The betting scales tipped against us again last week as the three of us all finished with a 2-3 record. On the plus side, nobody dipped below .500 after a bad week so we’re still chugging along, treading water.
In some even better news, Justin relayed to us yesterday he’s ready to return to action next week so we’ll be back to four guys picking games in Week 10. YAY! As for this week, Brennan and Erik are expecting favorites to cover in all five picks while I’ve got a couple of underdogs I like plus some totals I think are a bit off. The Patriots get the jinx of all of us picking them, so we’ll see how that turns out for us. Brennan and I are on opposite sides of the Cleveland/Cincinnati game, so we can’t all go 5-0 this week.
Gamblers know that 60% is the magic number to come out ahead, so that’s the goal again this season. We didn’t make it last year, which just motivates us, even more, this season. Every week the four of us will pick five games against the spread or on the over/under. We’ll track the picks every week and see where we end up. Feel free to play along in the comments or find us on Twitter!
Let’s get to the lines and picks for Week 9!
The following lines were captured on Tuesday. Betting lines can vary by site and move throughout the week so check yours to make sure that you have similar information.
|Analyst||Justin Dunbar||Brennan Rampe||Erik Smith||Bryan Sweet|
|Pick #1||–||Bills -14.5||Cowboys -10||Patriots -4|
|Pick #2||–||Bengals -3||Raiders -3||49ers +2.5|
|Pick #3||–||Cowboys -10||Ravens -5.5||Browns +3|
|Pick #4||–||Patriots -4||Chargers -2.5||CLE/CIN O47|
|Pick #5||–||Chargers -2.5||Patriots -4||GB/KC U55.5|
Justin Dunbar: BACK NEXT WEEK!
Brennan Rampe: The Bills offense didn’t start well, but they were able to overcome that and sweep their divisional rival Dolphins to improve to 5-2. The Jaguars got beat up by the Geno Smith-led Seahawks, and they are now 1-6. The 31-7 loss showed how bad they are, and they had their bye week to prepare for a game I thought they had a really good chance of winning. Urban Meyer is still looking like a bad hire, and he likely gets fired after the season. First overall pick Trevor Lawrence is going to struggle against the Bills defense, while the Jaguars defense hasn’t been able to stop anyone. The Bills will win big on the road and cover. Inside the Numbers: Buffalo is 25-16-2 against the spread after a win under Sean McDermott. BUF -14.5
The Bengals lost in what might have been the most surprising game of the season to this point. Jets backup quarterback Mike White threw for over 400 yards in his first career start. The Jets scored over 30 points on a talented Bengals defense, and the defense caused a turnover when it mattered the most. The Bengals also scored over 30 points, but it wasn’t enough. Their divisional rival Browns lost a defensive-heavy battle to the Steelers, and Baker Mayfield doesn’t look to be at full strength with multiple injuries to his non-throwing shoulder. On top of that, there is locker room drama with Odell Beckham Jr., who might’ve played his last game with the Browns. Both of these teams lost last week, but the Bengals are going to be angry and motivated to win at home in a divisional game after their loss to the Jets. The Bengals should win by more than a field goal and cover. Inside the Numbers: Cincinnati is 14-12 against the spread after a loss under Zac Taylor. CIN -3
The Cowboys somehow won against the Vikings, with backup quarterback Cooper Rush winning his first career start. The offense did enough to win, while the defense had another good performance. The Broncos won last week as well, but they still made a shocking trade. Franchise icon and future Hall of Famer Von Miller was traded to the Rams in exchange for a 2022 2nd-round pick and a 2022 3rd-round pick. That move announced to the entire league that they’re rebuilding and that they’re already thinking about 2022. Conversely, the Cowboys are serious contenders to get to the Super Bowl, and Dak Prescott should return this week. The Cowboys will win at home and cover. Inside the Numbers: The Cowboys are 4-2 against the spread in non-conference games under Mike McCarthy. DAL -10
The Patriots had an impressive victory on the road against the Chargers, intercepting Justin Herbert twice, including a pick-six. The offense didn’t have a huge game, but Mac Jones didn’t turn the ball over and they were 9-19 on third-down conversions. The Panthers also won on the road, as they defeated their divisional rival Falcons. The Falcons were without Calvin Ridley, who is stepping away from the team to focus on his mental health. Sam Darnold suffered a concussion in that game, so former XFL quarterback P.J. Walker had to play the rest of the game. Darnold should play this week, but he has never beaten the Patriots before. Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones continues to improve, and the defense should give Darnold problems as they have done many times before. The Patriots should win and cover. Inside the Numbers: All evidence suggests that the Patriots are not the pick here, but I’m taking them anyway. NE -4
The Chargers lost at home to the Patriots last week, and they’ve dropped two games in a row. I still think they are among the better teams in the AFC. The Eagles blew out the Lions on the road, but anyone can beat the Lions. I still don’t think the Eagles are a quality team. The Chargers’ offense should light up an Eagles defense that has mostly struggled this season, while the defense should keep Jalen Hurts in check. Hurts hasn’t had many big passing performances, and I still don’t know if he’s the long-term answer at quarterback. The Chargers have lost two in a row, but they’ll rebound and win by a field goal and cover. Inside the Numbers: The Chargers are 7-4 against the spread as the away team with Justin Herbert. LAC -2.5
Erik Smith: I picked the Cowboys last week with a spread that assumed Dak Prescott was playing, and Dallas still covered with Cooper Rush at quarterback. Do you think I’m going away from them now? Dallas is undefeated against the spread this year and should have Prescott back under center this week. I watched this Broncos offense for a What We Saw article last week, and they looked pretty bad against a Washington defense that has been among the league’s most disappointing. The Broncos aren’t built to keep up with the Cowboys in a shootout, and I expect an absolute blowout here. DAL -10
It’s been another rough week for the Raiders off the field, but they’ve dealt with this before and won the following week. The Giants just aren’t a good team right now, and they are coming off of a short week where they wasted a chance to knock off the reeling Chiefs. Derek Carr will have no problem checking the ball down against the two high looks that the Giants played against KC, and Daniel Jones is always willing to give his opponent a free possession or two. The best way to beat this Raiders defense is on the ground, and I don’t trust the Giants’ ability to get that done, especially if Saquon Barkley doesn’t play. LV -3
Baltimore got blown out by the Bengals at home two weeks ago and had the bye week to sit around and get angry about it. I would expect a focused effort here, and the poor Minnesota Vikings come to town lined up as the victim of Baltimore’s ire. Minnesota has the pieces to be a good team, but the execution just isn’t there, and losing to the Cowboys with their backup quarterback is inexcusable. We will likely have to fend off a late backdoor cover here, but it is a chance I’m willing to take, as the Vikings could be in a bad mindset after the way last week went. BAL -5.5
I know the Chargers have been disappointing, but this is a young team with a young coach that I would expect to see growing pains from. But more importantly, we should see improvement as well, and I think if you told me four weeks ago that I could have the Chargers favored by less than a field goal in Philadelphia, I would jump at the chance. The way to move the ball against the Chargers is on the ground, and outside of Jalen Hurts scrambling I don’t trust the Eagles to be able to stick to the game plan and make the Chargers pay. LAC -2.5
Whether it is Sam Darnold or P.J. Walker under center, I expect the Patriots defense to do the heavy lifting here against the Panthers. This feels a little bit like a trap (who would ever take the Panthers here?), but I wonder if we are just undervaluing the Patriots at this stage of the season. If Mac Jones gives us an efficient game and the Pats win the turnover battle, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a blowout here in Carolina. NE -4
Bryan Sweet: The first four weeks saw Sam Darnold perform look like the QB he was drafted to be at #1 overall and the last four weeks saw Darnold perform as the QB he’s been since being drafted #1 overall. Now there’s a chance Darnold will be sidelined due to injuries suffered last week, elevating P.J. Walker to starter status. We all know how good Belichick is at frustrating opposing QBs and he should continue to overmatch Darnold or Walker. The Patriots are quietly becoming one of the better teams in the AFC and have a real shot at making the playoffs and upsetting an opponent. I think they continue their playoff push with a convincing victory this week. NE -4
A division game with a home underdog against a team potentially missing three of their top offensive players? Yes, please. Arizona has all of Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, and A.J. Green as questionable this week against a division rival in San Francisco on the road who is getting points. The 49ers lost by a TD in Arizona in Week 5 against a fully-staffed Cardinal offense and with J.J. Watt who will miss the rest of the season. It seems like too much to overcome and I wouldn’t be surprised to see San Francisco come away with a victory, but I’ll gladly take the points in this one. SF +2.5
It’s been a dismal start to the season for the Browns, but I think we see a different team in the second half of the season. Cleveland has all but released Odell Beckham which could very well be addition by subtraction as Baker Mayfield seems to play better when he doesn’t feel obligated to force throws to OBJ. Cincinnati has been a bit of a surprise through the first half of the season but just surrendered 34 points to the Jets and now faces a better offense this week. I think we see a lot of points in this game in a back-and-forth affair, so give me the points in a close game. CLE +3
As I mentioned above, I expect a bunch of points in Cincinnati this week when the Browns play their in-state rival. The Browns offense has been stagnant the last two weeks, but the removal of Odell Beckham may allow Baker Mayfield to play more freely and may unlock the potential this offense has flashed over the past two seasons. Cincinnati has scored 31 or more points in each of the past three weeks and their offense is clicking right now. I think it’s a high-scoring, close game, and this cruises past the total easily. CLE/CIN Over 47
Just seven short days ago, this was the marquee game of the weekend. Aaron Rodgers bringing the 6-1 Packers into Arrowhead to battle the defending AFC Champion Chiefs. Then Rodgers tested positive for COVID and suddenly it’s Jordan Love time. Oh, and the mighty Chiefs have looked anything but so far this season with close wins over inferior opponents and just a general malaise surrounding the offense. If the Packers can control this game on the ground with Aaron Jones, and the recent history of opponents against the Chiefs indicates they very well may, this game won’t come close to this total. Give me the under. GB/KC Under 55.5
What are your favorite picks of the week? Put in your comments below to play along. We’ll be updating our records all season!
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)