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Week 8: Hammer staff picks

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Rob Pizzola’s pick

  • Panthers +3 (-110)
    • Good to +3 (-120). I'm more optimistic on the Panthers due to the change at offensive coordinator, with Frank Reich giving up play-calling duties. Carolina's defense has looked a lot worse than it is because of the quality of opposition, but they get an easier matchup here - and a good one stylistically - coming out of the bye here against the Texans.

Fabian Sommer’s pick

  • Rams +6.5 (-110)
    • I just cannot get to this number. I'm more down on the Cowboys right now, while the performances of the Chargers and 49ers in recent weeks tell us a few things about Dallas as well. The offense just has not been performing as it was expected to coming into the season, and neither is their defense. Matthew Stafford has a decent matchup here against a Dallas defense that plays a lot of Cover One and Cover Three, while the rushing matchup favors the Rams here as well, with Dallas struggling against inside zone. Dak Prescott has had a lot of success against man defense and the blitz this year, but the Rams do neither of those with any sort of frequency on defense. Dallas is going to need to have a lot of patience here to methodically move the ball down the field, but I don't trust the offense to do that here to win by margin with Mike McCarthy calling the plays.

Hitman’s pick

  • Falcons -2.5 (-115)
    • The Titans are now 2-11 in their last 13 games dating back to last season. This is a bad team, that seems to be looking towards the future and seeing what they have on the roster after trading Kevin Byard and naming Will Levis as this week's starter. It's not a stretch to say that with Ryan Tannehill out, the Titans offense is the worst in the NFL. Levis had a 46 PFF grade in the preseason, two turnover-worthy plays in 19 snaps, and took four sacks. The Titans also have the league's worst offensive line in front of him, and their only weapon in the passing game - DeAndre Hopkins - is going to be up against a great corner who does have a tendency to shadow opposing teams' top wide receivers. The Titans have also regressed defensively, with teams scoring on 45% of their drives against them this season, the third-highest rate in the league.

ClevTA’s pick

  • Panthers +3 (-110)
    • Love backing winless teams off a bye. Historically they cover at a 63% rate. Reich giving up play-calling duties to Thomas Brown adds juice to the offense and Houston won’t have film on it. It's too soon for Stroud to be laying a full three on the road.

CFB bets from Brad Powers

  • Army -9.5 (-110)
    • Army has been missing starting QB Bryson Daily for the last six quarters, but he was likely held out last week because they were playing LSU, and saving him for an important stretch of winnable games coming up. This is a very important game for Army, one they absolutely need if they are to become bowl eligible this season. The drop off from their starter to the backup is massive - Army hasn't scored in consecutive games against good opponents without Daily under center, but with him likely coming back here, and playing a much weaker opponent, this is a game they should be able to win by margin. I expect this to close north of -10 once he is announced in.


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