NFL Expert Picks: Rams-Saints, Packers-Patriots, Chiefs-Browns, More Week 9 Bets

NFL Expert Picks: Rams-Saints, Packers-Patriots, Chiefs-Browns, More Week 9 Bets article feature image

USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kareem Hunt and Antonio Brown

  • The Action Network experts break down their favorite NFL bets for Week 9, including Rams-Saints and Packers-Patriots.
  • Also find out what bet we like in Ravens-Steelers and the Monday Night Football matchup between the Cowboys and Titans.
  • Plus against-the-spread and over/under picks for Chiefs-Browns, Jets-Dolphins, Texans-Broncos and more.

I think Nick Mullens (who?) just threw another touchdown.

With another terrible Thursday Night Football game behind us, we know we won’t have to suffer through either the 49ers or Raiders on Sunday. Instead, we can focus on more intriguing Week 9 storylines, including:

  • Will the Steelers get revenge from an earlier season loss and hand their rival Ravens a third-straight loss?
  • Will the home Saints be the team to finally topple the Rams — the NFL’s lone remaining undefeated team?
  • How will an epic showdown between two of the NFL’s all-time great quarterbacks in Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers play out on Sunday Night Football?

Our staff has angles on each of those three highly-anticipated matchups, plus valuable betting insight into the rest of Week 9’s slate.

We actually have a consensus on three games this week: Chiefs-Browns, Saints-Rams and Patriots-Packers. We also have a selection for the Monday Night Football matchup in Dallas between the Titans and Cowboys.

For even more in-depth analysis, be sure to check out our betting guides for every single game.

Our staff picks now sit at 68-60-11 (53.1%) for the season. Let’s take a look at our 18 favorite bets for Week 9 and have a profitable weekend together. Stuckey

>> All odds pulled overnight on Thursday, so line variations are possible. Download The Action Network app to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets.


Evan Abrams: Ravens 1H -1.5

1 pm ET on CBS

The Ravens have lost back-to-back games SU and ATS entering Week 9, including a double digits loss to the Panthers last Sunday. They are primed for a bounce back and I think it will happen early at home.

In his career, Joe Flacco is 48-28-4 (63.2%) against the first half spread at home, and since the start of the 2016 season, the Ravens are 6-1 against the first half spread at home after an SU loss, covering the spread by 4.3 ppg.

Additionally, Flacco has had success against the Steelers in the first half, going 12-6 against the first half spread in 18 career meetings, including 6-1 at home.

A lazy narrative this week may be that Steelers want revenge after losing to the Ravens a month ago, but in Ben Roethlisberger’s career he is just 30-35-1 ATS when trying to avenge an SU loss.

He is 4-9-1 ATS in that spot against the Ravens, failing to cover five of his past six games in that spot.

PJ Walsh: Jets-Dolphins Under 43.5

1 p.m. ET on CBS

Both teams struggle to move the ball through the air, ranking 29th (Jets) and 19th (Dolphins) in passing efficiency per Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric.

The weather forecast won’t do either passing offense any favors either as Miami is expecting steady 11-12 mph winds throughout Sunday’s game.

According to our Bet Labs data, unders are 447-354-10 (55.8%) in NFL games played in double-digit winds since 2003.

These are also two of the slowest teams in the NFL with the Dolphins ranking 27th and Jets 31st, respectively, in situation-neutral seconds per play according to Football Outsiders.

Two slow offenses that don’t throw the ball efficiently playing in windy conditions doesn’t bode well for a high-scoring game.

Matt LaMarca: Jets +3

1 p.m. ET on CBS

The Dolphins have been better than expected this season, but they’re clearly not the same team with Brock Osweiler at quarterback. He caught the Bears off guard in his first start (winning 31-28), but has since lost by 11 to the Lions and by 19 to the Texans.

Overall, Osweiler is 10-17-1 ATS as a starting quarterback, so we have a pretty large sample size that this guy is #notgood at quarterback. The Jets are also getting healthier in their secondary, and they’ve been solid on defense: They currently rank 10th in defensive DVOA per Football Outsiders.

I’m taking the points.

Sean Koerner: Lions +5

1 p.m. ET on FOX

The Vikings defense has been fairly average this year — likely due to numerous injuries they’ve had to deal with in 2018. And this week, shutdown CB Xavier Rhodes and S Andrew Sendejo are banged up and are game-time decisions.

Despite getting rid of Golden Tate via trade, the Lions offense has enough firepower to pick up the slack. Look for them to continue using impressive rookie RB Kerryon Johnson in an expanded role, making their offense more balanced than it’s been in nearly a decade.

Detroit also made a key addition to address its main weakness, run defense, by acquiring Damon “Snacks” Harrison last week from the Giants. I wouldn’t be too surprised if the Lions won outright, so I’ll gladly take the generous five points.

Travis Reed: Browns +8.5

1 p.m. ET on CBS

My model once again thinks the Chiefs are overvalued this Sunday. The Browns have the talent to be a decent football team and they may have just rid themselves of the biggest problem holding them back in Hue Jackson.

You never feel comfortable betting against Kansas City because you know there is a chance its offense can explode and leave you with no chance to cover in the third quarter, but I think the Browns can hang around in this game.

Eight-and-a-half points is too many at home.

Mark Gallant: Browns +8.5

1 p.m. ET on CBS

The Browns are getting absolutely no love from the public at just 16% of bets as of Friday evening. I’m actually a little surprised because I figured Regular Joes would like Cleveland more without Hue Jackson, but I guess facing the Chiefs will override that sentiment.

NFL home dogs getting at least a touchdown have historically covered at over a 55% rate — and have performed even better when getting fewer than 20% of bets: 40-25-3 (61.5%) against the spread.

Collin Wilson: Browns +8.5

1 p.m. ET on CBS

I agree with Travis and Mark. This line is simply too high for a Browns team that has the pass defense (No. 1 DVOA) to contain Patrick Mahomes & Co.

Danny Donahue: Bills +10

1 p.m. ET on FOX

Laying double digit points on the road is a risky game, and public bettors are generally wrong when they try to do so. When a team at +10 or higher gets fewer than 30% of bets, that team has gone 35-23-0 (60.3%) ATS since 2003.

I’ll ride with some of the sharp signals we have seen on the Bills at +10.


Stuckey: Falcons +1.5

4:25 p.m. ET on FOX

This is a good matchup for an undermanned Falcons defense that started to look a little more comfortable — and more importantly, tackle better — against the Giants.

The Redskins don’t really beat teams by throwing deep, explosive passing routes with Alex Smith under center. That should help the Falcons simplify their defense and assignments.

The Falcons’ passing attack should be able to exploit a vulnerable Washington secondary. Newly acquired safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will eventually have a large, positive impact on the defense, but I’m not sure how much he will play or be up to speed in time for Sunday.

Look for Atlanta to have success with play action, an area they’ve really thrived this season. The Falcons should continue to use a short-passing attack and move the pocket for Matt Ryan to neutralize the Skins’ vaunted pass rush.

The Redskins’ defensive line is legit and it can defend the run, but I still don’t trust the pass defense. Washington has benefited from a schedule that has featured a number of rush-first offenses (and a banged up Aaron Rodgers).

But when the Redskins played the Saints, the secondary looked lost. Ryan is playing at an MVP level and could enjoy the same type of success, especially as he comes off a bye.

I think it’s a good time to sell high an overachieving Redskins team and buy a rested Falcons team looking to salvage its season.

Chad Millman: Saints +1

4:25 p.m. ET on FOX

This one has given me a headache all week. Go with the hottest team in football that is also one of the most well rounded? Or with the second-hottest team in football that fans and the market are catching up to?

Ultimately, this comes down to one thing for me: Drew Brees. I have loved the Saints since before the season began, bet them at 18-1 to win the Super Bowl. Now they are playing like the champs I think they can be. Their pass rush did damage to Kirk Cousins. And Drew Brees’ numbers are on par with Jared Goff.

Give me one of the best QBs of all time, at home, knowing a win puts his team in the driver’s seat for homefield advantage.

Geoff Schwartz: Saints +1

4:25 p.m. ET on FOX

Yes, I’m picking against the Rams. This is the week they lose.

The Rams have narrowly beaten the Packers and Seahawks, while the Vikings and Broncos kept things close. Now enter the Saints.

New Orleans is a monster on offense and Los Angeles doesn’t have the personnel to shut down the Saints’ passing-game weapons. The Saints can also run the football. Their offensive line, which is the best the Rams have faced by far, should be able to slow down Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh.

The Saints will light up the scoreboard and the Rams won’t be able to keep pace against an improving Saints defense.

Peter Jennings: Broncos PK

4:05 p.m. ET on CBS

Christmas has arrived early and the Broncos have finally delivered on #FreeCourtlandSutton.

Demaryius Thomas’ first game after his trade-deadline move is back in Denver against the Broncos. The loss of Will Fuller has a significant impact on the Texans’ offense and I think DT is washed. Plus the Broncos’ advantage with their defensive line against the Texans’ offensive line will be the difference in this game.

Be careful: I am a Broncos homer and very biased toward Sutton, but I love this spot.

Ken Barkley: Broncos -1

4:05 p.m. ET on CBS

I look for the same thing every week in the NFL: teams whose recent successes and failures are coinciding in such a way that the spread between them is not properly represented.

It’s gone well, and this is yet another perfect example. Denver just lost at Arrowhead on Sunday, dropping them to an unimpressive 3-5. Meanwhile, Houston has now won five games in a row.

But wait … look at the schedule Denver has played. Its five losses came against the Chiefs (twice), Rams, at the Ravens and at the Jets. Only the Jets loss really stinks there, as I didn’t expect them to win any of the other four games.

Meanwhile, Houston’s five-game winning streak consists of wins over the Dolphins (with Osweiler), Colts, Bills and Jags in the middle of their haplessness. The lack of competition has skewed the perception of this Texans team.

The Thomas trade and subsequent revenge game will be the narrative here, but Denver has talented receivers waiting in the wings.

Ian Hartitz: Broncos-Texans Under 46

4:05 p.m. ET on CBS

The total has already dropped since opening at 47, but I’m still betting against either offense finding much success.

Houston could have plenty of problems against Von Miller & Co. The Texans’ porous offensive line has allowed Deshaun Watson to be pressured on a league-high 45% of dropbacks this season.

The Broncos offense also isn’t exactly set up for success against the fifth-ranked defense in overall DVOA. The matchup’s middling combined situation-neutral pace also isn’t ideal for over bettors.

Scott Miller: Chargers-Seahawks Over 48

4:05 p.m. ET on CBS

The Chargers have quietly been one of the NFL’s best — and most-balanced — offenses, ranking second in passing, ninth in rushing and third overall, according to DVOA.

This total is lower than I expected after looking at explosive-play metrics on both sides of the ball. While Seattle ranks as DVOA’s No. 2 overall defense, it struggles to limit explosive plays (20-plus yards) through the air, especially in comparison to how frequently Rivers & Co. produce such gains.

One of Seattle’s biggest weaknesses is its offensive line (particularly in pass protection), but Wilson should actually have some rare time to throw against a Chargers defense that will likely again be without Bosa and currently ranks 28th in adjusted sack rate. Look for that to result in a few big plays, likely off play action.

The weather forecast doesn’t raise any wind-related red flags that would keep me away from this total. I’d happily bet this over at anything below 50.


John Ewing: Patriots -5 (vs. Packers)

8:20 p.m. ET on NBC

Tom Brady said that if Aaron Rodgers had the Patriots’ offensive system and exhaustive knowledge of opposing defenses, Rodgers would “throw for 7,000 yards every year.”

“He’s so much more talented than me,” Brady said. While that might be true, it’s not the reality we live in.

Bettors have moved this line from New England -7 to -5. Since 2013, when the spread has moved against TB12 in the regular season, the Patriots are 61-36-5 (63%) ATS. When this has happened in home games, the record improves to 31-14-3 (69%) ATS.

Don’t overthink this one.

Chris Raybon: Patriots -5

8:20 p.m. ET on NBC

I think the -7 this game opened at was the correct line, and our power ratings agree.

The Packers were the sharp bet last week at +7.5 in LA, but let’s be real: They shouldn’t have covered, and I believe there’s a bit of recency bias at play due to that cover.

The bottom line is Rodgers has not been quite as good away from Lambeau; his career 98.9 passer rating on the road is nearly 10 points below his 108.6 mark at home. He also hasn’t been profitable as a road underdog, with an 11-13 ATS record in such games.

Meanwhile, John already mentioned the Pats cover nearly 70% of the time at home when the spread moves against them. Ignore the line movement and trust in Tom against a vulnerable Packers secondary.


Matthew Freedman: Cowboys-Titans Under 40

Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET on ESPN

This is the second-lowest total of the week, but I still don’t think it’s low enough.

  • Both teams are bottom-four in pace (Cowboys, 29.39 seconds/play; Titans, 29.76).
  • Each are top-five rush rate on offense (Titans, 46.7%; Cowboys, 45.9%).
  • Both are top-five in holding opponents below their implied totals (Titans, -4.14 points; Cowboys, -3.61).
  • And both are bottom-five in hitting their game totals (Titans, -8.50; Cowboys, -4.29).
  • Titans games have averaged 33.3 points. Cowboys games, 37.8.

Unless one of these teams scores a defensive or special-teams touchdown — or plays more aggressively on offense than it has to this point in the season — I don’t see how this game goes over.

Editor’s note: The opinions on these games are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.

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