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WEEK 9 Record: 1-3
YEAR-TO-DATE Record: 21-16
We’re going through a bit of a "dog days" time of year in the National Football League. We’re still far enough away from the playoffs to where there could be another twist or turn that shakes up the playoff picture in either conference. But we’re far enough into the season to where a bye can help rejuvenate a team and the benefit of a later bye is something we highlighted in the preseason. Well the Steelers are in a nice rest advantage for Week 10 against the Saints as Pittsburgh returns from its Week 9 bye. New Orleans is also traveling on a short week having played at home on Monday Night Football last week. It’s possible TJ Watt returns to Pittsburgh’s defense this week and we’re guessing the bye gave Kenny Pickett more time to settle into the offense. The wrong team is favored in this game and we’re on the Steelers +1.5.
Sure, Justin Fields has played better for multiple weeks in a row now. But let’s slow the roll a bit on the Bears. For just the second time all season, Chicago is laying points as the Bears welcome Detroit to Soldier Field on Sunday as a field goal favorite. The only other time the Bears were favored you ask? That was in Week 3, also by three points, against lowly Houston. So Detroit is just as bad as Houston? I don’t think anyone thinks that. Has Chicago drastically improved since Week 3? There have been bright spots for the monsters of the midway undoubtedly, but let’s not forget that in Week 1 the Bears beat the 49ers by two scores and were still just a three-point home favorite to Houston in Week 3. The bottom line is that Chicago and Detroit are about even teams. The Bears home field is not worth three points. Oddsmakers might be patting the Bears on the back a bit too much for their nice offensive showing and cover against Miami last week. We won’t do the same thing. Give us Detroit +3.
Welcome Back to America Broncos Country
The last time we saw the Broncos, they grinded out a victory in London against Jacksonville in Week 8, 21-17. After its bye week, Denver now plays a game stateside in Nashville against the Titans. Much how I expect Pittsburgh’s offense to look more functional after its bye week, I’m going to bank on a similar boost for Denver. Derrick Henry is different. But the Titans are missing AJ Brown and their offense is devoid of a serious vertical receiving threat. Even in a disastrous year for the Denver offense, Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton both figure to flirt with 1,000 receiving yards if they stay healthy in the second half of the season. Coming off a bye feels like a good time the Broncos offense hits on a few more big plays and the Tennessee offense isn’t all that explosive at the moment. We’ll take the Broncos +2.5.
America’s Team in America’s Dairyland
Speaking of disastrous offenses, have you watched the Packers play football this year? Aaron Rodgers doesn’t have anyone he can trust in the passing game right now and Romeo Doubs is now out for multiple weeks with a high ankle sprain. Dallas is another team returning from its bye and when the Cowboys last took to the gridiron they hung 49 on the Bears. Dallas is hitting its stride in the middle of the season and let’s not forget the stretch where it was carried by defense in the absence of Dak Prescott. Couple the consistent defensive play all season long with a sparked offense that has its starting quarterback back and you get a pretty dangerous football team that may be the second best team in the NFC behind Philadelphia. The Cowboys look like a complete football team while the Packers aren’t any kind of football team right now. I’m not usually about selling stock low and buying stock high, but I’m willing to play Cowboys -5.
By Greg Frank
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