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Let’s take a look at all 12 NFL contests slated for Sunday’s DraftKings Sportsbook Pro Football Week 9 Spreads Pool, including my five personal favorites.
Seattle Seahawks (-2.5) @ Buffalo Bills
The Pick: Seahawks -2.5
These teams are built in a pretty similar manner. They both have dual-threat QBs and offenses that are capable of putting up plenty of points. That said, there is no question that the Seahawks are the better team in that department.
It all starts with Russell Wilson, who is the MVP front-runner at this point. He’s on pace to post career highs in virtually every category across the board and he leads all QBs in touchdown passes and passer rating. Allen was also in the MVP discussion to begin the year, but his play has fallen off a bit recently. He posted a ridiculous 10.28 adjusted yards per attempt through his first four contests, but that number has dropped to just 5.78 over his past four games. The Seahawks ultimately rank third in Football Outsiders’ offensive DVOA while the Bills rank eighth and Seattle also has a massive edge in terms of points per game.
Both of these teams have also struggled on the defensive side of the ball, but at least the Seahawks have some reinforcements on the way. Jamal Adams is expected to return to the lineup this week and he is the type of player who can impact all phases of the game. He was one of the best cover safeties in the league last year, according to Pro Football Focus, and he’s also one of the best blitzers at the position. Seattle also added Carlos Dunlap to bolster a pass rush that has struggled to start the year. The Seahawks could make some serious improvements on defense moving forward.
If the Seahawks can get just a couple of stops in this contest, their offense should be able to propel them to another victory.
Baltimore Ravens (-2.5) @ Indianapolis Colts
The Pick: Colts +2.5
This line has seen some pretty drastic movement to start the week. The Colts have actually moved to one-point favorites on DraftKings SportsBook, so grabbing them at +2.5 in this pool is pretty appealing. The majority of the betting action has landed on the Ravens, so the fact that the line has moved that drastically suggests that the sharp bettors are siding with the Colts.
Baltimore has simply not been the same team offensively this season and things could get even worse for them with Ronnie Stanley out of the lineup. He’s been ruled out for the rest of the year and he’s one of the best offensive tackles in all of football. The Ravens’ offensive line has already taken a step back in 2020 following the retirement of Marshall Yanda, which has made the Ravens’ rushing attack far less efficient.
That could spell trouble against the Colts, who possess one of the best defenses in the league. They rank third in defensive DVOA and they also rank in the top five in both run and pass defense.
The Colts’ offense might not be a juggernaut – particularly against a good Ravens defense – but they have shown some signs of life recently. Philip Rivers was able to engineer a comeback victory vs. the Bengals two games ago and they followed that up with a 41-point performance vs. the Lions last week.
Quite simply, the Colts do not deserve to be underdogs in this matchup. The line has been corrected, but there is a lot of value in grabbing Colts +2.5.
Houston Texans (-6.5) @ Jacksonville Jaguars
The Pick: Texans -6.5
The Texans have not been very good this season, so it’s a bit of a surprise to see them favored by nearly a full touchdown on the road. That said, this is an absolute dream spot vs. the Jaguars.
DeShaun Watson has been playing outstanding football recently and now he faces a Jaguars defense that ranks dead last in pass defense DVOA. The Texans racked up a season-high 486 yards of total offense when these two teams met back in Week 5 and I’m expecting a similar performance this week.
If that’s the case, I have no idea how the Jaguars are going to be able to keep up. Gardner Minshew has been solid for the Jaguars this season, but he will miss this contest with a thumb injury. The Jaguars will turn to Jake Luton, who is a sixth-round rookie selection out of Oregon State. Luton is not an impressive prospect from an athleticism standpoint and his only real college production came as a redshirt senior when he was 23 years old. You should always be skeptical of players who only fare well in college when they’re playing against much younger competition, so I don’t expect much from Luton.
The Jaguars entered the year expected to be the worst team in football and I think that will be on full display vs. the Texans. Don’t overthink this one.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-9.5) @ Dallas Cowboys
The Pick: Steelers -9.5
This is a large spread for a road favorite, but it’s clearly not large enough in this situation. This spread has moved to Steelers -14.5 on DraftKings Sportsbook, so we’re getting five points of spread value in this Sportsbook Pool.
Pittsburgh has been one of the best teams in football to start the year, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. They rank second in defensive DVOA thanks to a ferocious pass rush. They lead the league in terms of adjusted sack rate, so they should be able to put the Cowboys’ quarterback under tremendous pressure.
Speaking of the Cowboys’ quarterback, who don’t even know who that will be yet. Cooper Rush and Garrett Gilbert have reportedly been competing for the job in practice this week, but Mike McCarthy isn’t quite ready to make a decision. Maybe this is a bit of gamesmanship on his part, but I can assure you that the uncertainty is not keeping the Steelers’ coaching staff up at night.
Whoever is under center will have a nice collection of weapons to work with, but he’ll be playing behind a dreadful offensive line. Dak Prescott was able to make it work behind that patchwork unit, but Andy Dalton and Ben DiNucci struggled mightily. I wouldn’t expect Rush or Gilbert to fare any better than the other Cowboys’ backups have recently, so let’s grab the spread value with Pittsburgh.
Miami Dolphins @ Arizona Cardinals (-4.5)
The Pick: Dolphins +4.5
This might be our last chance to take advantage of the Dolphins before the public starts to realize how good this team actually is.
The Dolphins were able to secure an upset victory over the Rams last week in Tua Tagavailoa’s first career start. He wasn’t very impressive in that contest – he finished with just 93 passing yards on 22 attempts – but they were able to make up for it thanks to huge contributions from their defense and special teams. The Dolphins’ defense has been one of the best units in football since Byron Jones returned to the lineup and they’ve allowed the fewest points per game this season. They also rank third in pass defense DVOA in particular.
I’m also expecting better things from Tua moving forward. He hadn’t played football in nearly a full calendar year before last week’s contest and he didn’t have much of a chance to play at full speed during an abbreviated training camp. That’s a lot of rust to shake off without a lot of practice time, especially against a solid Rams defense. This guy was widely considered the best QB prospect in last year’s draft prior to getting hurt and the emergence of Joe Burrow, so I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt.
Finally, I’m still skeptical that the Cardinals are any good. They were able to win a shootout vs. the Seahawks two weeks ago, but this game vs. the Dolphins should follow a completely different game script. Points are going to be much harder to come by, so I’ll grab the +4.5 with the Dolphins.
Here are the teams I’m targeting for the rest of the Sunday games. Remember, we’re looking to beat the competition and climb up the leaderboard, so I’ll be looking to gain leverage on the field and fade the public in situations where I don’t see a huge edge on the spread.
Chicago Bears @ Tennessee Titans (-6.5)
Pick: Titans -6.5
Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings (-3.5)
Pick: Vikings -3.5
Carolina Panthers @ Kansas City Chiefs (-12.5)
Pick: Chiefs -12.5
Denver Broncos @ Atlanta Falcons (-3.5)
Pick: Broncos +3.5
New York Giants @ Washington Football Team (-3.5)
Pick: Washington -3.5
Las Vegas Raiders @ Los Angeles Chargers (-1.5)
Pick: Chargers -1.5
New Orleans Saints @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-4.5)
Pick: Saints +4.5
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