NFL Week 9: Early Picks
Week 8 saw six underdogs cover against the spread with only two winnings outright - the Los Angeles Chargers and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Last week, my early picks went a perfect 3-0 with all three teams covering; the New York Giants (+7), Seattle Seahawks (-3) and Green Bay Packers (-3).
Bettors most likely bought in on the Seahawks at (-7) after the news broke that Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan would miss the game.
Unfortunately for them, the seven-point spread resulted in a push while the three-point spread covered easily.
Take a look at some early lines that you’ll want to jump on before they move:
The Cleveland Browns (2-5) ran into the undefeated powerhouse that is the New England Patriots and dropped a third consecutive game, losing 27-13.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield threw his league-high 12th interception of the season and was sacked five times while completing 20-of-31 for 194 yards and added one touchdown.
Running back Nick Chubb also had his fair share of struggles, fumbling the ball twice, but managed to rush for over 100 yards for the third time this season. Chubb had 20 carries for 131 yards.
The Broncos’ string of bad luck continued in Indianapolis as Denver (2-6) lost 17-16 as time expired on a 51-yard field goal.
Denver lost a second straight game despite a stellar defensive outing that featured four sacks and a recovered fumble. Running back Royce Freeman was the lone Bronco to find the endzone, rushing 40 yards on 12 carries and a score.
Roll with the Browns and the points (+1.5). I’ll sprinkle some on the moneyline at +104 too.
Denver is getting the starting nod as the home favorite, but my expectation is the line will turn into a pick em’ over the week.
Cleveland may have struggled over the last three weeks, but they are far too good on paper for me to see them losing this game.
The Houston Texans fought through adversity and improved to 5-3 with a come-from-behind 27-24 win over the Oakland Raiders.
Quarterback Deshaun Watson was sensational completing 27-of-39 for 279 yards and three touchdowns, adding 10 carries for 46 yards.
Although Houston won the game, the team lost a major contributor on the defensive side of the ball in former Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt, who is likely to be out for the remainder of the season.
The Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4) picked up a second straight victory with a convincing 29-15 win over the New York Jets. Jacksonville’s defense kept New York off balance totaling eight sacks and three interceptions.
Minshew Mania was on full display as rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew had himself a day, completing 22-of-34 for 279 yards and three touchdowns, adding eight carries for 28 yards.
I’m taking the Jaguars with the points (+2.5). These AFC South rivals face off overseas in London and it could be another nail-biter, like when these teams met in Week 2.
Houston won that matchup 13-12 after the Jaguars failed to convert a two-point conversion with under a minute remaining. This time around, my thought is that Jacksonville will be able to take advantage of an injured Houston defense.
The New England Patriots (8-0) remained undefeated and rolled past the Cleveland Browns 27-13.
New England’s defense was dominant as ever totaling five sacks, two recovered fumbles - including one returned for a touchdown and an interception.
The Patriots improved to 6-2 against the spread this season as quarterback Tom Brady completed 20-of-36 for 259 yards and two touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Baltimore Ravens (5-2) return from the bye week with something to prove as they host the defending Super Bowl champions.
Last time out, the Ravens won a third consecutive game by defeating the Seahawks on the road 30-16.
Quarterback Lamar Jackson was yet again a dynamic dual threat rushing and throwing for over 100 yards. Jackson completed 9-of-20 for 143 yards and 14 rushes for 116 yards and one touchdown.
The Ravens added two defensive touchdowns courtesy of newly-acquired cornerback Marcus Peters and fellow corner Marlon Humphrey. Peters had a 67-yard interception return and Humphrey returned a fumble 18 yards for a score.
Take the Patriots to cover (-3.5). New England has won 21 consecutive games against first or second-year quarterbacks - with six of those wins coming this season.
Another ridiculous statistic is that the Patriots defense has scored more touchdowns (4) than allowed (3) this season.
Baltimore is a legitimate threat and contender to win the AFC. However, Jackson is a second-year QB that may find himself victim to Bill Belichick and the Patriots.
By Stephen Rodriguez