NFL Underdogs: NFL Picks, and Predictions Week 9

Alvin Kamara looks to be awoken from his season-long slumber, while the Saints defense is starting to flex their muscles. New Orleans is being spotted three points at home against a lackluster Ravens squad — they're among our favorite Week 9 underdogs.

Nov 4, 2022 • 22:02 ET • 4 min read

The calendar turning to November not only signals the second half of the NFL schedule, but closes the door on “underdog” season for football bettors.

Over the past seven years, the opening eight weeks of action have proved profitable for those teams getting the points. NFL underdogs covered at a collective 54.5% between Week 1 and Week 8 from 2015 to 2021, with that success surging to 56.7% the previous three years.

The 2022 campaign has been no different, with point spread pups producing a 67-52-3 ATS count in the opening half of the slate (56.1%). But here comes November “kickin’ the door and wavin’ the four-four” in Week 9, so underdog bettors better bundle up for the cold, hard months ahead. 

From 2015 to 2021, underdog success slipped to 50.4% in the second half of the schedule. That includes a 74-72-2 ATS finish last year (50.7%) after a 55.8% winning clip in the opening eight weeks.

At this time last season, I was sitting all fat and happy at 16-8 ATS with underdog bets and closed the final 10 weeks of the regular season by going just 12-18 ATS. Brrrrrr.

If this swing in plus-point spread success stays true in 2022, I certainly have my work cut out for me after opening the first half of the schedule just 10-14 ATS with my weekly NFL picks and predictions. But Week 9 odds present plenty of options, from big home dogs to short road dogs and every pup in between. 

Here are my three NFL underdog picks for Week 9:

NFL picks against the spread for Week 9

Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

Best NFL bonuses

Looking to bet on some NFL action? Here are two of the best bonuses* available:

A) New users at FanDuel can get a no-sweat first bet of up to $1,000! Sign Up Now

B) New users at DraftKings can bet $5 and get $200 in free bets! Sign Up Now

*Eligible USA locations only. Also, check out our full list of NFL promo codes for 2022.

Indianapolis brings a blah 3-4-1 SU mark into Week 9, scrambling for answers again after a second straight loss. The Colts swapped out QBs last week, which didn’t pan out in a one-point home defeat to Washington, and now travel to Foxborough minus offensive coordinator Marcus Brady, who was fired Tuesday. 

Indianapolis hasn’t been horrible on offense in terms of yardage, but really lacks an identity, with veteran QB Matt Ryan benched for more mobile backup Sam Ehlinger and the rushing attack falling way short of last year’s production. That’s all trickled down to turnover troubles and a lack of scoring, with Indy putting up more than 20 points only once this season.

Despite those issues, however, the Colts have kept it close most weeks — win or lose — and can thank an underappreciated defense for that. 

Indianapolis sits 14th in Defensive DVOA on the season and has tightened its belts since Week 5, sitting 10th lowest in EPA allowed per play in that span. The pass rush has also come to life in the last four outings, recording 12 of their total 19 sacks on the season in those contests. Shaq Leonard continues to work his way back into form and was extremely disruptive against New England last year, with 10 tackles and an interception.

And speaking of New England, this is another offense in flux. The Patriots have a bit of a QB controversy of their own between starter Mac Jones and backup Bailey Zappe. But don't ask Bill Belichick about it.

Jones returned from injury the past two games with a pop and a fizzle, looking listless and careless with short passes and two interceptions as New England leans into an RPO attack (just 5.5 yards per attempt in Week 8 vs. 8.0 yards/attempt in the previous games).

Much like Indianapolis, New England can pat the defense on the back for keeping things respectable, but we’ve seen this stop unit gashed for big points, most recently in an embarrassing loss to Chicago at home on Monday Night Football two weeks ago. And last week, the Jets outgained the Pats by almost 100 yards and averaged 6.7 yards per play in the 19-17 loss.

New England could very well win this one outright, but shouldn't be favored by this many points in Week 9. The Patriots have won three of their last four but have played some pretty bad teams along the way, with blowouts of Detroit and Cleveland helping inflate this spread.

PICK: Colts +5.5 (-105 at PointsBet)

Taking the Titans in this Sunday night showdown with the Chiefs is a bit of risk, not knowing the health of Tennessee quarterback Ryan Tannehill at this point. But that’s why they call in gambling.

Tannehill sat out Week 8’s matchup with Houston, which I suspect was a decision made with this game in mind. He was trending toward playing early last week before coming down with an illness, leaving rookie QB Malik Willis to manage things in the win over Houston. Head coach Mike Vrabel has been cagey about his Week 9 status, which I believe is simply gamesmanship ahead of a key AFC clash.

The Titans haven’t been sitting right with many bettors, despite reeling off five straight wins over less-than-stellar competition. However, it has been Tennessee’s perceived weakness that has actually been its strength during this run: Defense. 

The Titans have the fifth-lowest EPA allowed per play since Week 3, shutting the door on both rival rushing and passing games. And while those opponents pale in comparison to Patrick Mahomes and the Chief, this pass rush is generating solid pressure (ninth highest) while blitzing on just over 19% of dropbacks — a positive when it comes to defending KC.

Helping the stop unit has been the resurgence of running back Derrick Henry, who is reminding everyone who the best rusher in the league truly is. Henry has amassed 563 yards on the ground the past four games, anchoring a methodical Tennessee attack that can chew up time of possession and park the high-power Chiefs offense on the sideline.

If anything, the improved defense and clock-eating offense from the Titans will keep Kansas City within striking distance, and inside this massive spread, that has started to shrink at some respected online shops.

PICK: Titans +13 (-119 at Sports Interaction)

When it comes to betting on either the Ravens or the Saints, you can be sure you’ll need a stiff drink and a couple tabs of TUMS afterward. So, what happens when these respective roller-coaster rides run into each other on Monday Night Football?

I’ve booked my gastroscopy for Tuesday morning.

Baltimore has had its last five games decided by five points or less, and six of eight go down as one-possession finishes (eight points or fewer). New Orleans is right there in terms of nail-biters, with six of its first seven games separated by eight or less up until Week 8’s 24-0 waxing of the Raiders.

That shutout win last Sunday is a glimpse at the potential of this Saints squad, which promised to be one of the best two-way teams in football before the start of the season. Injuries to every skill position slowed that progress, but we’ve seen NOLA put up points in recent weeks — regardless of who’s on the field. 

The Saints own the ninth-highest EPA per play since Week 4, putting up 24 points or more in each of those five contests. Running back Alvin Kamara erupted in Week 8, and if the Saints can get some talent back at WR, this offense is a handful for a Ravens defense ranked among the worst in the NFL (28th in EPA allowed/play).

Defensively for the Saints, this unit flexed its muscles against Las Vegas and red-hot RB Josh Jacobs, checking the Raiders rusher to 43 yards on 10 carries. Now, one of the best all-time rushing defenses in football under Dennis Allen — which currently sits No. 1 in EPA allowed per handoff — takes aim at the Ravens’ rowdy run game and dual-threat QB Lamar Jackson.

Despite having a mini bye off the win over Tampa Bay last Thursday, Baltimore’s offense has some question marks at key positions. Top receiver Rashod Bateman is expected to sit out Week 9. RB Gus Edwards is questionable with a hamstring injury, while tight end Mark Andrews is nursing both shoulder and ankle injuries.

I backed NOLA as a short home dog against Vegas last week and believe the Saints will keep another one close in what will be a loud prime-time battle in the Big Easy.

PICK: Saints +3 (-124 at Pinnacle

Last week: 1-2 ATS (-1.06 units) (Risking 1 unit per play)
Season: 10-14 ATS (-5.15 units) (Risking 1 unit per play)

Pages related to this topic

Popular Content

Legal Canadian sports betting

Best Canadian betting sites Ontario sports betting
Covers 25 Years Logo Established in 1995,
Covers is the world
leader in sports
betting information.
Covers is verified safe by: Evalon Logo GPWA Logo GDPR Logo GeoTrust Logo Evalon Logo