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NFL Week 8: Top Three Betting Picks

Max Meyer |
October 24, 2012 | 3:15 p.m. PDT

Associate Sports Editor

Matt Ryan and the Falcons will have a tough time staying undefeated against the Eagles this weekend. (Chrisjnelson, Creative Commons)
Matt Ryan and the Falcons will have a tough time staying undefeated against the Eagles this weekend. (Chrisjnelson, Creative Commons)
After a couple of very unlucky picks against the spread last week (thanks to the declined safety and the Lions' meaningless touchdown with 30 seconds left), I am eager to come back with a vengeance this week. Before I go into my picks, I'd like to share a couple of interesting betting trends for the 2012 season:

1. Teams playing the week before their bye are 1-13 against the spread (if you take away the game where both teams before their bye week played against each other). These teams have a bye next week: Jets, Patriots, 49ers, Rams.

2. Teams that won an overtime game the week before are 1-6 against the spread. Teams that won an overtime game last week: Patriots, Raiders.

3. Teams coming off their bye are 7-2-1 (thanks to the Bears pushing last week) against the spread. Teams coming off a bye: Eagles, Falcons, Dolphins, Chiefs, Broncos, Chargers

4. NFC underdogs are 34-7-2 against the spread. NFC Teams that are underdogs this week: Buccaneers, Panthers, Seahawks, Rams, Falcons, Redskins, Cowboys, Saints, Cardinals. 

Now, I won't base all of my picks this week off of these trends, but that can change in the future...

EAGLES (-1) over Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons are the NFL's last undefeated team. However, several experts believe that the Falcons are not the best team in the league. They've beaten the lowly Raiders and Panthers by a combined five points, barely escaping in both of those contests. And both of these games were at home, where the Falcons play much better compared to on the road. 

The Falcons are traveling to Philadelphia this weekend, and they will be playing in cool October weather. The fact that Lincoln Financial Field is an outdoor stadium is probably one of the biggest reasons why the Falcons have lost their last five games there.

Both teams are coming off their bye, but the Philadelphia Eagles still hold a distinct advantage. One of the more impressive streaks in the NFL is that Eagles head coach Andy Reid is 13-0 in games after a bye week. The Eagles are also 10-3 against the spread in those games. Additionally, the 12 undefeated teams coming off a bye week that are road underdogs have lost all 12 of those games and went 2-10 against the spread. 

I also really like the overall matchup for the Eagles. The Falcons have an explosive passing attack, but expect an off week because of the Eagles' strong pass defense (allowing just 6 yards per attempt) and the weather. The Falcons don't have a running game to help them out this week, as they are 29th in the NFL in rushing yards per game. 

The Eagles offense should have a good game as well. Quarterback Michael Vick is facing against his former team, and that motivation could lead to his best game of the year. The Falcons have the 28th ranked run defense, which should open up holes for RB LeSean McCoy. 

I have picked against the Eagles three times this year, but now I think they are currently undervalued. Expect the Eagles to beat the Falcons decisively in the battle of the birds.

Eli Manning will be seeking revenge against the Cowboys. (Marianne O'Leary/Creative Commons)
Eli Manning will be seeking revenge against the Cowboys. (Marianne O'Leary/Creative Commons)

Giants (-1) over COWBOYS

The New York Giants have been playing very impressive football over the last couple of games and look like an elite team. On the other hand, the Dallas Cowboys are faltering, and this is a must-win game for them. With the NFC East battle being played in Jerry World, this has all of the makings for another typical Cowboys collapse.

The Giants have certainly not forgotten about their Week 1 loss to the 

Cowboys in primetime. Do you really expect them to lose twice to the Cowboys in the same season? This is actually one of the rare games where the public and sharps are betting on the same team, as the line has already shifted from Cowboys minus-1 to Giants minus-1.

As I've mentioned before, the Giants love to play on the road. In their last eight road games, the Giants are 7-1 against the spread. Additionally, the Giants are 6-2-1 against the spread the last nine times they've played at Dallas, including last year's stunning 37-34 win.

The Cowboys also are fighting the injury bug. They lost middle linebacker Sean Lee for the season, and he's one of their best defensive players. Explosive starting running back DeMarco Murray is doubtful this week. Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks already has his first full practice of the season under his belt this week, and is expected to play. 

Bet on the better team that is hungry for revenge against their rivals. You won't regret it. 

Chargers (-2.5) over BROWNS

Norv Turner is on the hot seat. Now, that may not mean much because he always is and should've been fired years ago. However, the last San Diego Chargers game was their Monday Night Football collapse against the Broncos. If the Chargers cannot respond here against one of the worst teams in football, then their season is definitely finished.

The Chargers are coming off a bye week, so they will have had two weeks to prepare for an awful Cleveland Browns team. The Chargers have the recent head-to-head advantage, winning five of their last six against the Browns.

Browns stud rookie running back Trent Richardson is banged up, and may not play in the game. Even if he does, he'll have a tough time against a Chargers defense that has allowed the fewest rushing yards per game in the NFL. The Chargers will be able to swarm rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden and force him to make several mistakes.

I also think Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers will have a great bounceback game. He's played very well on the road this season, completing over 70 percent of his passes, along with having 12 touchdown passes compared to five interceptions. He also gets a boost from the offensive line, as left tackle Jared Gaither will return this week and should improve the pass protection significantly. 

The Chargers have a lot more talent than the Browns do, and they should be able to beat the Browns handily.



Reach Associate Sports Editor Max Meyer here. Follow him here.



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