NFL 2017 Best Bets: Week 9 – Bye weeks leave slim pickings

With a lot of big teams, and Cleveland, on a bye it is a tricky week for gamblers, but there are a few lines that hold a lot of value.

Last week was another solid one, with the Eagles and Vikings covering big spreads and the Colts hanging tough with the Bengals.

In Week 9 we see a lot of consistent teams like New England, Pittsburgh, and Minnesota on bye, making it difficult to really pull out three games that I like from this slate. Buffalo make an interesting case as a road favorite in New York, but Thursday Night Football does strange things to teams. Jacksonville coming off a bye and with Leonard Fournette back seem like a good pick, but do you really trust Blake Bortles against a good defense?

These are the three games I am going with this week. Note that there is no line on the Ravens-Titans game due to Joe Flacco’s concussion, but that’s no great loss.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (-8) over Denver Broncos

Ride the hot hand. The Eagles have been the best team in the NFL so far this season and are extremely well rounded. With Fletcher Cox back and adding Jay Ajayi to the backfield they should only get better. Denver’s defense has been good this season, but away from Mile High they are not as strong and their own question marks under center make it extremely difficult to see them staying close to the Eagles.

If Brock Osweiler starts this game then Brandon Graham & Co. could feast on the immobile passer, if Trevor Siemian keeps the job then there will be interceptions to be had in the secondary. It’s not a good situation for the Broncos.

Kansas City Chiefs (+1) over DALLAS COWBOYS

No Ezekiel Elliott and I don’t have to give any points? This sounds almost too good to be true. While the absence of Eric Berry is starting to show in the Kansas secondary, their pass rush remains good and Marcus Peters is a constant threat to take the ball away.

Against a thin defense and an especially poor secondary the Chiefs should be able to put up points quickly and frequently. I love this game.

Indianapolis Colts (+13) over HOUSTON TEXANS

Yep, that’s right. I’m going against Deshaun Watson. It’s not that I wasn’t impressed by the performance of the rookie quarterback last week, because it was impossible not to be, but 13 points is a hell of a lot.

The Colts are not great shakes, and possibly one of the worst teams in the NFL this season, but they are also capable of throwing over the top of a defense that has no pass rush. TY Hilton is a threat and Jacoby Brissett is no slouch. This game may well end up being one sided, but can’t you see a scenario where it’s 30-13 with three minutes to go and the Colts score a touchdown? The back door is wide open in this one.

Rest of the picks

Buffalo Bills (-3) over NEW YORK JETS

Atlanta Falcons (+2.5) over CAROLINA PANTHERS

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (-4.5) over Cincinnati Bengals

Los Angeles Rams (-3.5) over NEW YORK GIANTS

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (-7) over Tampa Bay Buccaneers

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (+1.5) over Arizona Cardinals

Washington Redskins (+7) over SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

Oakland Raiders (-3) over MIAMI DOLPHINS

Detroit Lions (-2.5) over GREEN BAY PACKERS

Last Week: 8-5-0 (2-1-0)

Overall: 59-51-3 (6-18-0)

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Toby Durant


Deputy Editor at RealSport. A life-long gamer, I have been with RealSport since 2016 and spent time covering the world of Formula 1, NFL, and football for the site before expanding into esports.


I lead the site's coverage of motorsport titles with a particular focus on Formula 1. I also lead RealSport's Madden content while occasionally dipping my toe into Football Manager and esports coverage of Gfinity Series events.