A few point spreads have seen significant changes in the first few days of Week 9. The team that was once the biggest favorite on the schedule is only giving their opponent a touchdown, according to the latest Las Vegas betting odds, and no team is even favored by eight points.
After it was announced that Kansas City would start Nick Foles over Alex Smith, Jacksonville no longer was the week’s biggest underdog. Pittsburgh was a three-point underdog against Baltimore, but the line was moved to a pick’em when it became apparent that Ben Roethlisberger might play. The Falcons have gone from three-point to four-point favorites on Thursday night.
There’s no such thing as a “sure thing” when it comes to gambling, but here are the five best bets for Week 9 of the 2016 NFL season:
New Orleans Saints (-3.5)
The Cleveland Browns are the NFL’s only winless team, but the San Francisco 49ers are the worst team in the league. San Francisco hasn’t won since the season opener, and they’ll be lucky to keep Sunday’s game against the Saints within a touchdown, let alone a field goal.
San Francisco somehow defeated Los Angeles 28-0 in Week 1, but they’ve been horrendous ever since, no matter the opponent or location. All of San Francisco’s six losses have come by at least seven points, and the 49ers have been beaten by at least 12 points five times. They are coming off a 17-point home loss to the Buccaneers, and they won’t be able to slow down the NFL’s No. 2 offense. New Orleans has won three of their last four games, and they’ve only lost to winning teams. As bad as the Saints’ defense has been, San Francisco has done an even worse job of slowing down opposing offenses. Colin Kaepernick has played just as poorly as Blaine Gabbert, and it should be another long afternoon for the 49ers.
Philadelphia Eagles (+2.5)
Oddsmakers appear to believe the Eagles and New York Giants are just about even, but Philadelphia has been the better team over the first half of the season, despite the fact they both share a 4-3 record. The Eagles have a good chance to pull off the upset on the road and essentially knock their division rivals out of the NFC East race.
Ever since defeating the Cowboys in Week 1, the Giants have taken advantage of a weak schedule, going 3-0 against losing teams and 0-3 against teams that are above .500. New York’s offense has the talent to score a lot of points, but the unit just can’t seem to put it together. Philadelphia has lost their last three road games, but they’ve had some near misses with an overtime defeat in Dallas and a one-point loss to Detroit. The Eagles’ front seven should give the Giants a lot of trouble, and Philadelphia has had plenty of recent success at MetLife Stadium.
Denver Broncos (PK)
The Oakland Raiders are the darlings of the NFL after their 6-2 start, and rightfully so, considering they haven’t reached the playoffs in 14 years. But they’ve yet to prove themselves against top competition, and the Broncos are still the best team in the AFC West.
Oakland still doesn’t have a win against a team with a winning record, and they’ve come up short when tested, losing at home to both the Chiefs and Falcons. Derek Carr struggled when he faced Kansas City, and he could have a tough night against Denver’s vaunted defense. The Broncos haven’t given up more than 23 points in a game all season, and they should score enough to win against a shaky Oakland defense.
Indianapolis Colts (+7.5)
The Green Bay Packers are rightfully heavy favorites at home against the Colts, but the betting line might be a little bit too high. Indianapolis has a good chance to keep the game close and cover the spread.
Aaron Rodgers seems to have Green Bay’s offense back on track, but it won’t be easy for the Packers to defeat the Colts by more than a touchdown. Green Bay’s only victory by more than seven points came when Matt Barkley was forced to start at quarterback for the Bears. Last week’s contest was the only time that Indianapolis wasn’t in a game until the final minutes, and Sunday’s game should be a relatively close, high-scoring affair.
Kansas City Chiefs (-7)
The Jacksonville Jaguars might have been the better pick when they were getting 8.5 or nine points at various sportsbooks, but the latest movement in the betting line makes Kansas City a much easier choice. The Chiefs have a good chance to win by a touchdown, despite all of their injuries.
The loss of Alex Smith certainly isn’t good, but backup quarterback Nick Foles could have a big game. Foles completed 16 of 22 pass attempts for 223 yards and two touchdowns in relief of Smith last week, and he won’t be asked to do too much on Sunday. Running back Charcandrick West has played well when given the opportunity, and he should put up solid numbers against a mediocre run defense. The Jaguars’ offense is a mess between Blake Bortles looking lost and the recent firing of their offensive coordinator. Jacksonville has been blown out in their two road games against halfway decent competition, and Sunday’s contest probably won’t be very close.
Season Record: 22-17-1