Sunday NFL Picks & Predictions: Which Side of Chargers vs. Raiders To Bet
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images. Pictured: Gabe Nabers (left) celebrates a TD with Hunter Henry.
NFL Picks & Predictions
One way I find betting edges is by comparing the odds to my NFL Power Ratings — if there’s a notable difference between, I’ll make a bet. (By the way, you can access mine and my colleague’s NFL ratings in our new PRO Projections.)
Each week of the season I’ll highlight the biggest of those edges. We’ve got four for Week 9, so let’s jump right in!
Bears-Titans Under 47.5
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | More Game Info
The Titans have trended toward the over this season (5-1) while the Bears have trended toward the under (3-5), but this game is set up nicely for the latter.
The Titans’ pass defense should improve after landing Desmond King in a trade with the Chargers and potentially getting Adoree’ Jackson back from IR. Their defensive line has struggled to generate pressure (eighth-lowest), so having an improved secondary can help mitigate that weakness.
On the other side of the ball, the Titans are without stud OL Taylor Lewan. His absence could be a big reason Ryan Tannehill struggled against the Bengals last week, going 2-for-8 with 20 passing yards while under pressure with an interception and one sack.
This could be an issue against a strong Bears defense that ranks eighth in terms of generating pressure. I expect a run-heavy game script for Derrick Henry that could slow down the Titans’ pace of play (third-fastest) against a team that already likes to play slow (Bears are the third-slowest).
I like this at 47.5 given that 47 is such a key number, but I wouldn’t bet it below 47.
Texans -6.5 at Jaguars
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | More Game Info
Gardner Minshew is out due to a thumb injury, and it will be sixth-round rookie Jake Luton getting the start. I would have projected the Jaguars +4.5 or +5 for this matchup, but the drop-off at quarterback (worth about three points) has this closer to +7.5 or +8 for me.
Luton is likely to be very raw and I suspect the Jaguars are already eyeing the first pick in 2021 and Trevor Lawrence. They probably won’t pull Luton, even if he’s struggling.
I like the idea of getting the Texans at -7 here — it’s key to get it before it goes up to 7.5 (shop real-time lines here) — as a way to buy low on Houston, too. The Texans are very good for a 1-6 team. Underlying metrics such as point differential and game time (when leading) show that they’re more of a 2.5-4.5 team to date.
The Texans have faced arguably the toughest schedule — including the Chiefs, Ravens, Steelers, Titans and Packers — and it’s essential not to overlook them because of it. They beat up on Jacksonville in Week 5 with a convincing 30-14 win, and I expect the same here.
Chargers -1 vs. Raiders
Kickoff: 4:05 p.m. ET | More Game Info
The Chargers continue to find ways to lose, which will be the narrative surrounding them this week.
The Chargers are now 1-5 in one-score games and have played closer to a 4-3 team based on game time (when leading, they rank 12th). It’s fair to wonder if their issue could be head coach Anthony Lynn, who is clearly on the hot seat — especially considering the Chargers suffered from “bad luck” for most of last season.
I’m still going to use this as a time to buy low on the Chargers when the public perception of them appears to be skewed by their ugly 2-5 record.
Justin Herbert has undoubtedly played like the Rookie of the Year, and I expect him to keep playing at a high level against the Raiders’ 27th-ranked pass defense according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA.
Joey Bosa is expected to miss this game, but I still like the Chargers here at -1. Based on the 82% of money flooding in on the Raiders (see real-time public betting data here), this line could end up being +1 or even +2.
Patriots-Jets Under 41.5
Kickoff: 8:15 p.m. ET on Monday | More Game Info
I have this number projected at 39.5, which is a pretty big difference since it includes two key numbers (40 and 41).
You have two offenses that are completely broken. The Patriots had one of the thinnest wide receiver depth charts in the league before they lost Julian Edelman. I would expect them to have a very run-heavy game plan against the Jets on Monday night.
However, the Jets’ run defense has been their only bright spot this season. They rank 10th (DVOA) against the run and have the third-stingiest defensive line in terms of adjusted line yards. It could lead to clock-killing drives by the Patriots that end with field goal attempts.
On the other side of the ball, I have little doubt that Bill Belichick should be able to come up with a game plan to slow down the league’s worst offense (32nd vs. the pass and 29th vs. the run in DVOA).
With Joe Flacco expected to start, I only like the under and would lock this bet in ASAP — I like it down to 41.