Early leans & analysis Wk 9
Early leans & analysis

Posted Friday, November 4 at 3:45 PM EST. Odds are subject to change.

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NFL Week 9

What you see below is our early leans. Many of the selections below will stay the same and some will be moved into official plays with wagers on Sunday. However, there is also the possibility that we see, read or get a sense that something is not right with one of our selections and change our pick. There are several different criteria we use to grade a game and make it an official play and a lot of things can happen or change between Friday and Sunday. We’re intent on providing our We’ll have all write-ups (except Monday Night Football) posted on Friday but our actual wagers won’t be posted until Sunday morning between 10 AM and 12:00 PM EST

Sunday, November 6

NFL Week 9

Buffalo @ N.Y. Jets +11½

1:00 PM EST. It doesn’t take a super genius to see that the Bills are the class of the AFC. If their 6-1 record was not enough, Buffalo is on top or near the top of every offensive and defensive category you want to point to. The media and the market love the Bills and their stock hasn’t been this high since Jim Kelly was their quarterback. In fact, the Bills incredible start to this season is their best since 1993. That was the last time Buffalo went to the Super Bowl. Through eight weeks, the Bills are the favorite to lift the Lombardi Trophy at +260.

Buffalo has ripped off four straight wins, but those wins carry more weight in the market because of just who the Bills beat. Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Green Bay are all popular teams in the market and while the Steelers are down this season, whacking them 38-3 resonates. Nobody is supposed to beat a Steelers team by 30+ points. A win at Arrowhead is a big deal, too. So is the double digit victory over the Packers the Bills posted last Sunday night.

While knocking off Aaron Rodgers 27-17 looks pretty good on the résumé, that game was one of the more misleading of the week. The Packers were able to make Josh Allen look human, holding him to just 218 yards passing. Buffalo was outgained, out first downed and it lost the time of possession by nearly seven minutes.

The Jets were 5-2 going into Week 8, but even then, this was a team that the market did not trust. That view of Gang Green was profitable, as New York dropped that game to New England 22-17 as a three point home pooch. With that loss, the Jets lost what little credibility they had in the market, which is why they are now taking back inflated points here in Week 9.

We discussed this on Thursday, but it bears repeating here. With the new influx of players into the market and sportsbooks offering promotions to entice new players, we must be mindful of what kinds of bets those players are making. Week in and week out, we hear from those on the ground in Vegas that teasers are becoming more popular. If you’ve never played a teaser, keep it up. If you have, stop now.

The books have to protect themselves from all of those tickets, as the market is teasing these big favorites down at will. That means more often than not, we are taking back inflated points on top of inflated points in these games. For an example, look no further than the Eagles, who were an 11-point choice at home against the Steelers last Sunday and then were a 14-point choice just five days later in Houston.

Those that teased the Eagles on Thursday got away with it again, but eventually, those low value plays are going to stop cashing. The oddsmakers have to keep protecting against a barrage of teaser tickets. It’s with that in mind that scooping up the points is the only choice for us. Recommendation: N.Y. Jets +11½

Green Bay -3½ @ Detroit

1:00 PM EST. There might not be two more disappointing teams than the Packers and Lions this season. On one hand, Green Bay had Super Bowl aspirations, while the Lions hoped to contend for a playoff position. However, through eight weeks, the Packers and Lions are a combined 4-11.

The Lions are 1-6, and they appeared to have thrown in the towel after trading star tight end T.J. Hockenson to the rival Vikings. We love coach Dan Campbell and had high hopes for the Lions this season, but instead, these are the same old Lions. The only thing Detroit City will be competing for this season is the first overall pick. Again.

We’d like to be on the Lions here, but losing the way to do is like an infectious disease. Detroit has had the lead in so many of their games this season and they blew it. For a time, this was the number one scoring offense in the league and the Lions could only muster one lousy win against the former Football Team. It’s a long season, and while we know most of these players are prideful, what is their mindset going to be the rest of the way? To further add salt to that wound, the Lions left in the locker room just watched their best player walk across the street to a 6-1 division foe. Surely trading Hock to the Vikes won’t come back to bite the Lions in the ass long term, right?

Green Bay is sinking at 3-4, and if Aaron Rodgers thought that the Packers’ brass was going to throw him a life saver by picking up a number one wide receiver (or a stud tight end ala Hockenson), he may have been hitting the bong a little too hard. To his credit, Rodgers said all the right things after the Pack were bested by the Bears for the services of Chase Claypool, "The compensation for whatever players we were going after just didn't make sense. So I trust Brian, and we had some good conversations. We were in on some things. It just didn't pan out.” The Packers are getting roasted for not bringing in any help for Rodgers, which only further deflates their stock.

Last Sunday night, the Packers were a 10½-point pooch, a first for Rodgers in his career, and they lost 27-17. It was a modest cover, but it was also the Pack’s best game in weeks. Green Bay bested mighty Buffalo in first downs, yards and time of possession. The much maligned Packers’ defense made Josh Allen look mortal, holding the MVP candidate to just 13-of-25 passing for 218 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Most teams would take that against the Bills every time out.

While both teams are struggling, it is only the Packers and their quarterback that are taking all the heat. The Lions season is disappointing to be sure, but at the end of the day, it’s pretty easy to write Detroit off as the same old dregs. They aren’t worth the screen time for the talking heads.

The Pack were supposed to be the class of the NFC North. At the near midway point of the season, Green Bay finds itself looking up at the 6-1 Vikings, who hold a 3½-game lead over them in the division. The Packers were not supposed to be bad. Meanwhile, the Lions are always bad. We trust that the Packers are the value play here, as this number is much smaller than it would have been if Green Bay was playing up to its championship level expectations. Recommendation: Green Bay -3½

L.A. Rams +3 over Tampa Bay

4:25 PM EST. When the schedule makers posted this game on the Week 9 board, they probably thought it was going to be a potential NFC playoff preview. After all, the Rams and Buccaneers met in a tightly contested NFC Divisional round game last January. That game ended with the Rams winning 30-27 on the foot of Matt Gay as time expired. You know what happened next, the Rams would go all the way to win the Super Bowl.

For the life of us, we cannot figure out why Matt Stafford came back this season. Dude was already hanging on by a thread as a competent starting quarterback, and he got his ring. Do you really need the money, bruh? Stafford has deteriorated further this season and he is now practically unbettable. We’ve ripped Stafford week in and week out and would love to fade him and the Rams here, however, we dislike the QB standing across from him even more.

We backed the Buccaneers last time out against the Ravens and swore we would never waste another dollar on a team quarterbacked by Thomas Edward Patrick Brady again. We don’t need to go into a long diatribe of just how fucked up this dude’s life is right now, but needless to say, he’s got a few things to distract him from his poor play on the field. At this point, the details of the prenup between Brady and soon to be ex-wife Gisele Bündchen are far more interesting and entertaining than anything the Bucs are doing on the field.

We provide a lean for every game, but in case you had not figured it out, we want nothing to do with either one of these aged quarterbacks. Both are in their twilight, and experiencing the pathetic “Joe Nameth stumbling around in the backfield in Los Angeles” portions of their careers. Forced to choose, we’ll begrudgingly side with the Rams, but please note—this is the most unappealing game on the Week 9 slate. We’d rather watch college soccer on ESPN+. Hard pass. Recommendation: L.A. Rams +3

Las Vegas -1½ @ Jacksonville

1:00 PM EST. Forget about the Jaguars, their 2-6 record and their return trip from London. None of that matters here. The Jags’ are so insignificant when it comes to this play that we don’t want to spend any more time on them because we’ve given them more space than they deserve this week. We’ll save our good Jacksonville fodder for another week. This is 100%, full lock, stock and two smoking barrels a wager that rests at the cleats of the Las Vegas Raiders.

When you put up a goose egg in this league, everyone takes notice. It’s fucking embarrassing. Seriously, getting shut out is the most embarrassing thing a collection of 53 professional football players can come together to accomplish. Just ask the Lions. After getting shutout by New England, 29-0, in Week 5, Detroit still hasn’t recovered. Now that scarlet letter or “0” has been hung on the Raiders.

The market was all over Las Vegas last week in New Orleans and it got whacked on the noggin. There is no chance that anyone who wagered a red cent on the Raiders in Week 8 are coming back on them here. That sets up the perfect “zig-zag” situation in Week 9, as those that were burned by Vegas will be looking to get some of their money back by fading the Raiders here. However, that would be the wrong move. Even though we were one of the few that bet against the Raiders last week, we understand that we must switch gears this week.

Spotting even a minuscule price like this on the road this week with Las Vegas is not going to be an appealing proposition, but that’s the point. The books could have made the Jags a small favorite here considering the situation and not swayed a bet. Hell, two weeks ago, the Jaguars were -3 over the then 4-1 Giants. That line had the market convinced that the oddsmakers “must know something we don’t.” Did they, or was that just a bad number?

The books got caught with their pants down in that Jags/Giants game and again last week in London where the Jags opened as a -2½-point choice but were bet down to just -1, as the market piled on the Broncos. We trust oddsmakers are not going to make that mistake again. The only way to do that is to make Jacksonville a dog, at home, against a two win team that failed to score a point in 60 minutes of football last Sunday. The books are begging us to bet the Jaguars, but we’re not falling for it. For us, the Raiders are the absolute strong play here. Recommendation: Las Vegas -1½



Our Pick

Leans & analysis (Risking 0 units - To Win: 0.00)

Pittsburgh +127 over Indianapolis