Last week wasn’t my Best Bets week with a 2-3 record. We had some bad luck with the Colts blowing an early 14-point lead and ultimately losing in OT and the Browns failing to show up on offense despite the Steelers losing their kicker. However, Carolina showed up and pulled off the upset as predicted, and the Bills handled the Dolphins, even though it was close until late in the 4th quarter.
Let’s get back on track with a winning week. Here are the 5 Best Bets for Week 9:
Falcons +6 over Saints
Since Matt Ryan and the Falcons blew a 21-3 halftime lead in Super LI, I have been a fierce opponent to backing Atlanta. Fortunately, it has benefitted me the past few years, but in this instance, I will side with the Falcons – praying it does not come back to bite me. The Saints suffered a devastating blow last week when QB Jameis Winston suffered a season-ending torn ACL injury. Trevor Siemian stepped in nicely to cap off an upset against the Super Bowl Champion Bucs, but we are still unsure who will start at QB for the Saints this weekend. Will it be Siemian or Taysom Hill? Either way, both are a dropoff from Winston, and you can bet Atlanta will be preparing for both QBs.
The Falcons were embarrassed by the Panthers this past weekend coming off a bye. They also lost No. 1 wideout Calvin Ridley indefinitely, who is stepping away from football indefinitely to deal with personal issues. Still, with the emergence of rookie TE Kyle Pitts, Ryan should be able to launch some deep balls against the Saints defense who just allowed the NY Giants to beat them two weeks prior. I tend to side with the better QB in a contested division matchup and lean toward taking the points with the underdog. This game is no different. Chances are it will come down to a last-minute field goal, and in that case, I’m comfortable relying on the Falcons to at least keep the score within reach.
Bills -14.5 over Jaguars
I trusted the Jaguars to at least cover against the abysmal Geno Smith and the Seahawks last weekend, and that went downhill fast. This is the time of year when bettors need to accept that trying to be clever and trusting bad, flailing teams to cover against good or even mediocre squads will hurt more than help. That’s the case this week when the Bills, arguably the best team in the AFC, will travel to Jacksonville to take on the worst team in the AFC. I’m never a fan of laying double-digit points to a home team, even one as dismal as the Jaguars, but I don’t think that is nearly enough for this matchup. Josh Allen and the Bills will have no trouble putting points on the board early. This past weekend, Miami gave Buffalo a good run until the Bills pulled ahead in the 4th quarter, but the Jaguars won’t have the same fight as a division rival trying to play their best. Lay the points.
Bengals -2.5 over Browns
I was as shocked as everyone when the Bengals enabled the troubled Jets to battle back and ultimately upset Cincinnati. However, I also failed to consider that the Bengals were coming off their “Super Bowl” win against the Ravens the week prior. Joe Burrow and Cincinnati should bounce back this weekend against another division foe – the Browns. Cleveland has struggled mightily on offense this season, and with QB Baker Mayfield playing at less than 100 percent, these worries should continue. Add to the fact that there was some awkwardness caused this week when the father of WR Odell Beckham Jr. posted that Mayfield was to blame for his son’s poor production, Cleveland may not have the most focused mindset going into this matchup. Side with the home team – and better team, for that matter.
NY Giants +3 over Raiders
Another week, another disappointment for my Giants. They were the victims of another blown opportunity against the Chiefs this past Monday night. However, the Giants continued with their anemic offense and left valuable points on the board while still playing without RB Saquon Barkley, WR Kenny Golladay, and OL Andrew Thomas. Still, I feel siding with my team this week is the right call.
The Raiders have dealt with some heavy controversies this season, with embattled head coach Jon Gruden forced to resign over leaked suspicious emails and WR Henry Ruggs III arrested on DUI charges that resulted in a fatal collision. This will still be two distractions for a team that started their season off strong and has to deal with questions all week.
I like my team to cover and score the upset at home. The Giants should be able to get past the Raiders despite their lingering injuries. Their defense has played well as of late and should at least manage to keep the score within reach. Take the points.
49ers +2.5 over Cardinals
Despite beginning the season 7-0, I never was a buyer into the Cardinals as an elite NFC team. Don’t get me wrong, they will most certainly secure a Wild Card berth, but this team does have their flaws, and when Kyler Murray doesn’t have the luxury of throwing to DeAndre Hopkins, he tends to look lost at times on the field.
Last weekend, the 49ers rebounded from a rainy defeat against the Colts in Sunday Night Football to demolish the Bears in Chicago. The offense appeared to get back on track behind QB Jimmy Garoppolo and put up 33 points on the Bears. Now, squaring off against their division rival at home, I expect the 49ers to bring their A-game and take advantage of a Cardinals team who is still in shock after losing to the Packers last Thursday night. The public is pounding the 7-1 Arizona squad, and I love going against the majority. Take the points but expect the upset.