Welcome to the Week 9 edition of our NFL Bets of the Week column. Here, I’ll strive to identify a handful of games per week I feel have profit potential at DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, 888 Sports and BetStars Sportsbook.
Depending on the circumstance, I’ll hone in on moneylines, point spreads, or projected totals. Sometimes I may even touch on multiple metrics for one game. We’ll strive for quality over quantity here as well — the focus will only be on spots that seem to truly be advantageous. Then, I’ll take you on a fairly deep dive as to why.
Please note we’ll be referencing only legal, regulated sportsbook betting odds and totals here at PlayPicks. A “pick” is a wager that, as of the time of this writing, we feel confident recommending. A “lean” is a wager that we favor over the other side. This play could end up on our card with the release of additional information.
Let’s take a quick look at how things went in Week 8. Follow that up with a leap into two interesting scenarios for Week 9.
Recapping Week 8
Week 8 winners: Panthers +2/ Bucs +4 (lean)/ Bengals moneyline
Week 8 losers: Giants +1/ Giants moneyline (-108)
Season record to date:
ATS Picks: 14-6 (.700)
ATS Leans: 1-0 (.1000)
Moneyline: 6-4 (.600)
Week 8 NFL Betting Picks
Atlanta Falcons (3-4) at Washington Redskins (5-2)
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Redskins -2
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: Redskins -1.5
888 Sportsbook Odds: Redskins -2
Over/Under Total: 47.5
How They Fared in Week 8: The Falcons were on their bye week. Atlanta notched a 23-20 win over the Giants on Monday Night Football to wrap up Week 7. They’ll come into this contest with a two-game winning streak.
The Redskins also claimed a win over the G-Men in their most recent contest, which unfolded at the Meadowlands in Week 8. Adrian Peterson continued his remarkable comeback season with 26 carries for 149 yards and a touchdown. Washington also saw the return to action of Chris Thompson, who’d missed the prior two games with rib and knee injuries.
Notable Matchups and Metrics: The Falcons did themselves no favors by losing games to the Saints and Bengals by a combined seven points, which helped sully their overall record. However, Atlanta boasts plenty of explosive talent, even with the current absence of Devonta Freeman. Matt Ryan sports an impressive 15:2 TD:INT and is averaging a robust 8.9 yards per attempt. Julio Jones is averaging 116.0 receiving yards per contest and is just 188 yards short of a fifth straight 1,000-yard season, despite having played just seven games. Rookie Calvin Ridley already looks like the real deal with six touchdown catches on 27 receptions, as well as a 14.5 YPC figure. Mohamed Sanu (24-324-3) and tight end Austin Hooper (33-321-2) are proving excellent supplemental production. Atlanta checks in with the third-most passing yards per game (317.7) and is scoring 27.1 points per contest.
Meanwhile, the Redskins have been the polar opposite on offense. They rank in the latter half of the league in multiple categories, including points (20.9) and passing yards per game (212.7). They’ve often been getting it done with defense (322.4 yards per game allowed, fourth-fewest in the NFL). However, the Skins have surrendered 242.3 passing yards per game. In their last four games, they’ve allowed 363 yards to Drew Brees, 275 yards to Cam Newton, a season-high 273 yards to Dak Prescott and 316 yards to Eli Manning.
Moreover, it’s worth noting that a receiver with a similar skill set and talent level as Jones, Odell Beckham, Jr., just torched them for an 8-136-1 line. Washington is allowing 66.3 percent of pass attempts to be completed against them overall, 11th-highest in the NFL. On their end, the Falcons boast the third-highest completion rate (71.1 percent) in the league.
By the Numbers: The Falcons are 7-6 (53.8 percent) versus the number coming out of the bye in the Matt Ryan era (2008-present), including 2-1 (.667) over the last three seasons. Road underdogs are also 41-37-2 (52.6 percent) against the number this season. Atlanta is undefeated against the Redskins in their last five meetings, with four of those wins coming in the Matt Ryan era. The Falcons haven’t lost to Washington by more than two points since 1993.
The Redskins are 4-7 (36.4 percent) versus the number after a win since the beginning of the 2017 season. Home favorites are also just 37-41-2 (47.4 percent) against the spread this season.
The Final Word: The Falcons appear to finally be hitting their stride after a rough start, and they have the advantage of coming in well-rested after a bye week. It’s usually a favorable situation when a team has extra time to prepare for an opponent. Plus, it isn’t exactly like the Redskins offense is that difficult to game plan against. Moreover, the potential absence of Chris Thompson, who appears to have reaggravated his rib injury in Week 8, would be a big blow. Ryan, Jones, Sanu and Ridley will test the Washington secondary plenty, and they’ll manage enough production to keep this game close enough for a road cover.
The Pick: Falcons +2
Los Angeles Rams (8-0) at New Orleans Saints (6-1)
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Saints -1.5
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: Saints -2
888 Sportsbook Odds: Saints -2
Over/Under total: 60.0
How They Fared in Week 8: They had to sweat, but the Rams keep their unblemished record intact against the Green Bay Packers. Los Angeles secured the 29-27 win courtesy of a late 34-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein. Jared Goff threw for 295 yards and three touchdowns, while Todd Gurley racked up 195 total yards (114 rushing, 81 receiving) and one receiving touchdown.
The Saints scored their own signature win, topping the Minnesota Vikings by a 30-20 score. It was an atypical victory to say the least, as Drew Brees threw for just 120 yards and one touchdown. The New Orleans defense contributed a pick-six to the road upset. The 1-2 punch of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara combined for 108 rushing yards and one touchdown (Kamara).
Notable Matchups and Metrics: The Rams have been the darlings of the league, and with good reason. Blessed with superstars on either side of the ball, Los Angeles boasts a top-five ranking in total offense (442.6 yards per game) and is ranked in the top half of the league in both passing defense (231.0 passing yards allowed per game) and rushing defense (100.9 yards surrendered per contest). Moreover, the Rams are tied with several other teams for fifth-least rushing touchdowns allowed (five).
On offense, Los Angeles boasts the highest YPA in the NFL (9.6), particularly relevant given that the Saints are yielding the second-highest figure in the league (8.7). And, the 300.0 passing yards per game, 70.1 completion percentage and 15 touchdowns New Orleans has allowed all rank them in the bottom five or 10 of the NFL from a defensive perspective.
Led by Gurley, the Rams ground game unsurprisingly ranks at the top of the NFL in yards per game (150.9) and has also notched the most rushing touchdowns (11). This will be a true test of strength vs. strength, as the Saints are the stingiest team against the run (NFL-low 3.2 yards per rush and 74.1 rushing yards per game allowed). Yet, New Orleans has given up 38 receptions and 310 receiving yards to running backs. That could bode well for attacking with Gurley through the air. He already has 31 receptions and four receiving touchdowns this season.
Finally, it’s worth noting Goff enjoyed plenty of success versus a stouter Saints defense last season. In a 26-20 win in Los Angeles on Nov. 26, the Rams quarterback threw for 354 yards and two touchdowns. Cooper Kupp, who’s slated to return from his MCL sprain for this week’s game, led the way with eight receptions for 116 yards. Gurley had a modest game on the ground by his standards (17 rushes, 74 yards) but supplemented it with four catches for 54 yards.
By the Numbers: The Rams are 7-5 (58.3 percent) against the number as a road team since the beginning of the 2017 season, including 2-1 (66.7 percent) as a road underdog. Away underdogs are 41-37-2 (52.6 percent) versus the number this season.
The Saints are 6-6 (50.0 percent) versus the number at home since the beginning of the 2017 season. Home favorites are 37-41-2 (47.4 percent) against this spread overall this season.
The Final Word: The Rams have looked the part of true Super Bowl contenders on both sides of the ball and added Dante Fowler, Jr. to improve their already impressive pass rush this week. They have the personnel to help control the Saints’ talented running back duo to an extent. They certainly have the firepower on offense — especially on the fast track of the Superdome and with Kupp back in the fold — to match Drew Brees point for point. While the tough road environment and talent on the other side of the ball make it difficult to predict a straight-up win, I see this game as a Rams cover at minimum.
The Pick: Rams +2