Week Nine NFL Sports Betting: Picks Against The Spread
As bad of a week as this looks for DFS in terms of high total games and value plays but it is a great week for sports betting. We took some tough losses last week with the Buccaneers not covering on a defensive touchdown due to an incompetent referee blowing the play dead too early, but that is the nature of the game. You will remember the bad beats way more than you are going to remember running hotter than the sun to get a win against the spread so we take the good with the bad. Let’s get after it in Week Nine NFL Sports Betting.
As always, use this article as a reminder to keep tailing the SportsGrid betting model and #TrustTheProcess.
Davis Mattek Record: 13-11 ATS
Week Nine NFL Sports Betting Picks
Houston Texans -1
No home field advantage, sure, but the Houston Texans are just a better football team than the Jacksonville Jaguars. Even across the ocean in Wembley, DeShaun Watson is going to play better than Gardner Minshew, and I like Gardner Minshew! The teams are very close in expected points on offense and in Football Outsiders DVOA but the advantage is pretty clear. DVOA, expected points and other performance metrics are generally descriptive rather than predictive.
Where we tend to look for close spreads like this is in quarterback quality. DeShaun Watson is averaging 8.1 yards per pass attempt which is .1 yards lower than his career average. In a whirlwind rookie season, Gardner Minshew is averaging 7.6 yards per pass attempt. Clearly good, but not as ethereal as Watson. Take into account that the Jaguars are likely to be without the services of Dede Westbrook and will be feeding Leonard Fournette for big portions of this game and Houston seems like a comfortable pick all the way to -2.5 for me.
Cleveland Browns -3.5
Brandon Allen was not good enough to make the final 53-man roster for the Los Angeles Rams. The team did their best to try and hold on to him on their practice squad but lost him to the Denver Broncos. When this line opened, the Browns were actually slight road dogs and you may be thinking: why would I chase this game? The answer to me, is pretty clear. Brandon Allen was not a particularly good quarterback at Arkansas in college and now will be tasked with trying to beat a real, professional NFL team. If the Broncos are somehow able to get a lead in this game, then maybe they are able to run the ball well enough to hold on a lead but the most likely scenario is that the Browns will be leading at some point, will have to stop handing off to Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman.
What you will see then is an undrafted free agent quarterback who would not even be starting if Drew Lock was not on the injured reserve and who hasn’t started a game in four years try to lead a comeback effort against a defense that didn’t get absolutely shellacked by the New England Patriots (though the outcome of that game was never in doubt). It feels bad to wager on bad teams like the Browns but it would feel worse to not bet against Brandon Allen.
New York Jets -3
If you strictly bet NFL games off of DVOA/Expected points/yards per play numbers, the Dolphins are actually the pick in this game. The cumulative New York Jets offensive numbers have been stone cold bad this season, but that is obviously heavily influenced by their time spent playing with Luke Falk. Even at his worst, Sam Darnold is better than Luke Falk. If, for example, the New York Giants played at Miami, I would expect them to be favored by five points or so. To this point in their careers, Sam Darnold and Daniel Jones have basically been the same style of quarterback.
What we do know about this game for sure is that 1) the Jets defense has been been a top 10 unit this season despite a plethora of injuries and 2) the Dolphins are not actively trying to win. None of us believe that the Dolphins are actively tanking IN games but it does seem readily apparent that the organization as a whole is not putting their best foot forward in terms of optimizing strategy and roster construction to have the best team on Sunday’s. The Jets, on the other hand, are at least trying to be good and Adam Gase has a good enough track record in one-possession games that I don’t think he is the most incompetent coach in the NFL.
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