Koerner: The Best Week 9 NFL Bets Based on My Power Ratings
USA Today Sports. Pictured: Baker Mayfield
- Sean Koerner uses his NFL Power Ratings to project spreads and over/unders, then identify the best bets.
- You'll find his top Week 9 picks below featuring Texans-Jaguars, Browns-Broncos and Packers-Chargers.
Like every week, I’ll use my projected spreads and over/unders to identify the best bets for Week 9. But instead of discussing every game, we’ll spotlight only the games I’m betting.
Here are the three we’ll cover:
- Texans vs. Jaguars (in London): 9:30 a.m. ET
- Browns at Broncos: 4:25 p.m. ET
- Packers at Chargers: 4:25 p.m. ET
Now let’s dig into my picks.
Odds as of Friday afternoon and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Current odds: Texans -1.5; 46
My Projections: Texans -1.5; 46.5
My projected spread is right in line with the market, but this is an example of when I look at a matchup from different angles to unlock potential value.
I created a Bet Labs system that looks at teams underperforming their Pythagorean win expectations and are seeing less than half of the betting tickets, but more than half of the money wagered. That system is 38-26 (59.4%) over the past five seasons. The Jaguars are a fit for the system this week, and are also showing value in my Pass/Run Funnel Model.
Another key angle here is that while the game is on a neutral field, the Jaguars are the most experienced team when it comes to playing games in London as they’ve done it every season since the NFL started its series. They’re much more experienced in this environment, giving them a slight home-field edge.
This is also another chance for Gardner Minshew to make his case to keep his starting QB job when Nick Foles is healthy enough to return.
Give me the Jaguars. [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]
Cleveland Browns at Denver Broncos
Current odds: Browns -4; 39
My Projections: Browns -2.5; 40
Joe Flacco bashed the coaching after their Week 8 loss, but we had no idea that he had suffered a neck injury that would land him on Injured Reserve. Once word broke that Brandon Allen would get the start over Flacco, the Broncos -1.5 opening line was taken off the board and reopened at Browns -3.
Due to heavy action on the Browns, who are attracting 80% of tickets and 74% of money as of writing (see live public betting data here), the line has moved up to -4.
This has essentially turned into “Do you think Joe Flacco is worth 5.5 points?” I’m going to say no.
Allen has yet to attempt a pass in the NFL and we can probably assume he’s on the below-average end of backup QBs (we can say the same for Flacco in terms of starters). But when it comes to what the Broncos ask of their QB, it’s not much. They rank 21st in the league with a 55-to-45 pass-run ratio as they lean heavily on their dual-threat RB combo of Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman, as well as their third-ranked defense in Football Outsiders’ DVOA.
Their game plan for Allen will be very much as a game-manager. He won’t take many chances.
I’m saying the drop-off from Flacco to Allen is in the range of three to four points — depending on which key numbers are crossed — so I’m giving this a full 4-point line move from Broncos -1.5 to Browns -2.5, but I’m not willing to push it to or past the key number of -3.
I think the market overcorrected and are gifting us a bit of value with Denver getting +4. [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]
Green Bay Packers at Los Angeles Chargers
Current odds: Packers -3.5; 48.5
My Projections: Packers -2.5; 48.5
Any time you have two teams going in opposite directions like this, it creates an opportunity for the market to over-adjust and expose a bit of value.
The Packers are rolling right now — they’re on a four-win streak and Aaron Rodgers is likely going to get his top WR back in Davante Adams.
The Chargers, meanwhile, are 3-5 and seem to always end up in close games as seven of their eight have been decided by one score. After their thrilling 17-16 win over Chicago last week, they’re now 2-5 in one-score games this season.
Typically, a team can become over or under rated on their record in one-score games as we can assume most teams will regress to a .500 record in such situations. A team like the 8-0 Patriots simply avoid such close games and have won seven of their eight by 10 or more points. You don’t necessarily call a team like that “lucky.” But we can absolutely claim that the Chargers are much better than their 3-5 record indicates — in fact, they have a Pythagorean win expectation of four wins while the Packers have 5.3 expected wins, giving us a net rating of 2.7 wins in favor of the Chargers.
The Packers are receiving 87% of the tickets and 86% of the money, yet the line seems parked on -3.5. I always say that a 3.5 is the easiest line to identify which side the sharps are on. If it’s met with resistance and seems to be pulling toward 3, then it’s a clear sign the sharps are taking the points. That appears to be going on here.
One last point: The Chargers fired offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt in what appears to be a sign that head coach Anthony Lynn is on the hot seat. Often times these moves can be overlooked as reactions to a team underachieving, then as the team’s “luck” regresses, it can be misidenitified by the public when in reality all we had was a bad-luck team (that is better than their record indicates) bouncing back. This is a natural ebb and flow of variance that the human element of football often clouds our judgement.
Give me Chargers +3.5. [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]