NFL Week 9 Spread Busters - Grading The Sunday Slate

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D.S. Williamson

November 2nd, 2018

Despite the surging Cincinnati Bengals playing well enough to remain in the conversation, most NFL fans know that the game between Pittsburgh and Baltimore this weekend determines which team takes a step towards the division title. As a very popular public bet, the Pittsburgh Steelers are garnering a lot of action on the natural NFL Week 9 spread for the game (BAL -3.0), but there's no certainty when these two teams clash. Pittsburgh’s been on a roll since deciding that they didn’t care if Le’Veon Bell showed up to work or not. The Steelers want to end any aspirations Baltimore has of winning a division that they’ve owned for years.

As important as Steelers-Ravens is, it’s not nearly as exciting as Rams-Saints. Los Angeles remains the lone undefeated team in the NFL while New Orleans’ awesome beatdown of the Minnesota Vikings on the road proved they’re for real. Line movement implies the Saints hand LAR their first loss. New Orleans has gone from a +1 dog to a -2 favorite. Can the Rams continue their unblemished record and who takes it in the classic matchup between the Steelers and Ravens?

I analyze both those games along with the other great matchups on NFL Week 9 Sunday.

Sunday, Nov. 4

Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings -5

The Lions traded their best wide receiver, Golden Tate, to an NFC rival, the Philadelphia Eagles. It's a weird move to be sure, but Detroit might not need him if they believe in the much cheaper Kenny Galloday and the reliable Marvin Jones Jr. enough. Or maybe Detroit feels comfortable without Tate after going 5-1 ATS in their last 6 and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 on the road. The Lions rank 7th in passing yards allowed and Minnesota’s had nothing but trouble putting together a rushing attack this season. Giving away Tate, even for a collection of picks, seems like a bit of a white flag move, but this is a bad matchup for the Vikings. Detroit can provide a bounce back effort here as road dogs.

NFL Week 9 Spread Pick: Lions +5  

Kansas City Chiefs -8 at Cleveland Browns

The Browns parted ways with head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley on Monday. Although the overwhelming majority of handicappers are siding with the Chiefs for obvious reasons, bettors haven’t yet decided to back KC. The line’s only shifted half a point and it moved from +8.5 to +8. I’m racking my brain trying to understand why. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is now in charge, but the defensively minded coach now leads an offensive unit that ranks 31st in total yards allowed and 29th in passing yards allowed. Kansas City should roll.

NFL Week 9 Pick: Chiefs -8

Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens -3

It makes no sense to look at stats in this matchup. These two know each other too well to think about stats. Both have decent defenses, Super Bowl winning quarterbacks, and coaches that have led their teams for years. Even though both teams show conflicting trends, Ravens own the head-to-head against the spread. Pittsburgh has gone 1-6-1 ATS in the last 8 meetings. Ravens are the play. Even if they don't win, they'll keep this one tight. The blood feud between these two demands as much.

NFL Week 9 Spread Pick: Ravens -3

New York Jets at Miami Dolphins -3

For Miami, playing the Jets provides a much needed breather after the Dolphins battled the Patriots, Bengals, Bears, Lions, and Texans in their last 5. The breather might not be what Miami expects, though, because while the Dolphins rank dead last in rushing yards allowed, the Jets average over 113 per on the ground. Jets have a huge shot at winning this one straight up and are worth a flier play.

NFL Week 9 Moneyline Pick: Jets 

Chicago Bears -10 at Buffalo Bills

The spread opened at -8.0 for Chicago and has gone all the way up to -10.0. That’s a massive spread to cover against a team with an excellent defense. The Bears are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 versus a team with a losing home record. Signs point to the Bills at least winning against the spread. Their defense showed on Monday against New England that they're a very capable unit, and I'm taking the points despite Chicago's recent play.

NFL Week 9 Spread Pick: Bills +10

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers -7

Based on trends, neither team’s got an edge. Tampa’s 1-4 ATS in their last 5 and 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 after allowing more than 30 points in their previous while Carolina’s 1-4 ATS in their last 5 versus the NFC South and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 after an SU win. The Panthers are coming off a big win, but have had trouble keeping momentum. Tampa's Ryan Fitzpatrick is proving what that this offense is more than capable of delivering on the scoreboard. With a big spread, I’ll take the points.

NFL Week 9 Spread Pick: Buccaneers +7

Atlanta Falcons at Washington Redskins -1.5

Atlanta’s only 2-5 ATS this season while Washington is 5-2 ATS overall and 3-1 ATS at home. Most NFL handicappers believe Washington’s due for a loss, which is why the line moved down a whole point to WAS -1.5, and people are also overvaluing the Falcons. Washington is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 at home, though. That’s the telling trend to me.

NFL Week 9 Spread Pick: Redskins -1.5

Houston Texans at Denver Broncos pk

Texans are hot while winning their last 5 matchups. That hasn’t translated into covers against the betting line because Houston’s 3-10 ATS in their last 13. The Broncos feel they’re better than their 3-5 record. Even though Houston traded for Denver wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, that has no bearing on how I’m handicapping this one. Thomas might get on the same page with Deshaun Watson eventually. He won’t before this game. I’ll back the home team.

NNFL Week 9 Spread Pick: Broncos pk

L.A. Chargers at Seattle Seahawks -2

The Seahawks used to be automatic ATS in any home game. They’re not even close to automatic anymore, having gone 2-6-1 ATS in their last 9 home games versus a team with a winning road record. Seattle’s surprising strength is their bulldozing rushing attack, which should find it hard to get past the Chargers’ front seven. I think Los Angeles has a great shot of winning this outright.

NFL Week 9 Moneyline Pick: Chargers

L.A. Rams at New Orleans Saints -2

The biggest game of the day pits the two best teams in the NFC against each other. New Orleans is an amazing 24-5 ATS in their last 29 versus a team with a winning road record. Although the Rams are undefeated straight up, they’re only 1-4 ATS in their last 5 and have been narrowly escaping some close calls. New Orleans should win and cover.

NFL Week 9 Spread Pick: Saints -2