For how well the college football season has gone for me, the NFL season as been a dumpster fire.
Week 8 was another look at below .500, going 2-4 ATS. Had I waited a day or two and grabbed the New York Jets at +6, it would have been a .500 day, but I got crushed by a half-point.
That's OK. We're getting into the final half of the season, so things have to start changing. Right? Here's the week 9 NFL picks featuring the three best underdogs that will cover the spread.
Underdogs: 11-12-1 ATS
Overall: 18-28-1 ATS
Washington Redskins (+7.5) at Seattle Seahawks
Statistically speaking, these teams actually don't look that much different on paper.
Seattle ranks seventh in total offense compared to Washington's 14th ranking, but the Redskins actually average more yards per play than the Seahawks. Defensively, the Redskins rank 11th in total defense, while the Seahawks are 16th. Both teams allow the same yards per play on defense.
On paper, the two teams stack up comparably despite the monster spread. And Washington is getting healthier in its secondary, with Josh Norman returning last week and the anticipated return of Bashaud Breeland this week.
And don't worry about the travel in this contest, with this game featuring an East Coast team traveling west (not as big of a deal as west to east) and the game being played in the later afternoon window.
Washington is a desperate team needing a win. That should be considered when betting this game. The Redskins have more to play for and this spread is based on past success from Seattle, not the current reality. — Go Against The Chalk with Washington
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+7) at New Orleans Saints
I'm giving Tampa Bay one more chance to prove me right. I believed in the Buccaneers in the preseason and they've soundly disappointed me.
And I keep picking them week in and week out, despite the continued disappointing results. Eventually, though, the law of averages will start to win out, right?
The Bucs aren't as bad as they're showing on the field. Tampa Bay's offense is comparable to New Orleans. The Bucs average the fourth-most yards per game in the NFL, while the Saints average the second-most. They're also comparable in yards per play.
And while the Saints defense has gotten better, it's still not a sure thing. New Orleans only gives up 0.2 yards per play less than the Buccaneers this year. Tampa Bay is getting healthier and should return back at least part of its secondary this week. Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David have had two weeks now to get back into game action, so I'm anticipating this defense to get better. We saw that last week and it should continue in week 9.
These teams aren't that far off in talent level, so I'll take the points all day in this matchup. — Go Against The Chalk with Tampa Bay
Cincinnati Bengals (+5) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville is competing for a playoff spot, but there's no reason they should be this much of a favorite.
The Jaguars are winning games with smoke and mirrors, relying a defense predicated on not only turning over the opposition, but scoring touchdowns in the process. That's not sustainable. They have four defensive touchdowns this season to go along with a plus-eight differential in the turnover department.
That will come close to evening out during the course of the season and shouldn't be a reason why we label the Jaguars as almost a touchdown favorite. The Bengals aren't good, but they're comparable with the Jaguars defense. Cincinnati actually allows less yards per game than Jacksonville and fewer yards per play.
Offensively, the Jaguars look better on paper, but this should come down to who you trust more — Blake Bortles or Andy Dalton. I'm not all in on Dalton, but I favor him more than Bortles.
This is too many points to give up for Jacksonville. This will be a low-scoring, defensive battle, so don't bet on the Jaguars winning by more than five points. — Go Against The Chalk with Cincinnati
Scott Levine is the Associate Editor for the Clinton Herald. During his free time, he blogs about fantasy sports and handicaps games.
Scott Levine can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @ScottLevineCH