NFL Week 9 Predictions and Best Bets: Teasing the Bills and Bucs Into Oblivion

  • Last Sunday saw my Locks of the Week go 3-0 for the second time in three weeks.
  • The principal of fading terrible teams paid off, with the Dolphins, Bills, Jets, and Raiders all “coming through.” 
  • With six teams on bye in Week 9, finding quality betting advice becomes a little more difficult. 

I rebounded from a goofy Week 7 with a perfect Week 8, hitting on a two-team, six-point teaser (Texans -1.5 vs Dolphins; Bears -1.0 vs Jets), plus the Colts -3.0 over the Raiders, and the Patriots -14.0 over the Bills.

Here’s how my ledger looks at roughly midseason:

  • “Locks of the Week” 2018 ROI: $349.46 (based on $100 wagers)
  • Week 8 ROI: $261.20

Week 9 sees the Bengals, Cardinals, Colts, Eagles, Giants, and Jaguars on bye, so there are only 13 games on the slate.

Remember, you can find predictions and best bets for every game, below, but I only recommend following my Locks of the Week when it comes time to put real money down. Or BitCoin, which I’m told is real money.

Oakland Raiders vs San Francisco 49ers

Time & Date: 5:25 PM ET, Thursday, Nov. 1st

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Raiders +3.0 (-110) +140 O 46.5 (EVEN)
49ers -3.0 (-110) -160 U 46.5 (-120)

The Battle for the Bay Area is also a battle to stay out of the NFC basement between the Raiders (1-6,0-3 away) and 49ers (1-6, 1-2 home). The Niners blew a 15-3 lead in the fourth quarter to the one-win Cardinals last week and lost backup QB CJ Beathard in the process. It’s unknown if he’ll be ready on a short week.

The Raiders showed a little heart last week against Indy, but also blew a fourth-quarter lead (28-21), ultimately falling 42-28 thanks to some untimely turnovers and no defense whatsoever.

But with the Nick Mullens (Southern Mississippi, undrafted) potentially starting at QB for San Francisco, the Raider defense may look like a satisfactory unit for the first time since Week 2.

Score Prediction: 23-20 Raiders

Best Bet: Raiders’ moneyline (+140)

Detroit Lions vs Minnesota Vikings

Time & Date: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, Nov. 4th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Lions +5.0 (-105) +200 O 50.0 (-110)
Vikings -5.0 (-115) -240 U 50.0 (-110)

The Lions (3-4, 1-2 away) are still in the NFC North hunt, but their defense is a huge problem, sitting 25th in scoring (26.6 PPG) and 30th in DVOA. They shipped leading receiver Golden Tate (44 catches, 517 yards, 3 TD) to the Eagles at the deadline, which will hamper their ability to win shootouts on a weekly basis.

The Vikings (4-3-1, 2-1-1 away) had a three-game win streak snapped by the Saints in Week 8, but deserved a better fate. They outgained New Orleans 423-270 and could have taken a two-score lead into halftime if not for a costly fumble by Adam Thielen. I don’t see a Mike Zimmer-coached team making those same types of mistakes two weeks in a row, and the Lions don’t have the pass rush to cause havoc (currently ranked 27th by Pro Football Focus).

Score Prediction: 28-20 Vikings

Best Bet: Vikings -5.0 (-115)

Kansas City Chiefs vs Cleveland Browns

Time & Date: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, Nov. 4th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Chiefs -9.0 (-110) -400 O 51.5 (-105)
Browns +9.0 (-110) +330 U 51.5 (-115)

The Browns (2-5-1, 2-1-1 home) go into Week 9 with a new head coach (Gregg Williams) and OC (Freddie Kitchens). They also go into Week 9 with the second-ranked defense by DVOA. They have a good enough pass rush (20 sacks) to make MVP-favorite Patrick Mahomes uncomfortable, and a good enough ground game (127.4 YPG, 9th overall) to move the ball against Kansas City’s (7-1, 3-1 away) weak rush defense, which is allowing 5.4 yards per carry.

Expect a newly motivated Browns team to keep this within single digits.

Score Prediction: 28-24 Chiefs

Best Bet: Browns +9.0 (-110)

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Baltimore Ravens

Time & Date: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, Nov. 4th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Steelers +3.0 (-120) +120 O 47.0 (-120)
Ravens -3.0 (EVEN) -140 U 47.0 (EVEN)

These AFC North contenders are trending in different directions. Pittsburgh (4-2-1, 2-0-1 away) has won three straight to take the division lead, while the Ravens (4-4, 2-1 home) are back to .500 thanks to a two-game skid.

Baltimore’s top-ranked defense (per DVOA) has padded its stats against the Bills, Browns, and Titans this season, holding that trio to 15 points combined. But better offenses have been able to move the ball. In three games against the Saints, Bengals, and Panthers, Baltimore has given up 31.3 PPG and 366 YPG, well above their 17.1 PPG and 293.8 YPG averages.

Pittsburgh’s offense is playing much better now than it was when these teams clashed in Week 4 (a 26-14 win for Baltimore), and so is the defense, which has held three straight opponents to 21 points or less (including the Falcons and Bengals).

Score Prediction: 24-20 Steelers

Best Bet: Steelers’ moneyline (+120)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Carolina Panthers

Time & Date: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, Nov. 4th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Buccaneers +7.0 (-115) +240 O 54.5 (-115)
Panthers -7.0 (-105) -285 U 54.5 (-105)

Ryan Fitzpatrick has mercifully relieved Jameis Winston of starting QB duties in Tampa, and that has as much to do with the play of Fitzmagic (who leads the league with a 119.3 passer rating) as the play of Winston (who leads the league with 10 INT and a 6.8 INT% despite missing the first three games of the year).

But Tampa’s defense is still in shambles, giving up an NFL-worst 33.3 PPG. Making matters worse, the Panthers have scored 30 or more points in three straight home games. This is either going to be a shootout or a Panther blowout. Given that the Panthers have won three of their four home games by eight or more points, I’ll take the spread instead of the OVER.

Score Prediction: 33-24 Panthers

Best Bet: Panthers -7.0 (-105)

New York Jets vs Miami Dolphins

Time & Date: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, Nov. 4th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Jets +3.0 (-110) +135 O 45.0 (-110)
Dolphins -3.0 (-110) -155 U 45.0 (-110)

When the Jets (3-5, 1-3 away) and Dolphins (4-4, 3-1) do battle for runner-up in the Patriot-dominated AFC East, don’t expect a lot of points. You have a Brock Osweiler-led offense facing a team with a rookie QB and decimated skill-position group.

There’s reason to think both of these underwhelming offenses will find some success, given the defenses that are involved. Miami’s defense has plummeted back to earth after a strong start, giving up 33.4 PPG over their last five. Not coincidentally, the team has gone 1-4 in that stretch. They are being gashed on the ground and through the air (23rd in passing yards allowed; 29th in rushing yards allowed).

New York’s defense also started the year strong and then regressed, giving up an average of 28.4 PPG over the last five. But now they get to face Osweiler, and the Jets’ offense has been held to just 470 yards, combined, in their last two. The injuries at receiver are really starting to show.

Score Prediction: 20-17 Dolphins

Best Bet: UNDER 45.0 (-110)

Atlanta Falcons vs Washington

Time & Date: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, Nov. 4th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Falcons +2.0 (-115) +110 O 47.5 (-110)
Washington -2.0 (-105) -130 U 47.5 (-110)

Washington (5-2, 3-1 home) has won three in a row and might have the most underrated defense in the NFL (19.1 PPG, 5th overall). The Falcons’ dynamic offense has made hay against terrible defenses, scoring 36 against Cincinnati, 34 against Tampa, and 37 against New Orleans. They were held to 17 at Pittsburgh, 12 at Philadelphia, and 23 vs the Giants.

With Adrian Peterson (587 yards, 4.6 YPC) running like he’s 23, not 33, Washington should have enough offense to pull out a field-goal win. I also love the UNDER here.

Score Prediction: 23-20 Washington

Best Bet: Washington -2.0 (-105)

Chicago Bears vs Buffalo Bills

Time & Date: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, Nov. 4th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Bears -9.0 (-115) -430 O 37.5 (-110)
Bills +9.0 (-105) +360 U 37.5 (-110)

FADE. THE. BILLS (2-6, 1-2 home) … especially with Nathan Peterman back under center facing a Chicago (4-3, 2-1 away) defense that got right in Week 8, holding the Jets to just over 200 total yards and a scant 10 points.

Let’s digress for a moment and relive some Peterman glory days …


On offense, the Bears are finally starting to incorporate Tarik Cohen into their attack more. That, alone, gives me confidence they’ll score 17 points, which will probably be enough to cover here. Buffalo has the NFL’s worst point differential at -113. That’s 24 points worse than Arizona, which sits 31st at -89.

Score Prediction: 23-9 Bears

Best Bet: Bears -9.0 (-115)

Houston Texans vs Denver Broncos

Time & Date: 4:05 PM ET, Sunday, Nov. 4th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Texans PK (-110) OFF O 46.0 (-110)
Broncos PK (-110) OFF U 46.0 (-110)

It’s tempting to think the Broncos (3-5, 2-2 home) have punted on the season after they traded former #1 WR Demaryius Thomas to, coincidentally, the Texans (5-3, 2-2 away). But that’s not really a significant move. Thomas was taking a clear back seat to Emmanuel Sanders in the passing game, and his departure only opens up room for promising rookie Courtland Sutton (17 receptions, 324 yards, 19.1 YPC, 2 TD).

The Broncos are actually ranked 7th overall in DVOA, five spots ahead of Houston. They have been solid at home, to boot, beating the Seahawks (27-24) and playing the Chiefs (27-23 L) and Rams (23-20 L) close. Their worst performance at Mile High was actually a 20-19 win over Oakland in Week 2, a game where they were shutout in the first half.

This week, they get a Houston team that has won five in a row, but not really in convincing fashion (outside of last week’s 45-23 rout of Miami). Von Miller and company should be able to get pressure on Deshaun Watson, exposing a bad Texans O-line, and halt Houston’s win streak.

Note that Watson won’t have Will Fuller (32 receptions, 503 yards, 4 TD) to rely on after the third-year wideout was placed on IR with a knee injury this week.

Score Prediction: 24-23 Broncos

Best Bet: Broncos PK (-110)

Los Angeles Chargers vs Seattle Seahawks

Time & Date: 4:05 PM ET, Sunday, Nov. 4th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Chargers +2.0 (-110) +105 O 48.0 (-110)
Seahawks -2.0 (-110) -125 U 48.0 (-110)

The Chargers (5-2, 2-1 away) and Seahawks (4-3, 1-1 home) are being overshadowed in their divisions by the Chiefs and Rams, respectively, but have emerged as legitimate playoff contenders.

This is just Seattle’s third home game of the season. In the first, they waxed the Cowboys (24-13). In the second, they came within a breath of handing the Rams their first loss of the year (33-31). LA was pasted by that same Rams team at home, 35-23, while beating the lowly Bills (31-20) and Browns (38-14) in their other two true road games.

In London two weeks ago, they narrowly escaped with a 20-19 win over one-dimensional Tennessee and were outgained 390-344.

Still without Joey Bosa, the Chargers won’t have enough on defense to stop a resurgent Seattle offense.

Score Prediction: 27-21 Seahawks 

Best Bet: Seahawks -2.0 (-110)

Los Angeles Rams vs New Orleans Saints

Time & Date: 4:25 PM ET, Sunday, Nov. 4th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Rams +2.0 (-110) +110 O 60.0 (-110)
Saints -2.0 (-110) -130 U 60.0 (-110)

The Saints (6-1, 2-1 home) and Rams (8-0, 4-0 away) may be playing for home-field advantage in the NFC this week. The Saints started slow at the Superdome in Weeks 1 and 2, losing to Tampa (48-40) and squeaking past Cleveland (21-18), but they waxed a good Washington team (43-19) the last time they were at home and have won six straight overall.

The Rams, meanwhile, have won three of their last four games by three points or fewer. If not for an untimely Ty Montgomery fumble in Week 8, they are probably sitting at 7-1.

Better offenses have had no trouble moving the ball on this team (see Seattle, Minnesota, Green Bay games) and the Saints’ offense just might be the best in the league.

Todd Gurley and company will get theirs against New Orleans’ own lackluster defense, but I see the Saints winning, so I’ll lay the minimal two points.

Score Prediction: 31-27 Saints

Best Bet: Saints -2.0 (-110)

Green Bay Packers vs New England Patriots

Time & Date: 5:20 PM ET, Sunday, Nov. 4th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Packers +5.5 (-110) +200 O 56.5 (-110)
Patriots -5.5 (-110) -240 U 56.5 (-110)

The Packers (3-1-1, 0-3 away) were impressive last week in a 29-27 setback to the undefeated Rams, but they are still winless on the road and now have to play away from Lambeau for the second straight week. Making matters worse, they have to travel to arguably the toughest road environment in the league: Gillette Stadium.

The Patriots (6-2, 4-0 home) are unbeaten at home, winning by an average of 13.8 PPG. While the offense settled for field goals far too often in Buffalo last week, it’s still top-ten in red-zone percentage (66.7%), while the Packers are 20th (52.2%). Sitting a game behind KC in the race for top-seed in the AFC, expect a hungry Patriots team to win this one by a touchdown.

Score Prediction: 31-24 Patriots

Best Bet: Patriots -5.5 (-110)

Tennessee Titans vs Dallas Cowboys

Time & Date: 5:15 PM ET, Monday, Nov. 5th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Titans +6.5 (-110) +235 O 40.5 (-110)
Cowboys -6.5 (-110) -280 U 40.5 (-110)

The Cowboys (3-4, 3-0 home) only have one lopsided win this year, and that was a 40-7 rout of Jacksonville precipitated by a couple Blake Bortles interceptions and a generally pathetic Jaguar offense that gained just 204 yards. The Titans (3-4, 1-3 away) aren’t any more dynamic on offense, but they also won’t just give you the ball (8 giveaways, T9th). Only one Tennessee game has been decided by more than a touchdown this year (21-0 L at Baltimore). Laying 6.5 points with a ground-based Dallas team is too many, even with Amari Cooper in the mix.

Score Prediction: 20-16 Cowboys

Best Bet: Titans +6.5 (-110)

Locks of the Week

  • Two-team, 6.5-point teaser at -120: Bears -2.5 & Panthers -0.5
  • Seahawks -2.0 (-110)
  • Jets vs Dolphins UNDER 45.0 (-110)
AlexanderP

Alexander is the MTS editor-in-chief. Frank, Alex, and Geoff brought him in when they realized that their betting expertise far surpassed their grammatical abilities. He loves overanalyzing college basketball trends. Talking to him during the first weekend of March Madness is like talking to a wall. A very focused wall, but a wall nonetheless.