Week 9 of the NFL season got started with a somewhat entertaining Thursday Night Football game. The Houston Texans hung around with the Philadelphia Eagles for a half before the NFL’s lone undefeated team puled away for aa 29-17 win. 50% of Week 9 TNF Prime Picks hit. Let’s aim to do better. There are still 12 games remaining this weekend, which means plenty of opportunities to take advantage of some enticing odds.
Lock of Week 9: CAROLINA PANTHERS (+7.5) at Cincinnati Bengals
Since firing head coach Matt Rhule and making P.J. Walker the starting quarterback, the Panthers look like a functional football team. They’ve covered the spread in their past two games; including an outright victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They have a good shot at covering the spread again despite being on the road to face the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Bengals are coming off a disappointing 32-13 loss to the Cleveland Browns. They continued to exhibit some of the same issues that have plagued them all season: poor run game and pass protection. Joe Mixon is averaging 3.3 yards per carry (career worst). Meanwhile, Burrow was sacked five more times, and has been sacked 30 times this seasons (2nd in NFL). On top of that, the absence of Ja’Marr Chase affected their offensive consistency.
Regardless of who the Bengals have played, they haven’t been able to correct these flaws. The Panthers should be able to exploit them too. Plus, the Panthers’ offense has become more formidable. Running back D’Onta Foreman and receiver D.J. Moore have played really well the past two weeks. If the Bengals struggled covering the Browns weapons with Jacoby Brissett a QB, they may have similar problems with the Panthers’ offense led by P.J. Walker, who is 4-1 ATS as a starter.
Underdog of Week 9: Los Angeles Rams (+130 DK) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This could be a big underdog weekend, but let’s settle on this one. Neither the Rams nor the Bucs have looked great offensively this season. However, the Rams feel like they’re in better position to turn things around than the Bucs.
The Bucs offense lacks any sort of juice or balance. Running back Leonard Fournette is averaging 3.4 yards per carry, which allows opponents to focus their energy on Tom Brady and Tampa’s passing game. On top of that, the Bucs continue to deal with a litany of injuries. This situation sets up perfectly for the Rams’ defense disrupt the Bucs’ offense often.
On the flip side, the Rams are having very similar issues. However, Los Angeles feels more like a victim of circumstance as opposed to simply playing poorly. Their four losses this season have come against the 49ers (2x), Bills and Cowboys. All those teams have record .500 or better. Also, Sean McVay thrives in the eastern time zone. When McVay’s teams travel from PT to ET, they are 10-1 SU and 9-2 ATS.
Best Week 9 O/U Pick: Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots, UNDER 40.5 Points (-115 DK)
Indianapolis has the third worst scoring offense in the league while having the seventh best defense in the league. As a result, the under has hit in seven of the Colts’ eight games this season. In fact, only two of the Colts’ games this season have surpassed a 41-point game total. There’s no sign that the Colts’ offensive struggles are going to change this week as quarterback Sam Ehlinger will be making his second career start without star running back Jonathan Taylor. That’s not a scenario you want when facing Bill Belichick.
Speaking of Belichick, his team has an issue at quarterback. Mac Jones has been awful in five starts this season. He thrown seven interceptions to only three touchdowns. This feels like a game the Patriots will rely heavily on the run to win the game. In that scenario, there will be less possessions and less scoring opportunities. Neither side generates big explosive plays. So, it’s likely all scoring plays will bookend long, time-consuming drives.
Player Prop of Week 9: Joe Mixon UNDER 67.5 Rush Yards vs CAR (-115 DK)
As mentioned earlier, Bengals running back Joe Mixon has been awful this season. His offensive line is not creating holes for him to run through, and he does seem to have the explosion to break often any long runs. As a result, he is only averaging 54,0 rush yards per game. Mixon has only covered this number twice out of eight games this season. The Panthers do allow 126.6 rushing yards per game, and allowed Caleb Huntley to get 91 rush yards last week. However, the Falcons are run-dependent team while the Bengals run a pass-heavy offense.
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