During the NFL season, Stadium sports betting analyst Nate Jacobson will break down every single point spread using lines as of Thursday morning. Here are his thoughts on the Week 9 slate.
Note: Nate will discuss all of his college football and NFL bets on the Sharp Lessons podcast that drops every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Subscribe on Spotify and Apple for episodes and follow Stadium Bets on Twitter for more sports betting content.
Sides I Like
Commanders (+3.5) over Vikings: This is primarily a numbers play for me, as I think the Vikings should be closer to a 2.5-point favorite in this game. But while I’m happy the Vikings started 6-1 because of my season-long bet that they’d win over 8.5 games, I’m not overly impressed with how they got to that record — with a lot of tight games.
The Commanders have won both of Taylor Heinicke’s starts since he took over for Carson Wentz, and he’s given the team new life after a 1-4 start to the season. Washington is very much in the NFC playoff race due to the conference being weak this season, so there isn’t a motivation question for the Commanders like there may have been earlier this season. If the Vikings continue their trend of being involved in close games, I believe the Commanders have a great shot at staying within the number.
Chargers (-3) over Falcons: My early bet this week was Chargers -3. The primary reason for that wager is Justin Herbert playing against a Falcons secondary that has multiple injuries. CB Casey Hayward is on IR and CB A.J. Terrell missed last week’s game against the Panthers. Atlanta’s lack of a pass rush makes those losses even more significant.
I also think this line is short given that the Chargers are coming off a bye week and the Falcons just played a dramatic overtime game against the Panthers. Hopefully the bye allowed Los Angeles to get healthy against an Atlanta team that is starting to be overpriced.
Sides I’m Considering
Bengals (-7.5) over Panthers: This should be a good bounce-back spot for the Bengals after a very bad showing on Monday against the Browns. The Panthers are a big step down in class, and I can see Joe Burrow and the Bengals offense having a similar performance to what they had against the Falcons in Week 7. If Cincinnati gets back to -7, I would consider betting them straight. If it stays -7.5 or goes up a point, I will look to tease the Bengals.
Cardinals (-2) over Seahawks: Three weeks ago these two teams played and I wrote that I was considering the Seahawks in the game. It was played in Seattle, and the Seahawks were a three-point underdog, winning 19-9 in a surprisingly low-scoring game.
Now I want to turn around and bet on the Cardinals at under a field goal at home. There’s a price discount on Arizona, especially since WR DeAndre Hopkins is finally back from a suspension. The biggest reason I’m waiting on betting Arizona is their O-line’s injury situation. If some of those players are able to go, I’ll likely have a Cardinals ticket.
Saints (+2.5) over Ravens: I’ve made the case for the Saints a number of times this season. While I still believe they are undervalued, their weekly injury situation gives me pause to make a big bet. At 3-5, the Saints are alive to win the NFC South. And since the Eagles own their first-round pick, New Orleans will be fully motivated to win games going forward.
The Ravens have some injuries of their own, most notably in their passing game to WR Rashod Bateman and TE Mark Andrews. Bateman is expected to miss multiple weeks, while there’s uncertainty about Andrews’ status. This is going to be another game where I’ll need to know the injury report before placing a bet, but it’ll likely be on the Saints if they get back to +3.
Eagles (-13.5) at Texans: While Game 5 of the World Series is being played between the Astros and Phillies, the NFL teams in Philadelphia and Houston will be playing a game I have very little interest in betting. Last week’s line for this game was Eagles -9, so there has been a drastic change after the Eagles looked great against the Steelers and the Texans looked lifeless against the Malik Willis-led Titans. I don’t want to get in the habit of betting two-touchdown road favorites in the NFL, so I’ll pass.
Colts at Patriots (-5.5): When the Colts made the QB switch from Matt Ryan to Sam Ehlinger, I assumed Indianapolis would have more designed quarterback runs for the second-year pro out of Texas. Ehlinger only had six rush attempts (three designed runs), and the Colts squandered a two-possession lead late to lose to the Commanders. Now Ehlinger and the Colts travel to New England for a tough matchup against Bill Belichick, who has had success game-planning against inexperienced quarterbacks — which we saw last week when the Patriots picked off Zach Wilson three times.
The line for this game has gone down from Patriots -6 to -5.5, and I agree with the move because of the state of the Patriots offense. New England only had 3.8 yards per play against the Jets. I don’t trust the Patriots to cover as this kind of a favorite, but I’m worried about Ehlinger if the Colts don’t use his mobility.
Bills (-12.5) at Jets: This line is probably inflated because all point spreads have been shaded higher toward the Bills. I just don’t want any part of the Jets with mistake-prone Zach Wilson under center. While the Jets have been an overall nice story at 5-3, I’m expecting them to struggle for wins going forward unless Wilson cleans up his play.
Dolphins (-5) at Bears: This is a great matchup for the Dolphins offense against a Bears team that traded star MLB Roquan Smith this week. On the other side, the Bears offense under Justin Fields has shown improvement over the last two games. The over is the way I would look in this game as long as the weather is clear for a November afternoon game at Soldier Field. In terms of the point spread, I would stay away because the Bears could be flat after trading one of their team leaders.
Packers (-3.5) at Lions: The point spread for this game moved from Lions +3.5 to +3 on Monday. Then it went back to Packers -3.5 on Tuesday after the Lions traded TE T.J. Hockenson to the Vikings. I don’t believe Hockenson is worth anything to the point spread, but the idea that the Lions would be selling off other assets before Tuesday’s trade deadline may have caused this move. The Packers are the way I would look in this game because there’s still time to turn their season around after losing the last four games. But now at -3.5, I would stay away from Green Bay.
Raiders (-1.5) at Jaguars: I really want to make a case for the Jaguars, but I don’t like the setup of this game. The perception of Jacksonville is low after five-straight losses, but their stats make them look better than their record, so there could be some good buy low spots on Jacksonville going forward. The concern with betting on them here is that they are coming back from London without a bye week in between.
I’m also worried about fading the Raiders off a horrible performance at the Saints. The Raiders offense had 3.3 yards per play in a 24-0 loss and didn’t cross midfield until the two-minute warning of the fourth quarter. Instead of traveling back to Las Vegas, the Raiders are practicing this week in Sarasota ahead of this game in Jacksonville. I don’t like betting against a team after a rock-bottom showing and can see Las Vegas having a better outing in this one.
Rams at Buccaneers (-3): This is a rematch of an NFC Divisional Round game where the Rams defeated the Buccaneers on their way to winning the Super Bowl. But a lot has changed since then as both teams are below .500, and I have a hard time finding a reason to bet on either franchise.
If I had to make a case for the Rams, it would be that they beat Tampa twice last season, so maybe Matthew Stafford and Sean McVay have some sort of advantage over Todd Bowles and the Buccaneers defense. But the Rams offensive line is a shell of itself, and Cooper Kupp suffered an injury late in last week’s loss to the 49ers. Kupp’s status for this game is very impactful, and I won’t have a bet on this game until I know more.
Titans at Chiefs (-12.5): The early line for this game was Chiefs -11 and it jumped to -12.5 on Monday. I believe that move came with the assumption that Malik Willis will get another start for an injured Ryan Tannehill. Willis threw 10 times in his NFL debut as Tennessee fed Derrick Henry for 219 rushing yards. If Tannehill does play in this game, I believe this number will come back to Chiefs -11, so let’s wait and see if he can go for Sunday night.