NFL Week 9 – Best Bets Against the Spread
Unfortunately, I went 1-2 with the picks last week. It hasn’t been the best two weeks, but I have found myself much more accurate as a handicapper later in the season over the year. Let’s get after it this week and hopefully, cash some winners. As always, check back on the free picks page, for plays on the Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football games.
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Dallas Cowboys at Cleveland Browns +7 Total: 48.5
The red-hot Dallas Cowboys travel to Cleveland to take on the worst team in football, the Browns. The Browns seem to be the only team in the city without any success. The Cavaliers won the NBA championship last season, and the Indians narrowly lost in the World Series. Yet, here we here again with the Browns.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is a team that rebounded from their poor record last season. Yes, Dallas has a 6-1 record so far after going 4-12 last season. They’re in first place by several games in the NFC East. Last week, they took care of the Eagles 30-24 in overtime in a primetime matchup on Sunday Night Football.
Dak Prescott is running away with the Rookie of the Year voting and with good reason. He’s been fantastic behind the Cowboys’ elite offensive line. Dallas has been able to control the time of possession more than any other team this year. They should have no issues implementing the same game plan this week.
In last week’s article, I predicted the Browns would get their first win of the season. That did not happen. Although, Cleveland did manage to keep the game close, running out to a first half lead, ultimately falling by a score of 31-28 to drop their record to 0-8 on the season.
Cody Kessler will start once again for Cleveland this Sunday after Josh McCown took his place in the starting lineup last week. Kessler has been better than expected, but he’s still probably the league’s worst quarterback. He does get rookie wide receiver Corey Coleman back this week from a broken hand, but that doesn’t move the needle for me much.
I’m not typically on a team like the Cowboys in this spot. They’re coming off a tough overtime win. The public is in love with them, with nearly 80 percent of wagers coming in Dallas. The odds opened at -8 and are now at -7 at most sportsbooks.
The Cowboys’ elite offensive line against the Browns’ borderline expansion defense is probably the most lopsided matchup you will see all season. Dallas has dominated much better teams this season and their defense is consistently fresh because their offensive hogs the time of possession.
Josh McCown is a better option as a starter to Kessler in my opinion, but neither give the Browns much chance to compete in this game. Lay the points.
Pick: Cowboys -7
New Orleans Saints at San Francisco 49ers +3.5 Total: 53
The Saints at 49ers might be the least anticipated game on the NFL slate this week. San Francisco is firmly out of the playoff race in a tough division. However, the Saints have a lot to play for in still in the AFC South.
After losing at Kansas City the previous week, New Orleans bounced back against visiting Seattle, winning 25-20 and improving their record to 3-4 on the season. They are currently tied with the Buccaneers in record and third place in the AFC South.
It’s been quite a while since Chip Kelly had any success in the NFL. The 49ers won their first game of the season, but have not won a game since. They were beaten severely on October 23rd by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 34-17 to drop their record to 1-6. They did not play last week and are coming off a bye.
The total has gone up in this game from the original opening number of 51 points to 52.5, but we haven’t seen the spread move from the SF +3.5 opener despite over 80 percent of wagers coming in on the Saints.
I’m not a fan of Chip Kelly as a coach, but the guy still has an excellent football mind and has had a bye week to prepare for one of the worst defenses in football. I know Colin Kaepernick isn’t even an above-average quarterback, but just about every offense has success against New Orleans.
It’s also a classic let-down spot for the Saints, which are going across the country after a massive win against Seattle last week. They’re also missing a host of defensive starters, in what is already a bottom five unit.
Take the points with the well-rested home squad.
Pick: 49ers +3.5
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants -2.5
As we mentioned above, Dallas holds a hammerlock on the NFC East with just one loss. The rest of the division separated by just a game. Both the Eagles and Giants come into this game with identical records at 4-3.
New York last played in Week 7, where they bested the visiting Rams by a score of 17-10 to get their fourth win. They are coming off a bye week as we head into Week 9. The Giants are relatively healthy through their bye week. They have a few defensive players questionable, but their skill players, including Odell Beckham Jr. are all healthy.
The Eagles lost in overtime at Dallas last week by a final score of 23-29. It looked to be easy going for Carson Wentz this season, and while he’s still playing well, Philadelphia isn’t. The Eagle have lost three out of their last four games after starting the year with three straight victories.
Betting on this game has been relatively even, but most wagers are being placed on Philly. The odds opened at the Giants -3, but that has now moved to Giants -2.5 at most sportsbooks.
This is not a good matchup for Eli Manning, but you must think that after the bye he has gotten some of the rust off. After all, it’s only Week 9. Seriously, though, if Manning plays a little better, this team may have five or more wins right now.
However, my main reason for this play is the New York defense. It’s quietly been one of the better units in the league. Philadelphia is missing a few key offensive linemen, and I think they will struggle to score against a well-rested and underrated defense. It’s not easy to lay the points in this spot, but I believe there is value here with anything under three points.
Pick: Eagles -2.5