Week 9 is here, the underdogs just keep cashing, and this week provides another tantalizing group of dogs to choose from. I’ve yet to taste a losing week this season, so let’s see if I can keep it going.
Here are this week’s picks of the litter:
Bears +4 ½ vs. Dolphins
The Chicago Bears are showing signs of life, and despite jettisoning two of its best defensive players in the last week, I think they can hang with the Miami Dolphins, who are on the road for a second straight week and needed to come back to beat the Lions last week. Miami’s speed advantage gets neutralized a bit by the notoriously slow surface at Soldier Field, along with a windy, rainy forecast.
I think Chicago’s two-headed running attack makes things easier for Justin Fields, and they can keep pace with the Fish. Finally, special teams could factor in. The Bears are among the best and the Dolphins the worst, and bad weather amplifies that. This line dropped a point this week as the sharp money comes in on Chicago. Bears could win outright.
Commanders +3 vs. Vikings
I’m 0-2 betting against the Minnesota Vikings but felt pretty good about the Arizona Cardinals last week until that muffed punt in the fourth quarter. Minnesota’s luck runs out against a rejuvenated Washington Commanders team that’s won three straight and who might start singing “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead,” if Daniel Snyder actually does sell the team.
Taylor Heinicke would love to keep the streak going against his former team. He should have success against a defense that’s not as good on the road and will miss Dalvin Tomlinson. I like Washington’s pass rush to force Kirk Cousins into a couple of turnovers, even though he does have a new shiny toy to play with in tight end T.J. Hockenson. I liked the line better when it was 3½ a few days ago, but we Washington backers won’t need the extra half point.
Falcons +3 vs. Chargers
This line would have been even juicier if D.J. Moore had kept his helmet on and the Carolina Panthers had beaten the Atlanta Falcons. As it is, the Los Angeles Chargers are coming across country, off their bye, but they are still banged up and lacking their top two receivers — making it less likely that Justin Herbert can do a ton of damage in the air against Atlanta’s depleted secondary.
Both teams love to run the ball and should have success. Atlanta may get Cordarrelle Patterson back off IR, but they’ve been chewing up yards on the ground without him, and LA is 27th against the run. The Falcons probably thought they’d have turned over the keys to Desmond Ridder by now, but somehow they’re in first place and the NFC South looks winnable. They ride the momentum and take down the Chargers at home.
Last Week: 2-1