NFL Thursday Preview and Heisman Trophy Watch
It's official. National Football League Home Teams are doomed this year. Just check out the numbers ... We'll head into NFL Week 8 play - it all begins Thursday Night with the hapless Washington Redskins at the born-again Minnesota Vikings - with NFL Home Teams at just 37-67-2 ATS (against the spread) for a dire .356 winning rate. Egads!
Last week's mark of Home Teams going 4-9-1 versus the vig was pretty much "par-for-the-course" stuff (okay, so NFL Week 7 Home Teams won at just a .308 clip). Go back in the weeks immediately preceding Week 7 and you'll see Home Teams went 5-9-0, 6-8-1 and 6-9-0. Folks, go even further back and you'll see Home Teams have not for a single, solitary week sported a winning spread mark. Hard to believe, eh?
Let's see if this "trend" continues throughout Week 8 where the likes of the undefeated New England Patriots - they're home to Cleveland - and the San Francisco 49ers (they're hosting off-the-bye-week Carolina) are playing in their own back yards.
NFL WEEK 8
On Thursday Night Football, it's ... WASHINGTON (1-6) at MINNESOTA (5-2) - 8:20 p.m. ET, Fox / NFL Network
Look out! The Minnesota Vikings have won/ covered three in a row and folks are even saying nice things about QB Kirk Cousins these days. In last week's 42-30 triumph at the 2.5-point underdog Detroit Lions, Cousins became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 300-or-more yards with a passer rating of 130-plus. Solid.
Okay, so Minnesota WR Adam Thielen (hamstring) is a no-go here but Cousins still is surrounded by high-quality pass-catchers and note the 'Skins do have some injury woes in their secondary.
One X-factor to eyeball here: Washington RB Adrian Peterson had 20 carries for 81 yards in last Sunday's rainy home loss / cover against San Francisco. Does the former long-time Vikings star get 20 totes here ... or will another former Minny star QB Case Keenum need to up and chuck it 40 times?
Spread Notes - The Vikings are a collective 57-30-3 ATS under sixth-year boss Mike Zimmer (that's an amazing .655 winning rate) and that includes a solid 5-2 spread mark here in 2019; the 'Skins are just 2-5 against the juice this season but this NFC East crew has covered 10 of their last 16 non-divisional affairs.
In other NFL Week 8 News & Notes ...
There are currently 11 NFL teams playing at a .333-or-worse winning percentage right now but note the only team that last year made it to the playoffs and now is playing at a .333-or-worse clip is the Los Angeles Chargers (2-5, .286). Don't look now but this AFC West squad ranks 27th in the league in rushing (just 74.3 yards per game) and 21st in rushing defense (117.1 ypg) -- plus, QB Phillip Rivers currently ranks just 17th in QB Rating for the year. Not really good ...
Meanwhile, in the strange-but-true pointspread fact of the week, did you know the Seattle Seahawks are 3-4 vig-wise overall this year: That's 0-4 ATS at home and 3-0 ATS away. The 'Hawks came into this '19 season with a home pointspread mark of 52-31-3 (a .627 winning percentage) ... what the heck is happening?
THE HEISMAN TROPHY WATCH LIST
It's the first installment of our 2019 Heisman Trophy Watch List as - week-by-week - we bring you the top candidates for College Football's most coveted individual award. Note that we list the candidates in the order we like 'em but also include the current Las Vegas odds to win the trophy:
1 -- JOE BURROW, QB, LSU - The numbers are, well, numbing as the Bengals' slinger has thrown for 2,484 yards with a school-record 29 TDs and just 3 INTs en route to LSU's 7-and-oh start. The $64,000 question is whether Burrow's candidacy suffers a death blow in Alabama on Nov. 9th.
Current Las Vegas Odds ... Even Money
2 -- JUSTIN FIELDS, QB, Ohio State - Gotta admit we rate this former Georgia transfer as the current runner-up to Burrow: Note that Fields has 22 TDs and just 1 INT while throwing for 1,492 yards and he's rushed for a handful of scores to boot. Helps his cause that the Buckeyes (7-0) have covered their last six consecutive games.
Current Las Vegas Odds ... + 750
3 -- JALEN HURTS, QB, Oklahoma - The Sooners don't miss a beat as they shoot to sport a third consecutive Heisman Trophy winner at the position. Hurts has thrown for 2,074 yards with 20 TDs and 3 INTs in leading OU to a 7-0 SU (straight-up) mark. Wow, from 'Bama backup to legit Heisman contender. Good stuff.
Current Las Vegas Odds ... + 180
4 -- TUA TAGOVAILOA, QB, Alabama - The lefty slinger got dinged in the first half of last weekend's 35-13 non-cover win versus Tennessee and projections are that he'll miss one of two weeks following ankle surgery The up-to-date stats: 2,166 yards passing with 27 TDs and 2 INTs.
Current Las Vegas Odds ... + 250
5 -- JONATHAN TAYLOR, RB, Wisconsin - The Badgers' back likely had his Heisman hopes go up in smoke with last weekend's painful 24-23 loss at 30.5-point underdog Illinois (key fumble by Taylor really hurt) but gotta keep this Big 10 star on our short list thanks to his 957 yards rushing (6.1 ypc average) with 15 TDs.
Current Las Vegas Odds ... + 3800