Now that we’ve all recovered from the whiplash the NFL threw upon us in Week 8 (Jets winning as a double-digit underdog, Buccaneers losing to backup Trevor Siemian), we’re thankfully all onto Week 9.
And yet, Week 9 has been very tumultuous before we even get to Sunday's games.
Former Raider Henry Ruggs was in a tragic car accident, which resulted in the death of the driver in the other vehicle. Ruggs was charged with DUI with the result of a person’s death, and cut from the team. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss Week 9, and the Browns cut Odell Beckham Jr.
Will Sunday’s action be as dramatic as the days leading up to it? For our bankroll (and sanity) we certainly hope not!
Each week we highlight the similarities and disparities among our analysts' picks before diving into each of our best bets.
In terms of teams a few of us agree on:
- Three of our analysts are taking the Patriots -3.5
- The Cowboys laying the points attracted three of our writers
- Three of our analysts are on the Packers (yes, even without Rodgers) getting the 7.5 points.
- The Chargers are only laying 1.5 points to the Eagles, and three of our writers took Los Angeles Against The Spread (ATS)
As for the differences:
- While three of us are on the Patriots and Cowboys, one brave writer is taking the Panthers getting 3.5 while another is banking on the Broncos at +10.
- The only other disparity is the Dolphins against the Texans, where two of our writers are on opposite ends of that outcome.
Cheers to another week of profitable picks!
Week 9 Best Bets
Here's our criteria for picking games:
• All odds from SI Sportsbook
• Each analyst must pick five games
• Three of the bets must be against the spread or over/under
• The remaining two picks (if all five aren't ATS or O/U) can be on the moneyline (but at least one of those picks must be on an underdog)
• We believe transparency is paramount in the world of sports betting, which is why we entrust Sharp Rank to keep track of all our picks/performance
Jen Piacenti’s Best Bet: Patriots -3
I’m picking on Sam Darnold, and I think Bill Belichick will be too.
After a great start to the year, the Panthers have fallen off drastically, averaging just 16.3 points per game and allowing 24 points per game across their last three.
Meanwhile, New England has averaged 36.7 points per game across the last three and is trending in the right direction. Darnold has thrown six interceptions to four touchdowns across the last five games, and he was limited at practice this week. We will either see a beat-up and struggling Darnold or….PJ Walker. Even if Christian McCaffrey plays, he will likely be on a snap count, and the Patriots and Mac Jones extend their win streak to three.
Jen's season record: 30-18
Richard Johnson’s Best Bet: Raiders -2.5
Yes, it's been a terrible week for the Raiders, and because of that I do see some increased motivation spurring them on as they band together.
But this pick's about the Giants. The Giants are bad.
Richard's season record: 12-27-1
Casey Olson’s Best Bet: Bengals -2.5
Lots of media hits this week regarding OBJ and his eventual release that broke Friday morning. Additionally, Steve Smith Sr. added to the situation by calling Browns QB Baker Mayfield “not very good,” and labeling him average. If anything, this week’s drama should add some motivation to the Browns side. I don’t believe it will be enough though.
The Bengals are fresh off a shocking loss to the Jets, but find themselves in the mix at 5-3. A win against the Browns would put them at 3-0 in the division, with wins against each of the other AFC North teams. That’s motivation. The Browns enter losers in three of their last four and have struggled to score, scoring 17 or less points since over the last three weeks.
Casey's season record: 23-19-1
Frank Taddeo’s Best Bet: Browns/Bengals Over 46.5
This game opened at 45 and has since risen a point and half following strong respected steam to the Over. In fact, the over is 4-1-1 in the last six games in which the Bengals are a home favorite. On the flip side, the over is 5-1 in the Browns last six games when the oddsmakers have them listed as an underdog. One final meaningful angle: The over is 6-0-1 in the last seven matchups between these two AFC North rivals.
Last year, bettors witnessed 71 and 65 total points in the two divisional matchups between these foes. These two teams somehow forget how to play defense when they line up across from each other. The OBJ drama and the injury to Mayfield’s shoulder is concerning, but Mike White just set all kinds of records against this Bengals defense. In addition, we know Joe Burrow, with his wealth of offensive weapons, will hold up his end of scoreboard lighting.
Frank's season record: 18-27
Dave Scipione’s Best Bet: Browns Moneyline
Just when you thought the Browns were dominating the NFL headlines, Rodgers swooped in on Friday to take the spotlight. You would think cutting a star WR—whose father called out the franchise QB—would be more than enough reason to stay away from this Browns-Bengals game, but I'm hammering Cleveland at +115 to win straight-up.
Cincinnati has weapons, but I have a feeling Cleveland's defensive line will feast on Burrow, creating some short fields for Mayfield to take advantage of. Yes, I expect Baker to be on his game, despite the OBJ drama. The Browns' offense consists of a lot of timing routes, and I think the subtraction of OBJ will help recalibrate things.
No OBJ, no problem for the Browns as they "travel" to take on the Bengals in Cincinnati.
Dave's season record: 6-4
Will Laws’ Best Bet: Texans +5.5
Tyrod Taylor will be back under center for the Texans after helping them crush Jacksonville in Week 1 before leaving their Week 2 contest due to a strained hamstring. His return should do wonders for Houston, which is actually 4–4 ATS this season despite its dreadful overall outlook and still has Brandin Cooks to focus the passing attack around.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins haven't covered in their last five contests and enter with a league-worst -7.6 points per game cover margin. These two teams may be the worst in football this year—both have lost seven in a row after opening-week victories—so I'm taking the points.
Will's season record: 7-3
Bill Enright’s Best Bet: Packers +7.5
How much is Rodgers worth? According to the Sportsbook, he’s worth 7.5 points.That’s how much the line moved when it was announced Rodgers would miss Week 9 because of COVID-19. The Chiefs have been favored by 7 points or more four times this year and they covered just once. A 25% rate? I can’t support that low of a success percentage, even if it is Jordan Love’s first career start. The Chiefs will win, but I don’t expect them to cover. When other people are panic selling, that’s the time to buy. Take the Packers and the points!
Bill's season record: 24-22
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