It's not often that Aaron Rodgers plays in a game where his team is a huge underdog, but that's exactly what's going to happen this week when the Packers travel to Los Angeles.
In the early odds for Week 8, the Packers have opened as an 8.5-point underdog to the Rams, which is mostly notable because it's tied for the largest regular-season point spread that Rodgers has ever faced. The only other time that Rodgers was an underdog of at least 8.5 points came in September 2014, when the Packers were an 8.5-point underdog to the Seahawks in a game they would lose 36-16. If the spread in the Rams game moves to nine points, then it will become the largest point spread that we've ever seen in a game involving Rodgers.
To put into perspective how rare this is, the Packers have been a regular season underdog of at least five points a total of only four times with Rodgers, including the Rams game and the Seahawks game. In his career, Rodgers is 1-3 both straight-up and against the spread (ATS) in games where the Packers are an underdog of five or more points.
The reason Rodgers and the Packers are such big underdogs is because they're about to run into a buzzsaw known as the Rams. The Rams are 3-0 at home this season and have won those three games by an average of of 17.7 points.
On the flip side, you have the Packers, who are an atrocious 0-2 on the road with losses to the Lions and Redskins.
Even if the Rams don't cover, they do always seem to win in games where they're favored big. Since Sean McVay took over as coach in 2017, the Rams have been favored by five or more points 11 times, with the Rams going 11-0 straight-up and 6-5 ATS. The Rams have been favored by at least 6.5 points in each of their games this season, going 2-4 ATS.
There are only two teams in Week 8 that opened as bigger underdogs than the Packers. To find out who those teams are, let's get to the rest of the early odds.
NFL Week 8 early odds
(All lines from Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, all games on Sunday unless noted. Keep in mind, the point spreads you see below represent the opening odds for Week 8. For the most up-to-date line on each game, you can click here)
Dolphins (4-3) at Texans (4-3), Thursday
Opening line: Texans -7.5
After starting 0-3, the Texans are suddenly tied for the longest winning streak in the AFC with four straight. Despite the wins, the Texans haven't been good at covering the spread. They're 2-2 ATS during their four-game winning streak and just 2-8 ATS in their past 10 games dating back to last season. The Texans have also been horrid in Thursday night games, going just 1-6 both ATS and straight-up since 2010. Not to mention, they're 0-3 ATS at home this season. As for the Dolphins, they're 0-3 both straight-up and ATS on Thursdays since 2015 and have averaged an ugly 4.7 points per game in those games. The Dolphins are also just 1-7 all-time against the Texans.
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Eagles (3-4) vs. Jaguars (3-4) in London
Opening line: Eagles -3
If there's one rule with London games, it seems to be: Always bet the favorite to win straight-up. Since the international series began in 2007, the favored team has gone 17-5-1 straight-up and 14-9 ATS, which bodes well for the Eagles. Of course, if there's one team you don't want to best against in London, it's the Jaguars. The Jags have been an underdog in three straight London games and not only have they covered, but they've won all three games outright. That being said, the Jags are just 4-16 both straight-up and ATS in their past 20 games against the NFC. As for the Eagles, this game will mark their first trip to London. The Eagles are just 2-5 ATS this season, which is tied for the worst mark in the NFL.
Jets (3-4) at Bears (3-3)
Opening line: Bears -6
Betting on the Bears can be pretty risky when they're favored by this much. Since 2014, the Bears have been favored by six or more points three times and not only have they failed to cover, but they've LOST all three games, including earlier this season when they lost to the Dolphins 31-28 as a 7.5-point favorite. Including that loss, the Bears are 0-2 both straight-up and ATS when playing the AFC East this year. As for the Jets, they've struggled against the NFC, going 2-7 since the beginning of the 2016 season (4-5 ATS). The Jets are also 0-10 in their past 10 games where they're an underdog of six or more points (4-6 ATS).
Buccaneers (3-3) at Bengals (4-3)
Opening line: Bengals -6
It's not often that the Bengals are a big favorite, but when they are, they usually cover. In Andy Dalton's career, the Bengals have been favored by six or more points a total of 26 times and they've gone 22-3-1 in those games straight-up (16-9-1 ATS). The Bengals are also 7-2-1 straight-up in their past 10 home games against teams from the NFC (6-3-1 ATS). As for the Bucs, they're not exactly a safe team to bet on right now. Tampa is 0-4 ATS in their past four games. However, the Bucs have been unstoppable in Cincinnati, where they haven't lost since 1989.
Seahawks (3-3) at Lions (3-3)
Opening line: Lions -2.5
Whenever the Seahawks are an underdog, they tend to struggle. Since the beginning of the 2017 season, the Seahawks have been an underdog 11 times and in those games, they've gone 3-8 straight-up and 4-6-1 ATS. As for the Lions, they've been one of the safest bets in the NFL this year. Not only has Detroit covered in four straight games, but they've covered in seven of their past nine dating back to last season. The Lions are 5-1 ATS on the year, which is second-best mark in the NFL, behind only the Chiefs.
Broncos (3-4) at Chiefs (6-1)
Opening line: Chiefs -9
Betting on the Chiefs has basically been free money this year. Through seven weeks, the Chiefs are 7-0 ATS, which is the best mark in the NFL. The Chiefs have also covered the spread in 11 straight games dating back to last season, and if you think that's impressive, they've been almost as good against the AFC West. In their past 15 divisional games, the Chiefs are 14-1 straight-up and 12-3 ATS. As for the Broncos, they've lost six straight to Kansas City and haven't covered in any of those games, including a game earlier this season where the Chiefs covered as a 3.5-point favorite in a 27-23 win. This game marks just the third time in the past 10 years that the Broncos have been an underdog of nine or more points. They're 0-2 both straight-up and ATS in those games.
Redskins (4-2) at Giants (1-5)
Opening line: Redskins -1
When it comes to covering the spread, the Giants are one of the most unpredictable teams in the NFL. Although they're just 2-8 straight-up in their past 10 games, they're 5-5 ATS. Of course, those numbers might improve with the Redskins coming to town. Over the past five years, the Giants are 7-3 against the Redskins both straight-up and ATS. On the Redskins' end, they're just 2-6 both straight-up and ATS in their past eight games against divisional opponents and that total includes Washington's 20-17 win over the Cowboys on Sunday.
Browns (2-4-1) at Steelers (3-2-1)
Opening line: Steelers -7.5
If there's one thing the Browns can't figure out, it's how to beat Ben Roethlisberger. Since Big Ben's rookie year in 2004, the Browns have gone 3-25-1 straight-up against the Steelers. Despite that ugly record, they have done a decent job of covering the spread against Pittsburgh, going 16-12-1 ATS in those 29 games. The Browns are also 3-0-1 ATS in their past four games against the Steelers, including this year's 21-21 tie when the Steelers were favored by 3.5. Overall, the Browns are 5-2 ATS on the season, which is the third-best mark in the NFL. The Steelers will be coming into this game off a bye, which could be good news for the Browns. Over the past five years, the Steelers have gone 1-4 ATS after a bye (2-3 straight-up). The Steelers haven't covered a game in the week following a bye since 2013.
Ravens (4-3) at Panthers (4-2)
Opening line: Pick'em
When it comes to playing teams from the AFC, Carolina has been on a roll. Not only have the Panthers won six straight games against the AFC teams, but they've also gone 5-1 ATS in those games. On the other hand, the Ravens have struggled against NFC teams, going just 3-7 both straight-up and ATS in their past 10 games against the conference. With this game being a pick'em, the biggest difference could end being the fact that it's being played in Carolina. The Panthers have won eight straight games at home dating back to last season.
Colts (2-5) at Raiders (1-5)
Opening line: Colts -1.5
If there's one place the Colts always seem to struggle, it's the west coast. Over the past five years, the Colts have played four games in the Pacific Time Zone and they've gone 0-4 both straight-up and ATS. For some reason, the Colts also seem to struggle in October road games. Since Andrew Luck's rookie year in 2012, the Colts have gone 4-10 straight-up in October road games (5-8-1 ATS). As for the Raiders, they're 1-9 straight-up in their past 10 games and they're 2-4 ATS on the season, which is tied for the fourth-worst mark in the NFL.
Packers (3-2-1) at Rams (7-0)
Opening line: Rams -8.5
Yes, the Rams are undefeated, but they've had some trouble covering the spread this year. The Rams are 4-3 ATS on the season, including just 1-3 ATS in their past four games. As for the Packers, they've lost four straight on the road dating back to last season and didn't cover in any of those games. The biggest upside for the Packers in this game might be the fact that Aaron Rodgers has never lost to the Rams (4-0) and he's covered every time he's faced them.
49ers (1-6) at Cardinals (1-6)
Opening line: Pick'em
Since you just need to pick a winner in this game, the only thing you need to know is that the Cardinals have dominated this series over the past three years. Since 2015, the Cardinals have gone 7-0 against the 49ers and that total includes a Week 5 game where Arizona covered as a 3-point underdog in a 28-18 win. That game still represents the Cardinals' only win of the year. The 49ers have lost five straight and are 2-5 ATS this year, which is tied for the worst mark in the NFL. The Cardinals are 3-1-1 ATS in their past five games.
Saints (5-1) at Vikings (4-2-1)
Opening line: Vikings -2.5
The last time we saw these two teams on the same field, the Saints lost on one of the most improbable touchdown passes of all-time.
"It's a 61-yard Minneapolis Miracle!" #SKOL— NFL (@NFL) January 15, 2018
Home + Away radio calls from that EPIC finish in #NOvsMIN! 🗣🎙 #NFLPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/RhIkjkK0DL
The Minneapolis Miracle was actually the Saints' second loss to the Vikings last season. The two teams also played in Week 1, with Minnesota covering as a 3-point favorite in a 29-19 win. Although Minnesota has won two games over the Saints in the past 13 months, neither of those were played in October, which is apparently when the Saints are unbeatable. In their past 15 games played in October, the Saints have gone 13-2 straight-up and an amazing 14-1 ATS. New Orleans' October magic will be put to the test at U.S. Bank Stadium, where the Vikings are 9-2 since the beginning of last season (7-4-1 ATS).
Patriots (5-2) at Bills (2-5)
Opening line: Patriots -13
Don't be surprised if Bills fans get a little crazy for this game that's because this will be the first Monday night game played in Buffalo since 2008. The Bills have actually been a solid home bet since the beginning of last season, going 6-3-1 ATS. They've also been a pretty solid bet when they're a huge underdog, going 4-1 ATS over the past 10 years when they're a dog of 13 or more points. That total includes the Bills' win over the Vikings in Week 3, when they won 27-6 as a 16.5-point underdog. Of course, betting on the Bills means betting on Derek Anderson or Nathan Peterman, so maybe that's not such a good idea. As for the Patriots, although they've dominated this series over the past 10 years -- they're 17-3 straight-up since 2008 -- they've had some trouble covering, going just 11-7-2 ATS. In their past 10 games where they were favored by 13 or more points, the Patriots have gone 9-1 straight-up and 7-3 ATS.