FairwayJay's NFL Underdog Picks for Week 8
Week 8 of the 2022 NFL season features a Thursday Night Football game that we're involved in for our NFL underdog picks. The line has shifted, and we'll put our rushing guidelines to work with the the Baltimore Ravens as they tackle the more disappointing Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a short week and travel.
We finally had a losing result this 2022 NFL season, and it was an ugly one in Week 7. Our underdog picks went 0-4 for our worst week in a number of years. I'll get into more details ahead of Sunday's game when I add more underdog picks. However, our bet on teams in Week 7 combined for 12 turnovers lost, and a 12-3 turnover differential. You're going to lose a lot of football games and bets when the ball doesn't bounce your way and you suffer a significant turnover differential like that as all four of our teams picked were on the losing end of the turnover battle.
For the record, the Lions (+7) had an even stats game against the Cowboys other than turnovers, all five in the second half. That included first and goal at the Dallas 1 yard line with the Lions trailing by 3 points in the fourth quarter when they fumbled the ball (and game) away. A TD essentially seals the ATS deal. The Colts outgained the Titans and held Tennessee to 254 yards offense, but a 3-1 TO differential was the difference in defeat. The Broncos had 21 first downs to 10 for the Jets, and outgained New York 324-260 in another defeat. The 49ers were a blowout victim in the second half as 3 more San Fran TO's led to a Chiefs crushing of the Niners.
Teams that have a +3 or greater turnover differential in a game are now 20-0 SU and 19-1 ATS this season. The first ATS loser was in Week 7 when the Steelers (+6.5) had 3 turnovers to zero for the Dolphins in Miami's 16-10 win. A plus-3 or greater turnover edge is historically a 93% ATS win rate. Teams that are exactly +2 in TO differential are 15-2 SU and ATS. Add it up, and you'll see that NFL teams with a +2 or greater turnover advantage in a game this season are 35-2 SU and 34-3 ATS.
Running to Profits
As we incorporate some fundamental point of attack play and rushing game analysis into some of our picks including Thursday night's Ravens-Bucs contest, here is an update on some rushing stats. Teams that outrush an opponent in a game by 30 yards or more are 49-13-1 SU and 46-14-3 ATS (76%) after last week's 10-0 SU and 9-1 ATS results (how did we miss those?). Teams that run the ball at least 30 times in a game (when their opponent does not, rare) are 51-14-1 SU and 49-15-2 ATS (76%), including 7-0 SU and 6-1 ATS last week (Ravens were only ATS loser). Teams that run the ball less than 23 times in a game are 9-49 SU and 10-48 ATS (17%).
It was a tough week for Fairway's Football Forecast and our betting interests as turnovers were our kryptonite. But we'll continue to evaluate the games and shoot for value as able when betting, fundamental match-up edges while incorporating ATS situations, scheduling, injuries, weather and more into our picks and proven history of NFL point spread prognosis.
Be sure to monitor the betting lines and NFL Week 8 injury report, and check back Friday and over the weekend for additional picks, updates, additions and information you can bet on.
We head into Week 8 with a 15-12 ATS mark on our underdog only picks with 14 outright winners. The 5+ year record posting underdog picks is 145-103 (58.5%). Plenty to like about that and last year's 28-12 ATS 70% season as we stay positive in our pursuit of profit despite a bad losing week.
NFL Week 8 Underdog Picks
Baltimore (+2) at Tampa Bay - Ravens moneyline +110 at BetOnline (Thurs)
Houston (Pk) vs Tennessee - Titans moneyline -105 at GT Bets
Detroit (+3.5) vs Miami - Lions moneyline +160 BookMaker
Sunday plays starting with Houston Texans updated by 3pm ET Saturday. Check back for more analysis and information you can bet on, and register now for the BetOnline NFL Halloween Pick 'em Contest starting Sunday. The top 500 players receive a free play plus bonus cash and first place payout is $500.
Baltimore at Tampa Bay
This line has flipped from Ravens as favorite to underdog, and we'll play against the money move on the Buccaneers. After starting the season 2-0, the Buccaneers (3-4) are on a 1-4 SU and 0-5 ATS slide. The Ravens (4-3) are on a 0-3 ATS slide themselves, and Baltimore has invented ways to lose three close games. A review of the injury report shows the Buccaneers shorthanded with three defensive starters out for this Thursday night feature against the run-heavy Ravens. That includes star defensive back and leading tackler Antoine Winfield, and CB Carlton Davis, who help anchor the Bucs strength in pass defense. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has been trending downward, but even the less than accurate passing of lump head Lamar can have some success this week. Of course, the fundamentals at the point of attack and rushing guidelines all point to a Ravens big edge rushing the football. Jackson leads the Ravens in rushing, and Baltimore runs the ball an average of 28 times per game for 156 yards per game - top 5 in the league. The Bucs run defense is right at league average allowing 118 rushing YPG at 4.4 yards per rush, and the Ravens rushing attack is the best the Bucs will have faced. Tampa Bay is also dead last in rushing the football at 64 yards per game, and tied for last averaging 21 rushing attempts per game. Brady hasn't been able to bail out the Bucs and he has his own off field issues, which will include more questions about the team and his play following yet another loss.
Tennessee at Houston
AFC South first place Titans (4-2) vs last place Texans (1-4-1). The line moved from TEN -2.5 to pick 'em. We had Houston on our card regardless, but didn't get these Sunday picks and analysis posted by Friday. The Titans announced Saturday that rookie QB Malik Willis will make his starting debut. That's all we need to know to make this bet after the Titans got lucky last week to beat the Colts despite gaining just 254 yards at 4.5 yards per play. The Titans now have 4-straight wins, all fortunate, while still ranking in the bottom half of the league in both offensive and defensive efficiency. So we'll take the pick 'em price with a downgrade at quarterback for Tennessee and we'll see if the kid is ready - we don't think so. Yards projections by our measures were very close to even prior to QB Tannehill being ruled out and Willis in. Titans RB Derrick Henry will be busy as Houston ranks last in the league in Defensive rushing DVOA. We're betting against our rushing guidelines and projections knowing too that Henry has gained at least 132 combined total yards in each of the Titans last four games. However, know that Texans RB Dameon Pierce has at least 100 combined yards in four straight games including 80+ rushing in each contest. The Titans run the ball on 66.9% of their first down plays, second in the league behind Atlanta (72.2%), and the Texans allow 5.8 yards per carry on first down runs, 31st in the league. Despite all those rushing edges favoring the fraudulent Titans, we support the Texans, who are more disciplined as well with the fifth fewest penalties in the league. The only two teams to have more success and score against Houston had competent and very capable quarterbacks - Chargers and Raiders. The Titans do not.
Miami at Detroit
We'll stick with it with the lowly Lions (1-5) and clueless coach Campbell despite the Detroit downer last week (5 turnovers) and blowing the game and cover after fumbling the ball away on first and goal at the Dallas 1-yard line which would have given the Lions (+7) a 3-point fourth quarter lead. Miami (4-3) squeezed by the shitty Steelers last week 16-10 at home despite a +3 turnover edge. The Lions defense has been mostly disgraceful and right near the bottom of Football Outsiders DVOA rankings with Houston. However, they played much better last week against Dallas holding the Cowboys to 330 yards and remember Detroit led Minnesota on the road into the fourth quarter before clueless coach Campbell admitted his mistakes and blew that game too. So we're supporting another perceived sh*tty team but there are some edges to be had. Detroit plays the second-most man-to-man coverage in the NFL, and the DB's will be tested for sure against Dolphins WR's Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. In Weeks 1-4, Detroit scored a TD on a NFL-best 1 out of every 2.7 drives (18 TDs on 48 drives) but since then, they've had 21 drives and have scored zero TDs. The Lions are crappy on third down so far this season too ranking #31 on third down defense and the #31 third down offense. But the Lions offense should get back to early week success with the return of lead RB D'Andre Swift and most likely top WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, who was pulled out of last week's game as a precaution (concussion) and missed most the prior to games as well. The Dolphins come into this game with a severely depleted secondary. Safety Brandon Jones injured his knee against Pittsburgh and CB Byron Jones is still out. Two other DB's were already placed on IR. Rookie QB Kenny Pickett completed 32-of-44 passes last week and the Steelers TE led the receivers with 9 catches for 75 yards. Lions TE T.J. Hockenson is among the best and the Lions offense will go off. I bet the over as well knowing too that the Dolphins rank 27th in EPA allowed per drop back, 27th in yards per attempt (7.6), 26th in passer rating (98.9), and have just 14 sacks on the season (20th). Value home 'Dog in the Lions den despite the scuffles and scrapes on their skin.
Green Bay at Buffalo
This is not yet an official Fairway Football Forecast, but check back Sunday and see if we move in and add Green Bay (+10.5). The struggling Packers (3-4) have never been a double digit underdog with Aaron Rodgers as quarterback. The Bills (5-1) are the best team in the league and most dominant statistically as well. Buffalo ranks No. 1 in Total DVOA, No. Defense DVOA and No. 2 Offense DVOA. The Packers are blitzing 41.3% of the time (second in the league) and are creating pressure on 38.8% of dropbacks, also second in the league. Bills QB Josh Allen's splits: vs the blitz: #22 in completion rate (60%), #11 in YPA (7.3), 6 TDs no blitz: #9 in completion rate (71%), #5 in YPA (8.8), 11 TDs if the blitz creates pressure, Allen is 9-of-25 (36.0%) for 140 yards (5.6 Y/A). The Packers either led or were tied at the half in their last three games and lost all three as 4-9 point favorites to the Giants, Jets and Commanders. Good grief. Aaron Rodgers is averaging 6.5 YPA and 9.8 yards per completion - both his lowest for any year as a starter. No QB has a lower rate of completion that gain 10+ yards than Rodgers, and the Packers stock under their reigning 2x MVP has never been lower.
Check back Monday as we're in action on the Browns-Bengals game and may add Cleveland to our official picks and Fairway's Football Forecast. Evaluating more knowing too that the Browns are without a starting OL, TE and CB.
FairwayJay is a proven sports handicapper with unparalleled success in NFL pointspread prognosis. Fairway is recognized as one of the sports industry's insightful analysts, and he chips in additional sports betting coverage and reporting on industry news and events. Follow FairwayJay here at OSGA.com and on Twitter @FairwayJay for more betting insights.
FairwayJay's NFL Underdog Picks for Week 8