Week nine in the NFL got off to an interesting start. The 49ers were slight home favorites against the hapless Oakland Raiders. A Niners win would have shocked nobody, but Nick Mullens coming out of nowhere to start and toss three scores in a 31-point win? Color me a little shocked.
That was the TNF game and while the insanity didn’t exactly build from there, the week still played out as a rather revealing one.
The Green Bay Packers battled a title contender tightly for the second straight week on the road. They still failed in the end – largely thanks to another late-game fumble – and fell to 0-4 away from home.
Close isn’t good enough in the NFL and if you can’t find ways to win on the road at least sometimes, you can forget about chasing down a championship.
I’m not here to write the Packers off just yet at 3-4-1 and obviously taking down the Rams and Patriots on the road was always going to ask a lot. But those were probably games Green Bay needed to find a way to win – at least one of them.
Elsewhere, the Dallas Cowboys couldn’t beat the Titans at home following a bye week. Denver dropped a winnable home game due to horrible game management. Sam Darnold unraveled in a sea of more turnovers. And the Washington Redskins may have gotten exposed in a thrashing by the hands of the Falcons.
Everything else went about as expected. To get a clear picture, let’s take a look at how week nine shook out in pro football:
Week 9 NFL Results
|Matchup||SU Winner||ATS Winner||Total|
|OAK vs. SF||49ers (34-3)||49ers (+1.5)||Under 44|
|KC vs. CLE||Chiefs (37-21)||Chiefs (-8)||Over 51.5|
|NYJ vs. MIA||Dolphins (13-6)||Dolphins (-3)||Under 43|
|PIT vs. BAL||Steelers (23-16)||Steelers (+1.5)||Under 47|
|ATL vs. WAS||Falcons (38-14)||Falcons (+1.5)||Over 47|
|DET vs. MIN||Vikings (24-9)||Vikings (-5)||Under 47|
|CHI vs. BUF||Bears (41-9)||Bears (-10)||Over 38|
|TB vs. CAR||Panthers (42-28)||Panthers (-6)||Over 55.5|
|LAC vs. SEA||Chargers (25-17)||Chargers (+1)||Under 48.5|
|HOU vs. DEN||Texans (19-17)||Texans (+1)||Under 46.5|
|LAR vs. NO||Saints (45-35)||Saints (+2)||Over 57|
|GB vs. NE||Patriots (31-17)||Patriots (-5.5)||Under 56.5|
|TEN vs. DAL||Titans (28-14)||Titans (+4.5)||Over 40|
I mentioned that week nine went largely as expected, but that’s not entirely true. The NFL saw a whopping seven upsets this past week, with six road teams at least beating the spread.
The main focus should be on those upsets and the fact that they come off a bit fraudulent, at least to me.
The Chargers, Texans, and Saints were just +1 underdogs and New Orleans was at home. I honestly liked all three, so while those teams scored upsets in the traditional sense, the value wasn’t amazing and I’m not sure anyone is that shocked about them.
There just weren’t too many crazy “out of nowhere” games this week, but I do want to note a few things.
For one, the Falcons are very much still alive in terms of the NFC playoff picture. A lot of teams are, but that’s saying something for a team that started 1-4. Atlanta is very interesting because they’ve only been crushed once in 2018 and have been pretty deadly throughout the season.
Now 4-4, the Falcons hold their wild-card fate in their own hands. Trumping the Saints and Panthers to win the NFC South division feels like a reach, but with the last two wild-card spots seemingly wide open in this conference, they’re a major threat.
Another thing is I don’t think you can downgrade the Rams at all. I thought they might lose to the Packers and then I felt they’d definitely lose to the Saints, but at no point did I think these things because L.A. is bad or incapable of winning a championship.
The Rams do have their flaws. Their pass rush isn’t as good as it probably should be and would-be star corner Marcus Peters has gotten roasted all year long. Los Angeles might have the offense to make those non-issues eventually, but either way, losing a shootout to the Saints on the road isn’t a reason to scoff at the Rams.
They haven’t done that this year. The Chargers look very good at 6-2 and could be one big win over the Chiefs from being a very interesting bet to win the AFC West.
A lot of people liked the Chargers to do so before the season started, but I was reluctant to buy into the hype. I’m not sold they make it happen, but this team is starting to look like a very interesting Super Bowl sleeper at the very worst.
Week 9 Stats – Year to Date
|Wager Type||Week 5||Year-to-Date|
|Underdog vs. Favorite (ATS)||7-6||69-60-3|
|Home vs. Away (ATS)||6-7||64-64-3|
|Straight Up Underdog Wins||7||45|
There are two key takeaways from week nine; things are again typically cut right down the middle when you look at home/away and over/under splits and this was the week of underdogs.
Everyone knows the NFL is a pretty volatile league from week to week, but as I noted earlier, I think week nine was a little unique. Vegas seemed to price a few games just to sway betting and it’d be interesting to learn how that worked out.
Games, where the Steelers, Texans, Saints and Chargers were underdogs (and they probably actually weren’t), are the ones I’d focus on. All of those teams won, which might put the “true” underdog wins number at a more appropriate three for the week.
In a year with a ton of points and insane quarterback play (Patrick Mahomes, anyone?) it’s a little shocking to see the Under take over after week nine.
Again, this may be another mildly misleading stat. The early season productivity seemed to inflate the betting scene and anytime you catch two viable teams that can put up points, you see a lot of Totals at 52, 55 and even pushing 60.
That’s not normal and even though some games still call for the Over bet, absurd Totals like that do make it more challenging than in the past.
Looking to Week 10
I felt that week nine, for the most part, came off as fairly predictable.
That isn’t to have me come off as thinking I know it all. I just think the way Vegas priced games felt a bit forced or even as though you could tell exactly how they wanted people to bet.
Maybe it was just me, but I never viewed the Steelers, Saints, Texans, Chargers or even the Falcons as true underdogs. Four of those teams were on the road, but momentum, talent, and timing led me to believe they’d all get wins.
The Saints were a product of timing, home environment, excellent play, and the Rams simply finally running into a balanced team they couldn’t wipe the floor with.
Looking to week 10, things figure to get a little trickier.
It all starts with Thursday Night Football, as fans get a good one between the Steelers and Panthers in Pittsburgh. Both of these teams are on a roll and are either leading their division or are within striking distance.
Initially, I’m favoring the Steelers. They’re good at home and Carolina tends to only be truly special when they’re at home. Ben Roethlisberger has also been a monster at Heinz Field in the past. I do note the Panthers (+173 at Sportsbetting.ag) are a sweet upset pick to roll with, but the Steelers might be the better play.
That’s not the only intense showdown between playoff contenders. The Saints head to Cincinnati to battle the 5-3 Bengals, Seattle gets a rematch with the Rams in Los Angeles and the Pats head to Tennessee to battle the Titans.
I doubt anyone is too curious about those games, though, as the Pats, Rams, and Saints feel like locks.
Oddly enough, some of the showdowns against teams on the fringe or still trying to find their identity could be very profitable spots for bettors.
The Packers host the Dolphins, the Jaguars and Colts face off, the Bills and Jets try to avoid the bottom of the AFC East and the Lions give one last gasp against the Bears.
If you’re done with the Packers, Miami looks like a plenty fine +375 underdog play. I’m not about to write Aaron Rodgers off at home with the season on the line, however.
In these other spots, I think the Colts (-145 favorites) are on the rise, the Jets can’t help but beat the Bills at home and the Bears will strengthen their hold on the NFC North while sending the Lions to the bottom of the division.
It should be a fun week and while I don’t really think there’s all that much to pull from week nine, we did get another week to draw back the curtain on a few teams.
Several teams are completely fried, a few more are closer to being out of the playoff picture and a couple more are nearing a complete turnaround.
Whether those trends stay the course in week nine will be the most difficult question for NFL bettors to answer.