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Derrik Klassen gives his five best bets for Week 9 of the NFL season including against the spread picks and player props.
ANALYSIS

NFL Picks and Predictions: Derrik Klassen's Top 5 Bets To Place For Week 9

New England Patriots (-3.5) @ Carolina Panthers at (-110)

Panthers vs. Patriots Odds

The Patriots are sorting themselves out on offense week by week. Both the ground game and passing attack have gotten incrementally better.

The obvious point of development has been in Mac Jones’ ability to push the ball to the intermediate and deeper areas of the field. Through his first few starts, Jones was almost strictly a checkdown connoisseur. The more comfortable he becomes in the offense, the more he has been willing to make the tough throws on the field. Whether or not he can be a truly game-changing passer down the field is to be seen, but the fact he is becoming functional in that regard and forcing defenses to consider those throws is a step in the right direction.

Furthermore, Jones’ best trait, even when he was posting weaker performances earlier in the year, is how he handles blitzes. Jones is a sharp quarterback who already appears to have a good chunk of control and understanding pre-snap. That has allowed him to consistently beat blitzes before they get home. Against a Panthers defense that loves sending pressures and blitzes, Jones should be able to keep the Patriots away from negative plays in the passing game.

On the other end, Sam Darnold has to deal with Bill Belichick’s defense. While this Panthers team is better than any of Darnold’s Jets teams, Belichick knows the book on Darnold and should be able to hem him up with ease. Darnold did play well last week, to his credit, but the Falcons defense is considerably weaker and less aggressive than this Patriots unit, both up front and in coverage.

Tennessee Titans @ Los Angeles Rams (-7.5) (+100)

Rams vs. Titans Odds

This is a hefty line in favor of the Rams, but the Titans are in a brutal spot this week.

Losing Derrick Henry is going to hurt the Titans offense. No doubt about it. The Titans will feel that impact the strongest this week, their first week without him in the lineup. Everything about Tennessee’s offensive construction — heavier personnel, under-center formations, zone runs, and play-action — all center on the threat of Henry and the volume at which he carries the ball. No longer having that in the lineup either forces Tennessee to be a much worse version of that offense (with Adrian Peterson) or lean more into spread and shotgun looks, which is not Ryan Tannehill’s strength (though he is still plenty capable in that regard).

We also know what the Rams’ passing offense is capable of on the other side. Though the Titans pass defense has improved dramatically over the last few weeks, climbing all the way to 14th in pass defense DVOA, they are still a unit that feels outclassed by the Rams’ trio of wide receivers in Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and Van Jefferson. Maybe this is not the week the Rams hit a season-high in points, but they should be able to outgun a Titans offense that may struggle to find their identity this week as well as be forced into unfavorable game scripts.

Bengals RB Joe Mixon, Over 2.5 Receptions (+105)

Bengals vs. Browns Odds

Joe Mixon’s receiving workload has been hit or miss this year. He caught four passes in the opener, went on a run of four consecutive one-catch games, then rattled off performances with five, zero, and four receptions over the past three weeks. Mixon’s passing volume has been tough to crack.

That said, this week’s game could provide one of those higher volume weeks. The Browns defense has an excellent pass-rush and should be able to heat up the Bengals offensive line. Assuming that will be true, quarterback Joe Burrow should be forced to checkdown a fair amount, which is something he is very good at both in terms of throwing them on time and with accuracy.

Couple that with the Cleveland linebacker corps being hit-or-miss themselves, especially with rookie Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah out of the lineup, and I really like Mixon’s chances to bring in a few passes in this one.

Falcons QB Matt Ryan, Under 257.5 Passing Yards (-115)

Saints vs. Falcons Odds

As an individual, Matt Ryan is playing awesome football. The numbers do not show it, but Ryan has done an incredible job managing the pocket, throwing on time, and throwing accurately. The issue is the Falcons roster is desolate and has not been able to make good on how well Ryan is playing.

That would make betting the over on Ryan risky at any point for the rest of the year, but especially against the Saints defense. Dennis Allen’s defense currently sits at fifth in pass defense DVOA. Cornerback Marshon Lattimore is playing out of his mind, safety Marcus Williams is a stud as a deep centerfield defender, and nickel corner Chauncey Gardner-Johnson is a great glue piece in the middle of the defense. It is going to be tough for the Falcons’ pack of practice squad pass-catchers (sans Kyle Pitts, of course) to get open consistently.

Saints RB Mark Ingram, First TD Scorer (+1600)

Saints vs. Falcons Odds

It’s hard to know what to make of the Saints offense for the time being. Some combination of Trevor Siemian and/or Taysom Hill may be the quarterback, and it’s tough to know how much work Mark Ingram is going to get in his return to New Orleans. That said, this week against a putrid Falcons defense is the perfect opportunity for the Saints offense to bumble on by for another week and find a way to put up points.

Based on the quarterback play, explosives will probably be tough to come by. That was already the case even with Jameis Winston at quarterback, considering the wide receiver situation, but it will be especially true now. If the Saints are going to score, my feeling is that it will require some grind-it-out drives that ultimately finish with some runs to punch things into the end zone. While Taysom Hill could be the one to capitalize there, I like Ingram’s chances to insert himself back into Sean Payton’s offense comfortably and get some work in the low red zone.

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You've seen his breakdowns and football analysis on Twitter and elsewhere. Now, Derrik Klassen brings his unmatched knowledge of the game to OddsChecker to give us his NFL picks each and every week.

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