NFL Week 9 best bets and betting odds
It’s hard to believe that we are already at the midpoint of the NFL season, but that’s what Week 9 will be. This is the week of the backup QB, as many of them will be taking the field for their respective teams. We’ve seen a lot of bad offense around the league already this season, but this week could certainly take it up a notch. The only totals higher than 45 are Dolphins/Chiefs, Cowboys/Eagles, and Bills/Bengals.
Could some of the low totals go over? Could some of the backup quarterbacks surprise? You know they will, but it’s all about trying to figure out which ones.
Here are my favorite Week 8 NFL picks:
(Odds as of November 2, 5:45 p.m. PT)
Jaren Hall and Taylor Heinicke. Just the matchup we thought we’d see in Week 9. To be honest, Heinicke adds a different dimension to the Falcons offense. He’s a better passer than Desmond Ridder and now teams won’t just be able to load up the box and cheat the safeties towards the line of scrimmage.
He’s clearly a flawed player, which is why he isn’t a starter anywhere, but he’s played 34 games and started in 25 of them with decent numbers. The Falcons had 14.6 yards per reception when he entered in relief last week and should be able to find some chunk plays against the blitz-happy Minnesota defense.
Obviously Hall is the big question here, but he is a dual-threat guy that will assuredly have some designed runs in the gameplan this week. He accounted for 52 passing touchdowns and nine more on the ground at BYU. The Vikings have good pass-catchers around him with Jordan Addison and TJ Hockenson, so he’ll be able to go through his progressions if he doesn’t let the game speed up too much.
The Falcons are excellent at stopping the run, but are lacking against the pass. Minnesota hasn’t had much success running anyway, so they can run Hall on dropbacks and designed carries and spread the ball around against a Falcons defense that ranks 24th in Dropback EPA.
Pick: Over 37 (would play to 40)
We should see a spirited effort from the Raiders this week. They’ve had a couple of good practices after the firing of Josh McDaniels was announced and it sure seems like the team is going to come out fired up in support of interim head coach Antonio Pierce. The offense should also get a spark from Aidan O’Connell, who racked up over 9,200 passing yards and 65 touchdowns at Purdue, including 50 over his final two seasons.
O’Connell also threw 24 interceptions in his senior and super senior seasons, so the Giants could force some turnovers here and get into more opportune scoring areas. It will also help the NYG offense to have Daniel Jones back, as he returns from missing a couple of weeks with a neck injury. Some time for Jones to be an observer and catch his breath a little bit could help the anemic Giants offense.
What could also help is facing a Raiders defense that ranks 26th in EPA/play. With Darren Waller out, Brian Daboll and the coaching staff will have to find more creative ways to move the ball and I think Jones will actually be used more as a runner this week in hopes of doing just that.
This is a low total with two offenses that don’t inspire a lot of confidence, but weather isn’t a factor indoors and both offenses have some reasons for optimism this week. If nothing else, we could get some turnovers that set the teams up well.
Pick: Over 37 (would play to 40)
The Bengals looked to be well on their way to a very impressive home win against the Bills before tragedy struck last year. The Damar Hamlin medical episode led to the cancellation of the game as the night correctly became about his safety.
In the rematch, the Bengals won 27-10 in Buffalo during the playoffs and easily looked like the better team. Cincinnati was built in such a way that they would be able to go up against teams like the Bills and Chiefs and have success. Now that Joe Burrow is back to 100% and the Bills defense is extremely banged-up, I see no reason why this game should go a different way.
Over the last three games, the Bills defense ranks 23rd in EPA/play. All three of those games have come since Matt Milano was injured against Jacksonville. If we include that game, since he missed a good chunk of it, the Bills are 29th in EPA/play. Meanwhile, slowly but surely, the Bengals defense has improved, posting the third-best EPA/play against over the last four weeks.
The Bengals are in a good spot here as the healthier roster and they just match up well with Buffalo.
Pick: Bengals -2 (would play to -3)
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