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NFL Week 8 betting roundup: Cowboys remain perfect against the spread despite Dak Prescott's absence

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The Dallas Cowboys have been very kind to bettors this season.

Due to their nationwide popularity, the Cowboys are always a very public side even when they are not winning very many games. But this season, they entered Week 8 with a 5-1 record and a perfect 6-0 mark against the spread.

However, the status of star quarterback Dak Prescott changed things ahead of Sunday night’s matchup with the Minnesota Vikings and had some big money bettors siding with the Vikings.

Prescott has been dealing with a calf injury and was listed as questionable throughout the week. With Prescott’s status up in the air, more and more money came in on the Vikings with the possibility of backup Cooper Rush getting the start.

The Cowboys opened as 1.5-point road favorites and were 2-point favorites early in the week, but with Prescott continually listed as limited in practice, the odds shifted considerably as bets poured in on the Vikings. By the time kickoff rolled around and Prescott was officially listed as inactive, the Vikings were 4.5-point favorites at BetMGM.

And when the Vikings marched right down the field and scored to open the game, and the Cowboys missed a field goal and Rush threw an interception on their first two possessions, it looked like Dallas could be in for a long night.

Instead, the defense played one of its best games and Rush bounced back from some early mistakes and made clutch throws down the stretch. Rush led a game-winning touchdown drive in the final minutes and the Cowboys left Minnesota with a 20-16 upset victory.

With the win, the Cowboys moved to 7-0 against the spread this season and gave BetMGM one of its biggest winners of the weekend, according to director of trading Jeff Stoneback.

Jets help sportsbooks bounce back in a big way

The month of October was a rough one for sportsbooks, but they closed out the month on a very positive note.

The books, BetMGM included, had an unprecedented three straight losing Sundays, including one Sunday Stoneback said was the worst he’s seen in his 35 years behind the counter. Week 8, though, was very fruitful as seven underdogs covered the spread and six won outright on Sunday.

“The public had a rough week. They filled their pockets the last three weeks but it turned badly for them today,” Stoneback told Yahoo Sports.

The Cowboys were one of three “significant winners” for the house, Stoneback said. The other two were the New Orleans Saints beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as 4-point underdogs and the New York Jets shocking the Cincinnati Bengals as 11.5-point underdogs.

“Any time the Jets win a game it’s always good for the house,” Stoneback said.

New York Jets quarterback Mike White celebrates after catching a two-point conversion during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)
New York Jets quarterback Mike White celebrates after catching a two-point conversion during the second half against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)

Other big winners for BetMGM were the Philadelphia Eagles (-3) beating the Detroit Lions, the Carolina Panthers (+2.5) beating the Atlanta Falcons and the Houston Texans (+16.5) covering the spread in a loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

The only two winners for the public were the Buffalo Bills getting the late touchdown to cover as 14.5-point favorites over the Miami Dolphins and the San Francisco 49ers covering as 4.5-point road favorites over the Chicago Bears.

Other than that, things were bleak for most bettors.

Texans sink Rams bettors with brutal backdoor cover

There were three games with double-digit point spreads on Sunday and they all had different outcomes.

In New York, the Jets were 11.5-point dogs but shocked the Bengals 34-31 behind a huge performance from backup quarterback Mike White. White, starting for injured first-round rookie Zach Wilson, threw for 405 yards and three touchdowns. Two of those TDs came in the game’s final 4:36, flipping what was a 31-20 deficit into a 34-31 advantage.

Elsewhere, the Bills got a field goal at the 3:29 mark and a Josh Allen touchdown run with 1:07 to play in order to beat the Dolphins 26-11 and cover the 14.5-point spread.

For Rams bettors, however, things didn't work out so well. The Rams were 16.5-point favorites over the lowly Texans and cruised into the fourth quarter with a 38-0 lead. With about 12 minutes left in the game, the Texans had mustered only 58 yards of offense.

There was surely no way the Texans could get inside the number, right? Wrong. With nothing but Rams backups in the game, the Texans finally got on the board at the 8:08 mark. They then scored again on a 45-yard Davis Mills touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks, making it 38-14 with 5:00 to go.

Remarkably, the Texans then recovered the ensuing onside kick and quickly scored again. Still, when that touchdown came with 2:35 to play, the score was 38-20 and the Rams were still covering the spread and would still be covering the spread with a Houston extra point.

But then the Houston offense stayed on the field and converted a two-point conversion to make it 38-22.

That “unbelievable fourth quarter,” as Stoneback termed it, resulted in another Sunday win for the books while earning Rams bettors a horrific beat.

Houston Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks (13) catches a pass in front of Los Angeles Rams cornerback Donte' Deayon (21) for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Smith)
Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks (13) catches a pass in front of Los Angeles Rams cornerback Donte' Deayon (21) for a touchdown Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Smith)

Tough beat on Chargers-Patriots total

The New England Patriots went on the road and beat the Los Angeles Chargers 27-24 as 4-point underdogs on Sunday.

An early fourth quarter pick-six by Adrian Phillips gave the Patriots a lead they would not relinquish. The Pats later added a field goal to extend their lead to 27-17 and the only thing left in the balance from a betting perspective was the total.

The number closed at 50.5. The score was just 14-13 at halftime and then 17-16 entering the fourth quarter, so things were looking good for under bettors. The Patriots had a 27-17 lead with 2:19 to play, leaving under bettors hoping the Chargers would be unable to muster a garbage-time touchdown.

Instead, with 40 seconds to go, Justin Herbert lofted one into traffic for rookie Joshua Palmer, who managed to fight off the Patriots secondary and make a 24-yard touchdown catch. Then came the extra point to make the score 27-24 and send the game over the total to 51.

That's a tough one.