Welcome back to another week of Beating the Spread. As always, I’m Jake Roy and I’m joined by Brennan Rampe and Tyler Gentile. We’ll be here every Friday throughout the season, posting our picks along with some analysis.
What a week for the Beat the Spread squad. We had some overlap in picks but managed to go a combined 12-3, with each of us coming in at 4-1. That brings us all to at least 50% on the season. We’re over halfway through the season now and are facing a small board with a bunch of teams off this week; let’s see if we can carry that Week Eight momentum into November and through the holidays.
You can play along in the comments or find us on Twitter (@Jake3Roy, @808Paperboi, @phdinnfl). Assuming -110 odds we need about 53% to break even, let’s see if we can hit that magic number for the season and come out with some profit. So, without further ado, here are the lines we’ll use for Week 9!
|Jake Roy (@Jake3Roy)||Brennan Rampe (@Phdinnfl)||Tyler Gentile (@808PaperBoi)|
|Pick #1||Vikings -3.5||Vikings -3.5||Vikings/Commanders over 43.5|
|Pick #2||Seahawks/Cardinals under 50.0||Falcons +3.0||Dolphins/Bears over 45.5|
|Pick #3||Panthers/Bengals over 42.5||Packers -3.5||Chargers/Falcons over 49.5|
|Pick #4||Titans/Chiefs under 46.5||Seahawks/Cardinals under 50.0||Chargers -3.0|
|Pick #5||Ravens/Saints under 48.0||Chiefs -12.5||Bills/Jets under 47.0|
First things first, I will not be picking the Patriots’ game this week. Only because I would take the Colts +5.5, and I won’t go on record picking against my own team. But yeah, Colts +5.5.
Anywho, on to our first pick of the week. The Vikings are hosting the Commanders in the early window on Sunday, and people are drinking a little too much Taylor Heincke kool-aid. He scored 17 points against the Colts, including an insane goal-line catch from Terry McLaurin. I think people are on the Heincke train because he isn’t Carson Wentz, which is totally fair. To me, he’s just a slightly less hilarious Carson Wentz. The Vikings are a much better offense than the Commanders have seen lately and should be able to put up points in a hurry. They’re also averaging almost two takeaways a game. Expect the Commanders to give the ball up and the Vikings to run away with this one. If the number moves to three, I’ll be putting a couple of units down. MIN -3.5
I want to make a Call of Duty joke here, but that’s low-hanging fruit and has been beaten to death. Low-hanging fruit is Kyler Murray’s favorite kind of fruit. That’s a short joke. Anyways, the Seahawks come into this week after a strong defensive performance of the season where they limited the Giants to just 13 points. These two teams have already met this season and combined for just 28 points, which gives me some pause with the total being so high, but I’ll still go under here. It feels like every NFC West Divisional matchup is a slugfest; I’ll ride that made-up trend and go low. SEA/ARI U50.0
42 is what we call a football number, so ideally this line would be a half-point lower. As always, I recommend buying the hook to lower the hold percentage just a bit if you’re going to tail this one. The Bengals are hosting the Panthers after getting trounced by the Browns on Monday Night. Ja’Marr Chase will likely remain out with a hip injury, a knock to the Bengals’ offense, but the Panthers aren’t the most formidable defensive unit. For Carolina, they’ll likely be able to move the ball on the ground with D’onta Foreman as the Bengals have had some trouble with the run. P.J. Walker is also somehow an upgrade over Baker Mayfield and has seemingly unlocked D.J. Moore. Bengals top corner Chidobe Awuzie is done for the year with an ACL tear as well, another dent to the already banged-up Cincinnati secondary. Again, I’d buy the half point to get down to 42.0, but I like the over here. CAR/CIN O42.5
Tennessee, despite allowing 41 points against Buffalo early in the season, has a top-ten defense in terms of scoring. On the season, they’re surrendering an average of 19.8 points per game. They’re also playing winning football, taking five straight games after dropping their first two. Kansas City is obviously a different beast, especially at night on the road, but the Titans may be able to slow them down. I’d expect the Titans to try to take the crowd out of it with the run game, killing some clock and keeping the Chiefs’ offense off the field. The Chiefs, if they can stop the run, shouldn’t have a problem containing Tennessee’s passing attack. Both Malik Willis and Ryan Tannehill aren’t particularly formidable, and will likely struggle without any threatening pass catchers running routes. I see yet another boring prime-time game. TEN/KC U46.5
Four totals this week. Last up, we go to Monday Night Football where the Ravens are traveling to New Orleans to take on the Saints. The total is set at 48.0 as of writing this, which feels too high, especially given the way this season’s primetime games have played out. New Orleans hasn’t played great defense this season, surrendering 25 points per game. That number is lower at home though, and they are coming off a shutout against the Raiders. Baltimore is also dealing with injuries offensively. Rashod Bateman is out while Mark Andrews and Gus Edwards are both banged up and questionable. The Ravens will likely keep the ball on the ground more due to the lack of weapons, and the Saints have been okay at stopping the run, ranking in the middle of the league in terms of opponent’s yards per attempt. The Superdome will be rockin’ on Monday night for what I think should be a rock fight. BAL/NO U48.0
The Vikings won their fifth consecutive game to improve to 6-1. Nearly every game is a one-possession win, but they’re winning the games they would have lost last year. What was already a talented team got even better when Minnesota traded in the division and acquired Lions’ tight end T.J. Hockenson. Hockenson is a massive upgrade over the disappointing Irv Smith Jr. and I think we’ll see that immediately. The Commanders always seem to find a way to win with backup quarterback Taylor Heinecke, who is starting while Carson Wentz recovers from a finger injury. They beat the Colts by one point in a comeback win last week. The Vikings will be a much bigger challenge than the Colts were. Sam Ehlinger was essentially a rookie and he didn’t have many weapons. Kirk Cousins is a veteran quarterback who doesn’t turn the ball over very much and he has plenty to work with. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota’s wide receiver trio, and Hockenson should expose this Washington defense. On top of that, Heinecke has thrown an interception in both of his starts. It might be by one possession yet again, but I like the Vikings to win by a touchdown. Inside the Numbers: Since 2018 when Kirk Cousins arrived, the Vikings are 9-5 against the spread as away favorites with an average MOV (margin of victory) of 8.5 points. MIN -3.5
This is going to be a lot more difficult now that I can’t just copy and paste a Broncos’ under. I hounded on unders last week, and here I am hammering overs. What has gotten into me?
The Vikings are total 6-1 frauds hence the close spread of three. All of their wins have come in tight contests, but there’s no way anyone should be fading them against the Commanders. Instead, take a gander at this relatively low total sitting at 43.5. Taylor Heinicke isn’t some world-beater, but he might look like one against the Vikings this week. Minnesota is allowing the fourth most passing yards per game, are t26th in opponent yards per play, and possess the worst red zone defense. 78% of opponent red-zone drives end in a touchdown. Four of their last five games have sailed over this total averaging 51 points per game over that span. The ‘Manders haven’t faced a tough offense since week 3, and the Vikings should have no qualms about getting to 20+ points here. MIN/WAS O43.5
Don’t look now, but the Bears might have a competent offense brewing. They’ve put up 29 and 33 points in the past two weeks and added Chase Claypool to the mix to help out Justin Fields. Admittedly, that’s not my best sell, but the Dolphins are built for overs even if they are just 3-5 to the over this year. They’ve allowed the t4th most yards per play and permitted opponents the 5th highest touchdown rate inside the red zone. On offense, they are third in yards per play behind only the Chiefs and Bills. Chicago isn’t going to be stopping anyone these days after trading the best piece of their front seven, Roquan Smith, along with Robert Quinn. They haven’t faced many imposing offenses like Miami yet (although they just gave up 49 points to Dallas last week), and still are allowing the t10th most yards per play on defense. As long as the weather holds up in Chicago, this game should see an over. MIA/CHI O45.5
The Falcons’ offense runs through the ground game, and that is exactly what the Chargers struggle to defend, allowing the highest yard per carry (5.7) to opponents. Atlanta runs at the second-highest clip, and they should find success in the trenches against the Bolts; however, if recent history teaches us anything, then Justin Herbert should torch this secondary come Sunday. Look at what the Bengals (35 points) and Panthers (34 points) just did. If PJ Walker can go nuclear for 317 yards, then think about what Herbert and Brandon Staley have planned coming off a bye. They’ve had two weeks to prepare for this matchup and should be fine even without their top receiving options. The Falcons will once again be without the majority of their secondary and Herbert will have all day to throw against this Atlanta pass rush. They have the worst pressure rate of all teams while the Bolts have the lowest sack percentage. The Birds are 31st in defensive DVOA, 31st in opponent yards per play, and dead last in opponent passing yards per game. Atlanta has the fourth-best over record at 5-3, and it should only get better this weekend. They should find 20+ points with the Chargers doing the heavy lifting and posting 30+ the way Atlanta’s opponents have the past two weeks. LAC -3, LAC/ATL O49.5
Zach Wilson is really bad. I want to end my case for the under there, but a rant is needed. First off, never trust anyone who spells their name “Zach” and not “Zack”. Secondly, the Jets might have a shot at a wild card berth if they started Joe Flacco (lol) over Wilson right now. He is steering this plane straight into the ground and hasn’t shown an ounce of improvement in year two even with all the talent the Jets have surrounded him with. Just about every QB metric out there has him dead last. Looking like a middle schooler being ridiculed Wilson exclaimed, “yeah I don’t care about stats,” in last week’s press conference. Warren Sharp does a great job at showcasing just how bad he has been this year. Now he faces the Bills who have the fourth-best defensive DVOA, and I’m not sure the Jets put up more than ten points without Breece Hall. They will likely lean on the run game early on, but when they are forced to play catch up Zach will not be able to step up to the challenge. If it wasn’t obvious enough already, I’m liking the under on his passing yards which is set at 210.5 currently at DraftKings. As for the Jets’ defense, they are allowing the t2nd fewest yards per play and rank eighth in defensive DVOA. They’ve had an easy schedule so far, but have an interesting group of young players on that side of the ball. The current defensive rookie of the year favorite (+200), Sauce Gardner, gets his toughest test yet against Stephon Diggs and I think he is up for the challenge. He is the fourth best cornerback according to PFF and might be worth the investment in that awards market. BUF/NYJ U47.0
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)