7. No faith in the Vikings in early betting."

I Like Big Bets and I Cannot Lie

The NFL week kicks off with a monster play at Caesars Sports, from a bettor with a lot of faith in the Saints. A customer put $220,000 on the Saints -1. So as long as New Orleans wins by more than a point, that bettor will profit $200,000, for a $420,000 total payout.

A couple of Monday Night Football leftovers, also from Caesars Sports:

– $110,000 Cowboys-Chargers Under 51. Cowboys win 20-17, bettor profits $100,000, for a $210,000 total payout.

– $100,000 Cowboys moneyline -120. Bettor profits $80,000, for a $180,000 total payout.

A couple more Caesars customers are hoping 49ers QB Brock Purdy bounces back big this week at Minnesota — and throughout the rest of the season. Last week, ahead of San Fran's surprising loss at Cleveland, Caesars took two notable MVP bets on Purdy:

– $75,000 at +550, to potentially profit $412,500, for a total payout of $487,500.

– $20,000 at +450, to potentially profit $90,000, for a total payout of $110,000.

For those of us in the much-more low-roller department, there was a nice win from a Las Vegas customer playing at Station Sports. The bettor had a $250 10-team parlay ticket, all on NFL Week 6 point spreads. 

With the Cowboys beating the Chargers 20-17 and, more importantly, covering the 1.5-point spread, the bettor pocketed a hefty $199,750. Not a bad weekend's work, if you can get it. 

Enjoy this weekend's action!

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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