Week 8 NFL Picks: Over/Under Projections, Odds Advice and Line Spreads

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistOctober 23, 2018

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) warms up before an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Banks)
David Banks/Associated Press

The NFL is a balancing act in many ways, so it only makes sense the Week 8 outlook from an odds standpoint seems chaotic. 

A ho-hum slate the week prior saw arguably the most predictable list of outcomes possible, with the usual suspects taking home wins and the well-established lesser teams taking a seat. 

But Week 8 feels different right away. There are a handful of close lines, but a stunning six with spreads of seven or more points and several noticeable possible upsets based on the opening lines. 

As always, the key is to do the early research and pounce on lines early in the week before oddsmakers can adjust. With that in mind, here is the full slate and some notables. 

       

Week 8 NFL Odds

Miami at Houston (-7) | O/U 44.5

Philadelphia (-3.5) at Jacksonville | O/U 41.5

Baltimore (-1.5) at Carolina | O/U 43

Cleveland at Pittsburgh (-8) | O/U 51

Denver at Kansas City (-10)  | O/U 55

N.Y. Jets at Chicago (-7) | O/U 46

Seattle at Detroit (-3) | O/U 49.5

Tampa Bay at Cincinnati (-4.5) | O/U 54

Washington at N.Y. Giants (-1) | O/U n/a

Indianapolis (-3) at Oakland | O/U 50

Green Bay at L.A. Rams (-9) | O/U 56.5

San Francisco at Arizona (E) | O/U 43

New Orleans at Minnesota (-1) | O/U 53

New England (-14) at Buffalo | O/U 44.5

       

Cleveland at Pittsburgh (-8) 

Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

It never seems simple in the AFC North. 

On paper, the Cleveland Browns are 2-4-1 and the Pittsburgh Steelers are starting to get it in gear at 3-2-1. 

Both these teams are responsible for the tie in their opponents' record after a 21-21 meeting in Week 1. There, Ben Roethlisberger threw one touchdown with three interceptions and the Steelers defense let up 177 rushing yards and two scores. 

One could argue the Steelers are a better team at this point, but so are the Browns with rookie Baker Mayfield under center. He tossed two touchdowns in a 23-20 loss to Tampa Bay in Week 7, watching as his defense managed to cough up three rushing scores. The real focus should be the struggles up front, as Mayfield manages to make the line look better than it is: 

But here's a dirty secret—the Steelers aren't much better than Week 1, either. Le'Veon Bell hasn't returned, and while a two-game winning streak seems nice, ripping through Atlanta's injured and miserable defense and another bullying session against the Cincinnati Bengals distorts the picture. This is still a team that lost to Baltimore by 12 points and only beat Tampa Bay by three. 

The reality is these two are built to play one another, and the Cleveland offense should still make plenty of headway against a Steelers defense coughing up 25.7 points per game. Without a dynamic runner like Bell on the field, the task is more straightforward for the Cleveland defense, too. 

While the Steelers should come away with a win at home because a player like Ben Roethlisberger always seems to make it happen late, the spread here is too big and will shrink as the week progresses, meaning it's one to jump on now. 

Prediction: Steelers 23, Browns 20

      

Washington at N.Y. Giants (-1)

Andrew Harnik/Associated Press

This one doesn't make any sense and should be exploited quickly. 

The 4-2, NFC East-leading Washington Redskins are underdogs on the road against the 1-6 New York Giants because...well there isn't a good reason.

Washington enters this one not only after beating the Carolina Panthers 23-17 but after overcoming the Dallas Cowboys, 20-17. In the latter of the two, Alex Smith passed for a score in a game-managing affair and Adrian Peterson rushed for 99 yards on a 4.1 average while a dominant-looking defense sacked Dak Prescott four times and held Ezekiel Elliott to 33 yards on 15 carries. 

Meanwhile, the Giants were busy losing to 3-4 Atlanta, 23-20, a fourth consecutive loss. 

The Redskins, at least, seem to know they have a problem under center: 

Even so, it's nothing compared to New York's refusal to start a rebuild. Eli Manning, despite a supporting cast featuring Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram, has thrown all of seven touchdowns and four interceptions for an offense that has scored more than 20 points in a game twice. 

Barkley and Manning aren't going to do much against a Redskins front seven that boasts back-to-back first-round picks in Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen. In other words, the Giants will need Manning to beat the Redskins with his arm, which isn't easy either against a secondary featuring Josh Norman. 

Considering the Giants cough up 121.7 rushing yards per game (24th) and 27.0 points (26th), this feels like a Peterson-heavy game where the Redskins shouldn't have any problems. 

Prediction: Redskins 27, Giants 20

      

New England (-14) at Buffalo | O/U 44.5

Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

Why not? 

A 14-point spread seems huge, but keep in mind we're talking about Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. 

Brady, the ageless wonder still completing 68 percent of his passes with 16 touchdowns against seven interceptions. The Patriots, a 5-2 team with four wins in a row, one of those crowning them as the only team to beat Kansas City and another a stroke of survival against a terrifying Khalil Mack-led Chicago defense. 

Brady, of course, makes it all tick no matter the situation: 

Then there is Buffalo, a team that had to trot out Derek Anderson under center in Week 7. The 35-year-old career backup went on to throw three interceptions in a crushing 37-5 defeat at the hands of the 2-5 Indianapolis Colts. 

The Bills have lost two in a row and typically go down by huge margins when they're losing, with outcomes of 47-3, 31-20, 22-0, 20-13 and 37-5 working against them this season. Considering Brady and Co. just hung 38 on a vaunted Chicago defense, it's safe to say he'll have a smooth day against Buffalo while Anderson struggles to serve as the stopgap until Josh Allen can get back. 

Unlike the other divisional games detailed here, the fact this is one doesn't play much of a role given the talent gap. The Patriots should hop out to an early lead and hit cruise control. 

Prediction: Patriots 30, Bills 7

       

Odds via OddsShark.

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