This column will be available Monday through Friday (posted no later than 1:00 ET), EXCLUSIVELY at BigAl.com. I like to call it my daily 'random thoughts' on the sports betting world, although I'll pass along that my therapist refers to it as "thoughtful commentary."
MNF: The NFL concluded its Week 8 last night at MetLife Stadium, as the Tampa Bay Bucs recovered from an 11-point deficit in the second quarter to beat the NY Giants 25-23. The Bucs were stuck in 'FG mode' (just like in the team's 20-19 loss at Chicago in Week 5), settling for three FGs until a Brady to Gronk TDP put them up 15-14 (failed two-point conversion try) in the mid-third quarter. The Giants went back up 17-15 but then Brady's second TD pass of the game and Ryan Succop's 4th FG gave Tampa Bay a 25-17 lead. The Giants pulled within 25-23 on a 19-yard scoring pass from Jones to Tate with 28 seconds left but the two-point conversion pass failed. The Bucs are now 6-2, after winning FIVE of six in which Brady's thrown 17 TD passes against just ONE interception. The Bucs host the 5-2 Saints in Week 9 (SNF on NBC), a rematch of New Orleans' 34-23 win over Tampa Bay in Week 1. The Giants fell to 1-7 but have covered FOUR of their last five games (5-3 ATS on the season).
Let's check on the Y-T-D numbers, with Week 8 in the books. Home teams went 7-7 SU and 8-6 ATS, including home dogs going 2-3 SU but 4-1 ATS. Home teams remain barely over .500 at 60-58-1 (.508) on the season while going just 53-64-2 ATS (.453). Home dogs check in at 11-29 SU but a more respectable 20-18-2 ATS. Scoring remains high (Week 8 games averaged 47.6 PPG) but resulted in eight overs and six unders. Y-T-D there have been 60 overs, 56 unders and three pushes.
NFL Week 8 highlights: My Friday Notes will be dedicated to a "state of the union' NFL report, as the 17-week season hits its midpoint with Week 9. I noted yesterday that Pittsburgh (7-0) remained the lone NFL unbeaten by winning 28-24 at Baltimore, despite the Ravens owning 457-221 yardage advantage. How'd that happen? Baltimore had FOUR giveaways, including a 'pick-6!' In another head-scratching result, the Eagles beat the Cowboys 23-9. Why do I say "head-scratching" knowing the Cowboys are 0-8 ATS? Try this. The Eagles are the first team to have under 250 total yards (222), turn the ball over FOUR times and get sacked FOUR times and still win a game by 14 points since the Dolphins beat the Jets 14-0 in the 1982 AFC Championship Game (Can you say, AJ Duhe?).
Monday's headline read: Tua wins his first NFL start! Can't argue with Miami's 28-17 win over the LA Rams, the Dolphins THIRD straight win (Miami is now 4-3). However, didn't Miami win DESPITE Tua? Tagovailoa (picked 5th overall in the first round) fumbled on his first attempt to throw as Rams star defensive tackle Aaron Donald knocked the ball loose, setting up the Rams on Miami's 15-yard line. Three plays later, it was 7-0 LA. However, the Dolphins scored 28 consecutive first-half points to take a 28-7 lead, thanks in large part to four turnovers (two interceptions, two fumbles) by Rams QB Jared Goff. One fumble was returned 78 yards for a TD plus Miami added an 88-yard punt return TD, as well. As for Tua, he completed 12 of 22 for 93 yards with one TD (zero INTs). His longest completion was for 15 yards and his TD pass was a three-yarder. Joe Burrow was the NFL's No. 1 pick and lines up behind an OL that has allowed 28 sacks and 'fuels' a non-existent running game (101.3 YPG), while Cincy's D allows 26.8 PPG. Still, Burrow is completing 67.0% for 2,2272 yards with 11 TDs and five INTs through eight games, after going 26 of 37 for 249 yards with two TDs and zero INTs in a 31-20 win over the Titans. The Bengals lost at Baltimore by 24 points but their other four losses have come by margins of three, five, four and three points.
The Colts lost 27-20 at Jacksonville in Week 1 (Jags are 0-6 since) but their 41-21 rout at Detroit (Lions have now lost SEVEN straight at home) was their FIFTH win in their last six games, moving them into a first-place tie with the Titans in the AFC South. Dalvin Cook ran for 163 yards and scored four TDs (three rushing / one receiving), to lead the Minnesota Vikings to a 28-22 victory at NFC North-leading Green Bay. It snapped the Packers' EIGHT-game winning streak in the division. Patrick Mahomes (name sounds familiar) passed for 416 yards and five TDs, as the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs moved to 7-1. I think Mahomes has a future in this league. Meanwhile, the defending NFC champion 49ers lost 37-27 at Seattle, to fall to 4-4. San Francisco sits in last-place in the NFL's best division, behind the Seahawks (6-1), Cards (5-2) and Rams (5-3). To add insult to injury, TE Kittles and QB Jimmy G both got hurt and each will miss multiple games.
Wednesday's and Thursday's Notes will focus on college football, as the MAC and more notably the Pac 12 FINALLY 'join the party.' Saturday's showdowns include No. 1 Clemson (40-game regular season winning streak) playing at No. 4 Notre Dame, which owns the longest active winning streak of any FBS team (12 in a row). Then there is No. 5 Georgia and No. 8 Florida meeting in Jacksonville in what's called "The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party!"