NFL Best Bets: Experts Pick Week 9’s Top Games

A trio of sharps look at five of this week's best games

November 3, 2023 6:52 am
Josh Allen throws a pass against the Bengals.
The Bills and the Bengals have some unfinished business.
Timothy T Ludwig/Getty

This is NFL Best Bets, a recurring series in which football experts and handicappers lend us their insights and picks for the most intriguing matchups for each week of the professional football season.

In this Week 9 edition of NFL Best Bets, Thomas Gable, the director of race and sportsbook at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City sports betting reporter Josh Appelbaum of VSiN and Mike Golic Jr. of DraftKings share their opinions on five games that will kick off on the NFL’s ninth weekend, including a divisional showdown between the Cowboys and Eagles in Philly.

You’ve got places to go, people to see and possibly some wagers to make, so let’s get to it.

Dolphins (+2, O/U 51) at Chiefs

Appelbaum’s Assessment: This line opened with the Chiefs listed as high as a 5.5-point favorite at a neutral site. The line quickly got adjusted down to Chiefs -2 or even -1.5, signaling some respected money coming in for Miami plus the points. However, the Chiefs are now in a buy-low spot with a deflated line. Mahomes is 10-7 ATS (59%) in his career after a loss. I’ll look toward the total instead. It opened at 52.5 and has fallen to 51, signaling sharp under money. Weather could be an issue in Germany, with 15-20 MPH winds expected. Give me the windy and the under.

Gable’s Guess: This could potentially be the top two AFC teams meeting in Germany on a neutral field, which is nice because you don’t have to worry about home-field advantage. This is the first time Tyreek Hill is facing the Chiefs. He’s off to a historic start this season. He’ll be a great test for Kansas City’s defense, which is surrendering only 15.1 points per game. this is a huge game for the Dolphins to show they belong at the top of the AFC and can hang with the best teams in the league. They were beaten badly by the Eagles and Bills, the best teams they’ve played. I’m going to lay the points with the Chiefs.

Golic’s Gamble: There’s a bounceback incoming for Patrick Mahomes after one of the worst games of his career against Denver. The Chiefs’ defense has a lot of new faces that didn’t play with Tyreek Hill, but defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo certainly knows him and will find ways to limit his explosiveness while bothering Tua in the pocket. Laying the points with KC.

IH Best Bet: Miami could have lost to the Patriots, twice. Laying the points with Mahomes and Co.

Seahawks (+6, O/U 44) at Ravens

Appelbaum’s Assessment: This line opened with the Ravens listed as a 5-point home favorite. Early money laid the points with Baltimore, driving the Ravens up from -5 to -6. Now that we’ve reached the key number of 6, we’re starting to see some buyback on the Seahawks, who are only receiving 45% of bets. Geno Smith is 9-6 ATS (60%) as a dog with Seattle. Pete Carroll is 48-32 ATS (60%) in his career as a dog. Seattle also has correlative betting value as a dog in a low-total game. I’ll back the Seahawks with the points.

Gable’s Guess: The Seahawks are coming off a win against the Browns in a game I thought they were a bit fortunate to pull out. They moved the ball against the Browns’ defense better than I expected, but this Baltimore defense is no slouch. They have surrendered the fewest points per game this season and the third-fewest passing yards. The Ravens are establishing themselves as one of the best teams in the AFC. Lamar has been unstoppable in his career against NFC teams, but the defense has been a bright spot over the last four games for Seattle. I’m going to go against Lamar and take the points.

Golic’s Gamble: While the Ravens come in with an absolutely suffocating defense, I think both offenses are clicking right now. Seattle has been getting healthier in the last few weeks, especially in their wideout room, while Lamar Jackson has played MVP-caliber football all season when his receivers don’t drop the ball. Non-AFC North battles give me hope for points in a close game. Taking the over.

IH Best Bet: Respect the Seahawks but think Baltimore is in a different class. Laying the points.

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Buccaneers (+2.5, O/U 40) at Texans

Appelbaum’s Assessment: This line opened with the Texans listed as a 2.5-point home favorite. The public is grabbing the points with Tampa Bay, yet we’ve seen the line move further to Houston at -3 at some books. This signals some sharp “fade the trendy dog” reverse line movement on the Texans, who are only receiving 42% of bets but 79% of the money, a notable sharp contrarian bet discrepancy. Houston also has value as a non-conference favorite, with the lack of familiarity benefiting the “better” team. I’ll back Houston to win the game on the moneyline -150.

Gable’s Guess: The Texans lost to Carolina on Sunday more than the Panthers won it. Houston held Carolina to only 44 yards rushing on 24 carries, but their offense finished with a season-low 229 total yards. CJ Stroud threw for only 140 yards, his lowest mark this season. The Texans team are a young, exciting team and they’re going to go through growing pains as the season goes on, but I really like them. Tampa Bay has had a decent amount of rest after playing last Thursday. They’re still very much alive in their division despite losing three straight. Baker Mayfield is someone who can keep you in games and give you a chance to win. I think the Texans bounce back and cover.

Golic’s Gamble: The Bucs’ offense has struggled in the last three games and only eclipsed the 20-point mark twice this season. The Texans’ offense received a wakeup call last week against Carolina and will face a defense that will once again have star defensive tackle Vita Vea available. Going with the under.

IH Best Bet: Feel like Bucs still have some Brady DNA left in them. Taking Tampa wth the points.

Cowboys (+3, O/U 47) at Eagles

Appelbaum’s Assessment: This line opened with the Eagles listed as a 3.5-point home favorite. The public is laying the points with Philadelphia (62% of bets). However, we’ve seen the Eagles fall from -3.5 to -3, signaling some respected action on the Cowboys. Dallas has value as a divisional dog (56% ATS since 2020).  Short road dogs +3 or less are 13-8 ATS (62%) this season and 56% ATS since 2020. Dak Prescott is 15-12 ATS (56%) in his career as a dog. I’ll expect a close game and take the Cowboys with the points.

Gable’s Guess: The Eagles have a verily difficult stretch of games coming up and they haven’t looked as strong as the team that made it to the Super Bowl last year. But, they do have the best record in the NFL. Jalen Hurts and Dak Prescott have only faced each other once. Traditionally, Prescott has played well against Philly. He has gone 3-0 in his last three starts and the Cowboys have averaged 44 points in those games. Dallas has looked dominant against inferior opponents, but they’ve been embarrassed by good teams. Are they for real? NFC East games are tricky to predict because they feel like blood feuds that have been going on for ages. I haven’t seen anything from Dallas against a good team, so I’ll back the Eagles here at home.

Golic’s Gamble: AJ Brown is on a tear and the Eagles have one of the best offensive lines in football. They’ve broken football math with the Brotherly Shove and continue to look like NFC heavyweights. The Cowboys have been feasting on lesser squads and need to prove they can handle a title fight after the 49ers beat them down a few weeks ago. Laying the points with Philly.

IH Best Bet: The Eagles don’t seem right and Dallas has to break through sometime. Maybe. Taking the points.

Bills (+2, O/U 49.5) at Bengals

Appelbaum’s Assessment: This line opened as roughly a pick’em with some shops even showing the Bills as a slight 1-point road favorite. However, since that time the line has completely flipped to Bengals -2 at home. Cincinnati is receiving 69% of bets and 75% of the money, signaling a combination of both Pro and Joe support. The Bengals seem to have gotten their mojo back and are now 4-1 in their last five games. Cincinnati also beat Buffalo 27-10 in last year’s divisional round of the playoffs. Joe Burrow is 13-6 ATS (68%) as a favorite of 6-points or less. Give me Bengals on the moneyline -125.

Gable’s Guess: I think a couple of things could be working against Buffalo in this game. They are 1-3 on the road this season, and that’s primarily because of Josh Allen turning the ball over. In four road games, he has six interceptions and two fumbles. The Bengals’ defense has forced 13 turnovers so far, tied for fifth-most in the NFL. Cincy’s offense is clicking again thanks to Joe Burrow being healthy. His calf injury is healed and he is extremely dangerous when he can extend plays with his legs. The Bengals haven’t won a Sunday night game since 2004, but I think they get the job done here. I am laying the points with the Bengals.

Golic’s Gamble: Lou Anarumo might be the most well-known defensive coordinator in the NFL after the last season and a half. After another lights-out gameplan vs. a banged-up 49ers’ offense, he now sets his sights on the Buffalo Bills. While the defense has been the foundation, the Bengals are inching closer toward their ceiling as Joe Burrow looks healthier with each passing week. The Bills made a move at the deadline to help their injured secondary by acquiring Rasul Douglas from the Packers. It may be too soon to expect dividends to be paid from that investment in such a high-profile matchup. I’ll lay the points.

IH Best Bet: Two good teams, but they seem to be moving in opposite directions. Laying the points.

Last Week: 3-2; This Season: 19-20-1

Editor’s note: Betting lines fluctuate based on injuries, the weather and other factors. Double-check the odds before betting.

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