NFL Picks Against the Spread Week 8: Underdogs Guaranteed to Cover

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistOctober 26, 2013

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 20:  Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons looks to pass against Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Georgia Dome on October 20, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Week 8 of the NFL regular season features plenty of intriguing matchups that could conceivably go either way, which means it could be a particularly big weekend for underdogs. With that in mind, there are plenty of lines to take advantage of from a betting perspective.

There are significantly fewer games than usual on tap this week because six teams are on the bye, but that shouldn't slow down wagering by any means. There is money to be made, and latching on to a handful of underdogs in Week 8 can help line your pockets.

Here are three underdogs in particular who will find a way to cover the spread this weekend—and improve your bank account in the process.

NFL Week 8 Picks Against the Spread
Away TeamHome TeamSpreadPick
San Francisco 49ersJacksonville JaguarsSF (-16.5)SF
Dallas CowboysDetroit LionsDET (-3.5)DAL
New York GiantsPhiladelphia EaglesPHI (-5.5)NYG
Cleveland BrownsKansas City ChiefsKC (-7.5)CLE
Buffalo BillsNew Orleans SaintsNO (-11)NO
Miami DolphinsNew England PatriotsNE (-6.5)NE
New York JetsCincinnati BengalsCIN (-6.5)CIN
Pittsburgh SteelersOakland RaidersPIT (-2.5)OAK
Washington RedskinsDenver BroncosDEN (-11.5)DEN
Atlanta FalconsArizona CardinalsARI (-2.5)ATL
Green Bay PackersMinnesota VikingsGB (-9)GB
Seattle SeahawksSt. Louis RamsSEA (-11)SEA
Spreads via Vegas Insider


Atlanta Falcons (+2.5 @ ARI)

There is no question that the Atlanta Falcons are among the league's most disappointing teams this season, but none of their four losses has come by more than seven points, which means they have been in each and every game.

Atlanta is coming off a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and has a golden opportunity to improve its record to 3-4 if it can figure out a way to defeat a pesky Arizona Cardinals team on the road.

With wins over the Detroit Lions and Carolina Panthers at home, there is no question that the Cards are a better team at University of Phoenix Stadium. With that said, the team certainly has its deficiencies.

Running back Rashard Mendenhall hasn't provided the team with a consistent ground game, and quarterback Carson Palmer has been inconsistent as well. Injuries have been a big problem for the Falcons, but running back Steven Jackson may be back on Sunday, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

The combination of Jackson and Jacquizz Rodgers in the backfield will add another dimension to the Atlanta offense. Wide receiver Julio Jones is out for the year, and Roddy White could miss the game with hamstring and ankle injuries. But quarterback Matt Ryan linked up well with Harry Douglas last week and has Tony Gonzalez to fall back on as well, so the Falcons should be able to win this one outright.


Oakland Raiders (+2.5 vs. PIT)

/Getty Images

After a difficult 0-4 start, the Pittsburgh Steelers appear to be back on track with consecutive wins over the New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens. They still have work to do in order to get back into the AFC North race, but there are definitely some wins to be had on their upcoming schedule.

Pittsburgh is favored to beat Oakland on Sunday, which makes sense when taking into consideration the recent history of both franchises, but the Raiders appear to be a team on the rise.

The Raiders are 2-4 just like the Steelers, and they have hung in there against some of the AFC's elite teams like the Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs.

While Oakland is still a young team that is learning how to win, there is no reason why it can't beat Pittsburgh at home or at least keep things close. Oakland is a tough place to play, and the Raiders are coming off a bye, so they have had extra time to prepare for Pittsburgh's attack. 

There is no question that the play of Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor will be the biggest key to this game. Pryor has surprised a lot of people this season as he has already become one of the NFL's best dual-threat quarterbacks.

His passing still needs some works as he has just five touchdowns and five interceptions, but he already has 285 rushing yards, and he can give the Steelers defense some headaches. This should probably be an even game at worst, so don't hesitate to take the Raiders and the points.


Cleveland Browns (+7.5 @ KC)

The Cleveland Browns may very well be the streakiest team in the NFL as they opened the season with two losses, bounced back with three straight wins and have since dropped two more decisions. The Browns aren't the flashiest or most exciting team, but they definitely have the ability to play some tight games.

Cleveland has a major challenge on its hands this week, though, tasked with facing the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs on the road.

There is no denying that Kansas City is for real, but it's important to note that the Chiefs have played an extremely easy schedule en route to a 7-0 start. In fact, it seems likely that the only playoff team they have beaten is the Dallas Cowboys, and they're only 4-3.

The Chiefs are beatable, and the Browns could be the team to get the job done. One possible problem, however, is that Cleveland will start veteran journeyman Jason Campbell at quarterback this week, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Campbell isn't an overly exciting choice under center, but he'll probably protect the ball much more effectively than Brandon Weeden. This promises to be a game that is predicated on defense and ball control, which will keep the Browns in the hunt. Cleveland ranks in the top 10 defensively against both the run and the pass, and the Chiefs offense isn't exactly explosive with Alex Smith at quarterback. Kansas City will win this game, but it won't be by more than seven points in a low-scoring tilt.


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