Pickswise NFL experts give their Week 9 predictions and best bets: Dolphins down the Bears

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Andrew Wilsher


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Managing Editor of Pickswise. Born and raised in jolly old London, England, with an undying love for the NFL, NBA, soccer and horse racing. A big-time sports bettor who loves futures markets and backing underdogs. Long-suffering New York Jets fan. For Andrew Wilsher media enquiries, please email contact@pickswise.com.
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Week 9 of the NFL season has arrived, and to say it’s been a great year for the Pickswise NFL handicapping team would be a major understatement. Our team is 73-50-1 on spreads this season, which is a 59.3% success rate! If you bet on every spread pick on the recommended unit sizes, then you would be up +33.7 units of profit. As for our NFL Best Bets, the team are a combined 33-15 on 3-star plays, which is a 69% success rate. Now they’re back for more, so let’s dive into 4 of our NFL Week 9 best bets.

Don’t miss any of our NFL picks for Week 9 — we’re 73-50-1 on spreads this season (+33.7 units!)

Jared Smith: Raiders -1 over Jaguars (-110)

My favorite trend of the week comes from this game, and while trends should never be treated as a magic bullet when betting the NFL, I think this one in particular holds a little extra weight because of the circumstances attached to it. Since 2015, teams have gone 25-10-3 ATS the week after being shutout, a dubious distinction the Raiders carry with them this week after getting blanked in the Big Easy last Sunday.

At this time of the year when the lines begin to sharpen, I look for outlier performances like that to create some hidden value in the market the following week. Considering how bad the Jags played in London, and we’ll get to that in a minute, it is fair to say even an average performance in a losing effort for the Raiders in New Orleans would have resulted in this line reopening much higher than essentially a pick’em.

Now to Jacksonville’s struggles, especially on offense, which were quite glaring across the pond. Things started out great for Trevor Lawrence when things were on script with a 70% success rate in the first quarter. But the mood abruptly shifted after Lawrence threw a mind-numbing interception on 1st and goal from the 1-yard line in the opening minutes of the second quarter. From that point on, the Jaguars’ offense only posted a 36% success rate for the remainder of the game. Overall Lawrence graded out as the second-worst performing quarterback of the entire week just behind Daniel Jones. It’s hard to see things going much better this week, considering the potential for a travel hangover from London.

Be sure to check out our full Las Vegas Raiders vs Jacksonville Jaguars predictions

Howard Bender: Dolphins -5 over Bears (-110)

If the NFL playoffs were to begin this week, the Dolphins would be the AFC’s sixth seed, and you can tell head coach Mike McDaniel is excited about the opportunities in front of him and his team. They added an elite edge rusher in Bradley Chubb and to make that happen, all they needed to do was swap out an ineffective Chase Edmonds. Then they added a familiar face in Jeff Wilson, who reunites with his former offensive coordinator as well as his backfield partner, Raheem Mostert. The moves should help improve the 5-3 record.

The Dolphins offense isn’t the concern. The Bears have traded away Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith, which opens all sorts of defensive holes. To beat Chicago, you need to run the ball effectively. Wilson knows the Miami system, so he’ll fit in perfectly alongside Mostert. The key is how the Dolphins defense handles an upstart Bears team that has seen improvements from its quarterback over the last three weeks, also has a strong ground game, and added a receiving component at the trade deadline in Chase Claypool.

The problem for the Fins is in their pass coverage. Chubb will help the pass-rush, but all that does is flush Justin Fields out of the pocket, something of which he thrives. But can the receivers do what is needed? Claypool needs time to learn the system and his route trees, Darnell Mooney has been a bust, and Cole Kmet is barely noticeable on the field. The Bears passing offense ranks dead-last in the league, and while yes, we’ve seen improvements, it just might not be enough.

Be sure to check out our full Miami Dolphins vs Chicago Bears predictions

Andrew Ortenberg: Panthers +7.5 over Bengals (-110)

Both the Carolina Panthers and Cincinnati Bengals are looking to rebound from tough losses in Week 9. I don’t know if the Panthers will be able to pull off the upset, but I think they’ll at least be able to keep this one competitive enough to stay within the number. Cincinnati was dominated by the Browns on Monday night, and their offense just clearly isn’t the same without Ja’Marr Chase out there to demand so much defensive attention

The Panthers have shown a lot more fight than people expected since firing head coach Matt Rhule, and the guys are playing hard for interim coach Steve Wilks. Two weeks ago they shockingly blew out the Buccaneers, and this past week they very nearly beat the Falcons on the road, falling in overtime. PJ Walker has quietly been making some really impressive throws in the past couple of games, and Carolina’s offensive line is playing at a borderline elite level.

There’s just no way I could lay more than a touchdown with the Bengals when they don’t have their top weapon. QB Joe Burrow still doesn’t trust his protection, and now he’s going to have Brian Burns bearing down on him. The Panthers have covered the number in each of the last 2 weeks and I think they can do it again.

Be sure to check out our full Carolina Panthers vs Cincinnati Bengals predictions

Caleb Wilfinger: Seahawks ML over Cardinals (+110)

This line has come down a bit since it opened, but it’s still a bit silly. In my opinion, a lot of that might have to do with the lack of respect in the market for Seattle. This offense has been legit all season long, checking in at 6th in DVOA per Football Outsiders. Even against a solid Giants defensive unit last week, the Seahawks were efficient and generated a number of explosive plays on the ground and through the air in the victory.

Seattle has been extremely successful on early downs this season, thanks in large part to the excellent play of Geno Smith under center. This is a good, well-rounded offense and we have half a season of data to support that. And while the Seahawks’ defense was a major point of concern, Seattle now ranks in the top 8 in DVOA in all four facets over its last 4 games. The Seahawks are now 12th in defensive DVOA and climbing, something which gives this team a real chance to compete in the NFC West and beyond this season. The playoff hopes could easily become a reality in a weak NFC this fall.

A primary reason for backing Seattle in this one though is fading Kliff Kingsbury as a favorite, specifically at home. This Cardinals team is going nowhere fast and still can’t win a close game at home. In fact, Arizona is 1-8 in the last 9 games in this rivalry at home. That’s awful even for Kingsbury’s standards. This team is extremely undisciplined and it shows each week with penalties and lack of execution. Back the Seahawks as underdogs in this spot, and don’t be surprised if Seattle continues to surpass expectations.

Be sure to check out our full Seattle Seahawks vs Arizona Cardinals predictions

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