Your Ultimate NFL Week 9 Betting Guide: Tips, Picks, Strategies for Every Game

Your Ultimate NFL Week 9 Betting Guide: Tips, Picks, Strategies for Every Game article feature image
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USA Today Sports. Pictured: Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Alvin Kamara and Todd Gurley

  • If you're looking for comprehensive betting and fantasy football previews for every Week 9 game, you've come to the right place.
  • Our experts cover trends, sharp action, fantasy football sleepers and make the case for a few bets.

All odds as of Friday morning. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets.


Betting odds: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers

  • Spread: Panthers -6
  • Over/Under: 55
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: FOX

Betting market: This game went from -6.5 to -7 in the early going, but bettors are buying into the FitzMagic. At the time of writing, the Bucs are getting 43% of bets, but 53% of dollars, helping them move back down from +7 to the current number of +6 (see live betting data here). —Mark Gallant

Referee data: Over the past decade, official Tony Corrente has been the head referee in more than 150 regular-season games. In those games, the under is 89-61-2 (59.3%, +22.7 units), making Corrente the most-profitable official to the under in that span.

Corrente has officiated five games involving Cam Newton. The under is 4-1. — Evan Abrams

Trends to know: This one runs counter to my Corrente trend above, but it’s worth mentioning: Sunday will mark be Newton’s 10th NFL game with an over/under of 50 or higher. The over is 7-2 (+4.6 units) in those games, zooming past the total by a whopping 9.6 points per game. — Abrams

Ryan Fitzpatrick has been good as an underdog this season. In Week 1, he beat the Saints outright as a 10-point dog in the Superdome. In Week 2, he took down the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles.

Fitzpatrick is 2-1 straight up and against the spread as a pooch this season (lost to the Bears). Interestingly, FitzMagic has actually struggled as an underdog throughout his career.

He is 29-42-5 ATS (40.8%) as an underdog, losing bettors 14.4 units since his first career start back in 2005, making him the least-profitable quarterback as a dog in the NFL over that span. — Abrams

Biggest mismatch: Carolina’s passing game vs. Tampa Bay’s pass defense

Offensive coordinator Norv Turner has been a revelation for Newton, who has thrown multiple touchdown passes in every game since Week 2 and is on pace to post the highest completion rate (66.4%), lowest interception rate (1.7%) and lowest sack rate (4.0%) of his career.

Meanwhile, Tampa Bay’s defense is on its second coordinator of the season and enters Week 9 ranked last in completion rate allowed (73.7%) and interceptions (one), and tied for 25th in sacks (16). — Chris Raybon

Which team is healthier? Panthers

The Buccaneers are tentatively expected to have wide receiver Mike Evans (knee) and left tackle Demar Dotson (knee, shoulder), but the outlook for their defensive line remains bleak.

Vinny Curry (ankle), Gerald McCoy (calf) and Jason Pierre-Paul (ribs, foot) all failed to get in a full practice on Wednesday or Thursday.

Running back Peyton Barber (ankle) is fine and expected to work as the featured back with Ronald Jones (hamstring) reportedly expected to miss multiple weeks.

The only Panthers starter at risk of missing the game is wide receiver Torrey Smith (knee). Smith’s absence would once again elevate electric rookie D.J. Moore into a featured role.

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Dashboard for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Ian Hartitz

DFS edge: Over the first three seasons of Devin Funchess’ career, the receiver’s fantasy production was largely tied to whether Greg Olsen was healthy. But the Panthers’ No. 1 wide receiver has managed to buck this trend through eight weeks in 2018.

Overall, Funchess averaged 14.2 PPR points per game without Olsen compared to 7.0 with from 2015-17, but he’s averaged 13.6 without and 12.4 with the tight end active in 2018.

The bigger question is whether Moore, an intriguing rookie, will continue to work as the Robin to Funchess’ Batman.

Smith (knee) was sidelined during Moore’s Week 8 breakout performance, although the electric first-round pick was expected to take on a larger role as the season progressed, anyway.

The Panthers’ whole passing game is in play this week vs. a Buccaneers defense that ranks dead last in both overall and pass DVOA. Only the Saints have allowed more DraftKings points per game to opposing wide receiver units. — Ian Hartitz

Bet to watch: Over 55

The Bucs’ magnificent combination of high-scoring offense (28.7 points per game) and sieve-like defense (33.3 points per game allowed) has spurred an NFL-high six games to the over.

For the season, Bucs’ games have averaged 62.0 points, which is 10.4 points per game more than the mean over/under. The offense has been especially impressive with Fitzpatrick — he leads the league with 11.0 adjusted yards per attempt — and with his return to the starting lineup, the Bucs have a real chance to put up 30-plus points on their division rivals.

And on defense, the Bucs are not only bad, but they’re also injured. Middle linebacker Kwon Alexander (knee, injured reserve) is out, as is backup middle linebacker Jack Cichy (ankle). Cornerback Vernon Hargreaves (shoulder, IR) will also miss Sunday’s game, and slot corner M.J. Stewart (leg) seems unlikely to play, given that he exited last week early and has yet to practice this week.

McCoy and Curry both missed Weeks 7-8. Curry got in a limited practice on Thursday, so he might suit up, but McCoy missed practice after getting in a limited session on Wednesday. McCoy’s mid-week downgrade suggests that he will miss Week 9.

On top of that, Pierre-Paul (ribs, foot) hasn’t practiced at all this week. The Bucs could legitimately be without half of their defensive starters. The Panthers should have no problem at all putting up points.

I’d be comfortable betting this up to 58. — Matthew Freedman


Betting odds: Kansas City Chiefs at Cleveland Browns

  • Spread: Chiefs -9.5
  • Over/Under: 51.5
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: CBS


Betting market: Talk about lopsided. At the time of writing (Thursday evening), the Chiefs are still receiving 86% of spread bets. Eighty-six percent! (Check out live betting percentages here.)

Regardless, Cleveland is certainly the sharper side, as three reverse line moves have been triggered on the Browns.

It should go without saying that when bets are split nearly 90/10 but the line hasn’t moved, the minority is a sharp group. —Mark Gallant

Weather report: Winds are projected to be blowing at 13 mph to go along with overcast skies and temps in the 50s. Certainly a fall day in Cleveland.

Perhaps as a result of the windy forecast, more than 60% of over/under dollars are on the under, which has moved from 53 to 51.5. — Gallant

Trends to know: At the time of writing, Chiefs-Browns is the most bet game on the board — and also the most lopsided, as Mark discussed above.

Here’s something to keep in mind as Sunday approaches: Since 2003, teams receiving 20% or fewer of bets have gone 114-91-9 (56%) against the spread, per our Bet Labs data. And in games played Week 9 or later, these teams are 46-31-5 (60%) ATS.

Be sure to check updated betting percentages on our live odds page. — John Ewing

Did you know? If this over/under closes at 50 or more, it will be the third time this season a Browns game had a total of 50 or more. That is pretty amazing considering that Cleveland had just three games close at 50 or more between 1985 and 2017. — Evan Abrams

Biggest mismatch: Special teams

I mentioned this a few weeks back when the Chiefs played the Bengals, and I have to mention it again in this particular matchup. Although they’ve improved slightly, the Browns still have either the worst or second-worst (hi, Chargers) special teams unit in the league. That does not bode well against the Chiefs, who have had the best special teams group in the league this season.

You can look at any number of statistics to see the difference, including punting. When the Chiefs rarely do have to punt, Dustin Colquitt has been superb (although he doesn’t even qualify for official 2018 NFL punting stats as he has not punted enough times).

The Chiefs also have elite return units, which is why they rank No. 1 in the NFL in average starting field position after kickoffs at the 28.41. In comparison, the Browns rank 31st at the 23.62. — Stuckey

No. 1 vs. No. 1: This matchup features the No. 1 passing offense vs. the No. 1 passing defense in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric.

The Browns defense will actually provide the biggest test Patrick Mahomes and the explosive Chiefs’ passing offense will have faced this year.

Take a look at some of the Browns metrics:

  • No. 4 in yards per pass (7.0)
  • No. 1 pass defense DVOA
  • No. 1 in passer rating against (77.1)
  • No. 1 in interceptions (12)
  • No. 2 in the NFL against tight ends

Rookie CB Denzel Ward (79.7 PFF grade) looks like the real deal. After passing his test last week in shadow duty against Antonio Brown, he will have another one this week against Tyreek Hill. If Ward shuts down TyFreak, he could earn his third Rookie of the Week honors of 2018. — Stuckey

Which team is healthier? Browns

The Chiefs seem close to getting stud pass rusher Justin Houston (hamstring) back, but safety Eric Berry (heel) remains MIA. The health of Hill (groin) is also concerning, given he practiced in full on Wednesday before being downgraded to limited on Thursday. Center Mitch Morse (concussion) remains in the protocol.

The only Browns starters seemingly at risk of missing the game are center JC Tretter (ankle) and linebacker Joe Schobert (hamstring), although wide receivers Antonio Callaway (ankle) and Rashard Higgins (knee) are both banged up.

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Dashboard for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Ian Hartitz

Where Cleveland can exploit K.C.: The Chiefs’ run defense continues to be its biggest weakness.

KC ranks 32nd in the NFL in yards per rush allowed (5.4) and 32nd in run defense DVOA.

The problem is the Browns O-line has been absolutely dreadful in both the rushing game (32nd in power success rate) and passing game (NFL-high 33 sacks allowed). Cleveland will need to find something on the ground to extend drives and exploit the Chiefs’ weakness.

In the passing game, the Chiefs have been vulnerable over the middle (bad safeties) against tight ends and slot receivers.

Cleveland is weak on the outside at receiver, but has the talent at tight end (David Njoku) and slot (Jarvis Landry) for Baker Mayfield to have some success. But the Browns need to eliminate the drops (they currently lead the league). — Stuckey

DFS edge: Njoku disappointed last week, but he still played 84% of the snaps on Sunday and ran 32 pass routes on Mayfield’s 44 dropbacks. He was averaging 9.0 targets/game since Week 4 with Mayfield before his zero-target outing against the Steelers.

On deck is a Chiefs defense that’s giving up 8.3 targets and 76.0 receiving yards per game to opposing tight ends. Njoku costs $4,600 on DraftKings with +2.36 Projected Plus/Minus in our FantasyLabs Models. —Justin Bailey

Bet to watch: Browns +9.5

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.

Nine-and-a-half points is too many at home. — Travis Reed


Betting odds: Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens

  • Spread: Ravens -2.5
  • Over/Under: 47.5
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: CBS

Betting market: This game is sort of a poor man’s Chiefs-Browns from a betting-market standpoint.

The Ravens are getting just about a quarter of the bets as a 2.5-point home favorite, but the line has only moved a half-point in Pittsburgh’s favor.

The money split is closer to a 70/30 in Pittsburgh’s favor, with Baltimore getting 7% more dollars than bets at the time of writing (click here for updated data).

With Baltimore’s bet sizes larger on average, we can see why books have been reluctant to move the line much. — Mark Gallant

Trends to know: The Ravens have dropped two straight games heading into this contest against their one and only division rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In Flacco’s career, he has faced the Steelers with the Ravens coming off consecutive losses twice. Baltimore is 2-0 straight up and 1-0-1 against the spread in those games (covering by 5.3 ppg), winning one at home and one at Heinz Field. — Evan Abrams

In the Mike Tomlin era, the Steelers are 28-18-3 ATS as underdogs, including 10-4-2 ATS against the AFC North. — John Ewing

Did you know? If you’re thinking “It sure seems like every time Flacco and the Ravens face Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers, the spread is at 3-3.5 points” … well, you would be right.

The two quarterbacks have faced off 18 times in their careers (regular season and postseason), with 14 of those spreads closing between -3 and -3.5 (per our Bet Labs data).

We’ll see if this one moves back into that 3-3.5 range by kickoff. — Abrams

Roethlisberger and the Steelers have won — and covered — three consecutive games heading into Baltimore.

Big Ben has only been listed as an underdog in six games in his career on an SU and ATS winning streak of three or more games. Pittsburgh is 5-1 ATS in those games, with its only loss coming in Super Bowl XLV against the Packers.Abrams

Biggest mismatch: Steelers defensive line vs. Ravens offensive line

The biggest strength on the Steelers defense is the pressure it generates up front (its 24.0 sacks are tied for second in the NFL). That means Flacco could be running for his life in M&T Bank Stadium behind the Ravens’ mess of an offensive line.

The potential loss of left tackle Ronnie Stanley is enormous in this particular matchup, especially when you consider the other injuries along the Ravens offensive line. Baltimore could potentially be without three of its five starting linemen.

Matt Skura has really struggled at center and Hroniss Grasu was an absolute disaster at left guard last week. If Stanley is indeed out, Cam Heyward (and the pressure Pitt inevitably brings on that side) should have a huge day against two backups on Flacco’s blindside. — Stuckey

Metrics that matter: Flacco will be throwing behind a vulnerable offensive line because the Ravens have no semblance of a rushing attack this season.

Their 3.6 yards per carry ranks 31st in the NFL — only the Cardinals (3.4) are worse. Some of that can be put on the running backs, but most of the blame falls on the linemen.

Don’t expect that to change against a Steelers defensive line that ranks top five in both adjusted sack rate and against the run.

The Ravens O-line had excelled in pass blocking all season (No. 4 adjusted sack rate), which allowed the passing game to mask the running issues at times. But now injuries have thrown that into question, as we saw last week in Carolina.

If Baltimore can find a way to pass block effectively, it will take advantage of a weak Steelers pass defense. If not, you can mark down a third straight loss for the Ravens. — Stuckey

Which team is healthier? Steelers

Roethlisberger (finger) is dealing with a non-throwing hand injury and is fine. Other than Le’Veon Bell (holdout), the only notable Steelers who might not suit up Sunday are linebacker Bud Dupree (illness) and cornerback Coty Sensabaugh (foot).

The outlook is less optimistic for the Ravens, who risk being without running back Alex Collins (foot), cornerback Marlon Humphrey (thigh), safety Tony Jefferson (hamstring), linebacker C.J. Mosley (thigh) and left tackle Stanley (ankle).

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Dashboard for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Ian Hartitz

DFS edge: Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster have each caught 46 passes this season, but Brown’s eight touchdowns (six more than JuJu) have easily made up for Smith-Schuster’s 42 more receiving yards.

Both receivers remain weekly must-starts in any season-long format, but the Ravens’ sixth-ranked defense in overall DVOA certainly deserves some respect, especially considering its history at home against AB.

Brown has scored just one touchdown and hasn’t cracked 100 yards in eight career games in Baltimore. Brown costs $8,400 on DraftKings and carries a meandering +0.8 Projected Plus/Minus, according to our FantasyLabs Models. — Hartitz

Bet to watch: Ravens -1.5 First Half

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, 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 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. — Abrams


Betting odds: Atlanta Falcons at Washington Redskins

  • Spread: Redskins -1.5
  • Over/Under: 47
  • Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: FOX

Betting market: Spread bets in this game are split 50/50 at the time of writing, but the Falcons are getting 63% of the money.

They opened at +2.5 at most books and were at one point down to +1, but it appears there has been some buyback on Washington, which has since moved back to -1.5/-2 depending on the shop (check here for updated line).

We have yet to see the line hit the key number of three.Mark Gallant

Trends to know: The Redskins have not made the playoffs since 2015 and have not won a playoff game since 2005, but things are looking up through the first half of this season.

They enter Week 9 with a 5-2 record and have won and covered three consecutive games, which were all basically around a pick’em. Since 2003, teams to win and cover at least three straight after missing the playoffs the season prior are 141-115-8 (55.1%) against the spread, according to our Bet Labs data.

In November or later, those teams are 104-77-7 ATS (57.5%), profiting bettors 22.6 units. — Evan Abrams

Did you know? Adrian Peterson has eclipsed the 4.0 yards per carry with 90-plus rush yards in each of his past three games. Peterson hadn’t accomplished either feat since Nov. 15, 2015.

In Week 9, the Redskins face a Falcons defense that has allowed nine rushing touchdowns (29th) and 4.81 yards per carry (26th). Atlanta also ranks 31st against the rush in DVOA this season. — Abrams


The NFL is a passing league — and the Falcons are one of the best passing teams in the NFL, averaging 317.7 yards per game.

Since 2003, teams averaging 305 or more passing yards have gone 50-37-4  ATS (58%) when they are listed as small favorites (three or fewer points) or underdogs in October or later in the season. — John Ewing

Biggest mismatch: Falcons’ receivers vs. Redskins’ secondary

Wide receiver Julio Jones leads the league with 116.0 yards receiving per game, but he hasn’t scored a regular-season touchdown since Week 12 of last year. Is this the week he finally finds the end zone? Maybe.

Redskins cornerback Quinton Dunbar (shin) has already missed back-to-back games, and his replacement, Greg Stroman, is a seventh-round rookie who has allowed a 10-190-2 receiving line on 17 targets and 113 coverage snaps.

Julio has lined up across from right corners on exactly 50% of his offensive snaps this year. Given that cornerback Josh Norman plays almost exclusively at left corner, the Falcons could choose to use Julio on the other side of the formation even more.

With such an advantageous one-on-one matchup against Stroman, Julio could have a massive performance even if he doesn’t get a touchdown. And if Jones frequently puts his team in a position to score, the Redskins could struggle to keep pace with the Falcons offense. — Matthew Freedman

Which team is healthier? Falcons

The Falcons could be down multiple key starters, as kicker Matt Bryant (hamstring), receiver Mohamed Sanu (hip) and cornerback Robert Alford (ankle) should be considered questionable for Sunday.

The Redskins have a wide array of injuries on both sides of the ball: Offensive contributors at risk of missing time include running backs Kapri Bibbs (shoulder) and Chris Thompson (rib), along with receivers Paul Richardson (shoulder, knee), Jamison Crowder (ankle, out) and Jordan Reed (neck).

Left tackle Trent Williams (thumb) is also far from 100%, but the defense should at least get cornerback Dunbar (shin) back on the field.

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Dashboard for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Ian Hartitz

DFS edge: Julio Jones again failed to score a touchdown during the Falcons’ Week 8 bye. He has failed to find the end zone in a career-long 12 games, and it appears offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian has largely given up on trying to get Jones more involved near the goal line.

Overall, Jones has averaged a career-low 0.4 red-zone targets per game this season. Perhaps even more amazing than Jones’ inability to find the end zone has been the fact that he’s still the WR9 in PPR per game after eight weeks.

Next up could be a shadow date with Norman, who traveled with Beckham last week after largely sticking to the left side of the field from Week 1 of 2017 to Week 7 of 2018. OBJ still rung up an 8-136-0 line on 11 targets, but not a single catch came while in Norman’s coverage (per PFF’s Jeff Ratcliffe).

The Redskins likely relented on letting Norman shadow due to the absence of No. 2 cornerback Quinton Dunbar (shin). The continued absence of Dunbar would be great news for Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu, although both are averaging only five targets per game. — Hartitz

Bet to watch: Falcons +1.5

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 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. Matt 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. — Stuckey


Betting odds: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings

  • Spread: Vikings -5
  • Over/Under: 49
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: FOX

Betting market: This game is a clear pros vs. Joes showdown. More than 70% of bets are on the Vikings, but the line has moved from Minnesota -5.5 to -4.5 since opening (check updated lines here).

There have been three separate reverse line moves on the Lions tracked on by our Sports Insights software, which helps indicate what number the sharps are hitting at which book.

The most notable was a reverse line move triggered on the Lions at +5.5 at Pinnacle on Tuesday. — Mark Gallant

Trends to know: Matthew Stafford and the Lions have a huge opportunity to gain ground on the 4-3-1 Vikings on the road in Minnesota this week. According to our Bet Labs data, Stafford is 8-18 straight up and 10-15-1 against the spread as a starter when facing a divisional opponent who is over .500.

The key to the trend is that Stafford began his career 0-13 SU and 2-10-1 ATS in this spot (2009-12) and is since 8-5 SU and ATS (+2.8 units) in this spot, the most profitable quarterback in the NFC North in this span. — Evan Abrams

The Lions lost to the Seahawks 28-14 last week. Stafford is 14-7 ATS (+6.2 units) in his career the game after the Lions scored 14 points or fewer in a loss. — Abrams

Which team is healthier? Lions

The Lions are hopeful that running back Theo Riddick (knee) can return Sunday after he managed to get in limited practices on Wednesday and Thursday.

Left tackle Taylor Decker (back) and guard T.J. Lang (hip) aren’t thought to be dealing with serious injuries, but defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (shoulder) doesn’t seem to be any closer to a return.

Things aren’t nearly as peachy for the Vikings, with left guard Tom Compton (knee), linebacker Anthony Barr (hamstring), running back Dalvin Cook (hamstring) and cornerback Xavier Rhodes (ankle) all banged up.

Stefon Diggs (rib) said he “absolutely” expects to suit up Sunday, despite not practicing on Wednesday or Thursday.

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Dashboard for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Ian Hartitz

Biggest mismatch: Stafford vs. Vikings defense

Since 2014, under the guidance of quarterbacks coach and now offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, Stafford has averaged 276.4 yards and 1.75 touchdowns passing per game — if his eight games against the Vikings are excluded.

With defensive-minded head coach Mike Zimmer, the Vikings have held Stafford to 220.8 yards and 1.38 touchdowns per game during that time frame.

On top of that, Zimmer’s team has been tough on visiting quarterbacks, holding them to a league-low 203.2 yards passing per game.

Especially with the recent trade of No. 1 wide receiver Golden Tate, a trip to Minnesota isn’t likely to be good for Stafford.

But he might be catching the Vikings at a good time as they could be without three key defenders in the secondary and linebacker corps. If they miss Week 9, Stafford could have a lot of success throwing to wide receivers Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay. — Matthew Freedman

Bet to watch: Vikings -5

It made sense for this line to come down from its open of Minnesota -7 given some of its question marks early in the week, but Xavier Rhodes and Andrew Sendejo are on track to return.

Despite spending most of the year without Everson Griffen and inexcusably failing to show up against the Bills at home, the Vikings’ point differential is 2.2 points per game better than the Lions’ differential.

Minnesota’s other two losses came against the Rams and Saints, while Detroit has dropped games to the Jets, 49ers, and Cowboys.

Our NFL power ratings suggested this is the best value on the board at -4, which is where I bet it, and that there’s still value at -5, as well.Chris Raybon


Betting odds: Chicago Bears at Buffalo Bills

  • Spread: Bears -10
  • Over/Under: 37
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: FOX

Betting market: After this line opened on Tuesday morning, both sharp and public bettors were on the Bears, who moved from -8 to -10 at BookMaker within about an eight-hour span.

Since then, it has remained rather stagnant, but Sports Insights’ line predictor tool believes the next move will be back down to 9.5. At the time of writing, more than 65% of bettors are fading the Bills, who will be starting Nathan Peterman (see live betting data here). — Mark Gallant

Did you know? Peterman has thrown nine interceptions on 81 career pass attempts. In regular-season games Peterman has played, the Bills are 1-6 straight up and 2-5 against the spread. — John Ewing

Buffalo is averaging 10.9 points per game this season. The Bills have scored 11 points total over the last two weeks. In fact, over their last two games the Bills have more penalties (13) than points (11), have punted nine times and turned the ball over seven times (while forcing none). — Evan Abrams

Trends to know: If you are betting the over/under, here are a couple of things to consider:

The total for the Bears-Bills game has been set at 37. If it closes there it will supplant another Bills games as the lowest total of the season: Buffalo vs. Tennessee closed at 38 on Oct. 7. The Bills won that game 13-12.

Buffalo’s past six games have gone under the total. Teams with that long of an under streak are actually 40-33-2 (54.8%) to the over in their next game since 2003, per our Bet Labs data.

As an overall trend, totals set below 40 have been profitable to the over later in the season. The over is 279-239-6 (53.9%) in such games played in November or later. — Abrams

Biggest mismatch: Chicago’s pass defense vs. Peterman

Last season, Peterman threw five picks in the first half of his first career start. This season, Peterman has thrown one every eight attempts. Overall, Peterman has thrown nine interceptions on 81 career passes, and his 11.1% interception rate is the worst of any quarterback who has attempted at least 80 passes since the league shifted to a 16-game schedule in 1978.

This week Peterman draws a matchup with the Bears, who just happen to be a top-five pass defense by DVOA and the league’s best unit in terms of interception rate (4.5%). — Chris Raybon

Which team is healthier? Bears

The Bears could once again be without difference makers Khalil Mack (ankle) on defense and Allen Robinson (groin) on offense, while right guard Kyle Long (foot) could be out much longer than just Sunday. Wide receiver Taylor Gabriel (knee) is tentatively expected to suit up.

The Bills will start Peterman under center with both Josh Allen (elbow) and Derek Anderson (concussion) banged up. The defense could be without defensive end Trent Murphy (knee) and first-round linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (concussion).

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Dashboard for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Ian Hartitz

DFS edge: The Bears defense leads the main slate with a 3.6 sack projection in our FantasyLabs Player Models against an abysmal Bills team that will be rolling out Peterman at quarterback.

Even if Mack doesn’t suit up, the Bears are still playable considering the Bills’ offensive line ranks 31st in adjusted sack rate, and Buffalo has an absurdly low 13.5-point implied team total.

Opposing defenses against the Bills this season are averaging 14.14 DraftKings points per game with a +4.63 Plus/Minus (per our Trends tool). —Justin Bailey

Bet to watch: First Half Over 18.5

For the fourth time over the past two seasons, Peterman will get the start for the Bills. And if past performance is any indication, we could be in for a turnover fest.

Peterman in his career has dropped back to pass 95 total times and has 10 career interceptions and has fumbled the ball 3 times (including the playoffs), for a 13.7% interception or fumble result per dropback.

For a comparison, since the start of last season the worst QB according to passer rating has been DeShone Kizer (60.0). He has 572 dropbacks with 23 interceptions and 10 fumbles, an INT/fumble rate of just 5.8%.

Turnovers — if they’re not returned for touchdowns — often give offenses a short field and, as a result, can lead to more points than expected.

Even if Peterman stays turnover-free, another thing that can benefit this over: “Famous” Nathan throws the ball farther downfield (6.3 average pass yards at reception) than quarterbacks such as Aaron Rodgers, Andy Dalton, Matthew Stafford and Ben Roethlisberger.

Now for a look at the total, the full game over/under is 37 and the first half is set at 18.5.

Since 2005, betting the first-half over in games with a total of 18.5 or less has profited bettors 26.9 units (56% win rate).

When the game is played in November or later — after a team’s statistical profile has been developed and a total this low would be justified — the first-half over is 111-75-5 (59.7%).

And since 2012, when offensive production has increased, the over is 17-8 (68%), covering by 4.3 points per half. — Abrams


Betting odds: New York Jets at Miami Dolphins

  • Spread: Dolphins -3
  • Over/Under: 46
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: CBS

Betting market: This divisional showdown is holding onto the key number of three for dear life. While the juice was heavily in favor of Miami initially, it has been moving toward the Jets since Tuesday.

They are now in the +3 (-120) range at most offshore books and are getting about 55% of bets and dollars (check our live odds page for updates). — Mark Gallant

Weather report: Miami is holding onto the warm temperatures and is set to be in the low-to-mid 80s. However, the balmy air will be breezy, too, as winds are expected to be around 11 mph.

Games with double-digit wind speeds have gone under more than 55% of the time, according to Bet Labs data, a number that improves to 59.3% of the time in divisional games. — Mark Gallant

Trends to know: New York has dropped two consecutive games heading into its road divisional game against the Dolphins. In his career, Jets head coach Todd Bowles is 11-6 against the spread (+4.4 units) following a losing streak of two or more games. The Jets covered the spread by nearly three points per game in those contests.

When the Jets are listed as an underdog in that spot, they are 9-4 ATS, covering the spread by 4.9 PPG. — Evan Abrams

Dating back to 2003, the Jets are 10-3-1 ATS (+6.9 units) on the road in Miami, their most profitable opponent in that span (covering by 6.2 ppg). But for Bowles, the road has been a treacherous place as the Jets’ head coach.

On road: 8-16 ATS (33.3%), -8.5 units
At home: 17-11 ATS (60.7%), +5.1 units — Evan Abrams

Did you know? Home-field advantage is often overvalued. Since 2003, when two division opponents play and each has a .500 or worse record, the home team has gone 177-221-11 (45%) ATS. — John Ewing

Biggest mismatch: Danny Amendola vs. Buster Skrine

Since Brock Osweiler took over at quarterback three weeks ago, Amendola has been averaging 8.0 targets per game. He will primarily line up against Skrine in the slot, who has allowed 20 receptions, 247 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 27 targets in the slot this season (Pro Football Focus). — Justin Bailey

Which team is healthier? Dolphins

The Jets are banged up on offense and defense. Wide receivers Quincy Enunwa (ankle) and Robby Anderson (ankle) still haven’t managed to return to practice, while cornerback Trumaine Johnson (quad), defensive end Steve McLendon (ankle), and linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis (foot) aren’t guaranteed to suit up either.

It’s tough to call a team starting its backup quarterback healthy, but the only other Dolphins starters who are banged up are cornerback Xavien Howard (ankle), wide receiver Kenny Stills (groin) and defensive end Charles Harris (calf).

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Dashboard for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Ian Hartitz

DFS edge: Amendola has a fine floor in the slot against Skrine, but Jakeem Grant is an intriguing tournament option for $3,700 on DraftKings. His 1.70 yards per route run (PFF) is the second-highest mark on the team among the Dolphins’ active receivers, and he presently boasts an 87% Leverage Rating on DraftKings, a metric based off a player’s projected ownership and Projected Ceiling. — Justin Bailey

Bets to watch: Under 43.5

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. — PJ Walsh

Jets +3

The Dolphins have been better than expected this season, but they’re clearly not the same team with 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. — Matt LaMarca


Betting odds: Los Angeles Chargers at Seattle Seahawks

  • Spread: Seahawks -1
  • Over/Under: 48
  • Time: 4:05 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: CBS

Betting market: The market is split on this game. Spread bets are split almost 50-50, while moneyline bets are 54-46.

Earlier in the week, the Seahawks had moved from -2 to -1.5 at Pinnacle and from -1.5 to -2 at Bookmaker. Finally on Thursday night, there was some agreement among the major books as Seattle moved to -1. Mark Gallant

Trends to know: The Seahawks are on a roll: They’ve won four of their past five games and gone 4-2-1 against the spread, covering by 7.3 points per game.

Since 2003, it has been profitable to fade teams that are covering the spread  by five or more points per game after the first four games of the season. John Ewing

The Seahawks are allowing 18.7 points per game, the fourth-fewest in the NFL. After finishing 13th in points allowed per game last season, they’re back inside the top five, which is where they were for five full seasons (2012-16).

Meanwhile, Philip Rivers has led the Chargers to four straight wins, scoring 20 or more points in each game. Rivers is 23-12 ATS (65.7%) against a defense allowing fewer than 20 points per game in November or later (including playoffs), covering the spread by 4.3 points per game.

Rivers has profited bettors 10.7 units over that span, making him the most profitable QB in the league in that spot, just ahead of Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson and Tom Brady.

When Rivers starts on the road in this spot, he’s 15-4 ATS, covering the spread by 6.8 units. Evan Abrams

One of the biggest reasons behind Seattle’s defensive resurgence has been its ability to cause turnovers.

The Seahawks have 16 takeaways, tied for the third entering Week 9, and their +10 turnover differential ranks second behind just the Browns. (Yeah, I know.)

The Seahawks have won the turnover battle in five consecutive games. Over the past five seasons, 18 teams have won the turnover battle in five consecutive games. Those teams are only 6-12 ATS (and 6-11-1 against the first-half spread) in their next game.Abrams

Did you know? Russell Wilson is 12-0 against the AFC at home, although his team has been favored in all but one of those games (vs. the Patriots in 2012).

Overall, Wilson is the fourth-most profitable home quarterback ATS since 2003 (the start of our Bet Labs database). Stuckey

Biggest mismatch: Seahawks’ rushing offense vs. Chargers’ rushing defense

The Seahawks are as dedicated to the run as any team in the NFL, averaging a league-high 31.7 rush attempts per game.

And after an 0-2 start, the Seahawks have been even more dedicated to the ground attack, as Pete Carroll & Co. have clearly found an identity. They’ve averaged nearly 37 carries per game over their past five, going 4-1 with the only loss coming against the undefeated Rams in a game the Seahawks easily could have won.

To put that recent average into perspective, no team in the NFL has averaged more than 35 carries per game in the past five seasons.

The Seahawks are averaging only 4.2 yards per carry, but they’re controlling the game. The offensive line ranks in the top seven in Football Outsiders’ Power Success Rate, which means the Seahawks are also getting those short-yardage gains when needed.

Right tackle Germain Ifedi’s development has really helped the production of the O-line. Plus, running back Chris Carson ranks fourth in yards per attempt after contact, per Pro Football Focus.

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Seahawks running back Chris Carson.

Running the ball that much should be fruitful against a Chargers defense that doesn’t excel against the run (21st in DVOA run defense). Los Angeles’ defensive line ranks 23rd in Power Success Rate, which means that Seattle should be able to efficiently keep the chains moving.

The dedication to the run has also helped boost the efficiency of the Seahawks’ passing offense. The receiving corps looks a lot better than most had anticipated (including me) with the development of David Moore. When the Seahawks do pass, left tackle Duane Brown can contain Chargers pass-rusher Melvin Ingram.

Unless Joey Bosa is magically 100% and suits up (doubtful), the Chargers will really miss him on that side of the line, where the Seahawks excel at running the ball but are vulnerable to the pass rush. Stuckey

Which team is healthier? Chargers

Bosa (foot) is making progress, but he’s still not expected to suit up on Sunday. Melvin Gordon’s (hamstring) status remains unclear, too, though the Chargers’ featured back is at least practicing in a limited fashion.

The Seahawks have made a bad habit of jamming their early-week injury report with plenty of players who aren’t at risk of missing game time. Still, the statuses for safety Bradley McDougald (shoulder), cornerback Neiko Thorpe (groin) defensive end Dion Jordan (knee) and linebacker K.J. Wright (knee) will be worth monitoring.

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Dashboard for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Ian Hartitz

Seahawks defense: The Seahawks lost a lot of their defensive talent, which had everyone writing them off. Yet here they are in November with the second-ranked defense in Football Outsiders’ DVOA — third against the pass and sixth against the run.

It starts in the middle of the field with Bobby Wagner — one of the best linebackers in the game who is playing at a career-best level — along with Wright and Barkevious Mingo, who take away everything underneath in the passing game.

The biggest surprise has been the emergence of safeties Bradley McDougald and Tedric Thompson, who have played at an elite level and have managed to make the loss of Earl Thomas feel meaningless (for now).

The continued development of their corners has also helped, but the middle of this defense carries the torch.

Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers.

With Gordon (hamstring) potentially banged up, the Seahawks pass defense (fourth in the league in yards allowed per game) has the personnel to contain Rivers through the air.

Metrics that matter: Remember when the Browns were on a historically bad special teams pace? Well, the Chargers now rank 32nd overall in special teams DVOA.

Their kicking situation is in flux and their punting has been absolutely dreadful. They also have the second-worst kick-return unit and third-worst punt-return coverage. Stuckey

DFS edge: Since Week 3, Carson is averaging 23.8 touches per game, which trails only Todd Gurley over that span. On deck is a Chargers’ run defense that ranks 31st in Pro Football Focus’ run-defense grades.

Carson is a better play on FanDuel given its half-point PPR scoring compared to full PPR on DraftKings. He’s $6,500 on FD with an 18.1-point Projected Ceiling. — Justin Bailey

Bet to watch: Over 48

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.

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. Scott Miller


Betting odds: Houston Texans at Denver Broncos

  • Spread: Broncos -1
  • Over/Under: 46
  • Time: 4:05 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: CBS

Betting market: The Texans are commanding more than 70% of the bets as of writing (see live data here), but sharps pushed the Broncos from -1 to -3 early on. Buyback on the Texans moved the line down to a pick ’em, opening the door for more sharp action on the Broncos, pushing them back to -1 again.

This two-way affair seems to be all about the numbers, so make sure you get a good one regardless of which side you’re on. Mark Gallant

Trends to know: The Texans have won five in a row. Since 2003, teams that are on winning streaks of five or more games yet listed as an underdog have gone 34-36-4 against the spread in the regular season, per our Bet Labs data. But small underdogs have performed better. 

  • Underdog of three or fewer points: 24-13-1 ATS
  • Underdog of more than three points: 10-23-3 ATS John Ewing

Case Keenum is 12-6 ATS when facing an opponent with a record better than .500, covering the spread by an average of 4.3 points per game. He’s 2-1 ATS in such games this season, having played the Chiefs (twice) and the Rams in this spot. All three were one-possession games.

Since Keenum’s first start in 2013, he’s been the fifth-most profitable quarterback when facing opponents with records above .500.

1. Drew Brees: +10.8 units
2. Tom Brady: +9.5 units
3. Ben Roethlisberger: +8.9 units
4. Russell Wilson: +5.1 units
5. Keenum: +5 units Evan Abrams

Did you know? In Deshaun Watson’s 14 career starts, he’s thrown 14 interceptions and has nine total fumbles (including two lost). Sunday will be his first start in which the Texans are coming off consecutive games in which they won the turnover battle.

Watson is 0-3 straight up on the road after the Texans won the turnover battle in their previous game. Abrams

Biggest mismatch: Broncos’ pass rush vs. Texans’ offensive line

The Broncos defense is ranked third in Football Outsiders’ adjusted sack rate, while the Texans’ offensive line ranks just 29th in the metric.

Watson has been pressured on a league-high 45.1% of his dropbacks this season, per Pro Football Focus. It certainly doesn’t help that it takes him 3.14 seconds to throw the ball on average, which is the second-longest mark in the league, per NextGenStats. Justin Bailey

Which team is healthier? Broncos

It’s unclear whether Texans wide receiver Keke Coutee (hamstring) will return to the lineup to help replace Will Fuller (torn ACL). The offense will at least welcome back tight end Ryan Griffin (illness), but outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney (groin), cornerback Johnathan Joseph (ankle) and linebacker Zach Cunningham (knee) are all banged up.

The Broncos defense is also dealing with injuries to starters, including cornerback Bradley Roby (ankle), linebacker Brandon Marshall (knee) and safety Darian Stewart (neck). But Von Miller (knee) and right tackle Jared Veldheer (knee) should be good to go for Sunday.

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Dashboard for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Ian Hartitz

DFS edge: The Demaryius Thomas trade locks in Denver’s Courtland Sutton as a building block on both DraftKings and FanDuel for Week 9. Thomas’ departure will free up 20% of the Broncos’ overall target share and 20.5% of their red-zone target share, which should bode well for Sutton.

Sutton is $3,900 on DraftKings with a slate-high +5.43 Projected Plus/Minus in our FantasyLabs Models. Bailey

Bet to watch: Broncos -1

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

Thomas’ first game after his trade-deadline move is back in Denver against the Broncos. The loss of 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. Peter Jennings


Betting odds: Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints

  • Spread: Rams -2.5
  • Over/Under: 60
  • Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: FOX

Betting market: This historic over/under was attracting more bets on the under in the first 48 hours of the week, but the tide has since changed with the over receiving 56% of bets as of writing (see live data here).

There hasn’t been much in terms of sharp action, though, as the total has not moved off of 60 at Pinnacle all week. Mark Gallant

Trends to know: The Saints are coming off road wins in Baltimore and Minnesota, two of the more difficult buildings for visitors to win in over the past decade — the Ravens have the third-highest home winning percentage and the Vikings the sixth-highest since 2008.

Teams coming home off at least a two-game road trip are covering the spread 48.5% of the time (and winning 56.7% of games) since 2006, losing bettors 38.8 units in a sample size of more than 750 games, per our Bet Labs data.

Drew Brees has made 24 career starts in the Superdome coming off at least two straight road games. He’s 16-8 straight up and 17-7 against the spread (70.8%), covering by 6.7 points per game and profiting bettors 9 units.

Since 2011, Brees and the Saints are 10-1 SU and 11-0 ATS in this spot, winning by 21.8 points per game and covering by 16 points per game. Evan Abrams

Did you know? It’s been three seasons since the NFL had a team start 8-0. (The Bengals, Patriots and Panthers did it in 2015.) That’s the longest stretch without an 8-0 team in the league since the 2003 Kansas City Chiefs started 9-0 five seasons after the 1998 Denver Broncos started 13-0 en route to winning the Super Bowl.

The Rams are also the 19th team since the NFL moved to a 16-game schedule in 1978 to start a season 8-0. The previous 18 averaged 13.5 wins during the regular season and 10 ended up making the Super Bowl. Six won it all.

The last team to start 8-0 and win the Super Bowl was the 2009 Saints. Abrams

The Saints have won five consecutive games SU and ATS, making this the fourth time Brees and Sean Payton have had a five-game SU and ATS winning streak.

The first year they accomplished the feat, New Orleans won the franchise’s first (and only) Super Bowl. Abrams

A historic over/under: The Saints’ 33.4 points per game and Rams’ 33.0 points per game are good for second and third in the NFL behind the Chiefs, making this the 10th matchup of teams averaging at least 30 points per game in November or later since 2003.

The highest over/under of the nine previous matchups was 58.

The current over/under in Rams-Saints (60) would be tied for the second-highest since the NFL went to a 16-game regular season in 1978.

In the other two games, a combined 58 and 61 points were scored, right around the original totals. Abrams

Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton (center) and quarterback Drew Brees.

Biggest mismatch: Rams’ pass offense vs. Saints’ pass defense

The Saints have a receiver-friendly funnel defense that ranks second against the run but 29th against the pass.

The recent addition of 2016 first-round cornerback Eli Apple could improve the secondary, but Apple underachieved with the Giants last season (59.0 Pro Football Focus coverage grade) and allowed an 8-79-0 passing line on eight targets and 48 coverage snaps in his first game with the Saints last week.

No. 1 cornerback Marshon Lattimore has yet to regain the form that won him Defensive Rookie of the Year last season, when he allowed only 583 scoreless yards and a 53.8% completion rate on passes into his coverage. This season, quarterbacks have completed 65.7% of their attempts against him for 315 yards and two touchdowns.

Slot man P.J. Williams has been the worst of the bunch. Among all starting corners in the league, he has a bottom-two 30.7 PFF coverage grade. In just 193 coverage snaps, he has allowed a 25-352-5 receiving line on 32 targets.

And as if all of that weren’t bad enough, the Saints rank 30th in pass defense against running backs with a 27.2% DVOA. The team’s two primary coverage linebackers, A.J. Klein and Demario Davis, have given up a combined 84.4% completion rate in their coverage.

Rams wide receivers Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp, plus running back Todd Gurley, should thrive against the Saints pass defense. Matthew Freedman

Which team is healthier? Rams

The week’s healthiest matchup is also one of the best. Saints receivers Michael Thomas (shoulder) and Cameron Meredith (knee) are expected to be fine despite practicing in a limited fashion on Wednesday. The only starter the Saints should be without is first-round defensive end Marcus Davenport (toe).

Meanwhile, the Rams are expected to welcome back Kupp (knee) and might only miss defensive end Trevon Young (back).

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Dashboard for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Ian Hartitz

DFS edge: Lattimore didn’t play in the Saints’ matchup against the Rams last season and wasn’t asked to shadow against the Vikings this past Sunday night after the defense added Apple to the starting lineup.

The Rams’ balanced offense could again lead the Saints to stashing Lattimore on the right side of the field. This would lead to Lattimore spending most of his time on Cooks, with Apple seeing plenty of Woods. Kupp has arguably the week’s best matchup of any wide receiver, against Williams — PFF’s No. 108-ranked cornerback among 109 qualified players.

Kupp is only $6,000 on DraftKings and has a 23.1-point projected ceiling in our FantasyLabs Models. Hartitz

Bet to watch: Saints +2.5

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. Geoff Schwartz


Betting odds: Green Bay Packers at New England Patriots

  • Spread: Patriots -5
  • Over/Under: 56.5
  • Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: NBC

Betting market: After opening at +7 at BookMaker, the Packers moved to +6.5 in just one minute. About 45 minutes later they moved to +6, and an hour after that, they moved to +5.5.

With most folks missing out on those numbers, the Patriots are receiving almost 60% of bets as of writing (see live data here). I expect the line to hit -6 again, but I highly doubt we see the Patriots move back to -7. Mark Gallant

Weather report: Temperatures will be in the high 30s, but Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady are both used to playing in much worse. Winds will barely be blowing at all, with the anemometer reading just a few mph. Gallant

Trends to know: When the Patriots have played at least two consecutive road games, Brady has excelled in his first game back at Foxborough, going 28-4 straight up and 20-11-1 against the spread, according to our Bet Labs data.

Only four quarterbacks have defeated Brady in this spot: Brett Favre (2002), Peyton Manning (2006), Drew Brees (2005) and Russell Wilson (2016). — Evan Abrams

Did you know? Brady and Rodgers are known as the best quarterbacks in the NFL … bar none.

Below is how they stack up ATS over their careers. Abrams

Biggest mismatch: Brady vs. Packers’ safeties

After trading Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix to the Redskins, the Packers no longer have a safety on the roster who is ranked higher than 86th at the position in Pro Football Focus’ grades.

The Packers also rank 23rd in Football Outsiders’ DVOA against deep passes, and have little experience on the back end, with third-year man Kentrell Brice being the eldest statesman.

With a matchup nightmare in Rob Gronkowski, a movable chess piece in James White and a full complement of wide receivers including Josh Gordon, this is surely a situation Bill Belichick and Brady will look to exploit. Chris Raybon

Which team is healthier? Packers

The only notable Packers thought to be at risk of missing Sunday’s game are center Corey Linsley (knee), right tackle Bryan Bulaga (knee), linebacker Nick Perry (ankle) and safety Jermaine Whitehead (back).

Meanwhile, the Patriots have listed half their team as injured (per usual). But left tackle Trent Brown (ankle), Gronkowski (ankle, back), linebacker Dont’a Hightower (knee), right guard Shaq Mason (calf), right tackle Marcus Cannon (concussion) and running back Sony Michel (knee) seem legitimately banged up.

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Dashboard for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Ian Hartitz

DFS edge: Davante Adams has been on an absolute tear over his past three games, hanging at least 130 receiving yards on the Lions, 49ers and Rams while finding the end zone three times.

Life as Rodgers’ No. 1 target has been predictably productive, but Adams will have his hands full with No. 1 Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

PFF’s No. 4 overall corner has made life rough for DeAndre Hopkins (8-78-0), Sammy Watkins (2-18-0) and Allen Robinson (1-4-0) so far this season.

Adams is $8,200 on DraftKings and carries a respectable +1.6 Projected Plus/Minus in our FantasyLabs Models. Hartitz

Bet to watch: Patriots -5

Brady said that if 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. John Ewing 


Editor’s note: The opinions on theses 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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