Week 8 BALLER Model: Best Bets to Cover the Spread (Fantasy Football)

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This article series covers BALLER*a machine-learning betting model that predicts which team will cover the spread in each NFL game.

Through seven weeks, it has gone ~50% overall, but only 38% on its selected ‘Best Picks’ (‘Best Picks’ are determined through a combination of model confidence and outside football intuition). After a strong start, the model has regressed greatly, meaning it is time to start adjusting it accordingly. Going into Week 8, the main adjustment made to BALLER was with model aggressiveness. It was originally designed to be over-aggressive to find the highest upside picks, which led to data overfitting, and of course, inaccuracy. With this, the aggressiveness has been tuned down in hopes of preventing this overfitting.

This is not an official Fantasy Footballers betting model* but hopefully, it is a useful tool to make your decisions for fantasy and leans on certain spreads and who could cover. For the full array of betting material, find season-long and weekly props in the DFS Pass and tune in every week to the DFS & Betting Podcast.

In this article, I will break down the model’s best picks for Week 7 (seven games) — let’s dive in!

Week 8 BALLER’s Best Bets

Keep in mind a couple of key points with this model:

  • It focuses on the spread of the home team.
  • It is applied primarily on which team can cover the spread, NOT “use this xSpread” the model spits out.

New Orleans Saints (-1.0):

The Saints are coming off a rough loss to the Jaguars and now face a Gardner Minshew-run Colts team. The Colts looked strong last week against the Browns but came up short late in the game against a Watson-less offense. Look for Carr and the Saints to bounce back in Week 8.

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Chicago Bears (+8.5):

The Bears have looked much stronger in the last three weeks, going 2-1 against the spread. the Chargers are 2-4 against the spread this season and have not covered in their last two. BALLER expects this to be a close one, so we’ll take the Bears to cover.

New England Patriots (+9.5):

The Patriots shocked the world with a massive divisional victory against the Bills in Week 7. They are 2-1 against the spread in divisional matchups this season and lost by seven in Week 2, the first time they played the Dolphins. Look for the Pats to cover this 9.5-point spread this weekend.

Baltimore Ravens (-9.5):

The Ravens absolutely took care of business last week against the NFC North-leading Lions — who says they can’t replicate this performance against what might be the worst team in the NFL? The BALLER model likes them to win this game by a wider margin than 9.5 points, so we’ll take the Ravens to cover.

New York Jets (-3.0):

The Jets, coming off their bye week, have covered in their last two games in addition to outright winning them. This week, they face the Giants, who have averaged -9.3 expected points added (EPA) per week. Look for the Jets to cover the spread, AGAIN.

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Detroit Lions (-8.0):

Last, but not least, the Lions are looking for a big bounce-back win against the Raiders following their embarrassing loss to Baltimore in Week 7. The line sits at -8.0, but the BALLER model has the Lions as much bigger favorites. Look for them to cover this weekend in a big way.

As always, feel free to reach out on Twitter with any questions about the model.

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