Week 9 NFL Picks
Disclaimer: Opinions are those of Nolan Dalla. All information here and the comments provided on this website are for entertainment purposes only. I do not intend nor advise readers to make any wagers. Ultimately, you must make your own decisions about if to gamble, how much to wager, and which bets to make.
ALL LINES ARE COURTESY OF SPREADS.CA
Indianapolis at New England
Line: Patriots -5
Moneyline: Colts +180 / Patriots -220
Analysis: Betting on the Patriots is like trusting a kleptomaniac not to steal. Do I really want to invite them over again and leave my valuables unattended? That clunker of a turd two weeks ago when they got shitfucked by the Bears at home on MNF really left a bad taste in my mouth and an empty space in my wallet where there used to be some cash. I still look at this team with disgust. Thing is, this week New England faces what might be the worst 4-4 team in the history of the NFL. The Colts are a mess. Frank “Reich” won’t be the “fourth.” Desperate, Reich has made wholesale roster changes. Matt Ryan, 38 going on 79, had his chain pulled and now appears headed for retirement at A Place for Mom. And so, Sam Ehlinger became the latest carousel pony on the disastrous merry-go-round that is the Colts’ quarterbacking mess since what’s-his-name retired a few years ago. Ehrlinger will be making his second career appearance just five days after the firing of his offensive coordinator, also not exactly a good thing if you’re looking for points. Of course, since the Bears looked to be even worse off a few weeks ago when they somehow crawled into New England, watch me be totally wrong about this and see Ehlinger throw for 500 yards. Here’s an incredible stat: The Colts have been behind (losing) heading into the 4th quarter of all eight games this season. This is a mess of a game to handicap and I want no piece of it.
The Pick: No Action
Buffalo at NY Jets
Line: Bills -13.5
Moneyline: Bills -650 / Jets +475
Analysis: Five simple words: THIS. IS. TOO. MANY. POINTS. It’s too many points to give to a division rival. It’s too many points to give to a home team. It’s too many points to give to an opponent with a winning record. It’s too many points to give from a team that, for all their talent, sometimes lapses into inexplicable results (recall the Bills losing to Miami, despite outgaining the Dolphins by about 9,999 yards). One-loss Buffalo is still considered by many to be the NFL’s best team. Maybe so. With apologies to the undefeated 8-0 Philadelphia, the Bills would be a small favorite in such a neutral-field hypothetical matchup (I’d make the line Bills -2). / The Bills are clicking in every department, right now. They rank #1st in passing YPG, #2nd in scoring, and #3rd in overall team defense. The Jets just don’t have the talent to keep pace scoreboard, especially after losing RB Breece Hall to injury. After winning 5 of 6 games, the Jets’ offense went into hibernation with Hall’s injury. The Jets’ running backs coach may as well be D.B. Cooper (he jumped out of a Jet, remember? — hoping somebody got that). Their rushing game disappeared, and 51 pathetic yards showed the void in a horrendous defeat at home to New England last week. Now, a far superior team comes into town, which drives this number up near two TDs. / Typically, I’d be all over a division rival getting this many points at home, especially coming off a loss and now playing against their big rival. But I fear the Jets won’t be able to move the ball, or at least get into the end zone enough times. This all plays into a much wiser bet on the UNDER, for several reasons. First and foremost, all seven Buffalo games stayed UNDER the total this season. Now, they’re playing against a one-dimensional offense that’s really struggled recently. Unless QB Zach Wilson has a monster game, it’s hard to see where the Jets’ points will come from. I also see Buffalo possibly in a down spot, particularly with 6-1 Minnesota on deck next week. The Bills have posted 24 and 27 points respectively in each of the last two weeks, not exactly great numbers for the OVER. Buffalo’s two blowout wins were at home. On the road, Buffalo has averaged just 23 PPG. They likely exceed that figure in this game, I’m just not sure the Jets will add much to the point total. The Jets’ underrated defense is also above average. This unit has allowed just five TDs in their last four games, and allowed 3rd-down conversations at just 30 percent, which is an outstanding rate for any defense. If they slow the Bills’ offense down just a little, that should allow these UNDER tickets to cash at the betting window.
The Pick: Buffalo / NY Jets UNDER 47
Miami at Chicago
Line: Dolphins -4.5
Moneylines: Dolphins -210 / Bears +175
Analysis: Miami was expected to be good, or at least improved. Chicago was not. Still, can the Dolphins be trusted to cover this high of a number on the road? I tend to bet strictly as a contrarian, but I also think confidence in Miami and the favored Dolphins covering the spread is warranted in this matchup. Let’s look at the Dolphins from two perspectives — *with* and *without* QB Tua Tagovailoa. With him, Miami won their first three games. Then, without him, Miami lost its next three games. Since his return, the Dolphins win their last 2 matchups, including last week’s 31-27 at Detroit. Cue U2’s “With or Without Tua.” Tagovailoa (18-9 as an NFL starter) has built an explosive combo with one of the league’s best deep threats in WR Tyreek Hill. The ex-Chief has four games of 160+ yards this season. He’s a game-changer. We saw Dallas light up the Bears last week for 49 points, and Miami’s offense might be equally as good as the Cowboys. So, if we agree on Miami as the right side to win it, they should also score enough points to cover this number. What’s even more troubling for the Bears are their recent front-office personnel moves, which indicate winning right now might not be the top priority. Chicago shopped away key parts of their defense at the trade deadline. Not only did they get rid of DE Robert Quinn (Eagles), but they also traded their best defensive player, LB Roquan Smith (Ravens). Those moves will improve Chicago for the 2023 draft, but will certainly hurt the team for the remainder of 2022. One major concern if backing Miami is the Bears’ effective rushing game. They’ve run for 240-243-238 in their last three games, which are stellar rushing stats. However, in their favor, Miami is one of the better run-stop units in the league, allowing just 100 YPG on average, ranking #7th. I’m a little nervous about the hook in the 4, but that trade telegraphs the mindset of the Bears right now, and I don’t think it’s pressure to win games, but to build for the future.
The Pick: Miami Dolphins -4.5
Minnesota at Washington
Line: Vikings -3.5
Moneylines: Vikings -155 / Commanders +135
Analysis: Both teams are big surprises this season. Nobody had the neutered Vikings, under a brand new coach and their 6th OC in six seasons in first place at midseason. But here they are with a 3-game lead in the awful NFC North at midseason. As for Dan Snyder’s tinker toy of a 25-season disaster, the Redskins-Football Team-Commanders’ 4-4 record is something of a miracle given the dysfunction of this franchise. Seriously, who the fuck thought this would be a “must-see” football game back in September? I like two bets in this game. First, I’ll grab Washington getting +3.5 points at home. Washington has won three straight games. Even though those three victories were by a combined total of just 8 points, it also shows this to be a resilient team capable of making plays when things count the most. I also like OVER the total. Minnesota ranks #28th in the NFL against the pass, which is going to allow Washington some opportunities. It’s critical to get +3.5 if you bet the side. That half-point is huge, as I expect a late FG to win it.
The Picks: Washington Commanders +3.5 / Minnesota / Washington OVER 43.5
Green Bay at Detroit
Line: Packers -3.5
Moneylines: Packers -190 / Lions +165
Analysis: The Packers have lost four straight games. Yet, they’re favored by more than a FG on the road in this game? Poor goddamned Detroit. The Lions might as well jump off a fucking bridge, and if they did that there’s probably a trampoline on the ground. I mean, how miserable are you when you’re getting more than a FG against an opponent that’s covered the spread just one time in their last 8 games as a road favorite? Indeed, Green Bay has been a horrible road point-giver for a long time, going just 7-12 ATS in their last 19 such situations. Oh, and this is the Packers’ third straight game away from Lambeau Field. Betting Green Bay is like getting crypto advice off the Internet, I mean you deserve to lose your ass and get laughed at. I keep reading “experts” who insist this is *finally* the week Green Bay gels on offense and punches out of the plastic bag that’s been mummifying Aaron Rodgers like an extra in “Dawn of the Dead.” Sure, Detroits’ defense, and especially their pass defense is all-time awful fucking hideous embarrassingly god-ass motherfucking shit vomit bad. But in a faceoff between two struggling teams, give me the points and the team with less pressure. That’s Detroit. Finally, Green Bay has underperformed in Detroit recently. The Packers are 0-5 ATS in their last five trips there.
The Pick: Detroit +3.5
LA Chargers at Atlanta
Line: LA Chargers -3.5
Moneyline: Chargers -155 / Falcons +135
Analysis: Initially, I loved the Chargers in this game. But according to late-week reports and some missing players, they’ll be razor-thin in the receiver corps this week. If the Chargers are uncertain to move the ball through the air, that basically removes any chance to exploit the Falcon’s biggest vulnerability. That’s because the Chargers can’t run the ball, averaging just 88 YPG, ranking #27 in the NFL. Consider this matchup a missed opportunity, of sorts, for the Chargers because, holy shit, Atlanta’s dead-last #32-ranked pass defense is terrible. This is the only team in the league that surrenders 300+ YPG through the air. Seeing opposing QBs feast on these defensive backs, it’s like watching Kieth Moon use the My Pillow Guy’s face as a drum kit. Watching the scene, you don’t know whether to react in horror or fist pump in laughter. Like seriously, how are these guys even playing in the NFL? The Chargers roll into this game winning 4/5 and off a bye, so the West-to-East trip should not be a factor. As I said, if the Chargers were healthy, I’d either pass or play them and lay points. However, they’re banged up, and have their own defensive problems, as well (ranked #20th). So, I don’t understand they the visitors are laying this many points. Atlanta 4-4 SU were underdogs in 7/8 games, yet are in first place, at home for the second straight week, 6-2 ATS this season, and a perfect 3-0 ATS as home underdogs. I also like what I’m seeing with Atlanta’s running game, improving by the week (163 YPG last six games). I would have expected to see some line adjustment on Falcons’ games by now, but that’s not happened. I’m taking Atlanta both in the first half getting points, and for the full game, especially with the hook on the 3.
The Picks: Atlanta Falcons (First Half +2.5) / Atlanta Falcons (game) +3.5
Carolina at Cincinnati
Line: Bengals -7.5
Moneylines: Panthers +260 / Bengals -320
Analysis: These two teams are tough as hell to figure out. Two weeks ago, after the Panthers benched their first-string commercial-making machine QB and fired their head coach, most of us thought whatever remained of the empty carcass that was the Carolina Panthers would end up next to a trash dumpster surrounded by buzzing flies. Then, Carolina promptly regrouped and spanked Tom Brady’s Buccaneers silly like spoiled stepchildren. Yeah, we all saw that coming, didn’t we? (sarcasm) Then last week, these same Panthers went into Atlanta and took the Falcons into OT, and likely would have won the game if that lunkhead WR hadn’t ripped off his helmet after scoring a late TD to preen for the cameras. Nonetheless, let’s give Carolina lots of credit. While the Panthers are riding two straight covers, just six days ago the Bengals shit the bed on MNF, falling behind 25-0 at one point (to the Browns! The Browns! ….I can still hear James Caan’s voice in “The Gambler” when the bookie comes to collect his money and Caan is in a state of disbelief that he lost…..”fucking Brown! BROWN!”). I mean, how does any respectable football team fall behind by 4+ scores to the goddamned Browns? I suppose that sets up a huge rebound spot for Cincinnati this week, which is suffering yet another scourge of a post-Super Bowl loser — such teams have fared horribly historically, and the Bengals are just the latest car crash. Much will depend on two things: (1) Can Carolina run the ball? Before the big trade with SFO, when RB McCaffrey was still on the team, the Panthers ran the ball for just a 90 YPG average. Since the trade, Carolina has rushed for 173-169 yards in the last two games. These numbers make no sense at all, but they are what they are. (2) Cincinnati’s offensive line continues to be a flaming heap of trash. Another five sacks were allowed last week (to the Browns! The BROWNS!), and QB Joe Burrow simply isn’t getting the protection and time he needs. Carolina is a better pass-rushing team than given credit for (pressuring opposing QBs about a third of the time), so I think they’ll get to Burrow more than a few times on Sunday. But what’s really going to hurt the Bengals is missing injured WR Chase, who is out for another month. Cincinnati should win a close game, but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see the Panthers continue exceeding low expectations and pulling off the upset. Under the circumstances, especially getting the hook on the 7, I have to go with Carolina. Adding: Carolina Team Total is just 16.5 (-125) at DDS. I’m playing OVER this total, expecting 17+.
The Pick: Carolina Panthers +7.5 / Carolina (Team Total Points) OVER 16.5 (-125)
Las Vegas at Jacksonville
Line: Raiders -2.5
Moneylines: Raiders -140 / Jaguars +120
Analysis: What the fuck? The Raiders are actually favored this week? On the road? Why? Thumbing through injury reports here and trying to figure out what I’m missing — the Raiders’ injuries look worse. Has anyone who’s betting on the Raiders been watching any football this season? Do they know what a football game is? Oakland’s rejects didn’t even cross midfield until 2 minutes left in the game at New Orleans last week, and the Faders ended up getting crushed 24-0 to a team quarterbacked by Andy Dalton, which is sorta’ like choking on a moldy sandwich and trying to put on a smile on it by insisting it’s the french dip at Phillippe the Original. I hate to brag, okay — I love to brag — but I’ve been squawking since coming into this season that Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels would be a bust. So far, he’s 2-5 this season, and holds a 13-22 career coaching mark, which is getting dangerously close to Richie Kotiite territory. I don’t normally revel in someone’s misery, but McDaniel is clearly in over his head and arrived with a falsified resume padded by Belichick and Brady’s success. The loss to the Saints should have been a breaking point. I just don’t see Las Vegas as having enough talent or confidence to go on the road for a second consecutive week and miraculously turn things around, even though Jacksonville holds an identical 2-5 record. So, I’m taking the points with the home team and a coaching staff with no such pressures. Let’s also note that Las Vegas’ two wins came against the dreadful Texans and struggling Broncos. Even dating back to last season, the Raiders have been a bad bet in this situation, just 2-5 ATS in the last 7 meetings against the Jags, and 0-7 ATS in their last 7 road games vs. teams with a losing record. I’m making three wagers on this game: Jags in the first-half, Jags for the game, and UNDER 48, which is way too many points. Both teams have good RBs in Josh Jacobs and Travis Etienne, which means the clock should move along with more running than average. Last four games, Jacksonville ran the ball for 178 YPG — a good sign of improvement. JAX has also limited its opponents to 20 PPG, so the Raiders could struggle to score points again in Week 9. The UNDER is 5-0 in the Jags’ last five home games.
The Picks: Jacksonville +1.5 (First Half) / Jacksonville Jaguars +2.5 (Full Game) / Las Vegas / Jacksonville UNDER 48
Seattle at Arizona
Line: Cardinals -2
Moneylines: Seahawks +110 / Cardinals -130
Analysis: In a season full of surprises, I’m not sure any team is a bigger shocker than NFC West-leading Seattle, right now. Earlier in this week’s report, I bragged about being right most of the time….well let me also admit being dead wrong about the feisty Seabirds. No matter what happens the rest of the way, this might be Pete Carroll’s best coaching job of his career. Let me also bow to Geno Smith, the much-maligned bust-out QB who looked like he was headed for Cleo Lemon-land a few months ago. Smith is completing 73 pct. of his passes for 1,924 yards with 13 TDs and just 3 INTs. Those are MVP-level stats. I’m just in awe of the resiliency of the Seahawks. This week’s game in Phoenix will be their potential stamp on a Cinderella season. Riding a 3-game win streak, it gives Seattle a chance to bury the Cardinals in a graveyard next to the Rams’ web-caked tombstone. I’m really wary of backing any division opponent playing two straight road games, especially when that team is coming off an impressive victory (fearing a letdown here). However, anyone who continues to underestimate Seattle probably deserves to end up talking to themselves holding a fistful of losing sports tickets. Meanwhile, Arizona looked like a team that was jump-started from a dead battery two weeks ago when they whipped New Orleans at home. Then, they reverted right back to the poorly-coached, underachieving Cardinal money burners last week. Clearly, the healthy offense at full force will help Arizona score points. But they can’t seem to stop anybody either, surrendering 68 points in their last two games. These two teams played a defensive struggle in Seattle in early October, a 10-point win by the Seahawks. It’s probably a “must-win” for Arizona if they’re to have any shot at the postseason, and the coach’s job may even be on the line. I’m not sure how that weighs into the equation, but I’m going to give it less consideration here given so many other factors that favor the underdog Seahawks. Seattle has trailed at halftime just once this year, while Arizona is one of the NFL’s worst first-half teams. So, the Hawks getting points in the first two frames is an automatic no-brainer of a bet. Watching Arizona, QB Kyler Murray is very good at scrappy moments, making something out of nothing, often in second halves and late in games. But he’s also a poor game prepper and early-game manager, and the numbers don’t lie. Cardinals average just 9 PPG in first half this season and against the 1H spread, Arizona is just 1-7, the NFL’s worst mark. Moreover, the Seahawks are 12-6 ATS in their last 18 games as a road dog, which tells us Carrol rises to these occasions. The floundering Cardinals have lost 3 of their last 4 games, and are just 1-3 at home. Under Kliffbury, Arizona is just 5-13 ATS as a home favorite. Seattle has won 7/10 series games and is 6-2-1 ATS in their last nine visits to Phoenix. Wagering money on the Cardinals in this game is dumber than being an Arizona poll watcher. Three bets here.
The Picks: Seattle (First Half) +1.5 (-125) / Seattle Seahawks +2 (Full Game) / Seattle Team Total OVER 23.5 points (-125)
LA Rams at Tampa Bay
Line: Buccaneers -3
Moneylines: Rams +130 / Bucs -150
Analysis: What a horrible game. A few months ago, some sap sucker went onto StubHub and probably forked over something like $800 for end zone tickets to the Rams-Bucs game, and now they’re stuck holding a bag of warm puppy shit. Poor things. This was supposed to be one of the great premier games of the regular season and now half the country is going to be flipping the channel over to see what’s on at CSPAN. Okay, maybe not. CSPAN has scheduled Sen. Tom Cotton who is pimping his new ghostwritten book. Flip the channel back to the Seahawks game, goddammit! I keep looking for some glimmer of sunlight breaking through the death cave of darkness that engulfs both of these once-proud teams. I suppose one tipping point is probably fading (betting against) the horrific Rams offensive line, which can’t pass protect at all, and is responsible for the WORST RUSHING OFFENSE in the NFL this season. Wait? This team actually won a Super Bowl earlier this year? Oh, that’s right, they luck-boxed a win, and non-over vs. Cincinnati. I’d sure like to bet against the miserable Rams, but I’m sure not going to lay points with the Bucs, who have lost to the Steelers, Panthers, and Ravens successively and haven’t covered an NFL pointspread since Sept. 18, which was like 2 Herschel Walker abortions ago. If you put a gun to my head and force me to make a pick and a prediction on this game and then watch it, just go ahead and pull the trigger. I’m good with that.
The Pick: No Action
[SNF] Tennessee at Kansas City
Line: Chiefs -13
Moneylines: Titans +450 / Chiefs -600
More to come — Writeups pending (check back here at POINTSPREADS.CA)
[MNF] Baltimore at New Orleans
Line: Ravens -2
Moneylines: Ravens -130 / Saints +110
More to come — Writeups pending (check back here at POINTSPREADS.CA)