Expert NFL Picks For Week 9: Texans To Cover Spread vs. Dolphins, Vikings-Ravens Under Headline Biggest Edges

Expert NFL Picks For Week 9: Texans To Cover Spread vs. Dolphins, Vikings-Ravens Under Headline Biggest Edges article feature image
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Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: Texans QB Tyrod Taylor

Our Director of Predictive Analytics reveals the biggest betting edges for Week 9 based on discrepancies between NFL odds and his projections. He has a 444-339-7 (56%) all-time record on NFL bets he’s tracked in the Action App, where you can follow him to get notifications each time he tracks a new pick.

Note that both of the following picks are for games that kickoff at 1 p.m. ET this Sunday. You can also find more NFL odds here


NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions

Click on a pick to skip ahead
Texans +5.5 at Dolphins
Vikings-Ravens Under 50.5

Texans +5.5

Tyrod Taylor is set to return from a hamstring injury that’s kept him out the past seven games. And while he might not profile as a top 25 quarterback, he is significantly better than rookie Davis Mills, who is not NFL ready and went 0-7 with Taylor out of the lineup.

As a result of Taylor’s return, I’m boosting the Texans’ power rating by 3.5 points.

The 1-7 Dolphins shouldn’t be more than three-point favorites against any opponent right now, even the Texans — especially considering Tua Tagovailoa is now questionable with finger/rib injuries. To make matters worse, he’ll now be without wide receiver DeVante Parker, who was just placed on IR. (Will Fuller also remains on the IR.)

With Tagovailoa injured and without his top two receivers, the Dolphins could lean on their run game more this week, which ranks 30th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA.

I’m projecting this spread closer to Miami -4. The most likely outcome is the Dolphins win by three points, so getting the Texans at +6 seems like a gift. I would bet them down to +4.5 (find the best real-time line here).


MIN-BAL Under 50.5

Vikings center Garrett Bradbury will miss Sunday’s game as he remains on the COVID-19 list. It’s a significant blow to an offensive line that’s struggled this season and has a tough test against a Ravens defense that loves to blitz (their 32.5% blitz rate ranks fifth in the NFL).

The Vikings will likely be forced into a pass-heavy game script as they’re 6-point underdogs, which means they’ll likely rely on their elite wide receiver duo of Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. However, the Ravens have the personnel and scheme to counter as they rank inside the top 10 against both No. 1 (sixth) and No. 2 (10th) wide receivers in DVOA.

The Ravens are dealing with O-line issues as well, as Patrick Mekari is listed as doubtful. They also recently lost Ronnie Stanley to a season-ending injury, so anytime  one of Mekari, Bradley Bozeman or Kevin Zeitler are expected to miss, I’ll be considering it a “cluster” injury situation and dock them 0-0.5 points.

It looked like Lamar Jackson would have all of his pass-catchers active for the first time this season, but both Rashod Bateman and Sammy Watkins are shaping up as game-time decisions (at best).

I’m projecting this over/under closer to 48.5 points. Considering 50 is a pretty valuable number for totals, I would only bet this down to 50 (compare real-time NFL odds across multiple books here).

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