NFL Week 9 Betting: Best spread, over/under bets before lines move

2T49M29 Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson (65) in action Washington Commanders defensive end Montez Sweat (90) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Terrance Williams)

• Bet the Eagles (-3) to dominate on the ground: The Eagles have the highest-graded offensive line in the NFL this season and a passing game that is starting to find its stride.

• Bet the Falcons (-4) to take advantage of the Vikings' QB uncertainty: Kirk Cousins' Achilles' injury is expected to push fifth-round rookie Jaren Hall into the starting role.

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Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

If you are betting on NFL spreads, you better do it early. After reviewing each line on the PFF Forecast Podcast, we are here to share our favorite early bets to make before the market catches on and lines move.

We went 39-30-4 last year and are sitting at 12-13 (-3 units) this season with one more play on Monday Night Football. Make sure you don’t miss anything by joining in on the action with the PFF Betting Discord.

If you are wondering why we bet early, here is a great primer.

Philadelphia Eagles (-3) vs. Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys tend to beat the brakes off teams with bad offensive lines and get rolled by good teams that can run the ball. Enter the Philadelphia Eagles with the best offensive line and rushing attack in the NFL.

The Eagles have the highest-graded offensive line in the NFL this season and a passing game that is starting to find its stride, ranking fourth in expected points added per passing play over the past three weeks.

On the other side of the equation, the Cowboys' offensive line could be starting tackles with sub-61.0 PFF grades.

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Teaser: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+8.5) @ Houston Texans & Washington Commanders (+8.5) @ New England Patriots (-120)

This is a Wong Teaser, which happens when each side you tease crosses both the numbers three and seven, as is the case here with the Buccaneers moving from +2.5 to +8.5 and the Commanders moving from +2.5 to +8.5. Because three and seven are the most common end-of-game point differentials, crossing those numbers gives the bettor more outcomes for which each side wins.

The Buccaneers hung tough with the Bills for most of their Week 8 matchup and ended up covering the 10-point spread. Baker Mayfield played relatively well, recording a 71.3 PFF passing grade in that game. Tampa Bay will also have three more days of rest than the Texans, who are coming off a loss to the previously winless Panthers.

Sam Howell rebounded in a big way this week, throwing for nearly 400 yards and three touchdowns against a fearsome Eagles defense that put the clamps on the Dolphins the week before. The Commanders will likely face a lot of man coverage from the Patriots, which can play in their favor, thanks to their potent wide receiver room of Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson and Curtis Samuel.

Atlanta Falcons (-4, -110) vs. Minnesota Vikings

There is still a Falcons -3.5 (-110) posted on DraftKings at the time of this writing.

The Falcons suffered an ugly loss at the hands of Will Levis and the Tennessee Titans this week, and injuries to wide receiver Drake London (groin) and interior defender Grady Jarrett (knee) are only salt in the wound. London told reporters after the game that he was “fine,” so we expect him to suit up in Week 9. That said, nothing compares to the loss of Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, who is believed to have suffered a season-ending Achilles injury.

Cousins was coming off arguably the best game of his career in Week 7, a win over the San Francisco 49ers, and looked good against Green Bay this week. He led the team to 24 points against the Packers before going down with the injury. Cousins’ 81.7 passing grade through Week 7 ranked sixth in the NFL, and backup Jaren Hall was strip-sacked on his second dropback deep in Minnesota territory.

The Vikings do not have veteran backup Nick Mullens available for this game, as he’s on injured reserve with a back injury until at least Week 10, so fifth-round rookie Hall is expected to make the start, barring a move by Minnesota over the next week.

Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder was benched in Week 8 but has a respectable 67.1 passing grade against the blitz this season, averaging 8.3 yards per attempt — a top-five mark in 2023. Falcons head coach Arthur Smith said this is still Ridder’s team, so we expect him to get the start in Week 9. Minnesota’s run defense is around league average in expected points allowed per rush and rushing success rate allowed, though they’ve been able to limit explosive rushes very well so far in 2023, which could be bolstering their down-to-down efficiency.

At the end of the day, a Vikings team likely starting a fifth-round rookie, without Justin Jefferson at wide receiver, should struggle to keep this game close — even if the Atlanta offense does not produce a ton of points. The Falcons' defense ranks fifth in success rate against opposing dropbacks and success rate against opposing rushes, with Minnesota placing 26th in EPA per rush. Jaren Hall will likely find himself in a lot of second- and third-and-long situations throughout this game, which should spell trouble.

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