Welcome to week 9, where the toll of a half season of games isn’t only being felt on the fantasy front. Betting options are looking more & more limited every week, and injuries are playing a major role.
For example, here are the teams who would normally be in reliable betting/teasing situations in week 9 but aren’t:
- Kansas City: Hosting the horrible Jaguars but playing without Alex Smith and possibly Spencer Ware
- Pittsburgh: Facing the Ravens in Baltimore but either without Ben Roethlisberger or a “first game back from injury” version of the Steelers quarterback
- Atlanta: On the road against the Bucs but playing on Thursday and dealing with a banged up Julio Jones
- Dallas: Big favorite at Cleveland but suffered two major injuries in their secondary last Sunday night
- Minnesota: Playing the Lions at home but dealing with the Norv Turner resignation (and let’s face it, the Vikings are just sketchy right now)
With the Patriots on a bye, the Broncos going on the road against the formidable Raiders, and the Seahawks & Packers being completely untrustworthy, where the hell are we supposed to put our money in week 9? (Don’t worry. I’ll find plenty of ways to talk myself into lots of bets by the end of this post.)
Before we dive into the games, I just assume everyone wants to know my initial reaction and overall thoughts on the Jamie Collins trade. So here you go:
- I found out about the Collins trade in real time as I had just refreshed twitter and saw Adam Schefter’s original tweet about it. My first serious thought was: I’m so out of the loop. We’re doing April Fool’s jokes on Halloween now. That’s a thing?
- I’ll continue to subscribe to “In Belichick We Trust” as my overall motto for living, but even the biggest Belichick backer has to admit this was a particularly weird trade, what with the timing of it, the fact that they’re not getting a significantly better asset in return than if they had just let him walk in free agency at the end of the year, the overall mediocrity of the defense through eight games…just weird.
- Gotta feel a little bad for Elandon Roberts, the previously unknown Patriots linebacker who will now be constantly scrutinized by the same fanbase that just spent 18 months learning the minutiae of the ideal gas law. They’re gonna pick him apart when the defense isn’t perfect.
- Considering this team went 3-1 without Brady, I can’t imagine we’ll see a noticeable dip in the Patriots’ overall performance and record for the rest of the regular season. But all the articles blaming Belichick will be queued up in January, ready to be published if the Pats lose in the postseason.
And with that, let’s dive into the week 9 picks.
Teams on Bye: Arizona, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, New England, Washington
Atlanta (-4) at Tampa Bay | over/under 51
The Pick: Atlanta
The Score: Atlanta 29, Tampa Bay 23
The Bets: Atlanta (+6) in a 3-way tease
SuperContest: Yes with Atlanta (-4)
My normal number crunching process has this as a relatively close game, with the Falcons just barely covering. If the Thursday night ugliness factor comes into play, it’ll almost certainly be in the form of the Bucs getting destroyed.
Why? Well first of all, they’re not a very good team. But more importantly, the Bucs just played an extra quarter of football on Sunday, losing to the Raiders in OT. We saw the effects of a long OT when Seattle & Arizona both struggled on the road in week 8. Now Tampa has to play on Thursday and should be significantly more tired than the Falcons.
Detroit at Minnesota (-6) | over/under 41
The Pick: Minnesota
The Score: Minnesota 27, Detroit 15
The Bets: Minnesota (pick or +4) in a 2-way or 3-way tease
I’m hoping we’re going to see a pissed off Minnesota team with a delirious home crowd that knows an 8-0 home record is possible and could be needed to get this team into the playoffs. Despite the offensive line struggles that the Vikings have dealt with the past two weeks, I think this is simply a case of the Vikings being a great home team and only a mediocre road team.
And if any defense is going to be just what the doctor ordered for Sam Bradford and this Vikings offense, it’s Detroit’s 32nd ranked pass defense.
Philadelphia at NY Giants (-3) | over/under 43
The Pick: Philadelphia
The Score: NY Giants 21, Philadelphia 20
The Bets: Under (53) in a 3-way tease
With the Giants, Eagles and Redskins having practically identical records (4-3 for all of them, but with a tie added on for Washington), I think the only thing that’s certain is that the Giants are the worst of those three teams. But they are pretty tightly bunched together.
If the Eagles play like they did in Dallas on Sunday night, they should either win this game or make it extremely close. I’m definitely concerned that they’re on the back end of two straight divisional road games and are facing a rested Giants team.
I love teasing the under in this game because you have the #1 defense in football (Philly) facing the #10 defense (Giants), and only once in all the games these teams have played this year has the total gone over 53. This will be low scoring. Guarantee it.
NY Jets at Miami (-3.5) | over/under 44
The Pick: Miami
The Score: Miami 27, NY Jets 21
The Bets: Over (34) in a 3-way tease
I actually think Miami wins this game by a touchdown. The Dolphins are 3-1 at home and put up almost 30 points in back to back weeks on Pittsburgh & Buffalo. The Jets defense is worse than those teams.
Did you know Miami home games are averaging about 50 points per game this year? And the total is only 44 this week? Yes, I’m into the teased over. And remember, this Jets defense is really really bad.
Jacksonville at Kansas City (-7.5) | over/under 44
The Pick: Kansas City
The Score: Kansas City 26, Jacksonville 16
The Bets: Kansas City (+2.5) in a 3-way tease
The Jaguars are a barely breathing corpse at this point. And the Chiefs are looking like one of the best teams in the AFC, if not all of football. So of course this was setting up as an awesome play on the Chiefs…and then Alex Smith got concussed…or not concussed…or kinda concussed. Either way, he’s out for this game. Nick Foles takes over at QB, and he’ll probably be missing Spence Ware, easily the most valuable player on KC’s offense through eight weeks.
I’m still picking the Chiefs because my Teasy Money Podcast co-host reminded me 100 times this week, “Blake Bortles on the road. Blake Bortles on the road. Blake Bortles on the road.”
But I’m not putting a ton of confidence in them to cover.
Dallas (-7.5) at Cleveland | over/under 48.5
The Pick: Dallas
The Score: Dallas 30, Cleveland 17
The Bets: Dallas (-1.5 or +2.5) in a 2-way or 3-way tease
SuperContest: Yes with Dallas (-7.5)
I think the Cowboys win this game by about 20. They’re 3-0 on the road this year, and they’re always good on the road. The numbers say Cleveland should put up 17-20 points, but I think that’s a best case scenario. I could see the Cowboys dominating every aspect of this game and minimizing the possessions the Browns get. I always want to proceed with caution when it comes to heavy road favorites, but this is just a game I couldn’t pass up. I’m all in on Dallas.
Pittsburgh (-1.5) at Baltimore | over/under 43
The Pick: Baltimore
The Score: Baltimore 23, Pittsburgh 21
The Bets: None
I’m staying away from any bets on this game for the obvious reason that Ben Roethlisberger is likely to be back in the starting lineup, but we just don’t know how effective he’ll be. Independent of his status, don’t forget that the Steelers are a much worse team on the road than at home (they got smoked earlier this year at Philly and at Miami with a healthy Roethlisberger).
I think this game will be a throwback to the low scoring ugly affairs we’re used to between these AFC North rivals. And if the Ravens can somehow win, they’ll be in sole possession of 1st place in the division.
New Orleans (-4.5) at San Francisco | over/under 53
The Pick: San Francisco
The Score: New Orleans 28, San Francisco 26
The Bets: Over (43) in a 3-way tease
SuperContest: Yes with San Francisco (+4.5)
This line opened with the Saints a 3-point favorite, and I’m glad to see everyone’s betting on them because I’ve liked the Niners from the moment I first looked at this matchup.
Basically, I expect us to see absolutely no defense in this game and both offenses just marching up & down the field trying to match points. So yes, I love the over in this game more than just about anything in week 9. But I think the Niners are getting 1.5 free points on the spread and I’ll gladly take advantage of that.
Carolina (-3) at Los Angeles | over/under 44.
The Pick: Carolina
The Score: Carolina 24, Los Angeles 20
The Bets: None
I stared at this line with confusion for a while because initially I thought LA would be about a 1-point favorite. I assumed these teams were pretty equal. But my research leads me to believe the Panthers should probably win by 3 or 4, which makes it a stayaway.
Even Carolina being 0-3 on the road doesn’t help me pick LA because it’s cancelled out by the fact that Cam Newton is likely to get a couple extra calls in his favor this week (after making a huge deal out of getting hit too often in the head and knees).
Indianapolis at Green Bay (-7.5) | over/under 54
The Pick: Green Bay
The Score: Green Bay 31, Indianapolis 23
The Bets: Green Bay (+2.5) in a 3-way tease / Over (44) in a 3-way tease
Green Bay’s loss at Atlanta last week kept the attention on their mediocre record, but the Packers have quietly put up 59 points in their last two games, both against teams with at least marginally better defenses than Indy’s. I’m trying to look at the process for the Packers rather than just the results. And it seems like they’re just about back on track.
It should be easy to choose the Packers in a tease, but there’s slight hesitation because of the Andrew Luck late game heroics potential. I probably won’t be putting any confidence behind the Packers pick, but the teased over seems like a must-bet.
Tennessee at San Diego (-5) | over/under 47
The Pick: Tennessee
The Score: San Diego 27, Tennessee 24
The Bets: None
How backwards are these teams? Tennessee has the better ranked offense (9th in DVOA compared to San Diego at 16th), and the Chargers have the better defense (7th vs 22nd for the Titans).
In fact, the Titans are averaging 28 points per game in their last 5 games, which include 2 road games. They’re also 2-1 on the road this year. I gotta go Titans to keep it close with the upside being that they could pull off the upset. Remember, the Chargers will either be up big and let the lead slip away, or they’ll fall behind early and have to rally. But this game will be close either way.
Denver at Oakland (pick) | over/under 44
The Pick: Denver
The Score: Denver 24, Oakland 23
The Bets: Over (34) in a 3-way tease
SuperContest: Yes with Denver (pick)
I think I nailed this game.
For the life of me, I can’t figure out why the Broncos are only projected for 22 points. At home, the Raiders have given up 35, 31 and 26 points. And the Broncos aren’t a terrible offensive team. They should get plenty of scoring opportunities.
And since the Raiders are so solid on offense, I think Denver can put up a good defensive showing and still give up three touchdowns. So yes, I love the over, especially teased of course.
I’m expecting we’ll see in this game that Oakland has indeed gotten a little lucky with it’s 6-2 start and constant winning of close games.
Buffalo at Seattle (-7) | over/under 44
The Pick: Buffalo
The Score: Seattle 23, Buffalo 21
The Bets: None
SuperContest: Yes with Buffalo (+7)
Seattle is a somewhat obvious tease here, but….they are so sketchy right now. I have no idea why the Seahawks are such heavy favorites in this game. If you give them four points for their home field advantage, we’re saying they’re three points better than the Bills on a neutral field? I think it’s closer to a pick.
Mostly I think you should continue to stay away from any bet involving the Seahawks until we have a better understanding of what kind of team they’ll be the rest of the year.
Here are the season-long stats I’m tracking:
- Favorites are 49-66-5 against the spread through 8 weeks (including a 7-4-2 record in week 8)
- The point total has landed on Over 64 times, Under 54 times, and Pushed 2 times
- I’m 63-53-3 against the spread
Enjoy week 9.