We’re on to Week 9 in the NFL, with the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers facing off on Thursday. That means it’s time once again for our weekly look at the point spreads in order to help you win some money.
Last week, Steven Ruiz went 3-10-0 (54-56-5 overall) and Charles Curtis went 5-8-0 (57-53-5 overall).
This week, Steven is out, so our Chris Korman is taking over for one week. We now go to each of them for comments before their picks.
Charles: Bleh. On to Week 9.
Chris: Let’s be honest. After Steven’s performance last week, this is more of a Drew Lock situation. A benching.
What’s that? The Broncos continue to voluntarily play Lock? Weird.
(All bets courtesy of BetMGM)
(Note: Steelers-Cowboys was off the board as of publishing.)
Packers at 49ers (+5.5)
I am highly underestimating the “Thursday night games are weird” factor and the fact that the Packers are down to their third- and fourth-string running backs. But Nick Mullens is in for the Niners … and there are a ton of starters out on offense.
The rest of us look at Nick Mullens and think, “Welp, there’s a guy who is slightly worse in a different way than Jimmy G.” Kyle Shanahan sees him and thinks, “Welp there’s a guy who is slightly worse in a different way than Jimmy G. but I’m Kyle Shanahan so I’ll almost certainly figure out a way to use him effectively enough to stay in this game against a team that lost to the freaking Vikings.”
Seahawks at Bills (+3)
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Yes, the Hawks are traveling East and sure, the Seattle defense could allow for the Bills’ offense to put up some points. But the Seahawks are the better team right now.
How can you possibly suss out who has the advantage in a game featuring two of the league’s most exhilarating long-ball throwers?
Lol, just kidding. Russ cooks.
Broncos at Falcons (-4)
Drew Lock looked pretty good last week. So did the Falcons’ offense, but I think Denver has more than a shot to cover here.
I take my responsibility of stepping in for Steven very seriously, and have therefore watched seven games from Week 3 (in 2018) so far today while taking breaks to request various staff members at Pro Football Focus share their login credentials. But since I’m a novice tape grinder I’ve got nothing for you other than this: There’s no way I can possibly pick Drew Lock here. Wouldn’t be right.
Bears at Titans (-5.5)
I am done with betting against the Bears with large spreads like this. Clearly they’ve got some trouble at quarterback but both Nick Foles and the defense get the job done just enough to cover (they’re 5-3 against the spread this season).
Nick Foles is a hero and anyone who speaks ill of him is a bad person. This is gospel, rock solid truth. If you see him, buy him a beer, tell him it’s from me. I’ll Venmo you the cash. Something nice, not Bud or some junk.
All that being said I’m not about to trust him here.
Lions at Vikings (-4)
Minus-4 is just a hair too big for my liking. I think if Matthew Stafford ends up starting this game — he was placed on the COVID-19 list on Wednesday but could be eligible to play — gets this to within three.
You like that?
Ravens at Colts (+2.5)
It’s kind of a surprise and feels like an overreaction to both teams’ last games. I’ll back the better defense and hope that Lamar Jackson figures some of what’s ailing the offense.
They lost to the Steelers, and lost their star left tackle in the process, but I think the Ravens also figured out their run game in Week 8 and will be anxious to shove the Colts around.
Panthers at Chiefs (-10.5)
I’ve gone back and forth on this. Even with Christian McCaffrey coming back, are we so sure that this isn’t a two-score game? I’m probably not actually betting on this game if I had the choice.
The Chiefs get everybody’s best shot, or so the saying goes, and I’m not entirely sure where they’re supposed to be drawing inspiration from a week after trouncing the Jets. The Panthers, meanwhile, have been playing inspired football for much of the season, as if their first-year coach and coordinators feel like they have something to prove.
Texans at Jaguars (+7)
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
I don’t know a thing about Jake Luton, but I do know the Jags are tanking and their defense stinks. So Deshaun Watson will run up the score coming off the bye.
Why. Just why.
(But for real I pick the Texans, same reasons as Charles.)
Giants at Washington (-3)
Big Blue has been keeping games relatively close (how, though? Daniel Jones is a turnover machine!), so I’ll take the points.
Chris: The Football Team
I see a big let-down game coming for the Giants after nearly beating the Bucs. What’s that look like? I’m not really sure but I trust Daniel Jones to find new and invigorating ways to craft ludicrous turnovers in the wake of any good play he makes.
Raiders at Chargers (-1)
I’m convinced the Chargers have to stop blowing leads at some point. Here’s a good spot for it against a Raiders team that’s not as good as it’s looked in certain weeks.
Is there anything better than the hype train that inevitably steams down the track when a young QB plays well for a team that is otherwise weirdly broken and sort of hopeless? Yes. Many things. But it’s still fun and should be mentioned here.
Dolphins at Cardinals (-5)
I’m ignoring Tua Tagovailoa’s first start and assuming he does better. But I’m buying more in on Kyler Murray doing Kyler Murray things.
This is a really fun game on paper, with young quarterbacks and second-year coaches who approach the game from different sides of the ball. But Miami has to expect more growing pains from Tua and Arizona has been the more well-rounded team and is coming off a bye week.
Saints at Buccaneers (-5.5)
I do believe the Bucs win this one, but the margin there is too large for a team that’s play Tampa already and which has just enough to keep this game close.
Now that Tom Brady looks more comfortable in Bruce Arians offense he’s going to give this Saints secondary some problems. Drew Brees has gotten incrementally better and has New Orleans in the Super Bowl discussion, but Tampa’s defensive is capable of taking away the safer throws he’d like to rely on at this stage of his career.
Patriots at Jets (+7)
I boldly declared the Jets would cover on a recent appearance with Mr. Korman on For The Win‘s super-awesome NFL podcast, The Counter, and I’m sticking with it. Is it a bad idea? You bet it is. But they kept it relatively close against the Bills in Week 7.
I’d be surprised if New England’s defense doesn’t score enough points on its own to win this game by 21.
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