When survivor pool contestants saw three teams with double-digit point spreads and moneyline odds of -800 or higher, they assuredly liked their chances of advancing another week. As it was, Week 7’s three biggest favorites (Rams, Cardinals, Buccaneers) won by a combined 70 points. They were not the only teams to win convincingly, as Mike Clay explained on Twitter.
Home teams were a combined 66-point favorite this week and outscored their opponents 330 to 193 (+137).
And that includes the Bengals 41-17 win at Baltimore.
— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) October 25, 2021
In all, moneyline favorites went 9-4 SU, but each of the five-biggest favorites all won their Week 7 matchups. We advised the Baltimore Ravens (-310) as a risky play, while the other favorites to lose were the Kansas City Chiefs (-215), San Francisco 49ers (-194), and Carolina Panthers (-152).
Like last week, my selections for this week will be broken down into the following categories: safest picks, riskier plays that will be popular, and contrarian plays to beat a large pool. Even though survivor pool rules say you cannot pick the same team twice, I will outline multiple scenarios if bettors wish to navigate their own path.
Here is a list of odds for all the favorites to win their matchups in Week 8 (odds courtesy of FanDuel).
Buffalo Bills (-950), Los Angeles Rams (-950), Kansas City Chiefs (-460), Cincinnati Bengals (-405)
The Buffalo Bills are near two-touchdown favorites off a bye week against the Miami Dolphins, who have lost six consecutive games. The Bills shut out Miami 35-0 in Week 2, though that game was marred by an injury early in the game to Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Tagovailoa had an impressive 291-yard and four-touchdown performance last week against the Falcons. However, he will not have the same success against a Buffalo defense that ranks first in the league allowing just 270.2 yards per game. Buffalo may not win this game by 35 points, but they are not in danger of losing.
Not many survivor pool contestants have the Los Angeles Rams available to select, given that they likely have used them either of the last two weeks against the Giants and Lions. However, if one does have them available this week, they are a great option on the road at the Texans. If picking the Rams, keep an eye on Houston’s injury report, as it is possible quarterback Tyrod Taylor returns from injury this week. The Texans have scored six offensive touchdowns in roughly 1.5 games with Taylor as starting quarterback and five offensive touchdowns in 5.5 games with Davis Mills as the starter. If Mills once again starts, the Rams are a safe pick. If Taylor is back under center, the other three teams in this section are the smarter play.
Many teams around the league would not panic with a 3-4 record, and several others would love to have three wins through seven weeks. However, the Kansas City Chiefs hold themselves to a higher standard, and the back-to-back AFC Champions are out to prove they are better than what they have shown to this point. Kansas City has lost four of their last six games and looks to get right against a struggling Giants team at home on Monday Night Football. The Chiefs are coming off their worst offensive performance (three points) in Andy Reid’s nine-year tenure as head coach, which makes me feel sorry for what might happen to New York’s defense in primetime.
Raise your hand if you had the Cincinnati Bengals as the AFC’s No. 1 seed through seven weeks. Cincinnati is brimming with confidence after a 24-point road win against Baltimore. They now get to face a Jets team that will be quarterbacked by Mike White (or possibly Joe Flacco after the trade), as rookie Zach Wilson could miss up to a month with a sprained PCL. The Jets were not a serious threat to beat the Bengals even with Wilson under center, and they are certainly not now with White or Flacco as their signal-caller.
Riskier Plays That Will Be Popular
Arizona Cardinals (-245), Philadelphia Eagles (-178)
Mark my words, there will be plenty of people who will roll with the Arizona Cardinals in their survivor pools this week (if they did not use them last week against Houston) solely based on the news that Packers wide receiver Davante Adams was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. While Aaron Rodgers loves throwing to Adams, the future Hall of Famer can make anyone better and is capable of lighting up the scoreboard with Allen Lazard and Robert Tonyan as his biggest receiving threats. The Packers have won six straight games, so do not get cute picking against them just because their best offensive player outside of Rodgers will not play.
The Philadelphia Eagles will also be a popular play as they head to Detroit to face the league’s only winless team. However, the Lions were seconds away from two wins, as they gave away games late against Baltimore and Minnesota. If the Lions also had two wins, which equals Philadelphia’s win total at the moment, would anyone be as quick to risk their survivor pool lives on them?
Contrarian Play To Beat a Large Pool
Seattle Seahawks (-174)
Most people would prefer to wait to use Seattle in their survivor pools once Russell Wilson is healthy and back under center. However, if you are willing to place your survivor pool life at risk with Geno Smith at quarterback, the Jaguars are not a bad opponent to do it against. The Seahawks are at a scheduling disadvantage, having played on Monday night while Jacksonville is off a bye week. However, Seattle narrowly defeated much better New Orleans and Pittsburgh teams in the last two weeks with Smith at quarterback. In addition, it is a big ask of rookie Trevor Lawrence to win a road game in one of the most challenging environments in the NFL. Thus, the Seahawks make a fine contrarian play this week.
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