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Ballin' on a Budget Week 9 Picks

I like some road dogs this week, boys and girls. We’re riding a hot streak over the last several weeks, so let’s take some chances in Week 9. There are a handful of road dogs I like; I’ve boiled it down to the two I like the most along with three other solid picks for the week. Strap in, we’re officially past the halfway point of the season and this is when teams on the fringe start to make their move.


Steelers -3 at Ravens (-120)

Oddsmakers clearly are close to moving this line even lower since we’re getting this at -120 instead of the standard -110. In a game between two rivals, even though the game is in Baltimore, there’s every reason to believe it’s going to be a close game. Typically, that means a field goal deficit. That gives us the breathing room we always talk about that if Pittsburgh does fall by a field goal, we still earn a push.

Both these teams have been hard to figure out as of late and the Ravens have dropped two straight. The Steelers look to be the Steelers of old, but are they really? This game will tell us a lot. It looks like it will be James Conner back at tailback again with Le’Veon Bell not reporting to the team yet. Even so, I really like Pittsburgh getting three points. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.50.


Falcons over Redskins (+110)

Here is our first road dog of the week that I love. Washington is not nearly as good as their 5-2 record would indicate. They have quality wins over the Packers and Panthers, but they allow teams to stay in games. Say what you will about the Falcons this season, but they are the more desperate team coming into this match up. If they lose, they can pretty much kiss their playoff hopes goodbye.

Every game is a playoff game for Atlanta for a while and this should be a good test of Matt Ryan and Co. I tend to put a lot of stock into which team “wants it more” and based on the standings, you have to think that’s the Falcons in this scenario. Atlanta also just has more pure talent. With them being an underdog paying out +110 for a win, this is a must bet this week. The bet: $5 for total payout of $10.50.


Texans over Broncos (+120)

Here’s our second road dog to jump on this week. Yes, Denver is at home, but I can’t imagine how Houston is +120 when they’ve been the better team and hotter team over the last five weeks. Case Keenum and the Broncos have shown me nothing to convince me they might be for real. Deshaun Watson and the Texans on the other hand? They’ve been red hot, winners of five straight games.

Some may tell you they’re due for a letdown game on the road in a tough environment, but I’m just not buying that. They will be without WR Will Fuller V, who tore his ACL in the team’s Week 8 win over the Dolphins, but DeAndre Hopkins is a one-man wrecking crew, plus RB Lamar Miller broke out against Miami, his former team. There’s a lot to like about this Texans team and the same can’t be said for Denver. Especially with a +120 money line, we have to throw money on this one. The bet: $5 for total payout of $11.


Rams-Saints UNDER 60 points (-110)

We move on to some over/unders and this one seems like a really good bet. The Rams and Saints might just be the best two teams in the NFC and they will be playing indoors and on turf at the Superdome, but 60 is a bit outrageous. Think for a second about the fact the Saints have the best rush defense in the league. That should at least hold Todd Gurley III in check by his extremely high standards. Their pass defense? Well, let’s not ruin a good story with facts (they rank 28th out of 32 teams).

L.A.’s pass defense ranks in the top 10, though, so don’t expect Drew Brees to just have his way. As usual with over/unders, this will largely be decided by the complexion the game takes on early. If both teams score early and it becomes a shootout, we’re in trouble. However, if each team is trying to set the tempo, potentially by trying to establish the run, then the clock keeps running and we’re likely to hit this under. The bet: $5 for total payout of $9.50.


Jets-Dolphins OVER 45 points (-110)

AFC East games not involving the Patriots can be pretty unpredictable. This seems to be the case again this weekend with New York and Miami. We just saw Miami give up 42 points to the Texans. No, the Jets don’t have nearly the firepower that Houston does, but they have to be licking their chops after mustering just 10 points against a top 5 defense in the Bears over the weekend.

You would imagine this game would be close, and if it is, that’s how our over is going to hit. If this somehow becomes a blowout one way or the other, we’re probably in some trouble. It’s easy to imagine a 27-20 type game and that puts us right at the over. This might be a bit of a reach, but a lot of the over/unders this week seemed to be spot on, so this is a pretty good option if you’re a fan of those types of bets. The bet: $2 for total payout of $3.80.

As usual, we’ll dare to dream and see what we’d make if we parlay these five games together with our $20 to spend. Since we took two road underdogs this week, the payout will be even higher than we’ve seen in recent weeks. On this five-game parlay, you would make $617.23 on a $20 bet. We’ve been close a few times with ⅘ picks correct, but we’ve yet to have a perfect 5/5 week. Here’s to hoping that changes this week. Happy betting!

Jacob Kornhauser
Jacob Kornhauser is a sports reporter in Southern Oregon covering all sports, including Oregon and Oregon State athletics. He has been a national baseball writer for Bleacher Report and Rant Sports and has written two baseball books. He also specializes in sports betting analysis. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School.

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