The NFL has proven to be extremely top heavy in 2015, as Week 8 begins with five undefeated teams and 21 teams that don’t have a winning record. But that will change in a few days with at least one unbeaten team guaranteed to receive a blemish on their record, and possibly another set to suffer their first loss of the season.
The New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers are both expected to go 7-0 in Week 8. New England is more than a touchdown favorite over the visiting Miami Dolphins on Thursday night, and the Panthers will host the struggling Indianapolis Colts, who are seven-point underdogs. Two of the other three unbeaten teams are underdogs.
There’s no such thing as a “sure thing” when it comes to sports betting, but here are the three best bets for Week 8 of the 2015 NFL season.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-1)
Despite their 4-3 record, the Steelers might be one of the NFL’s best teams when healthy. Now that Ben Roethlisberger is returning, Pittsburgh will start to look like a legitimate Super Bowl contender, and they have a good chance to hand the Cincinnati Bengals their first loss of the season.
Earlier in the week, the Steelers were underdogs. But they’ve rightfully been named favorites at home against the Bengals, whom they’ve had success against in recent years. Cincinnati has made the playoffs in four straight seasons, and the Steelers have still managed to beat them in eight of their last 10 meetings, including going 4-1 in Pittsburgh. Considering all the weapons they have on offense, the Steelers might have their best team in the last five years.
Even with Landry Jones at quarterback, Pittsburgh managed to defeat the Arizona Cardinals, who are one of the NFL’s top teams. This is the best Cincinnati team that Andy Dalton has been a part of, but the Bengals still haven’t beaten a team that’s above. 500.
Green Bay Packers (-3)
Through the first seven weeks of the season, the Packers stand out as the clear Super Bowl favorite in the NFC. The Denver Broncos are the worst undefeated team remaining in football, and the smart pick is to lay the three points, even if Green Bay is on the road.
Denver is 6-0, but they could easily be a .500 team. The Broncos have barely beaten the Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs, and Cleveland Browns, who have a combined 5-16 record. Playing at home hasn’t changed much, as the Broncos have won two games in Denver by just nine total points. The Broncos defense is among the best in football, and they will do their best to contain Aaron Rodgers. But the Green Bay offense will be difficult to slow down.
The Broncos could beat the Packers if they had the Peyton Manning of old, but they are currently saddled with one of the NFL’s worst quarterbacks. He ranks 31st in passer rating, throwing three more interceptions than touchdowns. Denver’s offense hasn’t produced more than 24 points in regulation in any game, which doesn’t bode well for them against the league’s top scoring defense.
Seattle Seahawks (-6)
The Dallas Cowboys have lost four games in a row without Tony Romo, and things don’t get any easier when they host the Seahawks. They’ve been defeated by at least six points in every game of their losing streak, and that should continue against the defending NFC champs.
Seattle might not be as good as they were last year, but they still have a top pass defense that feasts on weak quarterbacks. The “Legion of Boom” held struggling Colin Kaepernick to 124 passing yards and a 68.8 passer rating last week, and they forced the Chicago Bears to punt on every possession when they faced Jimmy Clausen. Dallas could face a similar fate when they are led by Matt Cassel on Sunday. The quarterback threw three interceptions in his first game with the Cowboys last week, and he might be the worst signal caller that takes the field in Week 8.
The Seahawks’ Achilles’ heel has been their inability to hold onto late leads, but the Cowboys aren’t good enough without Romo to make a comeback. The Seahawks have the NFL’s No.2 rushing offense, and they’ll control the clock throughout the game.
Season Record: 13-5