Your curated list of wagers for Week 9 of the NFL season, from moneylines and player props to overlooked underdogs.
Once again, a Jonathan Taylor injury narrowly costs our correctly-called prop bet on his rush attempts by the slimmest of margins. This happened *twice* in October, but with the calendar flipped to November now, we’ll see if that signals a change in fortune. This run of bad luck just cannot possibly be sustainable, right?
NFL Week 9 Best Bets Overview 2022
Best Over/Under Bet of Week 9
- Over/Under: 40.5
Coming into the campaign, the Colts carried legit dreams of going all the way behind Matt Ryan and Jonathan Taylor. An unexpected turn has seen both players veered off onto the sidelines for Sunday.
Ryan, of course, was strangely benched, even while still sporting a .500 record in the season’s first half. Taylor (ankle), meanwhile, re-aggravated an injury that cost him some time weeks ago and will be inactive when Indianapolis contends with a very good Patriots defensive unit.
This isn’t just an awesome defense; it’s one that is masterminded by an excellent coach, especially in such circumstances when a backup quarterback is involved. Sixth-round draft choice Sam Ehlinger will be receiving his second career start, and while he wasn’t bad in his first career nod a week ago, his outlook looks a little bleak — as it does for any backup signal-caller that goes toe-to-toe with Bill Belichick.
Going all the way back to 2012, the six-time Super Bowl-winning head coach has faced a non-starting QB 26 times and absolutely shackled them to an uneventful 79.6 passer rating. Additionally, those opponents managed only 16.1 points on average. Without his main supporting-cast teammate, Ehlinger won’t break that mold.
As it is, New England is once again carrying a top-tier D. They’re allowing the 12th-fewest points (20.4) and have collected the second-most takeaways (16) in the NFL. The Pats have been extra stingy against the pass, too, tying for the sixth-most sacks (23) thus far and they are one of six defenses to be holding opposing QBs to a sub-80.0 passer rating.
Meanwhile, another quality defense will be present in this one as well. Indianapolis yields the ninth-fewest total yards per game (319.8) in the league, which shouldn’t be all that surprising considering this is a group that just oozes playmakers.
The likes of Kenny Moore, DeForest Buckner and Grover Stewart — among others — will assist in this contest from getting out of hand. It’s also notable that former Patriots corner Stephen Gilmore will be making his grand return to Foxboro.
Once the Patriots take control and don’t relinquish it, I anticipate all the usage that emerging running back Rhamondre Stevenson can handle to soak through clock (more on that in our props below). Just get that key insurance of a half-point in case this turns out a 24-17/27-14 game.
The Pick: UNDER 41 (-120)
Best Spread Bet of Week 9
- Spread: Rams +3 / Buccaneers -3
Well, entering the final game before the season’s halfway point on a rare three-game losing streak, how does that signature TB12 fire not come out?
Remember that Brady retired during the past offseason before his eye-opening about-face. Why? To chase another Lombardi Trophy, obviously.
Who knows whether Brady would have stayed retired had Tampa Bay gone on to win the Super Bowl last season, but poetically, the team that arguably did put him in this position prior to winning it all themselves last year — the Los Angeles Rams — is next on the docket Sunday.
This feels like the perfect time and place for Brady to engineer one of his trademark vintage outings. Such a performance would propel the Bucs offense to a big afternoon, something that seems a bit more likely with LA’s defense playing at an uncharacteristically low level at the moment; the Rams have yielded more than 21 points in three of the last four weeks (and the one time they didn’t was against a Panthers team forced to roll out PJ Walker at QB).
Shockingly, Tampa is only averaging 18.3 points per game this year, which would rank as the lowest ever by a Tom Brady-led offense. There’s just too much talent here. This trend simply isn’t going to continue.
Specifically, the Bucs are due to get it going on third downs. They’ve registered one of the lowest third-down conversion rates in the league at just 34.6% — including a mind-bogglingly bad 10% in third-and-long situations, as noted by Warren Sharp — and that’s something I don’t think will sustain. Fortunately for them, the Rams’ D hasn’t been good in such scenarios either, allowing a successful third-down conversion 41.7% of the time.
On the other side of things, Los Angeles is potentially rolling without its most valuable offensive weapon. Even if Cooper Kupp (ankle) does play, he would be operating at considerably below full health. Up against a quality defense that will surely be hungry, such a predicament doesn’t seem like one that will churn out points in bundles for the defending champs.
Both of these supposed contenders have been trending down for a month now. Bet on Tampa as the one that snaps out of it.
THE PICK: Buccaneers -3 (-104)
Best Teaser Bet of Week 9
This week we’ll opt for a bye from teasers. But continue scrolling down for an extra prop bet as a substitute.
Best Prop Bet of Week 9
- Rhamondre Stevenson Over/Under 15.5 Rushing Attempts
When Bill Belichick says he loves a player, always take note, especially from a gambling perspective. This is a far-from-common event and probably means said player will definitely be heavily featured.
Such is painted to a tee for Rhamondre Stevenson, the second-year running back that’s taken complete reigns of the New England backfield. And who can blame Belichick for this rare gushing affection?
Stevenson is a blistering runner that exhibits shades of a Derrick Henry-type tailback, built like a tank and chugging along like one. He’s even among the league leaders in broken tackles! The former fourth-round draft pick has a very promising future if he can stay healthy.
Look no further than this past month, in which Stevenson averaged 17.8 carries per week. He was even a frequent factor in the passing game, hauling in all but one of 22 targets across four October games.
Of course, we’re only thinking about his number of rushing attempts. And we’ll get there based on how often Stevenson has been used — he’s still playing more than 60 percent of snaps even after Damien Harris returned from injury and his usage rate is 44 percent the last three weeks.
Plus, let’s visualize the probable game script. The Patriots, who are rightfully favored by a good chunk at home, will likely knock off Indy and perhaps by a decisive amount. Either outcome ensures plenty of running — a strategy New England will deploy early also — and the bulk of that goes to our man of the hour.
Given how well Stevenson has played with his number now being consistently called, there should be no doubt Belichick keeps going to the ultra-rare halfback he loves.
THE PICK: OVER 15.5 Rushing Attempts (-135)
Co-Best Prop Bet of Week 9
- Josh Palmer Over/Under 4.5 Receptions
No team has attempted more passes per game in 2022 than the Chargers. As a matter of fact, since Justin Herbert was drafted two years ago, this is a category they’re always ranked among the top five.
The question is, who will be on the receiving end of these passes? Keenan Allen (hamstring) and Mike Williams (ankle) are unavailable at the moment, as is tight end Donald Parham Jr. (hamstring)
That’s a lot of unoccupied targets right there, so who gets at least a good chunk of those? Enter sophomore Josh Palmer.
Two weeks ago prior to the team’s bye, the Tennessee product made a name for himself to Chargers faithful by converting 12 targets into nine catches for 57 yards. Considering DeAndre Carter (illness) May be a bit limited, this is a thin receiving corps that Palmer will be a big factor in.
True, Austin Ekeler is going to consume a lot of those tosses, too, but look who the quarterback is. With Herbert under center, there’s plenty of passes to spread around, and seeing as how his wide-outs are so depleted, Palmer figures to capitalize.
THE PICK: OVER 4.5 Receptions (-140)
NFL Best Bets Record for the 2022 Season
- Over/Unders: “3-5”
- Spreads: “3-3”
- Teasers: “2-4-1”
- Props: “4-5”
- Overall Record*: “12-17-1,” -11.75 units
*Each over/under is graded to win 2 units; everything else for 1 unit
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