The big story going into this week is that scoring finally picked up, at least in the early games Sunday. Teams always make adjustments, and perhaps we’re starting to see the fruits of that labor.
With six teams on the bye, we’ll only have 13 games to pick from in Week 9. A lot of games look competitive based on the spreads, and hopefully we can find some good betting opportunities.
Here are three early lines I like for Week 9.
Odds are from DraftKings as of Sunday night. Go to VSiN.com for Betting Splits for each game and live odds across the NFL market.
Los Angeles Chargers (-3, 48) at Atlanta Falcons
As one door opened, another door closed for the Chargers. In their last game in Week 7, Keenan Allen returned on a pitch count but Mike Williams was lost with a high ankle sprain. It was Williams who really took over in the absence of Allen, with three 100-yard games and a whole lot of targets. While Allen should be close to full strength this week, the Chargers are missing the guy who can take the top off of the defense. And we already know the Chargers cannot run the ball.
The Falcons, however, can, and that is their biggest edge in this game. Atlanta had another effective day on the ground with 4.5 yards per carry against the Panthers and also got more through the air from Marcus Mariota. Going into Week 8, the Falcons were in the top 10 in Total Offense DVOA and had a top-five rushing attack. The Chargers went into the bye week 31st in yards per carry allowed and 25th in Rush Defense DVOA.
Atlanta is absolutely getting better under Arthur Smith, and they have a chance to show it again against a bad run defense.
Pick: Falcons + 3
Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals (-2.5, 49.5)
Another offense that is way better than expected belongs to the Seahawks. Seattle heads to Arizona for a key NFC West battle, and the Cardinals have one of the weaker pass defenses in the league. They had been good against the run until last week but gave up six yards per carry to the Vikings. The pass defense was a little better, but failing to hold up against the run on extra rest is a bad sign with Kenneth Walker III coming to town.
Seattle’s offense had a rare struggle in its 27-13 win over the Giants. However, the defense took a big step forward and enters this game against Kyler Murray with some confidence. The Seahawks held the Giants to 3.5 yards per play. Add in a Seattle offense that has a balanced approach with some big threats at wideout, and Seattle has a great chance to get a road win. Give me the better team getting points.
Pick: Seahawks + 2.5
Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs (-11, 47)
The heroics of Derrick Henry cover up a lot of issues for the Titans coming out of Sunday’s game. Namely, what are they going to do if they actually have to throw a forward pass? Malik Willis was 6-of-10 passing for 55 yards and an interception. Henry shouldered the entire offensive burden with 32 carries for 219 yards and two touchdowns.
The Texans managed just 3.2 yards per play on their 12 drives, but this was a Titans defense that entered Week 8 allowing six yards per play against an extremely weak set of offenses outside of the Bills (who hung 41 on them in Week 2). Kansas City is not a weak offense. In fact, quite the opposite. The Chiefs are off of a bye and Henry is off of a million carries. K.C. seems to have all sorts of advantages here, including the league’s best offense, and coach Andy Reid is very good with extra time.
It’s a big number, but it’s hard to see how the Titans keep pace. Henry had a monster game against Houston and they only scored 17 points. It’s hard to see 17 being enough to hang with the Chiefs.
Pick: Chiefs -11