A look at the best bets for NFL Week 9:
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants (-2.5)
The Eagles have dominated this rivalry of late (four straight wins) and it’s hard to see a reversal of fortune for the Giants in this one, even off their bye week. Philly should be able to play “keep-away” against New York as they’re third in the league in time of possession (32:24) and fifth in turnover ratio (+6). The Giants have struggled in both areas this season, ranking dead-last in time of possession (25:54) and 28th in turnover ratio (-7).
The Eagles have been vulnerable against the run (114.7 YPG allowed) but the Giants haven’t had over 50 yards on the ground in three straight tilts. Odell Beckham Jr. was shut down by Philly’s defenders for the most part in 2015; he had a grand total of 115 yards in two contests against the Eagles last season. Look for Carson Wentz and company to right the ship this week after letting back-to-back fourth quarter leads slip away.
The pick: Eagles +2.5
Dallas Cowboys (-7) at Cleveland Browns
“Garbage time” points in successive weeks are the only reason the Browns appear to be playing respectable football at the moment. Upon further examination, there are clearly the worst team in the NFL and have a real chance to become the first winless squad since the 2008 Lions.
Cleveland allows a league-worst 421 YPG on defense, including an average of over 143 YPG rushing. Rookie of the Year candidate Ezekiel Elliott should dominate the Browns’ run stoppers. The trends are not on Cleveland’s side either; Dallas has won and covered in all three of their road tilts this year, while the Browns are 3-13 in their last 16 games as an underdog. Take the Cowboys with confidence as the best bet of the week.
The pick: Cowboys -7
New Orleans Saints (-3) at San Francisco 49ers
The Saints have covered in four straight contests and come into San Francisco ready to pile up the points. Recently-promoted RB Tim Hightower torched the fearsome Seahawks’ defense for 102 yards last week; he could have a career day against the dreadful 49ers run stoppers (185 rushing YPG allowed, by far the worst in the league). San Francisco can’t stop the pass either (26th in the NFL), so expect Drew Brees to have a productive day through the air as well.
New Orleans still has a bottom-five defense but the 49ers can’t seem to stay on the field on offense; they’re next-to-last in the league in time of possession at just over 26 minutes per game. The Niners’ best offensive weapon, RB Carlos Hyde, is nursing a shoulder injury and may not be at 100% on Sunday, and Colin Kaepernick has been completely ineffective since taking over for Blaine Gabbert at QB in Week 6. Expect San Francisco’s six-game losing streak (0-6 ATS as well) to continue.
The pick: Saints -3
Best of the rest (picks in bold)
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens (-3)
New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins (-3.5)
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Kansas City Chiefs (-7.5)
Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings (-6)
Carolina Panthers (-3) @ Los Angeles Rams
Tennessee Titans @ San Diego Chargers (-4.5)
Indianapolis Colts @ Green Bay Packers (-7)
Denver Broncos @ Oakland Raiders (E)
Buffalo Bills @ Seattle Seahawks (-7)