Week 9 NFL Picks: Home Teams That Will Cover Big Spreads

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IOctober 31, 2013

ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 28: Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates after defeating the St. Louis Rams, by the score of 14-9 at the Edward Jones Dome on October 28, 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Michael Thomas/Getty Images)
Michael Thomas/Getty Images

Home teams are your friend. 

If the NFL has taught us anything over the first eight weeks of the season, it's that the action is predictably unpredictable and betting on matchups can be a very dangerous game. 

Concentrating only on home teams can be a good way to combat that variableness, however. I'm not saying home teams will always cover, but you're going to get fewer shocking performances from teams that are in the comfort of their own stadium. 

That being said, let's take a look at this week's picks along with a closer glance at some home squads that will beat big spreads.

Week 9 NFL Picks
Away TeamHome TeamSpreadPredicted Winner
Cincinnati BengalsMiami DolphinsBengals -3Bengals
Atlanta FalconsCarolina PanthersPanthers -7.5Panthers
Minnesota VikingsDallas CowboysCowboys -10Cowboys
New Orleans SaintsNew York JetsSaints -6Saints
Tennessee TitansSt. Louis RamsTitans -3Rams
Kansas City ChiefsBuffalo BillsChiefs -3Chiefs
San Diego ChargersWashington RedskinsChargers -1Chargers
Philadelphia EaglesOakland RaidersRaiders -2.5Raiders
Tampa Bay BuccaneersSeattle SeahawksSeahawks -15.5Seahawks
Baltimore RavensCleveland BrownsRavens -2.5Browns
Pittsburgh SteelersNew England PatriotsPatriots -6.5Patriots
Indianapolis ColtsHouston TexansColts -2.5Texans
Chicago BearsGreen Bay PackersPackers -10.5Packers
Spreads via Covers.com


Seattle Seahawks (-15.5) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 28:  Golden Tate #81 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates as he runs for a touchdown during the 14-9 victory over the the St. Louis Rams at Edward Jones Dome on October 28, 2013 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Image
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Two things make me wary about this pick. 

First, the Seahawks' offensive line, thanks to both injuries and inconsistent play, is a mess right now. On Monday night, the St. Louis Rams sacked Russell Wilson seven times, hit him 10 other times, pressured him on pretty much every dropback and held the 'Hawks to 14 points and a measly 135 total yards. 

Second, Seattle is more of a run-oriented, physical-defense kind of team, so blowouts come less often for the Seahawks than for a team like the Broncos, who have more weapons in the passing game. 

Nevertheless, it's the Seahawks at their CenturyLink fortress against a winless Bucs squad that reportedly has all kinds of animosity between players and head coach Greg Schiano right now. 

Pete Carroll and Darrell Bevell's offense may be struggling, but the Seahawks' elite, playmaking defense is going to make life miserable for rookie quarterback Mike Glennon and a Bucs offense that is 31st in the NFL in both points and yards per game. 

Prediction: Seahawks win by 21 points.


Carolina Panthers (-7.5) vs. Atlanta Falcons

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 24:  Quarterback Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers watches play in the 4th quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers October 24, 2013 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Carolina won 31 - 13. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Gett
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Talk about two teams moving in opposite directions. 

The Panthers, following a 1-3 start that featured some narrow defeats, have won three in a row by 25, 15 and 18 points. Granted, those wins came against the Minnesota Vikings, St. Louis Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, respectively, but right now the Falcons pretty much fit in with that group. 

Atlanta has been decimated by injuries. Julio Jones is out for the year, Roddy White remains uncertain for Week 9 (via the Charlotte Observer's Joe Person) and Steven Jackson is back after missing four weeks but looked like a shell of his former self Week 8 against the Cardinals, tallying six yards on 11 carries. 

Put it all together, and Mike Smith's team has lost four of its last five, including a drubbing on the road in Arizona.

The Panthers are 2-1 at home with two blowout wins and a narrow loss to the Seahawks. They have the run defense (seventh in the NFL in yards per rush allowed) behind Star Lotulelei and Luke Kuechly to make the Falcons one dimensional. And Cam Newton and the offense has put up 30-plus points in four of the last five weeks. 

Prediction: Panthers win by 13 points.


New York Jets (+6) vs. New Orleans Saints

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 27:  Vladimir Ducasse #62 of the New York Jets celebrates a field goal during the NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on October 27, 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

With Sean Payton back on the sidelines and Rob Ryan drawing a variety of blitzes as defensive coordinator, the Saints have the look of a legitimate Super Bowl contender out of the NFC. 

But, while they look damn near unstoppable at the Superdome, this is how their road contests have played out: a two-point win over Tampa Bay, an eight-point win over Chicago and a three-point loss to New England. 

On the flip side, the Jets have been good at home, going 3-1 with just a seven-point loss to the Steelers. 

Don't get me wrong. The Saints are clearly the better team, and the Jets are a little harder to trust after losing by 40 to the Cincinnati Bengals last week. But New York has a stout front seven and enough offense to at least keep this one close.

Prediction: Saints win by 4 points.



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