Let’s take a look at the betting odds for Week 9 in the NFL, where three games are of particular interest to me: Dolphins vs. Chiefs, Vikings vs. Falcons, and Chargers vs. Jets.
For your best bets, I will recommend wagering on all three underdogs. I personally like to invest three-quarters of a unit in the underdog ATS and the remaining quarter in the underdog ML.
- Commanders ML (+160)
- Vikings ML (+180)
- Jets ML (+135)
Sunday, November 4, 2023 – 01:00 PM EST at Gillette Stadium
The importance of Washington’s trades – they dealt away defensive linemen Montez Sweat and Chase Young – is easily misunderstood. Both players were going to be free agents during the regular season, and the team wanted to get something for them rather than simply let them walk for nothing.
As evident in Washington’s recent loss to Philadelphia and its poor overall ranking, Sweat and Young were not helping the Commanders’ defense perform at a high level, so it is not like the Commanders dealt away necessary pieces.
Yes, they led the team in sacks, but that is to be expected given their position and their elevated role in the defense. With them gone, other players will assume more responsibility.
For example, Young has five sacks on the season. Especially because two of those sacks came against the Giants, fellow defensive end Casey Toohill‘s four sacks are arguably more impressive. James Smith-Williams, who has one sack on the season, will also step up.
New England’s Wide Receivers
Patriots quarterback Mac Jones has been one of the NFL’s worst starting quarterbacks. He ranks 23rd in QBR (quarterback rating), has thrown eight interceptions to nine touchdowns, and regularly struggles to reach 200 yards passing.
When the Commanders don’t sack him, Jones won’t have his top wide receiver to throw to – Kendrick Bourne sustained a season-ending injury.
His pass-catching crew lacks big-play potential, although Jones also deserves some blame for his negligible deep pass completion percentage.
Commanders’ Pass Defense
Jones is not going to succeed by standing in the pocket and slinging the ball against Washington’s secondary. True, the Commanders’ pass defense is statistically poor, but this is a product of annual early-season struggles and difficulty with strong, weapon-laden pass attacks like Philadelphia’s.
The Commanders were eviscerated by Chicago’s Justin Fields because they were over-aggressive. They amended their approach and proceeded to give Atlanta’s Desmond Ridder his worst game of the season on American soil, as measured by passer rating, and to help hold the Giants to 14 points.
Well-reputed defensive backs, like Kendall Fuller, who has been good outside of the Bears game – and with the exception of his performance against surging Falcons receiver Drake London – solidify Washington’s back end.
Washington’s Run Defense
Jones is at his best when he can engage in play-action passing. But play-action only works when the run game poses a threat.
Washington’s run defense, however, has improved. Most recently, the Commanders limited Philadelphia’s weapon-laden ground game to 59 rushing yards on 2.7 YPC.
Also recently, they held Atlanta’s Bijan Robinson to 2.8 YPC, his lowest YPC total of the season, and likewise limited New York’s Saquon Barkley to his lowest YPC in a game.
Quarterback Sam Howell, who is coming off a 397-yard game against the Eagles, is developing nicely under an excellent offensive coordinator in Eric Bieniemy, formerly of the Chiefs.
New England’s Defensive Vulnerability
Missing irreplaceable-but-now-injured Christian Gonzalez at cornerback and pass rusher Matt Judon, the Patriots’ pass defense ranks in the bottom half in passing yards allowed and even worse in opposing passer rating.
This is far from being the historically intimidating Patriots defense cemented in our minds. And even if it were, the entire defense gets overwhelmed by the offense’s inability to sustain drives.
NFL Pick: Commanders +3.5 (-120) at Bet365
NFL Pick: Commanders ML (+160) at Bet365
Sunday, November 4, 2023 – 01:00 PM EST at Mercedes-Benz Stadium
In recent years, a negative impression of Minnesota’s defensive quality has etched itself into our minds, but the Vikings have clearly improved this year.
Their improvement has only not been noticeable when they faced high-caliber quarterbacks. Whereas they conceded 27 or more points to the Eagles, Chiefs, and Chargers, they gave up 20 points or fewer to Tampa Bay, Carolina, Chicago, San Francisco, and Green Bay.
Atlanta’s Poor Quarterback Play
Given this disparity between Minnesota’s defensive performances against the Eagles, Chiefs, and Chargers on the one side, and against their other opponents on the other side, it is critical to assess Atlanta’s quarterback.
Atlanta’s Rush Attack
The Falcons will still want to rely on their two-pronged rush attack, but defending the run is a strength of Minnesota’s defense.
The Vikings have victimized even the highest-caliber running backs while they locked down offenses that were not led by great quarterbacks. For example, San Francisco star Christian McCaffrey ran for only 45 yards in his team’s loss to the Vikings.
The Rally Angle
Minnesota won’t need to score more than around 14 points in order to cover the spread. Thanks to the rally angle being in play, the Vikings will easily exceed that point total.
With starting quarterback Kirk Cousins missing his first game due to his season-ending injury, Minnesota’s skill players will step up.
With Jordan Addison surging – Addison has caught 14 passes for 205 yards in his past two games – and with T.J. Hockenson primed to benefit from the Falcons having struggled throughout much of the season against tight ends, quarterback Jaren Hall has excellent weapons surrounding him.
NFL Pick: Vikings +5 (-110) at Bet365
NFL Pick: Vikings ML (+180) at Bet365
Monday, November 5, 2023 – 08:15 PM EST at MetLife Stadium
Struggling Against Top Defenses
When the Chargers face top defenses, those that rank top ten in points allowed per game, the flash in their offense evaporates.
They’ve faced two top defenses so far, Kansas City’s and Dallas’. Against both teams, they failed to exceed 17 points.
New York’s Defense
I like the Jets because, like Dallas and Kansas City, they boast a top defense. They were able to defeat Philadelphia by holding Philly to 14 points even though they missed their two top cornerbacks.
Their hybrid front and nuanced coverage schemes enable their defense to succeed even when such talented players are unavailable to them.
L.A. is in particular trouble because the Jets do have their top cornerbacks available again.
This will be a game where New York’s quarterback thrives, as Zach Wilson benefits from facing the NFL’s worst pass defense.
No team allows as many passing yards per game as the Chargers do. Wilson has good weapons around him, most prominently Garrett Wilson, that he’s utilized to help his team reliably reach 20 or more points.
This will be a 21-14 type game that the Jets win.
NFL Pick: Jets +3 (-110) at Bet365
NFL Pick: Jets ML (+135) at Bet365
*The line and/or odds referenced in this article might have changed since the content was published. For the latest information on line movements, visit OddsTrader’s free betting odds tool.