NFL Week 9 Picks, Predictions: 7 Best Bets for Sunday Early Slate
Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Tua Tagovailoa (No. 1).
- Our betting analysts have made their favorite picks for the early slate of Week 9.
- We have three best bets on the same total, all pointing toward the over in Chicago.
- Check out our staff's favorite picks for the game below.
NFL Week 9 Odds & Picks
Brandon Anderson: This Packers season hasn’t exactly gone according to plan. They bounced back from an ugly opener to win three straight, but then lost four in a row and are at risk of missing the postseason altogether.
That makes this the perfect spot to buy low on Green Bay.
The last month was supposed to be a soft stretch, but that was before we learned how good both East divisions are. The Packers are 0-5 against teams at or above .500, but they’re also 3-0 against teams below .500, and that’s extremely what the Lions are.
Detroit has the worst defense in football. They rank last in Defensive DVOA, last against the pass and third-to-last against the run. As disappointing as Green Bay’s attack has been, it still ranks in the top 10 both rushing and passing. The Packers should shred the Lions, like they always do.
The Lions offense has been better at home and should run on this porous Green Bay run D. But the difference is the passing attacks. Even a neutered Aaron Rodgers is galaxies better than Jared Goff, and Green Bay’s pass defense is terrific while Detroit’s is the worst in the league.
This is exactly where you want to back Aaron Rodgers:
- Rodgers as a division favorite: 43-24 ATS (64%)
- Rodgers as a one-score favorite: 58-32-1 ATS (64%)
- Rodgers as a one-score division favorite: 25-12 ATS (68%)
- Rodgers as a one-score favorite against Detroit: 8-3 ATS (73%)
- Rodgers after a loss: 41-23-1 ATS (64%)
- Rodgers after a loss under Matt LaFleur: 11-2 ATS (85%)
- Even in this down year, Rodgers and LaFleur are 2-2 ATS after a loss, not bad considering how disastrous the season feels.
You don’t have to believe the Packers are going to win the Super Bowl or even make the playoffs to make this bet. You just have to believe they’re better than the Lions.
Simon Hunter: It’s crazy that we’re in Week 9 and the NFC South-leading Falcons are still getting no respect from the gambling public, but the Chargers, who have looked lost at times this season, are still catching three points on the road.
Again, it’s crazy.
This Chargers team isn’t what we thought it was in August. The coaching is bad, Justin Herbert is inconsistent, and the defense can’t stop anyone. On top of that, Los Angeles will be without Keenan Allen and Mike Williams.
On the other side, Atlanta has played better than anyone projected. Now, the Falcons get back Cordarrelle Patterson, who has reportedly looked great in practice this week.
I love this matchup for a run-heavy team. We’ve seen all season — and last season — that the Chargers cannot stop the run. This is how you beat the Chargers — control the ball and slow the game down. Let the Chargers make mistakes with turnovers and fourth-down failures.
I’d bet this down to a pick’em.
John LanFranca: You’d think I was holding an outdoor event in the city of Chicago this week with how many times I’ve checked the weather report for this game. It is unlikely to rain and while there will be some wind, nothing will save either of these defenses from giving up a ton of points.
The Dolphins have the best offensive DVOA in football when Tua Tagovailoa is playing quarterback, and the Bears have the 12th-best DVOA over the past two weeks on offense. While the sample size is small, it is obvious Chicago’s offense has found its rhythm as its performed well against good defenses, putting up 29 or more points in three of the past four games.
The three interior linemen for the Bears’ offensive line rank top in the 12 at their position according to Pro Football Focus, and it’s starting to manifest itself on third downs as Chicago has converted 17 of their past 33 on the money down. Both Dolphins starting corners rank outside the top 80 in Pro Football Focus grade. The addition of Chase Claypool might not have a big impact, but it did signal to the team that they are willing to build around Justin Fields.
I expect the Bears to keep rolling in this game, while the Dolphins undoubtedly do their part. I’d play this over up to 47.5.
Dylan Wilkerson: The Dolphins have the best passing offense in the league, and the third most yards per offensive play. Miami will attack by air early and often, and against this Bears pass defense it is likely they will have success.
The Bears are also coming off of an offensive showcase where Justin Fields looked like a competent quarterback. The Dolphins defense is a great unit to face if Fields wants to keep that momentum going. Miami has given up over 2000 passing yards this season, so I expect to see some explosive offensive plays this game!
Cody Goggin: The Miami Dolphins have had one of the most explosive offenses in football this season. They rank sixth in EPA per play and fourth in EPA per dropback. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is tied with Patrick Mahomes in EPA per play at 0.365.
This success has been largely due to the talents of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. These two receivers have combined for 1,688 yards, which is an astounding 68.75% of the teams’ receiving yards for the entire season. According to Pro Football Focus’ WR/CB matchup chart, Tyreek Hill has the most favorable matchup of any receiver this week and Jaylen Waddle has the fifth-most-advantageous matchup. These two receivers should feast against this secondary on Sunday.
Chicago’s offense has had a bit of a revelation of their own. Over the last two weeks, Justin Fields is averaging 0.18 EPA per play and the Bears’ offense has been the 10th best in the league by EPA over the past two weeks.
Both of these teams have been poor on the defensive side this year, particularly against the pass. Chicago ranks 26th in dropback success rate while Miami ranks 29th. The two teams also rank 22nd and 30th in EPA per dropback respectively. Chicago is also dealing with the losses of Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn due to trades. These two are arguably their two best defensive players and the Bears felt these losses last weekend against Dallas.
With one elite offense and another that has been improved over the last couple of weeks, I think that there should be plenty of scoring in this game against two poor defenses that have been prone to allowing big plays.
A total of 45.5 points is too low for this game despite some moderate winds. I would have the total of this game between 49.5 to 50 points, so I would take this up to 48.5.
Derek Farnsworth: Bill Belichick has an incredible record against rookie quarterbacks, especially ones with little experience.
Sam Ehlinger didn’t look particularly good or bad in his first NFL start, but Indy’s offense continued to struggle as a whole. Jonathan Taylor is looking doubtful for this game and the team traded Nyheim Hines to the Bills, which leaves Deon Jackson as the only man standing in the backfield.
You can run on the Patriots, but they’ll be smart to load the box and make Ehlinger beat them. The Patriots are playing at home and they are coming off of a big division win. They should be able to move the ball at will against a struggling defense.
John LanFranca: This is a perfect spot to grab the value on the Colts after how the results of last week played out. Sam Ehlinger was one Michael Pittman drop away from potentially having a near perfect 2nd half and claiming victory in his first career start. In contrast, Mac Jones was bailed out by a roughing the passer call that would have undoubtedly swung the outcome of the game in the favor of the Jets. Luckily for us, those two plays have artificially inflated this line.
The Colts are getting healthier on defense and already boast the 6th best run stopping unit according to DVOA. The Patriots must run the ball to be successful, and they’ll have to do it without starting center David Andrews and tackle Marcus Cannon. Andrews has the 6th best run blocking PFF grade and is an impactful loss for this offense.
The trends heavily favor the Colts as well. Frank Reich is 13-7 (65%) against the spread following a loss, 8-1 ATS when that game is played on the road, and a perfect 5-0 when he finds himself as an underdog in this exact spot.
This inflated line is the exact reason road underdogs of more than three points are 28-17 (62.2%) against the number this season. Points will be at a premium in this game, so be patient and wait for Colts +6.
I’d back the Colts down to +4.5.
He’s quickly emerged as quarterback PJ Walker’s favorite weapon, commanding a 36.7% target share over the last two weeks. He’s had double-digit targets in each game, hauling in six of 11 passes against the Falcons and seven of 10 vs. the Buccaneers.
Now, Moore faces a Bengals team that’ll be without its best cornerback in Chidobe Awuzie and top slot corner in Mike Hilton. Moore has been lined up in the slot over 40% of the time the past two games, so he’ll have favorable matchups all over the field against a banged-up Bengals secondary.
The Panthers will likely need to air it out to keep pace with Cincinnati’s high-flying offense, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Moore set a season high in targets. Add it all up and you have the makings of a big day. If you’re feeling frisky, you may even consider parlaying it with a touchdown as Moore’s found paydirt each of the past two weeks.
Sam Farley: We had some big trades around the deadline, with Bradley Chubb’s move to Miami arguably the biggest, but I think Nyheim Hines’ trade to the Bills might be the most influential.
It’s been clear for some time that the Bills have wanted somebody with Hines’ skillset. They drafted James Cook but now have Hines, who’s one of the best receiving backs in the league.
Hines has the fifth-most receiving yards among running backs since entering the NFL in 2018, despite never truly being featured. He’s a truly unique player and although Devin Singletary will get the bulk of the carries, Buffalo acquired Hines to showcase his skills.
The big question is whether we’ll see him get much time on the field this week and how well he’s understood the playbook. With odds of +450 for him to find the end zone, it’s a bet I’m very happy to back.