Before we get into our Week 9 NFL betting lines, we need to discuss the schedule.
I fully acknowledge that creating an NFL schedule is an extremely difficult job, but do we really need to have six teams on bye in a given week of the season? There are not one, but two weeks this season with six teams on bye. There are also two weeks with two teams on bye. I’m not the only one who finds this askew, right? This week, there are only two games in the late (4:00 eastern) window. I mean, think of poor Scott Hansen. Scott does a great job on the RedZone channel, but we don’t watch to see him kill time during commercials. We watch for the constant real-time highlights. That poor guy will have to cover a lot of dead air Sunday afternoon.
I’ve seen interviews with the schedule makers before, but I’ve never seen this addressed. Why can’t/aren’t the bye weeks evenly distributed? There has to be a reason. And if you’re only going to have two late games, why couldn’t it have been the week before the end of daylight savings time when I could have gotten some yard work done?
My second straight week going 3-1 on the Best Bets. This week’s game picks were the best of the year at 6-3. ELO had a respectable 5-4 week.
Last week: My picks, 6 – 3; Analytics, 5 – 4; Best Bets, 3 – 1
Denver at Jacksonville (at London) – “The Jags have extensive experience with London games and have a two-time zone shorter flight to get there.”
New England at New York Jets – “Even though Justin Fields schooled the Pats on Monday night, I think the axiom of take Bill Belichick against rookie and/or sub-par quarterbacks still holds.”
We’ll revisit this axiom later… The Best Bet under came through by the hook.
San Francisco at Los Angeles Rams – “San Fran embarrassed the Rams on Monday Night in Week Four. That didn’t look like a fluke. They looked like the superior team.”
They were, and they are.
Arizona at Minnesota – “I don’t think they should be touchdown favorites over an Arizona team that looked like it got some swagger back with the return of DeAndre Hopkins.”
I committed the Cardinal sin (pun intended) and got Kingsburied.
Cincinnati at Cleveland – “Line Picking Rule Number One: Beware the Home Dog on Monday Night!”
And we get another opportunity this week!
Pittsburgh at Philadelphia – “I got burned last week laying double digits on Tampa Bay. So I’m not going back to that well.”
The lesson here is just to avoid double-digit lines at all costs.
Tennessee at Houston – “the Houston run defense is so bad, and it won’t matter. Derrick Henry gonna eat.”
Honestly, this felt like a bit of a free square. Didn’t matter who was playing QB for Tennessee. Houston should never have been laying point(s).
Washington at Indianapolis – “Two bad teams, two backup quarterbacks. Take the points.”
Another betting rule of thumb: in games between bad teams, take the points.
New York Giants at Seattle – “The Giants feel due for a letdown. Making a west coast trip and having to deal with the 12th Man.”
The letdown had to come eventually.
Season: My picks, 20 – 31 – 1; Analytics, 23 – 28 – 1; Best Bets, 8 – 9 – 1
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NFL Week 9 Lines
(Standard disclaimer – All opinions are my own and may or may not reflect those of this website. “Analytic Lines” are ELO point spreads from fivethirtyeight.com, and “Vegas Lines” are courtesy of thelines.com, current as of the writing of this article. Predicted Line (“PL”) is my early week estimate of where the Vegas line would be set. Chosen games are those with a multiple-point variance between the Vegas and Analytic Lines.)
Only five games ELO & Vegas disagree on this week. But, of course, there are only 13 games this week, so…
Game of the Week
Tennessee at Kansas City – Analytic Line: KC (-8), Vegas Line: KC (-12.5), PL: KC (-10.5)
This week’s biggest variance is the Sunday Night game. I want to go against Tennessee playing their second straight road game, potentially with a rookie quarterback who didn’t exactly light things up in his first start. But this line is just too big, and KC isn’t a great cover team in the regular season.
Pick: Tennessee (+12.5)
Make It A Parlay
Buffalo at New York Jets – Analytic Line: NYJ (+8), Vegas Line: NYJ (+11.5), PL: NYJ (+9.5)
I can’t get the visual of the Bills sleepwalking through the second half of the Sunday Night game against Green Bay out of my head. I’m not picking the Jets to win by any means, but after laying an egg against New England, I can’t imagine the Buffalo feels like they need to bring their A-game. They can save that for next week against Minnesota.
Pick: New York Jets (+11.5)
Los Angeles Chargers at Atlanta – Analytic Line: ATL (+1), Vegas Line: ATL (+3), PL: ATL (+2.5)
LA traveling cross-country for a 1:00 eastern game with no receivers doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. I suppose the extra hour of sleep we get from ending Daylight Savings Time helps, but they’re still terrible against the run, and that’s all Atlanta wants to do. Ever.
Pick: Atlanta (+3); Best Bet: Under (49.5)
Carolina at Cincinnati – Analytic Line: CIN (-9.5), Vegas Line: CIN (-7.5), PL: CIN (-6.5)
The Bengals look like a different team sans Ja’Marr Chase. I can’t imagine laying a TD plus on them on a short week coming off the Monday nighter. To that end, the Carolina Money line looks tasty.
Pick: Carolina (+7.5); Best Bet: Carolina Money Line (+270)
Las Vegas at Jacksonville – Analytic Line: Pick ‘Em, Vegas Line: JAX (+2), PL: JAX (-1)
I don’t want to take either one of these teams. Jacksonville coming home after a London game? Vegas going cross-country for a 1:00 eastern game the week after getting shut out in New Orleans? Defaulting to two bad teams, take the points.
Pick: Jacksonville (+2)
Other Best Bets: New England (-6) vs. Indianapolis; New Orleans (+2.5) vs. Baltimore
Are you looking for some more fantasy content? Then, check out our Week 9 rankings!