nfl week 8 upset picks

Underdogs are currently a strong 58-49 ATS (54.2%) through seven weeks of the NFL season. Road dogs have been particularly tenacious, cashing tickets at a 58.1% clip (36-26 ATS). Numbers like these are typically a sportsbook’s dream, but, oddly, the public has crushed the house three weeks in a row in the NFL. Oddsmakers always seem to get the last laugh, and, as such, we could be primed for a Week 8 card full of hungry underdogs.

Let’s take a look at our three best underdog NFL upsets picks for Week 8 action, with ATS predictions.

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Three Best NFL Upset Picks for Week 8

Jacksonville vs. Seattle

We get it. Jacksonville earned just its first win of the season against a hapless Miami team in London. How are the Jags only getting this short number on cross-country travel?

But, what has Seattle really done since Russell Wilson went down to suggest they should be giving points to any team on any field? They’ve lost all three games in which Geno Smith has been featured under center, including two at Lumen Field where they are now 0-3 SU on the season, including 0-2 ATS as favorites.

Smith has fallen short on key drives in all three of those defeats, turning it over via a fumble, interception, and on downs, respectively. Without Chris Carson, the Seahawks look devoid of options when it matters and we will need to see them figure out how to win without Wilson before we believe they should lay points to anyone, let alone an improving Jacksonville squad.

As such, we are going to back the Jaguars, who should be able to control this game via their 10th ranked rushing attack (121.8 yards per game) which will face a Seattle run defense that is third worst in the NFL, allowing 134.1 yards per game. Outside of games against division foes who know the Jags well, Jacksonville has performed admirably and has improved from week to week. The team has no quit in it and is starting to round into shape a bit after an expected slow start with a new head coach and rookie quarterback.

Jacksonville has covered four of its last five games as underdogs away from home, including a 4-1 ATS mark in true road games. The Jags enter here after a bye week to rest and prepare following their London win, knowing they have covered seven straight games with rest against opponents with sub .600 win percentages.


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ATS Trends to Know

Seattle does not have the benefit of rest, although the team could have certainly used it, given all of its key injuries. Instead, they play here off a Monday Night Football game which they lost, 13-10, to New Orleans. The Seahawks, who covered that one despite the loss, are just 2-7 ATS in their last nine games after an ATS victory. They are also a poor 7-19 ATS in their last 26 games after scoring 14 points or fewer in their prior outing.

Jaguars vs. Seahawks Pick

Seattle is unlikely to show well here, given its current 1-4 ATS run as favorites and 1-4 ATS streak against sub .500 foes.

Our Pick: Jacksonville +3.5

New Orleans vs. Tampa Bay

It’s always tricky to wager against Tom Brady, especially right now with his league-leading passing offense, third-ranked scoring group, and NFL best run-stuffing defense. However, if you are going to do it, this is a spot worth considering.

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The Saints have had the Bucs’ number, even after Brady’s arrival last season. New Orleans has covered five of the last six meetings, with the lone slip up being in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs last season, setting up a solid revenge spot here. Those five aforementioned covers were all SU wins, as well, meaning the Saints have not lost to the Bucs in the regular season since Week 1 of the 2018 season.

Even in the loss to end its 2020 season, New Orleans held Brady to just 189 yards through the air. The Saints did not allow Brady to top 224 yards in any of the three meetings last season, an amazing fact considering the Bucs are averaging a league-best 324.3 passing yards per game thus far.

If history dictates anything here, New Orleans should have a good shot to push Tampa once again in this one. Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians began the 2021 season at just 4-8 ATS against division opponents. With Tampa entering this one off a 38-3 demolition of the Bears last Sunday, it’s also worth pointing out that Arians is just 3-7 ATS with the Bucs after they scored 35 or more points previously.

In fact, the Buccaneers have failed to cover any of their last four games after a SU win by 15 or more points, including an 0-1 ATS mark in that role this season.

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This is a bad week in a bad month historically for Tampa Bay. They have covered just five of their last 20 October games and just one of their last five Week 8 outings. They narrowly escaped with a 25-23 road win at the Giants last year in Week 8 as 13-point favorites. Tying in with that last trend, the Bucs are also a putrid 2-12 ATS against conference opponents in their last 14 efforts during games 5-8 of the season.

New Orleans’ own pursuit of a cover or win here is bolstered by some tremendous trends, as well. The Saints are 35-16-1 ATS in their last 52 games as underdogs and have only lost three of their last 11 games ATS as home dogs.

Wildly, they are a perfect 10-0 ATS in their last 10 games as divisional dogs of at least three points.

Speaking of the NFC South, the Saints are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 home games against a divisional opponent off back-to-back SU wins. And, by proxy, they are 15-2 ATS in their last 17 outings against a conference opponent with better than a .666 win percentage when that team enters the game off a SU win.

The Saints enter play off a 13-10 road win at Seattle on Monday night in which they failed to cover the spread. That works out for us here, given that New Orleans has covered four straight games after an ATS loss and five straight after scoring less than 15 points previously.

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Buccaneers vs. Saints Pick

While Jameis Winston and the Saints have had a horrible time moving the ball through the air, at least he will be facing an opponent with which he is familiar, and one which struggles to stop the pass, ranking just 23rd in opponent passing yards per game. After the monster game Alvin Kamara had catching the ball against Seattle, look for New Orleans to use more of that here as a faux run game to keep pace with Tampa Bay.

The Saints know that a win in this spot would get them within a half-game of the Bucs in the division race, holding both the head-to-head tiebreaker and a game in hand. Lose, and they know they may as well crown Tampa Bay the NFC South champions at the final whistle.

Our Pick: New Orleans +5.5

Dallas vs. Minnesota

If you were Mike Zimmer this week, wouldn’t you be telling your Vikings team how disrespected they should feel entering this game? Oddsmakers setting them as underdogs at home to the Dallas Cowboys should rub them in all the wrong ways.

Sure, America’s Team is playing well, covering all spreads and winning every game since its narrow opening night loss to Tampa Bay. However, it’s also no secret that Dallas has only covered one of the last six games overall in this head-to-head series, while also dropping five of the last six ATS in Minnesota. The underdog in this matchup has covered four straight meetings, as well.

And, putting history aside for a second, while the Cowboys sit comfortably atop the NFC East, 3.5 games ahead already, Minnesota sits in a tie for that precarious 7th spot in the NFC playoff race. The result of this game surely has to mean far more to the home Vikings than the traveling Cowboys.

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ATS Trends to Know

Getting back to some key trends, Dallas is just 4-7 ATS over the last three seasons as a road favorite and its quarterback, Dak Prescott, entered the season at just 7-16 ATS when facing an opponent off a SU win. Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy entered 2021 at just 1-7 ATS when his Cowboys were favored and is just 1-7 ATS in the last eight times his teams have played against an opponent off a non-division game. You should also be aware, with Dallas winning its last game 35-29, that McCarthy’s Cowboys are just 1-4 ATS after scoring 35 or more points prior.

The Vikings, by contrast, are guided by Zimmer, who is a cover machine. He entered 2021 at 68-46-3 ATS with Minnesota, including 36-20 ATS at home, 47-26 ATS in non-division games, and 27-19 ATS as underdogs. Zimmer’s quarterback, Kirk Cousins, is 9-6 ATS in his career as a home dog, as well.

Cowboys vs. Vikings Pick

The Vikings, in general, are fierce at home, especially when getting points. This stadium can be a house of horrors for opponents and should be absolutely rocking for such an important Sunday Night Football game. The Vikings are 13-7 ATS at home on Sunday nights and have only lost six of their last 26 games ATS as home dogs. They are also 14-4 ATS in their last 18 home games against opponents with winning road records.

Both teams come in rested after a bye, but in a primetime game with a raucous crowd behind them, we have to back the home Vikes, who also have more to play for here. Look for Minnesota to move to 12-5-1 ATS in its last 17 October games with an impressive victory.

Our Pick: Minnesota +2

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