Which NFL underdogs are most enticing in Week 9? Just two games have a spread of over a touchdown, so expect plenty of close games. Below are our experts picking the games against the spread this season, along with each of their picks against the spread and best bets for this weekend's slate.
Indianapolis Colts (-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers
What . . . what is this line? The Colts are a significantly better team than the Steelers, who just had to survive the tanking Dolphins in their own building. Mason Rudolph looked atrocious for most of Monday night, and Pittsburgh might be without James Conner and are banged up on the offensive line on a short week. The Colts absolutely have the offensive line to handle the Steelers' pass rush. And Indy is 8-4-1 ATS on the road under Frank Reich—that push was the overtime loss to the Chargers in Week 1—and their last two road games were straight-up wins over the Titans and the Chiefs (who still had Patrick Mahomes at that point). The Colts should be giving a field goal in this one. —Gary Gramling
Detroit Lions at Oakland Raiders (-2)
Oakland has not played a home game since Sept. 15. Yes, the Raiders have really been on the road (and in London) since Week 2 of the NFL season. Now, after some really tough losses, they come home to face a banged-up Lions team. The Raiders have been in all their games and their record should be better than 3-4. They always manage to shoot themselves in the foot, though. That stops this week. The Raiders will get things turned around against the Lions and they're only laying two points, which you have to love. —Jimmy Traina
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+6) at Seattle Seahawks
It’s scary to bet on Jameis Winston, which matches the feel of Halloween weekend. But last week we cashed fading a team that isn’t as good as its record in the Bills, and we’ll be using that same formula this time around for the Seahawks.
The Seahawks have played just three teams thus far with a winning record—the Ravens, Rams and Saints. Seattle has played all three at home, and still was outscored by 19 points against that trio. Its only other home game came in Week 1 to the Bengals, where Seattle was fortunate to pull off a 21-20 win.
Seattle has a 6-2 record and ranks third in Football Outsiders’ offensive DVOA. Yet, the Seahawks rank second in passing efficiency and 10th in running efficiency, which is frustrating due to offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer’s addiction to running the football. While they’ve been running the ball less frequently than last season’s 52.4% rushing play percentage, it’s still the fourth-highest mark in the NFL in 2019 at 48.3%.
Schottenheimer’s stubbornness running the football could be costly against the Bucs, as Tampa is tops in the NFL in yards per carry (3.0) and tied for first in stuff rate at 32% (runs stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage).
Believe it or not, the Bucs actually rank higher in DVOA on defense (15th to 22nd) and special teams (18th to 27th) than their favored counterparts. Tampa is a team that’s better than its record that has really been undone by turnovers. That’s what happens when you have Winston as your quarterback. But turnovers aren’t something you can count on from game to game, and I think the Bucs actually match up quite nicely here outside of Seattle’s obvious quarterback advantage. It doesn’t hurt that Bruce Arians wouldn’t mind sticking it here to Pete Carroll given their previous NFC West history when Arians was coaching Arizona. —Max Meyer
Season record: 17-7