Smart Money: NFL Week 9 picks against the spread

Winning money on NFL games is a very tricky business. The four most heavily bet teams every week this season have actually posted a sub-.500 record against the spread, which goes to show you how much of an inexact science this whole thing is. That’s why I lobby for a low risk-low reward approach. You can’t lose what you don’t put into the pot. 

Having said that, we all want to come out on top on Sundays. So to help you out, here are a few games I particularly like in Week 9.

(Home team in Caps).

Atlanta (-3.5) over TAMPA BAY

Tampa Bay managed to beat Atlanta back in Week 1 thanks to Jameis Winston’s four touchdown passes and the Bucs have actually taken the last three match ups between these two. Since Week 2, however, Winston has posted a pretty pedestrian 78.5 passer rating, putting him in the same discussion as guys like Case Keenum and Brock Osweiler. On the other side of the ball, Tampa Bay’s safeties just allowed Derek Carr to set a franchise record for passing yards. Matt Ryan and that passing attack should continue the trend, especially with Tampa Bay down to their fourth-string running back.

MINNESOTA over Detroit (+6)

The Vikings have serious offensive line issues and Sam Bradford just isn’t good enough to cover that up. Mike Zimmer is a fantastic coach and won’t allow his team to drop three straight, especially in a home game. Overall, Zimmer is 29-11 against the spread as Minnesota’s head coach. But I’m always a fan of giving points to the best QB in the game and Matthew Stafford is playing at an All Pro level this season. Garbage time touchdowns still count.

Pittsburgh (+2.5) over BALTIMORE

As of right now, Ben Roethlisberger looks like he’s going to suit up this week in Baltimore. Normally, the safest bet is to wait until closer to game time to make your wagers to avoid unlucky injuries or what have you. But, I’m also a fan of taking advantage of mismatched lines (last week, I pounced on Oak +1 on Monday. By game time, the Raiders were -1.5 favorites). This feels like one of those opportunities.

Having said that, both teams have lost two or more in a row coming into this game. Baltimore boasts the NFL’s sixth-ranked pass defense and fourth-best overall and are playing at home in a heated division game. If Roethlisberger is a go, I give the slight edge to Pittsburgh (especially getting points). But if it’s Landry Jones starting under center, I’m going Ravens all the way.

Denver (PK) over OAKLAND

Ooooh this is a good one.

The Raiders are somehow 5-0 on the road but have dropped two at home (both against winning teams) and have been out gained in yards per play in every contest except one. I love me some Carr-boiled eggs, but Denver’s roster top-to-bottom is much better and I think they take sole possession of first place in the AFC West with a win here.

Pictured Below: Broncos fans after Week 9