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NFL Week 9 picks against the spread: Tricks, treats, and bad beats

All they sell are slashers in Vegas.

Super Bowl LI Proposition Bets At The Westgate Las Vegas Race & Sports SuperBook Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Slight winning ways keep happening for me, and Ryan sits in purgatory, which is exactly where things should be since it’s the spooky time of year. Nothing is more spooky, however, than trying to pick games with little-to-no value to speak of.

In the horror movie of sports gambling, degenerates are the white girls walking in wide-eyed into an abandoned psych ward. It’s a cliche, tired and beaten, but people keep buying it for one reason or another. Just before the machete comes down, we pick games.

Chris’s Record: 33-28-1 (5-3 last week)

Ryan’s Record: 23-24 (4-4 last week)

Cleveland -3 at Denver

Chris: The Denver Broncos are a failed state. They will refuse to acknowledge the hell their God Elway has put them in, and those who have begun to look to the future hold outstretched arms to Peyton Manning, desperate to make the same mistake all over again. There is little hope in this desolate land.

You should never hire your heroes to do work for you. Alan Trammell taught me that.

Anyway, this seems like a prime game where Cleveland will beat the Broncos and do so in a fun way that’ll put hope back into their own desolate machine for another week. Cleveland -3.

Ryan: So glad you picked this matchup because both of these teams are representative of how self-awareness matters—and also totally doesn’t matter—in this league.

Cleveland sucks, but they don’t think they suck even though we all know they suck, but we gotta pretend they don’t suck because we all convinced ourselves that these weren’t the Browns who had sucked in the past so we’re waiting on them to prove ourselves right. Meanwhile, they were busy before the deadline trying to figure out ways to get Trent Williams, purportedly to fix all of their offensive problems.

Then you have Denver, who knows they suck, so they’re doing they did their best to trade away talent to set themselves up to do what John Elway does best: draft subpar quarterbacks with high draft picks to ensure Elway maintains his stranglehold on “best QB in Denver Broncos history” status.

tl;dr Joe Flacco isn’t playing this week. Denver +3

Indianapolis +1 at Pittsburgh

Ryan: Jacoby Brissett is the best quarterback to come out of New England and that’s not even up for discussion. Kick rocks, Matt Cassel. Get lost, Brian Hoyer. Eat your heart out, Jimmy Garoppolo. Okay, this isn’t helping...

Remember when Andrew Luck retired in August, right smack dab in the middle of the preseason, and the national fallout was thinking the Colts could be the worst team in the NFL? Well, they’re atop the AFC South. I dare you to not call that an accomplishment because I’ll pull the receipts of you calling Tom Brady the best of all time when he has inhabited a decrepit AFC East his entire career. Indianapolis +1.

Chris: The Colts stood pat at the trade deadline, which was the right move because they are a good football team this year. As much as I’ve been riding the Texans, I think the Colts are in line for the playoffs, with total awareness I’m making this selection in the exact middle of the season. Eric Ebron keeps going places.

Meanwhile, the Steelers have the nation getting back on this train thanks to wins over the Chargers and Dolphins. I don’t understand how this game opened as a pick, even with the home field requisite three points. Indianapolis +1.

New England -3.5 at Baltimore

Chris: Nope, we’ve seen this before. We’ve seen the effervescent hope, we’ve seen the belief it can happen. Maybe it can! But I cannot put faith in the Ravens to defeat this particular Patriots squad, and it certainly won’t happen in primetime. I don’t even care if I’ve got the wrong side of a hook.

Let Lions fans contemplate the Patriots defense now that Patricia is gone. That’s existential dread there. The defense guru left town and they got better? This is a deathless empire. New England -3.5.

Ryan: Not only are the Ravens going to hand the Patriots their first loss of the season, but they’re going to do it in spectacular fashion. Don’t know what that means, don’t know what it’s going to look like, don’t feel like getting too entangled in prognostications because my crystal ball is in the shop. All I know is it’s going to happen because they have the best player on the field in Lamar Jackson. Baltimore +3.5.

Detroit +2 at Oakland

Chris: I thought we agreed to stop picking Lions games in order to not upset the mouth-breathers inhabiting our comments. Fine. My pick here does not represent whatever bogus score I put into the staff prediction. Oakland -2.

Ryan: Agreed, except I wouldn’t call the people who inhabit our comment section mouth-breathers because I appreciate them wholeheartedly. This is not an exercise in “good cop, bad cop.”

I wanted to talk about this game because the Lions are getting a rub on the road that they haven’t really earned over the month of October. I find it entirely possible that Detroit goes to Oakland and gets their snot-box rocked—and in such a way that it’s an actual deathblow to Detroit’s season.

But I don’t put money on the Raiders. It’s against my religion. Detroit +2.

Personal Picks


Detroit at Oakland UNDER 50.5
Green Bay -3.5 at LA Chargers
Washington +9.5 at Buffalo


Seattle -6 vs. Tampa Bay
Green Bay at L.A. Chargers OVER 47
Carolina -4 vs. Tennessee

Will the Dolphins beat the spread?

Current line: N.Y. Jets -3 at Miami

Dolphins record ATS: 3-4

Chris: Vegas has caught up with the Dolphins and charted the veins of their futility properly. After four straight weeks of spread loss, the Dolphins have covered ever since.

However, I don’t think a three-point line is going to get me buying in on the fish here. NY Jets -3.

Ryan: We knew this was going to happen eventually, but the terrible meets the awful in this weekend matchup of AFC East basement dwellers. It’s a battle of futility and absolute pointlessness. I’m over how bad this division is. Miami +3

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