For The Win: Week 9

NFL picks against the Las Vegas lines.

Here we are again this year, back for more NFL picks. It is with great pleasure that I begin my second season writing this column. As someone who has won and lost their fair share of money on the NFL (and many other sports), this is bound to be a fun and unpredictable ride. Join me, won’t you?

As with the format in previous years, this article will help those of you who compete in confidence pools and in ranking selections, which may come in handy on those Las Vegas trips. Games are rated based on preference for both the point spread and other angles (such as totals or over/unders) with 1-3 “Stars”, which basically highlight the best bets for the week. Those games which have zero stars are not preferred one way or the other, but will still be covered, discussed and a winner will be predicted for those trying to get some advice for their weekly office pools.

Every dog has its day, and certainly, that was the case in Week 8. Underdogs went 9-4 against the spread, with the Bengals, Vikings, Steelers, Dolphins, and Broncos all winning straight up to boot. In this column, our bets went 8-6 overall, a solid return that was a few bounces here and there away from a better outcome. Week 9 is upon us already, with some typically intriguing lines and scenarios to delve into.

Note that the over/unders are taken from VegasInsider.com

(Thursday Night) GREEN BAY (-2.5) at SAN FRANCISCO (Over/Under 51)

Last Sunday’s loss to the Vikings marked Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur’s first loss in the NFC North since taking over. It was an ugly one, with Dalvin Cook ripping the Packers defense to shreds on the hallowed turf of Lambeau Field. Now, on a short week, the Packers must return to the site of their punishing defeat in last season’s NFC Championship game -- a contest that saw the 49ers’ relentless rushing attack steamroll the Green Bay resistance.

However, a slew of injuries to key 49ers players this past week – Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle, and Tevin Coleman, most notably – has left Kyle Shanahan with little to work with. The young head coach will have to work his magic with scant time to prepare. Nick Mullens is a serviceable quarterback, but he is prone to basic errors too, so the -2.5 line in the road team’s favor makes sense. Interestingly, the look-ahead line for this game was a pick'em, meaning the injury bug has firmly shifted Vegas’ opinion. The 49ers have gone just 1-3 straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) at home this season, so the Packers look like a nice bet if you can get it before it reaches -3.

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