After several weeks of crazy results that didn't seem to jive with preseason expectations, the NFL has somewhat returned to normalcy in recent weeks. Observers now have a much better feel for the league now that the season is half over, and the truly elite teams are starting to separate from the rest of the field.
With that in mind, it should be much easier to make some winning bets. The oddsmakers have been watching more than anyone, so their lines are naturally getting more accurate as the season goes on as well, but there are absolutely some betting lines that are ripe for the picking this weekend.
Here are three safe bets in Week 9 that are guaranteed to come through and bolster your bank account.
|Away Team||Home Team||Betting Line||Pick ATS|
|Atlanta Falcons||Carolina Panthers||CAR (-7.5)||ATL|
|Minnesota Vikings||Dallas Cowboys||DAL (-10)||DAL|
|New Orleans Saints||New York Jets||NO (-6)||NO|
|Tennessee Titans||St. Louis Rams||TEN (-3)||TEN|
|Kansas City Chiefs||Buffalo Bills||KC (-3)||BUF|
|San Diego Chargers||Washington Redskins||SD (-1)||WAS|
|Philadelphia Eagles||Oakland Raiders||OAK (-2.5)||OAK|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Seattle Seahawks||SEA (-16)||SEA|
|Baltimore Ravens||Cleveland Browns||BAL (-2.5)||BAL|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||New England Patriots||NE (-6.5)||NE|
|Indianapolis Colts||Houston Texans||IND (-2.5)||IND|
|Chicago Bears||Green Bay Packers||GB (-10.5)||GB|
Odds courtesy of Vegas Insider
Tennessee Titans (-3 @ STL)
While the Tennessee Titans are just 3-4, they have seemingly exceeded expectations this season. Had a few more bounces gone their way, they could easily have two or three more wins to their credit. Defense has been Tennessee's hallmark as it has kept the team in a number of games, but the offense is starting to come around, too, with quarterback Jake Locker finally settling in.
The Titans have all the makings of a complete team, and that is why they are favored on the road against the St. Louis Rams.
Most expected the Rams to get rolled by the Seattle Seahawks in Week 8 with quarterback Sam Bradford out for the season, but that wasn't the case. The Rams hung in there until the end, and they had a chance to win but were unable to convert on a fourth down near the goal line. Head coach Jeff Fisher still has his team playing hard, and there is no doubt that he would love to beat his former team on Sunday, although he has downplayed the significance of the game, according to Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.
Fisher is likely trying to temper expectations, and it is for good reason as St. Louis may have emptied the chamber last week. The Rams and backup quarterback Kellen Clemens played well beyond what was expected last week, and they are due for a letdown. It's hard to imagine the Rams putting many points up on the board against Tennessee's defense, but look for Titans running back Chris Johnson to finally have a breakout game in a big Tennessee victory.
Washington Redskins (+1 vs. SD)
After a magical 2012 season, everything seems to be going wrong for the Washington Redskins and quarterback Robert Griffin III. RG3 hasn't been the same since injuring his knee in the playoffs last season, and he has shouldered much of the blame for Washington's slow start.
While he is partially responsible, he is far from the only problem. Despite that, local media have taken aim at the second-year signal-caller as Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post attacked Griffin's character in a recent column, according to the Washington Post's Dan Steinberg.
Oh cool Sally Jenkins just called RGIII "an unteachable know-it-all." http://t.co/2VMqzfS3Lh— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) October 31, 2013
Which team is most likely to cover in Week 9?
With so much negativity surrounding the team, the Redskins could very easily curl up into the fetal position and tank the remainder of the season, but that simply isn't in Griffin's DNA. He was awful against the Denver Broncos last week, but he started to make progress prior to that game, and there is reason to believe that he has gained confidence in the stability of his knee. In addition to that, he has the fortune of facing one of the league's worst defenses this week in the form of the San Diego Chargers.
The Bolts have surprised a lot of people this season as they are contending for an AFC wild-card spot, but they are still a flawed team. Quarterback Philip Rivers and the offense will put some points up against the Redskins' weak defense, but RG3 will respond in kind. Washington is up against the wall, but a win would allow it to remain in the NFC East race. Add that to the fact that the Redskins are at home, and they're a really solid bet this week.
Seattle Seahawks (-16 vs. TB)
Many believed entering Week 8 that the Seattle Seahawks were the NFL's best team. They had only lost one game, and they were playing a complete, team game that was very difficult to contend with. The Seahawks escaped Week 8 with a victory, but it was way closer than it needed to be against the depleted St. Louis Rams. After that less-than-impressive win, a lot of observers are down on the Seahawks, but they should have no problem righting the ship this week.
Seattle will host the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a game that the Seahawks will use to reassert their dominance. The Bucs have talent, and rookie quarterback Mike Glennon has made some strides since taking over the starting job, but they're a team in disarray.
Greg Schiano is a lame-duck coach, and the players have to know that. The Seahawks have problems of their own as wide receiver Sidney Rice was placed on injured reserve, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, but they're good enough to overcome that type of loss.
Seahawks have placed WR Sidney Rice on injured reserve and signed WR Ricardo Lockette from the practice squad to active roster.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 30, 2013
Head coach Pete Carroll will undoubtedly have his team focused after last week. It seemed like the Seahawks took the Rams lightly last week, but they have a chance to rectify the situation.
It would be very easy for Seattle to overlook Tampa. However, the team has to have learned its lesson. The Seahawks are laying 16 points, which is obviously a lot, but they should have a field day at home against the Bucs' subpar defense.
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