Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) throws the ball during an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Kirk Irwin)


Patrick Werkmeister

Following an abysmal 0-3 outing in last week’s ‘Best Bets’, the slate has now officially been wiped clean in preparation for this Week 8 schedule. Lessons were learned as a result of this outcome and for this slate I can guarantee at least a 2/3 ratio. Although it’s been a struggle across all sports lately to go over .500, it’s been over a week since my last positive record and the odds of that to continue are not likely. However, that does mean these picks must be more homed in on being safer bets. With all these disclaimers in mind, here are the plays I absolutely love for this Sunday.

Draft Kings nfl pROMOTION

Steelers (+4) @ Browns
For this bitter AFC North rivalry, Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers hope to get revenge in Cleveland against Baker Mayfield and the Browns. This opening line had the Browns as three and a half-point home favorites and they are now favored by four points. In their last 15 games listed as an underdog, Pittsburgh is an outstanding 11-4 ATS. Last time these two met was when the Browns humiliated the Steelers in Pittsburgh during the AFC Wild Card game. This will be a huge revenge game for coach Mike Tomlin and his guys, plus the situation differs this time around. Cleveland will be without their second-best offensive producer, running back Kareem Hunt. Additionally, all key players on offense like Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham, and Jack Conklin have injury designations coming into this game. They will not be in their best fighting shape, whereas the Steelers seem more rested and focused for this week. In Week 7, the Steelers had their bye while the Browns narrowly defeated the struggling Denver Broncos. With injuries to both sides of the ball for the Browns, being favored by four points against an upward trending Steelers squad seems like too much. I’ll be taking a stab at their moneyline, but slam Pittsburgh plus the points for this one.

WFT @ Broncos (-3.5)
In this cross-conference matchup, the Washington Football Team travels to Denver to play the Broncos. The Football Team came into this bout as three-point road underdogs, but they are now listed at +3.5. With backup QB Taylor Heinicke, Washington is an awful 1-6 ATS in their last 7 contests. In Week 7, Denver almost defeated a hobbled Cleveland Browns squad whereas the WFT was dominated by the Green Bay Packers. The Broncos fought nobly vs the Browns but came up short due to a lack of offensive production. While they let up only 17 points on defense, Teddy Bridgewater and the Denver offense put up just 14 points where they just couldn’t seem to get anything going. Although the Broncos have hit a bit of a rough patch these last few weeks due to injury, Washington has been consistently bad this entire season so far and I don’t see that changing soon. They came into this year with hype surrounding their defense in particular, but their play has yet to come to fruition. The WFT defense has given up 24 points or more in each of their previous six games and 30 or more in four of their last five. Just when the Broncos offense needs a break from stout defenses, here is a perfect matchup for them against Washington. Take Denver to cover at home.

Buccaneers @ Saints (+4.5)
From the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, coach Sean Payton and the Saints look to defend their turf from Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The opening line for this match had the Bucs as four-point road favorites but they are now favored by four and a half-points. Last week, the Saints earned a 13-10 victory in Seattle while the Buccaneers dominated the Chicago Bears 38-3. While New Orleans did not dismantle their opponents like Tampa Bay did, they have shown they can beat any team they want. In their two division meetings in 2020, the Saints won both games by large margins of 30 and 13. Obviously when they faced off in the postseason Tampa Bay easily secured a 10-point victory. However, this squad has gotten stronger under their new quarterback Jameis Winston who is complimented by a stellar defense. With the 8th ranked total defense and 3rd best scoring defense, the Saints matchup very well with the Bucs and could shut them down with a solid effort. Give me New Orleans plus the points at home for a possible upset win.

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