What the Pick Data Says About NFL Week 8
At this point in the season, each team’s general direction is appearing through the haze, and a semblance of tiers is gestating within the league. We have a general sense of who’s pretty good, who’s pretty bad, and who’s somewhere in between.
We think we do, at least. Each week, Splash users make picks across our platforms, like RunYourPool, OfficeFootballPool, and Splash Sports. Sometimes they do well, sometimes they do not (myself included). But I still rummage through the data to see if there are any prophecies hidden inside the minds of the Splash masses.
In theory, Week 8 will not be as wide open as Week 7 was. That’s what the books think, anyway. Fortunately for us, we will know definitively by Monday night.
If you want to see what Splash users thought Week 7 would hold before the first kick off, click here.
Everybody Believes In…
The Baltimore Ravens.
Fresh off of piledriving the Lions into the ground, 38-6, there’s a new air of optimism around the Ravens among Splash pickers. Baltimore is headed to the desert to line up against a struggling Cardinals team that’s dropped four straight games. Arizona will enter Sunday with one win to its name, and Splash users are widely certain it will stay that way.
The visitors are 8.5-point favorites, and 71 percent of Splash pickers against the spread don’t think it’s enough. It’s tough to imagine that too many of the remaining 29 percent believe it will be the Cardinals celebrating come closing time; the Ravens are also one of the most popular picks in Splash NFL Survivor this week with 17.52 percent of entries. That’s good for second on a list that doesn’t have the same meaning weeks ago thanks to the nature of the game, but it’s not meaningless. Even if many of the entries don’t have the same scope of options as they once did, that doesn’t make the belief in Baltimore unfaithful.
According to the Splash universe, the Ravens will soon be 6-2.
Nobody Believes In…
The Washington Commanders.
It’s been a rocky road for the Commanders up to this point in the season. Some close wins, some close losses, and some horrific losses have all intermingled in a confusing concoction of, “What is this team, really?”
In Week 8, Washington welcomes the Eagles in the second date between these two NFC East partners of the season. In the first meeting, the Commanders pushed Philly to the brink, scoring at the end of the regulation to force overtime only to concede the game-winning field goal with fewer than four minutes to go in the extra period. The 34-31 defeat diminished Washington to 2-2 with Philadelphia staying untouched through four.
Splash pickers do not foresee an overtime in the rematch. Far from it, really. The Eagles are favored by 6.5 points, and 75 percent of Splash users chose them to cover. In Splash Survivor, 7.12 percent of entries are dedicating themselves to Philadelphia, the fifth-most of any team in Week 8. Meanwhile, the Commanders are among the least supported teams in Survivor this week with just 0.04 percent of entries in their corner.
If Splash users are to be believed, then it will be a long day for Washington this Sunday, and the playoff light at the end of the tunnel will shrink that much smaller.
Possible Survivor Value Pick
The Panthers are still in search of their first win of the season. The Texans have been a pleasant surprise for their fans in Houston, the team revitalized from its lifelessness a year ago. Splash pickers against the spread seem to have noticed the dichotomy between these two, but Splash Survivor players don’t appear as aware.
The Texans are 2.5 points favorites as the road team, and 76 percent of Splash users think they will cover that spread. That is the third-highest percent of picks any team received against the spread on Splash platforms this week behind only the Chiefs and the Lions. Yet in Splash Survivor, just 2.29 percent of entries have staked themselves to the Texans, which ranks ninth among the 32 teams in action in Week 8.
If you believe the hype behind C.J. Stroud and the Texans, believe the grip about Bryce Young and the Panthers, or have thoughts agreeing with some combination of both, then this could be an excellent way for you to see yourself through to Week 9 while big numbers of players fall around you. Plus, the Texans’ next two games are against Tampa Bay and at Cincinnati, which means you probably won’t want to consider them again for at least two more weeks. The same can’t be said for some of the other favorites this week.
Too Close to Call
About 250 miles separate Atlanta and Nashville, making the Falcons and Titans two of each other’s closest neighbors. They don’t meet much thanks to their respective conference, but they will this Sunday at Nissan Stadium, and Splash users don’t know how it will shake out.
The Falcons are 2.5-point favorites, and Splash pickers against the spread are nearly split on what to think. Almost half – 48 percent – went for the underdog Titans, while 52 percent opted for Atlanta to come away victorious by three points or more. You can’t find these sides near the top of the most popular picks in Splash Survivor contests, either. Just 0.66 percent of entries went for the Titans this week, and the Falcons received 0.22 percent of them. Their combined 0.88 percent of entries are among the least of any Week 8 matchup.
Splash pickers are showing very little to go on to find a winner between these two. If you want to watch competitive football this weekend, the platform’s users are pointing at this one for you.
The 49ers are 5.5-point favorites in their impending home game against the Bengals, stepping onto the field for the first time since suffering an upset on the road in Minnesota in Week 7’s Monday night showdown, 22-17. It was the team’s second loss in a row after launching the campaign on a 5-0 blitz.
The Bengals are on a different trajectory. Major issues on offense held Cincinnati to a 1-3 start, but it’s been a different story in the team’s two previous outings, first handling the Cardinals on the road before overcoming a much larger challenge in the Seahawks at home. Now the toughest test yet is on the docket, and Splash pickers think the Bengals might just get it done.
San Francisco has been a Splash Survivor favorite in most weeks this year, but not this one. The Niners found just 0.59 percent of entries in their favor, putting them comfortably outside of the top 10 most-picked teams of the week. This doesn’t necessarily mean Splash Survivor players don’t believe in the 49ers at all – a lot of entries that have been around for a while have probably used them already, so they could be playing the Washington Generals and it wouldn’t change their behavior. Just 0.07 percent of entries stuck to the Bengals, so there isn’t a big counter-movement against the Niners.
The picks against the spread tell a similar story, though. A majority of Splash users think the Bengals will keep the game closer than 5.5 points, an unusual opinion for the Splash universe with a line that large. But 54 percent sided with the visitors while just 46 percent think the 49ers will cover. If the Splash picker data means anything, San Francisco is vulnerable to falling victim to a third upset in a row.
In an obvious attempt by the NFL to implant déjà vu into its fans, the Chiefs and Broncos are set to play for the second time in 17 days this Sunday, allowing Denver to get their Kansas City losses out of the way early so they don’t have to drag out the process any longer than necessary. After the Chiefs outdid the Broncos in Thursday Night Football in Week 6, 19-8, they extended their unbeaten run over their AFC West rivals to 16, the longest-active successful streak over a single opponent in the NFL. Splash pickers are confident that 17 is on the horizon.
Among pickers against the spread this week, the Chiefs received the highest percentage with 80 percent of predictions going for them to cover the 7.5 points that separate them from the Broncos on paper. More than 5 percent of Splash Survivor entries chose Kansas City this week, which may not sound like much, but when the Chiefs are almost always one of the most common Survivor selections, to still be seventh on the list shows lasting support.
It’s been seven weeks since Kansas City last lost. Denver ranks near the bottom of the league in most statistical categories. Splash users see the writing on the wall, and they don’t think you should waste your time watching this blowout if you don’t have to.
The Chargers ran away with the Splash Survivor title for the most-picked team this week with 29.13 percent, almost 12 percent more than the Ravens in second. You might think that same level of confidence carried over into Splash users’ picks against the spread in their contest with the Bears, but you would be mistaken.
In that realm of the platform, 51 percent of users went for the Bears to cover the 8.5-point spread between them and the home team, one of only two Week 8 matchups to follow that pattern. That 49 percent of picks think the Chargers will cover such a big spread does indicate that a good bit of those 51 percent who disagree don’t think Chicago will actually win; the meager 0.05 percent of Splash Survivor entries aimed on the Bears agrees with that assessment. But you can’t deny the oddity of less than 50 percent of Splash pickers predicting that the Survivor darling will cover. That does not happen every week.
What does it mean? I don’t know. Tune in Sunday night to find out.
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