The NFL playoff chase is heating up now that most teams have gotten through half of their schedule. There is plenty to still be determined, but some teams have pulled away as serious Super Bowl contenders while others are already making plans for the offseason because of a poor start.
Just when it seems like there is a good grasp on the landscape, underdogs will come away with wins to shake things up. There is no doubt some underdogs will pull upsets in Week 9 while others will lose but cover the spread. Here are some of the best underdog picks this week.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Baltimore Ravens (-3)
The pick: Steelers +3
The Pittsburgh Steelers are going on the road this week to face off against the Baltimore Ravens in an AFC North clash. The teams look pretty even talent-wise and the oddsmakers have pegged Baltimore the 3-point favorite because it is at home. This seems like a coin flip type of matchup. Pittsburgh is a good choice at +130 on the moneyline or to lose a close one but to cover the spread. The Steelers might not have running back Le’Veon Bell but the offense has still looked good recently. Make sure quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is good to go but as long as his injuries are minor the Steelers are the right call.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Carolina Panthers (-6.5)
The pick: Buccaneers +6.5
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have switched quarterbacks again back to Ryan Fitzpatrick. Tampa Bay is a 6.5-point road underdog this week against the Carolina Panthers, but that spread seems too high. It might not be easy for the Bucs to pull this upset but the Panthers are always inconsistent. This one could be closer than imagined. If this spread moves up to a touchdown Tampa Bay is a fantastic pick since a loss by seven points would still result in a push.
Buffalo Bills vs Chicago Bears (-10)
The pick: Bills +10
The Buffalo Bills’ quarterback situation is bleak, as Nathan Peterman seems likely to return under center after veteran Derek Anderson was hurt last time out. Rookie Josh Allen is also injured, and thus Buffalo is a 10-point home underdog next week despite playing at home against the Chicago Bears. While it’s easy to understand the trepidation surrounding the Bills, a double-digit spread at home against an average foe is just too large. Buffalo should be able to play conservative enough to keep this one reasonably close and cover the spread.
Los Angeles Rams vs New Orleans Saints (-1.5)
The pick: Rams +1.5
The Los Angeles Rams are 8-0 on the season but slight underdogs this week against the New Orleans Saints. Both teams have elite offenses, but the Rams defense is better. Look for defensive tackle Aaron Donald to get after New Orleans gunslinger Drew Brees. This could be the type of game in which a big turnover by a defense is the difference in the game. The Rams are the pick to cover as 1.5-point underdogs.
Atlanta Falcons vs Washington Redskins (-2)
The pick: Rams +2
The best pick of the week is on a road underdog, which is sometimes risky but makes a ton of sense this week. The Atlanta Falcons are hitting the road to face off against the Washington Redskins. The Falcons are only a 2-point underdog but the oddsmakers are still underrating them in this one. Look for Matt Ryan and the Atlanta offense to have a big game. The Falcons defense should sell out against the run and force Washington quarterback Alex Smith to beat them through the air.
Atlanta is the more talented team and should be able to win this game rather easily. This is a no-brainer underdog pick as the Falcons are the choice to pull off the upset over the Redskins.
Check out the latest NFL Week 9 betting odds.