How to Bet Week 9’s Best NFL Games, Including and Patriots-Ravens and Bears-Eagles
Paul Bovi of VegasInsider.com and Jeff Parles of VSiN break down Week 9's best NFL games
This is NFL Best Bets, a recurring series in which professional sports handicappers lend us their insights and picks for the most intriguing matchups for each week of the football season.
For this edition of Best Bets, Paul Bovi, a sports betting expert from VegasInsider.com who’s been handicapping games for three decades, and Jeff Parles, the host of MarketWatch on VSiN, share their opinions on five games on the NFL’s slate of Week 9 matchups, including Sunday’s AFC showdown between the Patriots and Ravens on Sunday Night Football.
You’ve got places to go, people to see and possibly some wagers to make, so let’s get to it.
3-4 Bears (+190, +5, O/U 42) at 4-4 Eagles
Now at the bottom of the NFC North, the Chicago Bears come into this road game on a three-game losing streak. They take on an Eagles team that has been wildly inconsistent this season and will likely need to win the NFC East to qualify for the playoffs, since Philadelphia’s record likely won’t be good enough to earn a wild-card spot.
Bovi’s take: “In Week 8, the Eagles departed Buffalo with a much-needed win a week following their blowout at the hands of the Cowboys, who they now trail by only a half-game for the lead in the NFC East. Philadelphia rushed for 218 yards and averaged 5.3 yards per carry against the Bills, which paved the way to victory. They take on a Bears team that lost their third in a row, this one to the Chargers 17-16, as placekicker Eddie Piniero was wide left on a 41-yard field goal at the gun. Bears’ QB Mitchell Trubisky threw for 253 yards in the loss, his highest output this season. The Eagles have momentum, are at home, and have the opportunity to head into their bye week in first place should the Cowboys be defeated by the Giants on Monday night. Philly gets this one 27-17.”
Parles’ take: “Let’s start with Chicago. Last week was just another mess for them. They did everything in their power to lose that game last week to the Chargers, and they managed to do it. You have no hope at quarterback in Mitchell Trubisky right now. Even that defense showed cracks against New Orleans two weeks ago. They played great last week, but it wasn’t enough to get it done. Philadelphia got a quality win against a Buffalo team that we’re still not certain how good they are, but, going up to Western New York in that weather, it’s not easy and they really handled Buffalo. This is a pretty good spot for the Eagles. They’re back at home after a month away. I like Philadelphia in this spot. Right now you’re seeing about a -5 on Philadelphia. They’ll be able to handle Trubisky and an offense that is struggling mightily for Chicago. I like the Eagles laying the five points.”
Our Pick: Hope Trubisky struggles and lay the points with the Eagles
6-2 Vikings (N/A, N/A, N/A) at 5-3 Chiefs
The Vikings are one of the hottest teams in the NFL and come into this road matchup on a four-game winning streak. Their quarterback, Kirk Cousins, had a spectacular October and is the biggest reason for Minnesota’s recent success. Kansas City’s quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, missed last week after dislocating his kneecap. As of now, it’s unclear if he’ll be playing on Sunday.
Bovi’s take: “Kirk Cousins was surgical in the Vikings 19-9 victory over the Redskins in Week 8 as he completed 23-of-26 pass attempts for 285 yards. Over the last six weeks, the Vikings’ signal-caller has completed 77 percent of his throws to go along with 11 touchdowns and only one interception. The offense generated 440 yards in total, but sputtered in the red zone as Dan Bailey was forced into, and made, all four of his field-goal attempts. Wideout Adam Thielen, who sat out last week’s win with a sore hamstring, is expected to return. On the other side, Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes’s injury status is in question. While the Vikings offense has been hot, the defense has been far from impenetrable over the last several weeks. The Lions put up 30 on them two weeks ago, while the Redskins moved the ball rather easily in the first half last week as QB Case Keenum completed 12-of-16 for 130 yards. The Chiefs got to Aaron Rodgers five times in Sunday night’s 31-24 loss to the Packers but were unable to contain running back Aaron Jones, who hauled in seven passes for 159 yards. We’ll look for a higher-scoring game and side with the over.”
Parles’ take: “This game currently is off the board in most spots. If Mahomes was in, I think this is a tremendous spot for Kansas City. They already have three losses at Arrowhead this year, which is unheard of when they’re good. Minnesota’s defense is tremendous. We have seen that time and time again. I like Vikings coach Mike Zimmer. I think he’ll be able to adjust in-game. We know how good Kansas City coach Andy Reid is on that 15-play script at the beginning of the game. So this one is squarely down to if Mahomes is in or not. If Mahomes is in, I would imagine Kansas City ends up actually being favored by three. If Mahomes is out, we’ll see 2.5 or probably three on Minnesota. If Mahomes plays, I like KC. If he doesn’t, I like Minnesota.”
Our Pick: Go with the over if Mahomes plays. If not, just stay away
4-4 Titans (+170, +4, O/U 42) at 4-3 Panthers
Tennessee comes into this game riding a two-game winning streak that began when starter Marcus Mariota was replaced under center by veteran Ryan Tannehill. The Panthers also changed quarterbacks this season and had won four in a row with Kyle Allen before getting flattened last week by the undefeated 49ers in San Francisco.
Bovi’s take: “The Titans managed a 27-23 win at home over the Buccaneers on Sunday. In the game, the offense capitalized on several turnovers by Jameis Winston early, which led to a pair of touchdowns on drives that were less than 15 seconds each. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill could manage only 65 yards through the air in the first half. The defense, for the most part, did a commendable job as the coverage on the Bucs receivers was tight while at least two of Winston’s 21 completions went for big yardage after being thrown up for grabs. The Panthers were mauled by the Niners 51-13 last week as Carolina quarterback Kyle Allen’s three interceptions led to 17 San Francisco points. This one should be tight and low scoring. We’ll side with the under and look for a three-point Panthers win.”
Parles’ take: “This is a tough game. Tennessee is coming off back-to-back wins at home with Ryan Tannehill at quarterback. Look, Tennessee’s defense is good. We know that. We’ve seen that throughout the year. They really have had only one bad defensive performance and that was really only one quarter against Jacksonville. Other than that, their defense has been great. On the Carolina side, I like quarterback Kyle Allen. His one issue has been fumbling. He has fumbled a lot since taking over the job from an injured Cam Newton. Right now, you’re seeing Carolina’s as a 3.5-point favorite. I think this is a good bounce-back spot for Carolina. I don’t know how this Tennessee team is going to react to playing on the road for the first time with Tannehill as a starter. I like the Panthers laying the 3.5 or four at home.”
Our Pick: Hope Tannehill flops and lay the points with the Panthers
3-3-1 Lions (+170, +4, O/U 42) at 3-4 Raiders
After losing three in a row, the Lions finally got off the schneid last week with a win over the New York Giants and rookie quarterback Daniel Jones. The Raiders have lost two in a row but were competitive in both games and, like the Lions, are probably a little better than their record indicates.
Bovi’s take: “The Raiders suffered a disappointing 27-24 loss vs the Texans in Week 8 as they failed to hold a fourth-quarter lead. Oakland quarterback Derek Carr had a solid outing as he completed 18-of-30 pass attempts for 285 yards to go along with three touchdowns. In their game, the Lions broke a three-game skid at the expense of the Giants, with Detroit prevailing 31-26. Defensively, the Lions have been anything but impressive this year, particularly over the last four weeks. Prior to the Giants win, the Vikings piled up over 500 yards of offense against them, while the Packers averaged almost six yards per carry against Detroit in their 23-22 nationally televised win. The Lions have struggled to run the ball this year, this past Sunday tallying only 59 yards on 25 carries against a team that allowed 156 yards to the Cardinals the previous week, The Raiders are home and still have playoff aspirations. Look for Oakland to get the win.”
Parles’ take: “This is the most intriguing game on the board to me. Jon Gruden’s done a tremendous job with this Oakland team. It’s really a shame their rookie safety Johnathan Abram got hurt early in the year. That injury may have cost them a game or two. Oakland’s been in every game this year. The Lions have had tough luck so far this year. This team is pretty good even though they’re 3-3-1. But look, this is Oakland’s first home game since Week 2. They technically had a home game in London, but they haven’t played in Oakland since Week 2 when they lost to Kansas City. This is a good spot for the Raiders at home. They can stay in an AFC playoff race that is pretty wide open right now with a win. I like the Raiders at home. I also would look at the total. I don’t think either of these defenses is any good. I like this game over the total and I like Oakland laying the points.”
Our Pick: Hope both defenses falter and roll with the over
8-0 Patriots (-185, -3.5, O/U 45.5) at 5-2 Ravens
Undefeated on the season, the Patriots have been getting it done with their defense as Tom Brady and the New England offense have struggled to move the ball consistently. The Ravens looked very good the last time they took the field during a win over the Seahawks. Traditionally, the Ravens have been one of the best teams at matching up with Brady and the Patriots.
Bovi’s take: “The Patriots remained undefeated in Week 8 as they defeated the Browns 27-13, in large part due to three Cleveland turnovers, two by running back Nick Chubb. The Browns running back did gash the Pats defense for 131 yards on 20 carries but has now put the ball on the ground three times in the last two weeks. New England had only 338 yards of offense for the game, which was 15 fewer yards than Cleveland had. The Patriots have played a soft schedule thus far and their offense has been anything but prolific. Their offensive line has been vulnerable as the Browns, Redskins and Giants combined to sack Tom Brady 10 times. New England takes on the Ravens, who are home and off their bye. They shored up their secondary with the acquisition of cornerback Marcus Peters from the Rams while they may get star corner Jimmy Smith back for this one as he is off suspension but nursing a knee injury. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has racked up 576 yards on the ground and is averaging almost seven yards per carry this season. Have to side with the Ravens here getting more than a field goal.”
Parles’ take: “This is the best game on the board by far this week. It’s the biggest test Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has faced since coming into the league. He’s been brilliant so far this year running the football. I think he’s every bit as good of a runner as Michael Vick was when Vick was just coming into the league. You could argue Jackson may even be better. Look, we know what Bill Belichick check does to first and second-year quarterbacks — he owns them. I think Jackson’s going to be up to the test. This feels like a one-score game, which would lead me to take the underdog getting the 3.5 points. But with New England’s defense, they’re always capable of shutting teams down completely. It wouldn’t shock me if New England wins 24-10 and it wouldn’t shock me if Baltimore wins the game outright. I lean Baltimore, but I’m not quite there to make an official pick.”
Our Pick: Look for the defenses to dominate and take the under
Last Week’s Picks: 2-3, Season: 21-19
Editor’s note: Lines fluctuate throughout the week based on injuries, weather reports and other factors. Make sure to double-check odds before betting.
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