The underdogs lurking in the Week 8 NFL odds are thin and lanky like Ichabod Crane. Therefore, our eighth installment of the Contrarian has a narrower focus. Out of 14 matchups, only two underdogs will both win against the spread and win outright in this pivotal week. Despite it’s pumpkin spice flavor, Halloween weekend apparently favors the cherry-picked teams. There are two powerful AFC squads who will win against all odds in Week 8. I’m willing to bet the Haunted House on it. Who’s with me?
Get in on all the action at BetUS!
And, Off We Go
— TVG (@TVG) October 31, 2020
Steelers at Ravens
Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on CBS
Underdog Betting Vitals
Moneyline: Steelers +180
Point Spread: Steelers +4 ½ (-105)
We’re almost to the halfway point of the season, and the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-0) are still undefeated. The Steelers’ perfection hasn’t stopped the bookmaking gods from rating them as significant underdogs heading into their AFC North battle in Baltimore. Our sportsbook’s most recent NFL betting odds list Pittsburgh as 4½-point longshots.
The Baltimore Ravens (5-1) are coming off their bye week, and hope to knock the Steelers down a notch. Not so fast, boys. We’ve already witnessed the Ravens being caged by visiting elite teams (ie: the Chiefs, Week 3). Baltimore has the top-ranked defense in the league, but Pittsburgh has the sixth-ranked offense and defense in the NFL. Yes, the Ravens are ranked eighth offensively, but Lamar Jackson hasn’t exactly been blazing a trail to glory this season.
Jackson has not posted a quarterback rating higher than 95.0 all year, and lately, he’s been resorting to the run. “Smiley Face” rushed for 108 yards and a TD last week vs Philadelphia, but will find tougher sledding against the Steel Curtain’s second-ranked run defense. The reigning MVP is in for a rough afternoon.
Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger is undoubtedly a future Hall of Famer, but he’s never really received any league MVP consideration. Big Ben currently has 25-1 odds to win regular-season MVP, but it’s foolish to sleep on him. If Roethlisberger can help to keep the Steelers’ train on the tracks throughout the 2020 season, he’s in the conversation.
Both Pittsburgh (+750) and Baltimore (+535) have excellent Super Bowl Odds, and this contest is probably a postseason preview. When the Steelers deal the Ravens their second painful home loss of the year, the collective Baltimore psyche will suffer.
Baltimore is 3-2-1 ATS in 2020, while Pittsburgh is 5-1 ATS so far this year. Roethlisberger has won and covered the spread in his two most recent tussles in Baltimore. Ravens’ RB Mark Ingram II (ankle) is doubtful to play, and CB Jimmy Smith (Achilles) is questionable. The Steelers have no significant injuries heading into battle.
We can expect a bruising, ghoulish encounter between two scary AFC heavyweights this coming Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. Big Ben and the Steelers have the edge on the Ravens, who are champions in the making, but not just yet. Edgar Allen Poe will be rolling over in his grave after this setback in Baltimore.
Prediction: Steelers 24, Ravens 20
Raiders at Browns
Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on FOX
Underdog Betting Vitals
Moneyline: Raiders +115
Point Spread: Raiders +2 ½ (-110)
What a strange coincidence that the Las Vegas Raiders (3-3) find their way into a Halloween weekend feature piece. The Raiders are notorious for having the spookiest fans, who have taken costume-wearing to another level. These photos are from 2018, but they’re worth digging up and reanimating for this horrifying massacre in the making:
— Heidi Fang (@HeidiFang) November 19, 2018
The Vegas freakshow takes anchor in Cleveland, where the Raiders face a talented yet battered Browns team. The Cleveland Browns (5-2) are down RB Nick Chubb (MCL), WR Odell Beckham Jr. (ACL), and TE Austin Hooper (appendicitis).
WR Jarvis Landry (ribs) and RB Kareem Hunt (ribs) are both questionable to play, and Baker Mayfield clearly isn’t 100%. DE Myles Garrett is likely available, but he’s hobbled as well. Cleveland’s injury report this week looks like a rerun of “The Walking Dead.”
Las Vegas is still stinging from the 45-20 face slap it suffered against Tampa Bay at home last week. The Raiders will come out with their blades brandished vs the Browns, who are the screaming girls who try to run away in this horror flick. As we all know, those tragic characters always trip and fall, getting murdered in a clumsy fervor.
Raiders’ QB Derek Carr has thrown a minimum of two touchdowns in five straight games. Expect that trend to continue against the Browns’ 29th-ranked defense. A gimpy Mayfield will likely lead Cleveland to score some points vs Las Vegas’s 31st-ranked defense as well. It won’t be nearly enough, though.
Mayfield will lose the shootout with Carr, and the Raiders’ defense will haunt the Browns nightmares for a spell. Cleveland stumbles from this game with more questions than answers. Perhaps Browns fans will go back to wearing brown paper bags on their heads?
Prediction: Raiders 41, Browns 20
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