Beating the Spread: Week 9 Picks

Our Week 9 Beat the Spread column is ready to go for your consideration as you put in your weekly bets!

I believe Week 8 marked the worst week in this column’s history with a combined record of 4-11. I’m happy I was able to rebound for a 3-2 week, back to my early season normal, but the other two gentlemen had a rough go of it. We’re picking ourselves up, dusting ourselves off, and going to try and get into the positive for the rest of the year.

Obviously, this year has been challenging for a number of reasons, but I was hoping we’d see a more active trade deadline with more teams pushing chips in the middle and more teams looking to the future. While we got a couple of trades that should help contenders, we didn’t get that major movement to swing lines.

It looks like we’ve got more potential COVID-19 issues this week, including the Bears already injured offensive line. If that game moves, I’d expect that line to be taken down or moved even more in Tennessee’s direction.

 

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.

Week 9 Betting Lines
Away Home Line O/U
Packers 49ers Packers -6 50.5
Seahawks Bills Seahawks -2.5 54
Broncos Falcons Falcons -4 50
Bears Titans Titans -6 46.5
Lions Vikings Vikings -4 53.5
Ravens Colts Ravens -3 45
Panthers Chiefs Chiefs -10.5 52.5
Texans Jaguars Texans -6.5 51.5
Giants Washington Washington -3.5 43
Raiders Chargers Chargers -1.5 54.5
Steelers Cowboys Steelers -9.5 42
Dolphins Cardinals Cardinals -4.5 47.5
Saints Bucs Bucs -5 54.5
Patriots Jets Patriots -7.5 41.5
Staff Picks

 

Analysis:

 

Jeff Berckes: The Cowboys haven’t covered a spread all season. Part of that is because they’re the Cowboys and they have a huge fanbase that believes in their team. The other part of that is Dak Prescott’s injury (not to mention the offensive line) and Mike McCarthy being… well, Mike McCarthy. I love what the Steelers are doing this year with Big Ben acting more as a point guard than at any point in his career. Maybe that won’t be enough to win another Super Bowl, but it’s more than enough to dispatch the Cowboys by more than 10 points. PIT -9.5

I hate to bet the Bears too much in this column because I’m always biased with my favorite team. The Bears might be missing 80% of their starting offensive line to start this game, meaning that Nick Foles probably won’t have much time to throw and David Montgomery won’t have anywhere to run. The Bears defense is still good so it’s hard to imagine a lot of points in this one. CHI-TEN U46.5
The Dolphins and the Cardinals were both teams I was bullish on entering the season. The good news is that one of my season-long over bets is going to improve this week. The bad news is that one of these teams is going to lose – and I like what each team is building! I think with the Dolphins defense, they can be competitive with just about anyone on a week to week basis and anything more than a FG spread is too much for them against a team with significant flaws like the Cardinals. I thought about the under line in this one too but I’m settling on MIA +4.5.
Do we know who the Colts are this year? How about the Ravens? I think we can safely say they’re both good teams but I’m feeling slightly more confident about where the Colts are at right now – they feel like a more finished product – whereas the Ravens seem to still be working through the kinks of Lamar 2.0. The Colts defensive line is one of the best in the league and their defense plays sound, fundamental football. IND +3
Full disclosure, this is the line I feel like I’m going a bit out on a line for, but I believe the Bucs are hitting on all cylinders while the Saints are punching above their weight. The Saints tried to give a game away in Soldier Field last week multiple times but the Bears defense did not oblige them. Brees is not going to get predictable looks against Todd Bowles in this one and while I generally steer clear of divisional games, I see some distance between these two squads as currently constructed. TB -5

 

Erik Smith: I’m not entirely sure why the Steelers aren’t double-digit favorites over the Cowboys, but I’m not going to second guess myself here. The Dallas offense is a train wreck, and the defense is worse than that. Pittsburgh is full of weapons on offense, and the defense could put up some points too. PIT -9.5

The Jaguars have given up 30+ points to their opponent in each of their last six games, so we don’t need a ton out of their offense here. While Jake Luton could certainly sink the over, there were some positive scouting reports on him coming out of college, and it’s not like Gardner Minshew had been setting the world on fire. But I expect the Texans offense to carry us here, so hopefully, we can get a couple of big plays from the Jacksonville offense. HOU-JAC O51.5

I think that the Chargers should be the better team here, but they have a knack for losing games late, and the Raiders have better wins (Kansas City, New Orleans, Cleveland, Carolina) than the Jaguars do (Cincinnati, Jacksonville). Give me Gruden to lead the Raiders to an outright win, the points are just a bonus. LV +1.5

This line just feels off, as I think Tampa Bay and New Orleans are relatively even. These teams know each other well, and both have a solid defense that should keep this close. Even if Tom Brady and the Bucs ultimately prevail, Brees can keep this close. NO +5

The Patriots offense has struggled this year, and the Jets offense has done something worse than that. I would be surprised to see a 17-3 game here, which makes me feel comfortable in the under even at such a low number. An appearance from Joe Flacco would only help our chances. NE-NYJ U41.5

 

Bryan Sweet: I’m trying to take advantage of getting an early line with the recent reports of Matthew Stafford being placed on the COVID-IR this week.  Now, there is a chance he can be removed from the list and make it to Minneapolis before kickoff, but he is going to be away from the team for the week leading up to the game.  If Stafford misses, Minnesota should come away with an easy win.  Stafford’s presence will make the game more competitive, but I think the week “off” will still make Detroit’s offense worse than it would normally be.  Regardless of Stafford’s status, Detroit will be without their #1 WR in Kenny Golladay and I don’t think they can keep this game within a TD.  MIN -4

I think the public is looking at the Buffalo-Seattle game and thinking it’s going to be a shootout and it looks as if Vegas agrees giving it the second-highest total on the slate.  Buffalo was projected to be a top defensive unit this season and the struggles on that side of the ball thus far has been a bit surprising.  Seattle has boasted strong defensive units in the past but have struggled to contain opposing offenses this season.  Seattle has brought in some additions on defense at the trade deadline and it looks as if Jamal Adams will make his return this week as well.  Seattle might still be limited at RB and Buffalo hasn’t scored more than 24 points in five weeks.  I think this one might disappoint fantasy managers and be lower scoring than is anticipated.  SEA/BUF U54
 
It’s hard to watch teams from the NFC East given the state of that division, but you can’t argue with the amount of fight the Giants have displayed despite limping to a 1-7 record.  The Giants have only lost two games by 10 or more points and their only victory this season was against this same Washington team three weeks ago.  I think Daniel Jones is the better QB in this game and I’m mildly surprised Washington is giving points.  Getting the “hook” is just a nice bonus this week although I think the Giants keep it within 3 if not win outright.  NYG +3.5
In my opinion, this NFC South matchup is two teams heading in opposite directions.  On one hand, we have the New Orleans Saints who sit at 5-2 but are a couple of bounces away from losing their last four games.  On the other hand, Tampa Bay is ascending and is showing more and more continuity on offense and pairing that with a smothering defense.  The final score of the Monday night affair with the Giants ended up closer than the majority of that game was and had all the markings of a “look ahead” game, meaning Tampa chalked that up as a victory before stepping on the field in anticipation with this division game next on the schedule.  Brady should have his team focused and I think we’ll see who the best team in the NFC South is by the end of this game.  TB -5
It has recently been learned that Jacksonville QB Gardner Minshew suffered a broken finger during the team’s Week 7 game and is just now being revealed.  As a result, the Jaguars will turn to Jake Luton to lead the team against their AFC South counterparts the Texans.  Jacksonville was a fun team to watch that played way over their heads for a few weeks but the reality is this team just isn’t very good.  Houston is coming off a BYE and didn’t move any players at the trading deadline.  Expect the Texans to come out swinging and put this game away early.  HOU -6.5

 

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)

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