Week 8 NFL Pick ’em Pool Picks: Expert advice on favorites, upsets to consider in confidence pools, office pools

You don’t need us to tell you to pick the Chiefs to beat the Jets in the biggest mismatch of the season to date, but there are other games on the Week 8 slate where public picking trends are showing an irrational bias you can exploit in NFL pick ’em pools.

To increase your odds to win an NFL pick ’em pool, you need to be on the smarter side of those games and figure out the picks that will give you the biggest expected boost over your competitors from a risk vs. reward standpoint.

This analysis is brought to you by TeamRankings, the only site that provides customized picks that maximize your edge in football pools. Check out their Football Pick ’em Picks, NFL Survivor Pool Picks, and NFL Betting Picks.

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Week 8 NFL Picks Advice: Tips for Pick ’em Pools

Note: Win odds and estimated pick popularity data below may change between publication time and kickoff time. If you want the latest numbers, our product updates multiple times per day.

Favorites at a Reasonable Price

The picks below may not be significantly underrated by the public, but compared to other favorites this week, they are a relative bargain in terms of pick popularity. Think twice about picking against them, as there are smarter upset pick opportunities on the board.

New Orleans Saints (at Chicago)

Going against the Bears provided a value opportunity last week against the superior Rams, and a similar opportunity is available this week.

The Saints are four-point favorites at Chicago, and that’s about in line with our predictive ratings. The Bears and Saints look roughly similar if you look at their overall records and points scored/allowed, but the Saints have faced a much tougher schedule so far. Moreover, the Bears are exactly a league-average team (0.0 in our ratings) despite their 5-2 record.

Our win-odds projection for New Orleans is 65 percent, and 74 percent of the public is taking the Saints. Comparing that pick popularity to some other teams favored by four points this week (the Rams are being picked 86 percent of the time against Miami, the Bills 92 percent of the time against New England), sticking with the Saints is a relative bargain from a risk-reward perspective.

Value Favorites

Week 8 features two favorites that the public is picking at a lower rate than their chances to win. These types of teams are as close to no-brainer picks as you can get in NFL pick ’em contests since you can take the team that’s expected to win and still “fade the public” (in relative terms, at least) at the same time.

Baltimore Ravens (vs. Pittsburgh)

Baltimore gets the Steelers at home this week, and while 61 percent of the public is taking Baltimore, we project them with 64-percent win odds as a 3.5-point favorite.

It’s understandable that the Steelers would be a semi-popular underdog pick this week given that they are the last remaining undefeated team and just beat the previously undefeated Titans in Nashville. Baltimore was also out-of-sight, out-of-mind last week on a bye and narrowly won its last game two weeks ago.

All of this adds up to Baltimore providing solid value in pick ’em pools. You can stick with the favorite and the better team at home while a decent portion of the public is going with the other side.

Cleveland Browns (vs. Las Vegas)

The Browns draw the Raiders at home in a fairly consequential AFC matchup, as both teams look to make a run to the playoffs.

Cleveland was non-competitive in their two losses to Baltimore and Pittsburgh, but it has won every other game. The Raiders, meanwhile, experienced a high point when they upset the Chiefs, but Las Vegas is near the bottom of the NFL in yards allowed per game and rank 31st with just three turnovers forced on defense.

The public is evenly split on this one, and the Browns are the 2.5-point favorite in the betting markets. Sticking with the favored team here provides an edge.

Value Gambles

If you’re going to make a gamble on a decently sized underdog, you need to make sure that the potential reward if you get it right — that is, how much your odds to win your pool will increase — is big. Take a bunch of extra risk to make a trendy upset pick, and the joke is on you.

The picks below are definitely not appropriate for all pools. If you’re in a smaller, season-long pool, it is probably not worth the risk. However, it should be seriously considered for single-week contests or if you only care about weekly prizes.

Atlanta Falcons (at Carolina)

The Panthers beat Atlanta just three weeks ago on the road, and Atlanta has had some very notable late-game collapses in starting 1-6. The underlying numbers show these two teams are very close to each other, and the point spread reflects that, with Carolina just a slight 2.5-point favorite at home.

Whether it’s because of the Panthers’ earlier win in the series or the Falcons’ implosions so far this season, the public is taking Carolina a whopping 85 percent of the time. There have been only three other games this year where a team was favored by less than a field goal but had a pick popularity over 80 percent, and so far, the extremely popular small favorite like Carolina has gone 1-2 straight up.

Atlanta has a realistic chance of winning this matchup, and with only one of every six public entries taking them, you can get great value in certain risk-rewarding pools by going against the public here.

New England Patriots (at Buffalo)

Who would have thought that the Patriots would be playing a game against Buffalo where fewer than 10 percent of the public was picking the Pats? That’s the situation we have this week after New England lost its third game in a row (in embarrassing fashion, too). The Patriots have turned the ball over 11 times in their past three games, which is a big factor in their struggles.

It’s not like Buffalo has been playing their best in recent weeks, though, getting blown out by Tennessee and run over at home by Kansas City, and then beating the Jets by just eight points while not even managing to score an offensive touchdown.

Buffalo is a 3.5-point favorite with 64-percent win odds implied by the betting markets. Our models are a little more optimistic about New England, putting it at 61-percent win odds for the Bills. (That may include some factors being picked up in our models related to road performance in similar division matchups, where we have seen reduced home-field advantage.)

More specifically to this series, the Patriots are 16-2 in Buffalo since 2002 and 14-4 against the spread. This game marks just the third time the Bills are favored at home against New England in the past decade, and the Patriots scored upset wins in the previous two.

With the public swinging so heavily against the Fighting Belichicks in this one, the Patriots present solid contrarian value, especially in weekly prize contests.

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Get all of our Week 8 picks for your pool!

The teams mentioned in this post provide some of the best opportunities to differentiate your Week 8 picks from your pool opponents by taking on little or no additional risk. That’s the basic strategy foundation for winning more pick ’em pools, and a big reason why an average of 72 percent our subscribers have reported winning a prize in a football pick ’em contest since 2014.

Please note, we are not saying that you should make all of the picks mentioned in this article — the upset picks especially. The best Week 8 picks for your NFL pool depend on a number of strategy factors particular to your pool.

If you’re in a confidence pool, for example, it may be wise to bump up the number of confidence points you assign to a value pick like the Ravens. In a non-confidence pool, the process is more about deciding whether the risk of making one or more upset picks is worth it in Week 8, especially with plenty of season still to play.

We’ve built technology to do all the data gathering and analysis needed to make the best calls. Our Football Pick ’em Picks is the only product that gives you the tools and data you need to maximize your edge, and we invite you to try it out for free using our free trial below.

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