Best Bets: Expert NFL Picks for Week 9

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers rush the passer against the Rams.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers rush the passer against the Rams.

This is NFL Best Bets, a recurring series in which professional sports handicappers lend us their insights and picks for the most intriguing matchups for each week of the professional football season. Here are our Week 9 NFL picks.

You’ve got places to go, people to see and possibly some wagers to make, so let’s get right to it with some help from Thomas Gable, the director of race and sportsbook at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, sports betting reporter Josh Appelbaum of VSiN and Odds Assist CEO Dave Rathmanner.

LA Chargers (-3, O/U 49.5) at Atlanta Falcons


Appelbaum’s Assessment: The Chargers opened as a 3-point road favorite. Respected money seems to be leaning Chargers as Los Angeles is juiced up -3 at -120, signaling a possible rise up to -3.5. The Chargers have a rest advantage over the Falcons, as LA s is coming off a bye. Favorites off a bye are roughly 57% ATS over the past decade, including road favorites 65% ATS. The Chargers also have value as a non-conference favorite in a high total game. I’ll pay a little more juice and take well-rested Los Angeles at -165 on the moneyline to win the game.

Gable’s Guess: The Chargers are coming off their bye and the Falcons are surprisingly in first place. I think their preseason win total was 4.5, so they only need one more victory there to get over it. The Chargers went into their bye week after taking a beating from the Seahawks. I think this game will dramatically impact their playoff chances. They’ve really struggled against teams with winning records. QB Justin Herbert has had some rather poor performances lately. With eight touchdowns, Austin Ekeler is one of the league leaders in scoring, but their running game as a whole just hasn’t produced. Atlanta is certainly alive to win their division. They’re fifth in the league in rushing and we know the Chargers are terrible against the run and giving up 137.6 yards per game. I think the Chargers will have a difficult time stopping the Falcons on the ground and Herbert should be able to get some things going on offense for his side. I’m going to take the over here.

Rathmanner’s Reckoning: This is a meeting between two of the better offenses and worse defenses in the league. The Chargers allow the second-most points per game at 27, while the Falcons are fourth-worst in giving up 25.6. The Chargers have some injuries at the receiver position, but they should still have success throwing the ball against a league-worst Falcon pass defense that has allowed 306.9 passing yards per game. Both teams have been playing to the over as the Chargers have gone over in 7 of their last 10 games and the Falcons have gone over in 6 of 10.  Look for the over to hit again in this one.

Our Pick: Don’t have a good read on the number here so will hope for points and take the over.

Buffalo Bills (-11.5, O/U 46.5) at New York Jets


Appelbaum’s Assessment: The early lookahead line on this game was Bills -10.5 on the road. It quickly shot up to Bills -13, at which point some Jets +13 buyback hit the market and dropped it back down. The Jets have value as a contrarian double-digit divisional dog. Divisional dogs are 23-17 ATS (58%) this season. Big dogs +7 or more are 17-10 ATS (63%). I lean Jets but I’m going to target the total instead. Divisional unders are 28-12 (70%) this season. The forecast calls for low 70s with 10 MPH winds. The total opened at 48 and has fallen to 47 or 46.5. I’ll sweat the under.

Gable’s Guess: The Jets have been winning due to a good running game, solid defense and not making mistakes. They made mistake against the Patriots on Sunday and I think the blame rests right on QB Zach Wilson for that. Now they have the best team in the league coming in. I think Josh Allen probably played his worst half of football this season in the second half on Sunday night against Green Bay. I wouldn’t count on a similar performance here. The Jets should be able to run the ball against Buffalo, and it’s a big number here to cover on the road. I’ll take the points with the Jets.

Rathmanner’s Reckoning: This a big division rivalry game between two teams that know each other very well. The Bills have won seven of the last 10 meetings between the two teams, but only three of those 10 games have seen the Bills win by more than 13 points. Last week, the Packers were able to keep the Buffalo offense in check because they have one of the top passing defenses in the NFL. The Jets also have a top-10 passing defense as New York is allowing just 203.4 yards through the air per game. With the expectation of a lower-scoring game, the Jets look too good to pass up in this key divisional game.

Our Pick: Guessing the Bills will score a lot and the Jets will do enough to keep it close. Taking the over.

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Minnesota Vikings (-3, O/U 43.5) at Washington Commanders


Appelbaum’s Assessment: This line opened with the Vikings listed as a 3-point road favorite. Minnesota ticked up to -3.5 or even -4 at some shops. That’s when sharp Commanders buyback dropped it back to 3.5 or 3. Washington plus the points is juiced to -115, signaling some dog liability on the Commanders plus the hook. Sweet spot dogs +3.5 or more are 47-26 ATS (64%) this season. If the underdog is +3.5 or more and both teams missed the playoffs the previous season, dogs are 20-5 ATS (80%). I’ll take the Commanders and the points.

Gable’s Guess: The Vikings are finding ways to win close games, which is the opposite of what they did last season. Washington has won three straight coming into this game behind Taylor Heinicke, but this team really struggles to score. Without question, the Vikings are the better team out of the two. Minnesota’s defense has been stellar over the last four weeks and they’ve allowed only 50.5 points per game on the ground. The Commanders don’t have a strong rushing game and I believe their overall lack of ability to score consistently is going to be on display here. I’m taking the under.

Rathmanner’s Reckoning: With the way Taylor Heinicke has been playing, it may be tough for Carson Wentz to get his job back when he’s healthy. Heinicke has led Washington to two wins while completing 67.2% of his passes. The Vikings are 6-1, but they have not been dominating opponents during their five-game-winning streak. They have not won a game by more than eight points since Week 1. The defenses are evenly matched and the Vikings are slightly better offensively, but the Commanders have shown improvement over the past few weeks. In a game where not much separates the two teams, I like the Commanders with the points.

Our Pick: If the Vikings are for real, they should blow doors here. Taking Minnesota to cover the number.

LA Rams (+3, O/U 42.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Appelbaum’s Assessment: This line opened with Tampa Bay listed as a short 2-point home favorite. Early Bucs money pushed Tampa Bay up to the key number of -3. That’s when sharp buyback hit the Rams +3. Los Angeles +3 is juiced to -120, signaling a possible drop down to 2.5. Dogs who didn’t cover the previous week, the like Rams, are 28-18 ATS (61%) this season. Shawn Hochuli, the lead ref, is 59% ATS to the road team historically. I don’t trust either team, but I’ll take Rams +3.

Gable’s Guess: The Rams started out well against the Niners on Sunday, but they were just eaten up in the second half. Cooper Kupp is going to play in this game, but there’s no avoiding how bad this LA offense has become. They’re 31st in the league in rushing yards and yards per carry. Due to the lack of production on the ground, they’ve been forced to throw more than they want. Matthew Stafford has been sacked 24 times this year. It’s rather ugly for them and it really hasn’t been any better for Tampa. Like their opponents, the Bucs have been plagued by bad offensive line protection and an inability to get the ground game going. Tampa’s vaunted run defense has been anything but this season, but I’d say it won’t matter too much. I’ll lay the points with the Buccaneers.

Rathmanner’s Reckoning: This is a meeting of two of the more disappointing teams of the season. Tampa has looked a little better on offense than the Rams, but they have struggled on third down and are converting just 34.6% of the time. They may be able to fix that against the Rams, who have allowed teams to convert 41.7% of the time on third down. Tampa also has the rest advantage as they played a home game last Thursday. The Rams played Sunday and now travel across the country. I like Tampa to get it together and pull out the win. Taking them on the money line at -140.

Our Pick: If it is Stafford vs. Brady, not betting against Brady to lose two in a row to LA. Laying the points.

Tennessee Titans (+12.5, O/U 46.5) at Kansas City Chiefs


Appelbaum’s Assessment: This line opened with the Chiefs listed as a 10.5-point home favorite. Respected money has laid the chalk with the Chiefs, steaming Kansas City up from -10.5 to -12.5. Primetime dogs are 14-10 ATS (57%) this season. And the Titans have value as a contrarian dog with an inflated line. But without a clear assurance as to whether it will be Ryan Tannehill or Malik Willis under center for Tennessee, I’ll look to the total instead. It opened at 47 and has fallen to 46.5. Primetime unders are 16-9 (66%) this season. I’ll take the under 46.5.

Gable’s Guess: We know how successful Andy Reid has been throughout his career following the bye both when he was coach of the Eagles and now with the Chiefs. It’s also sort of a revenge game as he is only 2-8 all-time against the Titans. For Tennessee, RB Derrick Henry has played five career games against Kansas City and averaged 111.4 yards per game against them on 5.4 yards per carry. Filling in for QB Ryan Tannehill, Malik Willis didn’t exactly look comfortable last week and only had 10 passing attempts. I do expect the Titans to be able to run the ball effectively against this Kansas City defense, but Patrick Mahomes and Co. are just going to outpace them overall. Keep an eye on Tannehill, but I’m going to lay the points with the Chiefs if it’s Willis at quarterback for the Titans.

Rathmanner’s Reckoning: The Chiefs clearly look like the team that deserves to be 5-2, while the 5-2 Titans have struggled to get unimpressive wins against the Raiders, Colts, Commanders, and Texans — not exactly an impressive resume. It looks the Titans will have Ryan Tannehill back at QB after missing last week with an ankle injury. However, it likely won’t be enough as the Titans only average 18.9 points and a league-worst 285.6 yards per game. The Chiefs average 403.3 yards and 31.9 points per game. The Titan defense is not good enough to slow down the Chiefs and Tennessee’s offense is not good enough to keep up with Kansas City. It may not be as ugly as Tennessee’s Monday night loss to the Bills, but I am comfortable laying the points with the Chiefs on Sunday night.

Our Pick: It’s a crazy number. The Titans aren’t great, but they are 5-2. Taking Tennesee with the points.

Last Week: 3-2-0; This Season: 18-22-0

Editor’s note: Betting lines fluctuate throughout the week based on injuries, the weather and other factors. Make sure to double-check the odds before making your own Week 9 NFL picks.

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The post Expert NFL Picks for Week 9, Including Bills-Jets, Rams-Bucs and Titans-Chiefs appeared first on InsideHook.

The article Best Bets: Expert NFL Picks for Week 9 by Evan Bleier was originally published on InsideHook.