- NFL betting is back after another winning weekend.
- NFL Week 9 best bets include several contrarian underdogs.
- The Bills have become a surprisingly great under team.
Another Sunday is almost here, so it’s time to bet on NFL again.
As I do at the end of every week during the fall, I’m sharing three of my favorite NFL betting lines from the upcoming Week 9 games. Tail or fade at your leisure.
NFL Best Bets: Week 9 NFL Predictions
After I’ve handicapped the whole board each week, I will publish my three best plays from the wider canon of NFL odds.
I’ll provide a short explanation of why I like each bet, so you don’t have to go on faith alone.
If you prefer an audio version of this weekly article, you can always subscribe to The Lion’s Edge, my weekly handicapping podcast for BetMGM. More on that in a little bit.
One rule to keep in mind: Any time there’s an underdog in the range of +3 to +7, I’m almost always sprinkling a quarter-unit moneyline play on top of the spread play.
Last week’s picks went 2-1. (If the Falcons hadn’t forgotten to cover DJ Moore in the final 15 seconds, they would have been 3-0.)
NFL picks in this column are now 14-10 on the season.
Panthers at Bengals (-7.5)
It’s a little ironic that the Panthers have their clearest offensive identity after firing their head coach and trading away their best offensive player.
Under interim coach Steve Wilks, Carolina has quickly shifted toward a competent, two-headed ground with D’Onta Foreman and Chubba Hubbard.
Since Christian McCaffrey was traded, the Panthers have been chunky underdogs against Tampa Bay and Atlanta; they’ve covered both games.
Now, Carolina goes to Cincinnati – playing on a short week after Monday Night Football – where it will find its clearest running lanes yet. Per PFF, Cincinnati ranks 25th in the NFL in rush defense.
Foreman should feast, and Cincinnati’s quick-strike capabilities are greatly reduced without Ja’Marr Chase. Carolina is a great bet to stay within a juicy margin, and I would consider a little sprinkle on the moneyline at +260.
Play: Panthers +7.5
Colts at Patriots (-5.5)
I’ve got a few observations on this game, and they all support Indianapolis.
First, there’s the Patriots’ inflated market value. Why am I laying nearly six points with one of the least talented teams in football? With Mac Jones as the starter, the Pats are 1-3-1 ATS this season, and 5.5 is not exactly a small number.
While we’re on the subject of the number, there’s also the high spread/low total differential to consider. In games with a total south of 42, underdogs are 102-67-4 ATS since the beginning of the 2018 NFL betting season.
There’s also the Colts’ market value. Bettors perceive the Colts as a downgraded team with Sam Ehlinger at quarterback, but PFF graded Matt Ryan as the No. 32 quarterback in the NFL through the first two months of the season.
Relative to that standard, Ehlinger can only be an upgrade.
Finally, there’s the ticket/handle split. The Patriots have a slight 53/47 advantage in marketwide ticket count, but more than 70% of the marketwide handle is on the Colts plus the points. I am, too.
Play: Colts +5.5
Seattle at Arizona (-2)
I just don’t get this number. Arizona has no discernible homefield advantage. Why would anyone lay points with them in this spot?
I’ve mentioned nearly every week here and on The Lion’s Edge that Arizona is a miserable first-half team. That means I’m loading up for multiple Seattle positions in this game.
The only thing that gives me pause is how public an underdog Seattle is. A huge majority of tickets like the Seahawks in this spot, and I loathe public underdogs.
My hunch is that Arizona is being given too much credit in the handicapping markets – a bit like Carolina was earlier in the season – and the book is slow to make aggressive adjustments.
I’m on Seattle here with multiple positions, but I won’t be terribly surprised if this one crashes and burns. Public dogs are never a good long-term investment.
Play: Seattle 1H +0.5; Seattle +2; Seattle ML +110
Bills at Jets (+11.5)
I usually only give three picks in this column every week, but I have to get this one in because it’s too good.
When the average bettor thinks of NFL odds and the Bills, they think of offense. Everyone – including the sportsbook – knows this. That’s why Buffalo totals are always slightly inflated. It insulates the sportsbook against the high weekly volumes of over bets on Josh Allen and the Bills.
That inflation has created one of the most interesting over/under trends in the NFL. The Bills are actually 6-1 to the under.
The average sports bettor thinks this weekend’s AFC East game between the Jets and Bills is going to look like their first game last year: A 45-17 win for Buffalo.
But when you look at the other four games these two teams have played recently, you get a much clearer and more accurate picture of how this rivalry generally plays out:
- 27-10, Bills
- 18-10, Bills
- 27-17, Bills
- 13-6, Jets
This is one of the sharpest spots of the week. The Jets’ offense is faltering; Buffalo’s defense is underrated; four of the last five games played between these two divisional rivals has yielded fewer than 46 points. I love this contrarian under.
Play: Bills/Jets Under 46
NFL Parlay for Week 9
Let’s take a fun shot this week by stringing together a few overs I lean toward.
- Chargers/Falcons Over 49.5
- Dolphins/Bears Over 45.5
- Raiders/Jaguars Over 48
- Ravens/Saints Over 48
That’s a four-team parlay that pays +1228!
NFL Week 9 Predictions
Want to check out the full NFL Week 9 podcast? Don’t forget to subscribe to The Lion’s Edge for intelligent, weekly insights into trends and betting tips across the online sports betting world. It’s available on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
You can also listen to it in the web player below.
Football Betting at BetMGM
BetMGM is the premier sportsbook for football betting.
Each week during the NFL season, you can bet on spreads, over/under totals, player props, and more. You also have access to parlays – including One Game Parlays and parlay promotions – and live sports betting.
Check out the NFL betting page to get closer to the action!