Week 9 NFL Underdog Betting Picks
Our first losing week and record on the 2021 NFL season came in Week 8, and it was an ugly underdog that rolled over and got beaten by his master. Detroit was a disaster, and the Lions embarrassment and 44-7 home loss to the Philadelphia Eagles included allowing 236 rushing yards. Detroit remains winless, and it's clear coach Campbell and his staff are also on the hot seat for a one and done season that has the Lions still the only winless team in the NFL.
Let's move on to Week 9 with our 12-5 underdog record and nine outright winners near the halfway point of the season with more injuries and updates from Pro Football Focus to monitor. Same with the quarterbacks missing in action with Aaron Rodgers (COVID) of the Packers out and driving the line up from Chiefs -2.5 to -7.5 and the total dropping sharply to 48 as QB Jordon Love makes his first NFL start on the road at Kansas City. Saints QB Jameis Winston (ACL) is now out for the season along with Titans RB Derrick Henry, who will be out until at least the playoffs with a broken foot. Cardinals QB Kyler Murray (ankle) did not practice again Thursday, nor did WR DeAndre Hopkins. Check their status and monitor additional line moves at leading online sportsbooks, as Arizona has gone from favorite to slight underdog against the 49ers, which keeps us on the sidelines for the 49ers who are no longer an underdog and the line moving up to -2 and perhaps higher if Murray is pronounced out.
The 4-plus year record posting on these pages is now 114-84 (57.6%) ATS with 57 outright winners.
NFL Week 9 Underdog Picks
Minnesota (+6) at Baltimore - Vikings moneyline +215 at BetOnline
Cleveland (+3) at Cincinnati - Browns moneyline +125 at BookMaker
Minnesota at Baltimore
Let's get behind the Vikings again, who have been the most snake bitten team in finding ways to lose close games or let teams recover this season. Minnesota never trailed last week against Dallas until the closing minute in a 20-16 loss. A 1-for-13 mark on third down was disturbing, but the Vikings will move the ball on a Ravens defense allowing 6.3 yards per play - right at the bottom of the league with the Lions, Texans and Chiefs. Of course the Vikings will have to contain the running of QB Lamar Jackson, and play better on special teams to avoid more troubling turnabouts. But the Ravens and their defense were embarrassed by the Bengals prior to last week's bye, and we cashed in on Cincinnati in Week 7 and believe the Vikings will do the same with their talented offensive players. Another outright underdog winner should be no surprise even taking a touchdown on the point spread.
Cleveland at Cincinnati
Both teams are off very disappointing losses last week, but the Bengals (5-3) are still in front of the Browns (4-4) in the AFC North. Cincinnati has played better and been a surprise this season, and Cleveland for some reason was flat and not ready off their bye in a 15-10 home loss to the Steelers last week. But the Browns still have edges at the point of attack and in the running game, and I project Cleveland to outrush Cincinnati by at least 30 yards. Cleveland is also one of just seven teams that runs the ball an average of 30 or more times per game, which is another very positive ATS profile if a team reaches that rushing count in a game. That sets up a positive ATS situations with the Browns strength along the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. The Bengals run defense has been solid, but the Browns is even better and top=3 in the league allowing 84 rushing yards per game. The Browns were a 4.5-point favorite in this game on the preseason lines, and we're still betting on the Browns (moneyline) as 'Dog and buying the half point to +3 for grading.
I won't include the Falcons this week, but will find ways to bet on Atlanta despite their crappy performance last week at home versus Carolina and now playing without WR Calvin Ridley (personal). But the Saints are without QB Jameis Winston (ACL) for the rest of the season, and New Orleans is getting too much credit by the oddsmakers this week off their big win over the Buccaneers. Still, while the Saints did outrush Tampa by margin, the defense allowed more than 420 yards and 7.3 yards per play while benefitting from a plus-3 turnover margin. The Saints are not really worthy of laying 6.5 points with backup quarterbacks and a likely letdown this week, but they do have edges in the running game and we need to review the quarterback plans and monitor injuries and more before flying pre-flop on the Falcons.
FairwayJay is a proven sports handicapper and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful analysts. He chips in additional sports betting coverage and reporting on industry news and events. Read more great insights from FairwayJay and follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay