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Best Underdogs to Bet and Predictions for Week 8 in NFL

Eric Thompson

by Eric Thompson in NFL Football

Oct 31, 2020 · 10:23 AM PDT

Matthew Stafford and the Lions offense have been cooking since Kenny Golladay came back. Can it continue against the Colts? Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire
  • Detroit and Denver are both strong home dogs this weekend against the Colts and Chargers
  • Can the Raiders get back on track against the beat-up Browns?
  • Last week’s picks went 0-2, bringing our season total down to +5.81 units

We’re nearing the halfway point of the 2020 season, which is always a good time to evaluate where things stand in the NFL. So far, we know the Jets will never be making an appearance in this column. We’re also not going to fade the Chiefs, Ravens, and Buccaneers too much down the stretch. But what about the messy middle in the NFL? Who can we trust there after last week’s disappointment?

Looking at the odds for Week 8, I see a trio of teams poised for second half runs that are all getting points in very winnable games. Will they live up to my modest expectations? Let’s find out.

NFL Week 8 Upset Picks

Matchup Spread Moneyline Pick Units
Indianapolis Colts vs Detroit Lions IND – 3 +143 Lions 1
Los Angeles Chargers vs Denver Broncos LAC -3.5 +164 Broncos 1
Las Vegas Raiders vs Cleveland Browns CLE -2.5 +120 Raiders 1

Odds taken Oct. 31st from DraftKings and FanDuel

No Lion, Detroit is Alright

After two clunkers to open the year, the Lions have started to look like the team many preseason predictors thought could surprise in the NFC, going 3-1 over their last four. Yet they’re still getting disrespected at home against a Colts team that was real shaky-looking heading into their bye.

Sure, Detroit’s still coached by Matt Patricia, meaning they’re still making bad choices, like Adrian Peterson continually getting more carries than D’Andre Swift. But at least the rookie is getting more snaps, and the offense as a whole is hitting it’s stride with Kenny Golladay back in the fold.

Indianapolis pulled one out over the Bengals after falling behind big, but after two straight weeks of poor outings against Ohio teams, it’s worth questioning how good this defense really is. Meanwhile, I still don’t have confidence in that Indy offense, despite their comeback on Cincy.

The last two Lions-Colts meetings were decided in the final seconds. If a similarly close game emerges this weekend, you’ll definitely want to be on Stafford’s side of things, rather than Philip “fourth quarter” Rivers.

Chucking Chargers Enter No Fly Zone

I understand the rush to bet on Justin Herbert: he’s been fantastic this season, scoring from anywhere on the field. But maybe we slow the hype train a little bit, considering his last two outings were against the league-worst Jaguars defense and the Bayou Busted Coverages (aka the, struggling Saints D)?

Actually, it’s too late for that. Despite Herbert’s 2-4 Chargers looking pretty evenly matched with the 2-4 Broncos, LA is giving 3.5-points in Denver.

Even with some key injuries, the Broncos defense is still one of the best units in the league, ranking seventh overall in DVOA and fourth in the red zone. The final score against KC looked rough, but that was largely a fault of an offense that ranks second in the league in turnovers, with 14 through six games.

Drew Lock’s YOLO attitude at quarterback has not panned out so far this year. But if the Broncos can rein in their young QB and start playing some complementary offense down the stretch, this team could still get back in the wild card race in the AFC.

It starts with a win against an overvalued Chargers team at home, and the altitude has not been kind to the Bolts: they’ve lost five of their last six trips to Mile High.

Raiders Roll Browns

The Las Vegas Raiders have emerged from the toughest stretch of their schedule with a 3-3 mark. Now as they look to start stacking wins in the latter half of the season, they’re slight underdogs in Cleveland against a very hit or miss Browns team.

Save for one of the best pass rushers in the league, the Browns defense has little to hang their hat on this year. Cleveland has allowed over 1,600 yards of offense in their last four games, and rank 24th in defensive DVOA. The Raiders offense has been great this year, particularly through the air, ranking sixth in passing DVOA.

Defensively, Las Vegas isn’t any better than Cleveland, but they have shown an ability to slow down the run in recent weeks, allowing just 76 yards rushing per game over their last three. Anytime Kevin Stefanski’s offense can’t sustain a rushing attack and they put more on Baker Mayfield’s shoulders, you know you’re going to be in for a wild ride.

With Cleveland starting their first game of the year sans Odell Beckham, look for this offense to slow down enough that Derek Carr and the Raiders can outscore them.

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