Identifying Value and NFL Week 8 Underdogs
We got back on track, for a week anyway, going 3-1 in Week 7 with two outright underdog winners on the Lions and Cardinals late wins. Scoring dipped slightly, but is still averaging 50.65 points per game. Nearly every week more totals are rising and getting bet up, but in Week 8 there are more games that have been bet down as windy weather is in the forecast at a number or NFL cities and stadiums.
I break down some of the Week 8 totals moves in my recent update at Forbes, and bet some early week. Along with the weather, NFL injury reports and COVID-19 cases, these updates are always worth monitoring in anticipation of additional market moves and match-ups that matter when betting sides, totals and player props.
The 3-1 ATS mark in Week 7 moves our year-to-date underdog picks to 9-13 ATS and 3-plus year record to 86-67 ATS (56.2%). While I'm not as high on the NFL Week 8 card, here are some NFL underdog picks we'll include.
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252 Detroit (+3) vs Indianapolis – Lions Moneyline +130
269 San Francisco (+3) at Seattle - 49ers Moneyline +130
Detroit at Atlanta
The Lions delivered for us late last week in an outright underdog win at Atlanta, and Detroit was added to our NFL teasers that won and we'll do the 'Detroit double' again this week as a 'Dog in their own den. Detroit's back-to-back wins have moved them to .500 at 3-3, and improved play on both sides of the ball is showing as is few turnovers. Detroit is No. 3 in the league with just four giveaways which includes zero fumbles lost. Quarterback Matthew Stafford is even more efficient with WR Kenny Golladay back in the lineup , and the Lions are showing better balance and willingness to run the ball more in recent weeks. This is not a fade of the Colts (4-2), as the Indianapolis offensive line is a real strength in front of veteran and ultra-competitive QB Philip Rivers. But the Colts defense showed cracks the last two games allowing 27 and 32 points (6 on a pick-6 of Rivers), and now play against the best quarterback they have faced this season. The bye week is an edge for Indianapolis, but the Colts have played perhaps the easiest schedule in the NFL, and none of their opponents have a positive point differential. The Lions will with a 10-point victory, and in a game that projects to be close, let's hope the Lions are on the right side of the turnover margin and can continue their positive play and performance to pick up their first home win.
San Francisco at Seattle
We also cashed in against Seattle last week and the Seahawks blew it and lost to the Cardinals for their first loss of the season. Now Seattle (5-1) plays another big division game and San Francisco (4-3) is off their two most impressive wins of the season in beating New England and the Los Angeles Rams. Key for the 49ers has been a return to their pound the ground running game with 37 rushing attempts each of the past two games while gaining 197 and 122 rushing yards. Now the sieve Seahawks defense should yield more yards with Seattle's league-worst defense and poorly coordinated unit of DC Ken Norton Jr. allowing 6.3 yards per play and a league-worst 479 yards per game. Despite being 5-1 with top MVP candidate Russell Wilson playing at an exceptionally high level and leading his team to a league-high 33.8 points per game, the Seahawks are being outgained by 54 yards per game. The 49ers are outgaining opponents by 74 yards per game, and despite a diminished 49ers defensive line, San Francisco is one of just two teams that ranks in the top-8 of Football Outsiders DVOA on offense and defense. I point out the importance of point of attack play and rushing guidelines in my Inside the Numbers update. Road underdogs playing an opponents off a straight up loss are 21-6 ATS this season and that fits the 49ers this week. San Francisco is getting stronger and healthier, and Seattle is over-achieving. We'll shoot for another outright winner against the Seahawks and their very deficient defense.
FairwayJay is a leading national sports handicapper and betting analyst, and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful analysts. Read more great insights from Jay here and follow him on Twitter @FairwayJay.