With the 2019-20 NFL season underway, oddsmakers are constantly adjusting lines to account for the performance of players and teams in Weeks 1-8.
Injury updates on star players such as Patrick Mahomes (knee) and Adam Thielen (hamstring) will soon change the point spreads listed by US sportsbooks like DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook for Week 9 of the NFL season.
At PlayPicks, we feel confident with the information that we have to start making our picks against the spread.
In this weekly column, we will list three of our best bets against the spread with data to support our picks. Then, we will list the following games on the NFL slate in order of our confidence in analyzing the matchup. Keep in mind that lines can often shift due to weather or other unforeseen issues. Of course, injury news plays a huge role throughout the NFL season, and the status of specific players often bears monitoring until a couple of hours before kickoff.
NFL Week 9 Best Bets
Green Bay Packers (-4) at Los Angeles Chargers
Again, the Chargers have no home-field advantage with a disinterested fan base that contain just as many transplant or holdover Packers fans as Bolts fans. Those fans will also be witnessing greatness, as Aaron Rodgers is sporting a 142.7 passer rating with 8 TDs and zero picks over his last two starts. Now he should get Davante Adams (toe) back against a team that ranks 25th in DVOA pass defense and is giving up the eighth-highest passer rating (103.1) to opposing QBs despite facing Mitchell Trubisky, Ryan Tannehill, Devlin Hodges, Joe Flacco, and Josh Rosen the past five weeks.
Green Bay is 18-13 ATS as a road favorite since 2012, while the Chargers are 5-11 ATS as home underdogs during that span, and a league-worst 2-8-1 ATS at home since last season.
The Chargers could really struggle to move the ball against Green Bay’s excellent defense. The Bolts offensive line is 30th in “Stuffed Rank” and 21st in power run blocking per Football Outsiders. The Packers rank eighth in DVOA pass defense and Chargers top receiver Keenan Allen (hamstring) might not be at full strength. This number is way too low given how good Rodgers and the Packers defense have looked lately.
Houston Texans (+1) at Jacksonville Jaguars
This line has trimmed down a couple of points, making it even more appealing to take the Texans in a virtual coin-flip situation. Deshaun Watson struggled in a 13-12 win over Jacksonville in Week 2, but has turned in a few gems since then with a 13:4 TD:INT ratio and a stellar 71.6% completion rate over his last six starts. Watson’s ability to extend plays should be key against a Jags team that coughed up a league-high 471 rushing yards to QBs last year and has primarily faced stationary QBs over the past six weeks.
Jacksonville ranks 25th in DVOA rush defense and 31st in open field tackling per Football Outsiders. The Texans offensive line ranks second in power run blocking and second in the open field by the same metrics, so Carlos Hyde should establish Houston’s power running game early.
The Jags went 1-4-1 against the spread in division games last year and Houston was 4-3 ATS. The Texans have won 9 of their last 11 against the Jaguars dating back to 2014 and are 20-13 in division games during that span. This line has swung on DraftKings Sportsbook to the point the Texans are now getting a point, which is great value.
Detroit Lions (+2.5) at Oakland Raiders
The Raiders have played well in their past two games, but were victimized by talented QBs making incredible throws. Matthew Stafford isn’t necessarily an elite passer, but he ranks fifth in QBR (70.6) and third in DVOA this year according to data compiled by Football Outsiders. The Lions should stick to the air this week with Kerryon Johnson (knee) on the shelf and that’s the right approach against a Raiders team that ranks ninth in DVOA rush defense and 29th against the pass.
Detroit has the weapons to assault a Raiders secondary that recently jettisoned starting CB Gareon Conley. Kenny Golladay is too physical for Vance Worley, Marvin Jones Jr. is too quick for rookie Trayvon Mullen, and safety Lamarcus Joyner is struggling badly in his new role as a slot CB, so Danny Amendola should have little trouble getting loose.
Oakland has the third-worst record (15-22-2) ATS since 2017 and Detroit’s 21-17-1 mark is eighth-best during that span. The Raiders home field advantage is fading with the team slated to leave for Las Vegas soon and Derek Carr is averaging just 6.63 yards per attempt with a 90.9 rating through three home starts this year. Detroit’s underrated secondary is second in schedule-adjusted DVOA pass defense, so the Lions could force Carr into some key mistakes.
NFL Week 9 Picks Against The Spread
Philadelphia Eagles (-4) vs Chicago Bears
The Eagles won’t let their momentum lapse after riding Jordan Howard to a huge second half in Buffalo last week. This is a revenge game for Howard and an easy spot for the Eagles defense against a one-dimensional Bears offense.
Seattle Seahawks (-5) vs Tampa Bay Bucs
Jameis Winston posted a 9:10 TD:INT ratio and went 0-6 on the road last season. Seattle has the second-best home record (51-14) in the NFL since Russell Wilson was drafted in 2012.
Indianapolis Colts (-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers offense has very little to threaten Indy’s defense and will have to depend on their defense creating turnovers or forcing punts to get good field positioning. The Colts are too disciplined to give away games in that fashion.
Dallas Cowboys (-6) at New York Giants
The Cowboys are 16-10 ATS with a rest advantage since 2012 and the Giants are 4-10 ATS as road underdogs over the past two seasons.
Miami Dolphins (+3.5) vs New York Jets
With C.J. Mosley (groin) basically done for the year, offensive linemen Ryan Kalil (knee) and Kelvin Beachum (ankle) missing practice, and Sam Darnold (Thumb) physically diminished in addition to his mental struggles, the Jets could be ready to check out. The improving Dolphins should pounce on their best chance to avoid a winless season.
Cleveland Browns (-4) at Denver Broncos
It’s make-or-break time for Baker Mayfield and the Browns, while the Broncos offense should take another step back with Brandon Allen slated to fill-in for Joe Flacco.
Buffalo Bills (-9.5) vs Washington Redskins
While the Bills have struggled to score this year, we expect their defense to pitch something close to a shutout in a bounce back spot against the hapless Washington offense.
Carolina Panthers (-4) vs Tennesse Titans
Ryan Tannehill has performed well in two plus matchups as the Titans starter, but could struggle in a tough draw at the Panthers. Carolina bounces back after taking a whopping in San Francisco.
New England Patriots (-3) at Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens should give the Patriots more of a test than they’ve had all season, but Baltimore’s flawed secondary has too many holes to stand up against the brilliant minds of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.
Kansas City Chiefs (+3.5) vs Minnesota Vikings
While Patrick Mahomes (knee) won’t play, the Chiefs are improving defensively and have a notable home field advantage that could keep Kirk Cousins and company from producing big points.