NFL Tipsheet: Mini previews and recommended bets for Week 9 fixtures

Life's a Brees: Drew is back calling the shots in New Orleans as they push for the play-offs
Life's a Brees: Drew is back calling the shots in New Orleans as they push for the play-offs

Romilly Evans takes you through his game-by-game analysis of all Sunday's encounters, with a wager for each...

"Andrew Luck’s own offensive impediments (key injuries to his O-line, and even TY Hilton’s doubtful with a hamstring pull) mean the Pack pull out a proverbial must-win. You heard it here last."

Recommended Bet

Back Green Bay (-6.5pts) on the Match Handicap @ 1.824/5 or better

Dallas at Cleveland
Sunday, 18:00

Dak Prescott continues to ride the wave. Yet he's finally starting to look more like the rookie he is, and I can't see Tony Romo not returning to the fold this regular season. The Vegas line suggests it's very unlikely Dallas' streak will be snapped by Cleveland, especially with Dez Bryant back and their offensive line perhaps the best in the league. However, the Browns are in their backyard, Cody Kessler gets another chance under center, while their recent steal of top linebacker Jamie Collins from New England says they're serious about the future. I say they stay within hailing distance of the Boys.

Recommended Bet
Back Cleveland (+7.5pts) @ 2.021/1 or better


Detroit at Minnesota
Sunday, 18:00

Matt Stafford may be a riddle, wrapped in an enigma, stuffed into a confused-but-capable franchise. However, he can still strong-arm his way to victory against any defense, and it appears the tranquil scenery of promising beginnings could be about to collapse on Minny. Sam Bradford's honeymoon is over after some unnecessary interceptions (in unrelated news, his co-ordinator Norv Turner has also resigned) while their doughty D leaked 20 points to the tame Bears of Chicago.

Recommended Bet
Back Over 17.5 Detroit Points @ 1.9110/11 or better


Jacksonville at Kansas City
Sunday, 18:00

While it would be stretching it to imply that anyone saw Jacksonville as play-off protagonists this term, they are living down to expectations. Blake Bortles has lost his poise and precision in the pocket, while their mega-talented defense have gone MIA. Kansas City, on the other hand, are on a roll and match up very well next to the Jags on paper. That piece of paper could be torn up this week, though, with Nick Foles (who performed well in relief) taking over the reins from the officially "non-concussed" Alex Smith, while the Chiefs' running game now hinges on the pacy paws of Charcandrick West (Spencer Ware is actually concussed, whereas Jamaal Charles is labouring to regain match fitness). Considering those variables, these stalling Jags could splutter to life to make it interesting.


Recommended Bet
Back Jacksonville (+8.5pts) @ 1.824/5 or better


New York Jets at Miami
Sunday, 18:00

Two sides who have found a bit of form, and one may yet redeem their slow start with a postseason appearance. The storyline here centres around whether London's finest Jay Ajayi (yes, ladies and gentlemen, a Brit) can fly the flag by becoming the first RB to rush for 200 yards or more in three successive games. The Jets will accordingly look to plug Ajayi's rushing lanes, but that move could belatedly loosen up Ryan Tannehill's throwing arm. Tannehill will certainly benefit from more time in the pocket, and I reckon he'll prove this weekend's unlikely hero. Especially with Ryan Fitzpatrick's (Tannehill's opposing number) new-found fondness for offering up picks.

Recommended Bet
Back Over 200.5 R.Tannehill Passing Yards @ 2.26/5 or better (Sportsbook)


Philadelphia at New York Giants
Sunday, 18:00

Carson Wentz is still looking pretty assured for his rookie status, but these divisional duels seem to be catching up with his composure. If Philly fall to the Giants on Sunday, they'll be 0-3 in their NFC East head-to-heads, and cut adrift, having initially played like division-winners. Another raucous away-field awaits the Eagles at the Meadowlands, and Eli Manning-to-Odell Beckham (back in rude health) is the connection which sets a furious pace that Wentz can't match.

Recommended Bet
Back NY Giants to win on the Moneyline @ 1.824/5 or better

Pittsburgh at Baltimore
Sunday, 18:00

Big Ben is apparently back for Pittsburgh, hauling himself off the treatment table in trademark resilient fashion for a game which will determine top spot in the AFC North. Whether it's too soon for Roethlisberger or not, Landry Jones is an able deputy and I've committed to taking on Baltimore this season until they get their collective act together, or Joe Flacco puts in an effort to shake off his knocks, and his even shakier reputation as an elite QB. Either way, Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown hold the telling firepower for Steeler Nation.

Recommended Bet
Back Pittsburgh to win on the Moneyline @ 1.824/5 or better


New Orleans at San Francisco
Sunday, 21:05:

New Orleans did us a big favour last week with their statement victory over the Hawks, a win which kept alive their slim hopes of stealing the NFC South. The Niners' number should be up next, after their embarrassing implosion to Tampa Bay only gave them another bye week to stew over their combined deficiencies. Colin Kaepernick remains the best bet at quarterback in San Francisco, however, and his mobile twin-threat abilities will ask different questions of the Saints' fragile defense. Whether that's enough to maintain stride with Drew Brees and his assorted weaponry is immaterial for our bet: the points will flow.

Recommended Bet
Back Over 50.5 Total Points @ 1.824/5 or better


Carolina at Los Angeles
Sunday, 21:05

Okay, so maybe Carolina's season isn't rusting up on blocks just yet. However, it is still on crutches, and Cam Newton's boys need to build some serious momentum. Their dismantling of Arizona (another underachiever so far this year) was admittedly impressive, and Jon Stewart's return at running back in particular has freed up Newton's options on offense. On the other side of the park, Case Keenum bids to arrest LA's three-game slump, and will need to cut out the recent picks (four last time out at Wembley). If the Rams can get Todd Gurley more involved, that should loosen up Keenum and get a boisterous hometown celebrating a 50-50 record.

Recommended Bet
Back LA Rams to win by 6-10 points on Winning Margin @ 6.05/1 or better@


Tennessee at San Diego
Sunday, 21:25

The Tennessee franchise hasn't won at the Qualcomm Stadium since 1990, and if pushed I'd expect them to extend that trend. Phil Rivers threw for mixed results on the long road to Mile High and Denver's bossy D last week, but will be much happier at home against the leaky secondary of those erratic Titans, even without Keenan Allen and some bumps and scrapes elsewhere in his receiving crew. Marcus Mariota and DeMarco Murray (a solid wager to notch up a TD) give Tennessee a shot at keeping up and controlling the clock, so don't expect either team to run away with this encounter.

Recommended Bet
Back D.Murray to be First / Anytime Touchdown Scorer @ 9.08/1 or better


Indianapolis at Green Bay
Sunday, 21:25

Bizarrely, Green Bay square up to Indy for only the second time since 2001 (whoever said NFL-scheduling was an exact or fair science?) and with these two porous secondaries, over Total Points would be the lazy call. That said, the Pack's offense is back clicking (despite an agonising reversal in Atlanta and some notable absentees) with Aaron Rodgers' playbook finally on-line and Jordy Nelson its main through-line for a winning narrative. Home comforts and Andrew Luck's own offensive impediments (key injuries to his O-line, and even TY Hilton's doubtful with a hamstring pull) mean the Packers pull out a proverbial must-win to re-establish their receding play-off claims. You heard it here last.

Recommended Bet
Back Green Bay (-6.5pts) @ 1.824/5 or better

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