NFL Predictions Week 8: Surprising Underdogs That Should Be Favored
Week 8 of the 2012 NFL season offers some rather interesting odds for those that like to make predictions. Several underdogs appear to be primed for an upset.
Most fans that understand the basics of Las Vegas betting lines have heard another fan make a common mistake. "Vegas must think Team X is going to win because they have them favored over Team Y."
Betting odds aren't quite so static, though. They are built around driving betting to where the oddsmakers want the money, not by which team they think will actually win.
Some teams have a large enough fanbase that those people will sway the betting line. Die-hard fans of the Dallas Cowboys or Pittsburgh Steelers will take their team regardless of the spread, and analysts take that into consideration.
There are several underdogs in Week 8 that offer great value for bettors or those who are just filling out their office pools. Odds have been taken from Bovada.
Atlanta Falcons vs. Philadelphia Eagles (-3)
It seems odd to have a 3-3 Eagles team favored over the NFL's lone unbeaten team. But the Falcons should have an asterisk next to their record to represent four of their games have been played against the AFC West.
Philadelphia, on the other hand, has two wins over teams with winning records. It also has shown the ability to play with elite teams so long as it can avoid costly turnovers.
If the Eagles can play a clean game then they have a shot to win. If Michael Vick can't control the ball, though, then the Falcons will run away with the game.
"Michael Vick is playing good football, except for the turnover's." Ron Jaworski let's have a little conversation about this comment ok...— Bryant Johnson (@BryantJohnson1) October 22, 2012
To recap, the Eagles have a good chance to win, possibly as high as 70 percent, if Vick doesn't turn the ball over. Their odds drop dramatically if he does turn the ball over.
It just seems prudent to go with Atlanta in this game.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Detroit Lions (-1)
The Seattle Seahawks' road struggles are well established. They've struggled in recent seasons, particularly in early games. That issue is likely driving why the Lions are favored.
Seattle is 1-3 in road games this season. The three losses were division games, though, which are inherently more difficult to win as the visiting team.
Seattle has quality wins over the Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots. Its offense had been progressing well until the second half of its game in San Francisco last week.
Detroit plays good defense, but it isn't on the same level as the 49ers. More important, the Seahawks' defense is as stout as they come.
Richard Sherman has vowed to be the Optimus Prime to Chad Johnson's Megatron.
Guess we know who's covering Megatron this Sunday -- @rsherman_25 changed his handle to "Optimus Prime."— SC_DougFarrar (@SC_DougFarrar) October 24, 2012
Washington Redskins vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (-4.5)
Which "underdog" is most likely to win?
The Steelers have been difficult to figure out this season. They've lost to the Tennessee Titans and Oakland Raiders, but they beat the Eagles and Cincinnati Bengals.
The Redskins will pose significant issues for the depleted Steel Curtain, though. Washington has a balanced offense that will put up points.
The Steelers should also be able to score early and often, as the Redskin defense started the season poorly. But a shootout favors the Redskins despite being on the road.
Oakland Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs (-1)
The Chiefs are at home where they've traditionally been a better team, but that hasn't held true in 2012. They are 0-3 at Arrowhead this season.
Perhaps Brady Quinn at the helm with the bye week to prepare will be enough to get the Chiefs on track, but I wouldn't bet on it. Neither would Oakland's fanbase.
Question: So Chiefs fan, who is your starting QB this Sunday? Answer: Brady Quinn! Reaction:Hahahahahahaha. #RaiderNation— Raider Nation (@TheOnlyNation) October 25, 2012
The Raiders aren't much better, but Carson Palmer has shown that he can still will his team to victory on occasion. If they can contain Jamaal Charles then they will be able to pull off the road win.
Darin Pike is a writer for Bleacher Report's Breaking News Team and a Featured Columnist covering the NFL and the Seattle Seahawks.
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