Negotiating point spreads is a way of life for the successful fantasy owner. It’s a way to gauge the strength of teams, project game flow, anticipate outcomes — and heck, it’s just fun to do.
With all that in mind, Bradley Evans, Dalton Del Don and yours truly will offer some Week 9 angles directly tied to the lines and totals at play. Share your own picks in the comments.
Pianow’s Five Darts of the Week (23-17 season).
• Dolphins +3 vs. Oakland: You’re never as good as you look on your best day, and you’re never as hopeless as you look on your worst day. The Dolphins also get extra prep time for this game, and given how awful Matt Moore looked last week, the return of Jay Cutler is a bonus, too.
• Titans -3.5 vs. Ravens: In the same vein as the pro-Dolphins pick, we’re fading Baltimore off its best day of the year. Tennessee comes into the game with extra rest, and a significant edge at quarterback and the offensive skill positions.
• Rams -3 at NY Giants: Happy to punch a ticket on the better-coached team and the more-consistent team. The number suggests the Rams would only be a six-point favorite on a neutral site, but note the Rams are second in the DVOA power ratings, while the Giants lag at 25th.
• Niners +1 vs. Cardinals: Winless or not, Kyle Shanahan has kept his troops focused and motivated — the Niners play hard every week. Arizona is down to its backup quarterback, and it’s widely speculated head coach Bruce Arians won’t be returning. I worry about that sort of team packing its bags prematurely.
• Falcons E at Panthers: The Atlanta offense looks good on a per-play basis, it just needs better efficiency in punching in touchdowns. Often times, that sort of hit rate is a random thing; there’s too much talent for the Falcons to not get it figured out eventually. Cam Newton has been in a funk for several weeks, and obviously he’s now working without his star tight end (Greg Olsen) and his No. 1 receiver (Kelvin Benjamin). The Panthers funnel all sorts of work to Christian McCaffrey, but where are the explosive plays?
(Cumulative: 331-288, 53.5 percent)
Bradley Evans chimes in:
• #FadeTheNoise ATS Pick ‘o the Week: With more sequels than the “Fast and Furious” franchise, Zeke Elliott received another miracle injunction Friday making him eligible to suit up against KC. Even with the RB in tow, Dak Prescott will likely be the centerpiece of Dallas’ game plan against KC. The Chiefs, positively dreadful against the pass (7.5 ypa allowed), will find it difficult to contain Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and deep sleeper Brice Butler. The ‘Pokes have failed to cover in four straight as a home favorite in games with a spread of three points or less, but given KC’s highly exploitable vertical weakness and Dallas’ aggressive pass rush (25 total sacks) saddling up Jason Garrett’s club is smart action. Giddy up, little doggies. Fearless Forecast: Dallas 30 Kansas City 24
• #TeamHuevos Total ‘o the Week: Oakland/Miami OVER 44 (58% bets on OVER). Oakland’s battered and bruised defense travels to South Beach with a noticeable limp. Corner David Amerson, who missed practice Thursday, is trending in the wrong direction along with other key defensive assets. Yes, Jay Ajayi is no longer in the picture and Jay Cutler is the perfect cover athlete for a box of “All-Bran” (Think about it), but it’s a premium matchup. Toss in Miami’s recent wretchedness on defense and this game has sneaky shootout appeal. Keep in mind stretching back to last year, the Raiders have hit the OVER in five of their last six November games and three of their past four contests. Under the prime-time lights, points should be aplenty. Fearless Forecast: Miami 27 Oakland 24
Dalton Del Don steps to the plate:
• Supercontest: This week I went with the Colts (+13), Giants (+3.5), Ravens (+5), 49ers (+2) and Seahawks (-7). The lines that are released Wednesday afternoon are static in this contest for obvious reasons, but my partner and I had actually already decided to use Indy before the Deshaun Watson news. Now, I’d imagine the Colts will be the most popular pick of the season, with a percentage close to 100 not out of the question (given the free six points). We are middling so far in the Supercontest this year.
Teaser of the Week: Teasers are often considered sucker bets, but I’ve typically had far more success over the long term with them (and parlays) than singular wagers. This week I’m teasing six points with the Eagles (-1.5), Saints (-0.5) and Seahawks (-1). BET = $100 to win $160
• Futures: Riding high off my Astros wager made back in March, I placed a bet on the Cowboys to win the Super Bowl earlier this week at 25/1. This was before the Ezekiel Elliott news (your guess is as good as mine with that fiasco), with my thinking being the NFC (really the whole NFL) is as wide open this deep into the season as you’ll ever see, and while I don’t love that the Cowboys are underdogs to win their division given the Eagles’ position, I’m plenty confident they’ll win a wild card spot at worst. I’m a big believer in Dak Prescott, and while their defense is hardly elite, they can get to the quarterback and have a strong special teams with an offense that ranks No. 4 in DVOA. Coaching may be a problem, but these odds seem too high for what I consider to be one of the better teams in football. BET = $100 to win $2500.