Oddsmaker Greatness of the Gridiron Challenge: NFL Week 9 Picks
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I am the Gridiron Great, and I have been handicapping the NFL for a number of years. I've learned the ins and outs of what it takes to beat the bookies at this game, and I know just how difficult it can be. Do you think you can beat me at my own game? Every week that you do, you'll be entered into a grand prize drawing at the end of the season for a $1,000 Oddsmaker Sportsbook account. You can also collect a $100 account from Oddsmaker just by having the most picks correct amongst Cappers Info readers, so long as you beat me!
There is no greater time to try to get into this competition than right now, as every week you beat me gives you another opportunity at that big cash prize at the end of the year. Let's get started right now with my Week 9 picks…
Chicago Bears @ Buffalo Bills (+2.5) – The crazy Canucks up in Toronto will love this one on Sunday afternoon, though it's a tough call whether the Bills or the Toronto Argonauts have the better team right now… Hey, Buffalo's gonna win one eventually, right? Besides, the Bears flat out suck, and there's just no two ways around that. I don't care whether Chicago had no bye week, one bye week, or 15 bye weeks coming into this one. The Bears aren't winning. Period. In QB Jay Cutler I trust… to throw four picks… Buffalo +2.5
San Diego Chargers @ Houston Texans (+2.5) – This is a heck of a lot of disrespect against the Texans… Reliant Stadium is still a heck of a place to go play football, as Houston always plays incredibly well there. One home win against the Tennessee Titans doesn't make up for these road losses against the Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, and St. Louis Rams… The only thing that I'm afraid of is that QB Philip Rivers might throw for 600 yards in this one, as the Houston secondary has more holes than your average slice of Swiss Cheese. Still, the hosts shouldn't be dogs in this one, and I'm set to take advantage of grabbing a piece of Houston +2.5.
New Orleans Saints (-6.5) @ Carolina Panthers – I know that the Panthers fought tooth and nail with the Saints a few weeks ago in the Superdome, and I know just as well that New Orleans has been an atrocious road team this year, but as long as at least one of the big running backs on this team comes back, everything changes. The Saints don't rely on that rushing game much, but RBs Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush really do keep defenders honest about defending the run, something that doesn't have to be done right now with these boards with angry faces that are running in the backfield right now. Carolina got its win. We don't know what more that it really wants…
Arizona Cardinals (+8.5) @ Minnesota Vikings – Does anyone else feel like HC Brad Childress is going to get fired after this week? The Cards aren't very good, but their offense is at least showing some signs of getting it together. QB Max Hall figured out that he is only going to be as good as he lets WR Larry Fitzgerald be for him, and if that keeps up on Sunday, there's a real chance at the upset. Minnesota needs wins and knows that it is still alive for a postseason push, but let's be real. QB Brett Favre should be benched. There's no emotional tie to him whatsoever, and he is playing like dog poo right now. I give Arizona a great chance in this one. I'm going with the Cards +8.5.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta Falcons (-8.5) – If it looks like a fish and it smells like a fish, there's probably something fishy about it. The Bucs are right there for the NFC South lead and can snare it with a win on Sunday. But for some reason, the oddsmakers are insistent that they are at least two scores worse than the Falcons are… And they're right. Atlanta might be the crème de la crème of the NFC, and off of a bye week, we love its chance. Sure, QB Josh Freeman is playing the best ball of his career, but the Falcons represent one of those proverbial "good teams" that Tampa Bay has to face every now and again. The two times that the Bucs faced "good teams" in 2010, they were crushed by both the Pittsburgh Steelers and New Orleans Saints. Don't mind me, as I add Atlanta to that list. Falcons-8.5.
New York Jets @ Detroit Lions (+4) – Nope, the oddsmakers still haven't learned. The Jets are a bi-polar club that just seems to struggle at times for absolutely no reason whatsoever. QB Mark Sanchez is starting to get INT happy again, as he has four picks in his L/2 games after not throwing one in the first portion of the season, and the New York defense has to be scratching its head about what it needs to do to win games. In two defeats this year, the Jets have allowed 19 total points… and have scored just nine. The Lions are still on the rise, and I tend to think that they could still be a playoff team if given the chance. Don't be shocked if there isn't another wild upset in the cards on Sunday. Going with Detroit +4 is the easy call.
Miami Dolphins @ Baltimore Ravens (-4.5) – At some point, the Dolphins are going to lose a game on the road both SU and ATS, and this is a prime spot for that to happen in. This is the hardest venue that Miami has had to go into all season long, and with the Ravens coming off of a bad game and a bye week, you can bet that LB Ray Lewis and company are going to be in no mood to mess around. The Fins are a feisty little bunch, but that doesn't mean that they are capable of beating up one of the most physical teams in the NFL. Baltimore just seems to have a knack for winning games like this by some 20-13ish score line, and that's what I'm calling for again on Sunday. Baltimore -4.5 for yours truly.
New England Patriots @ Cleveland Browns (+5.5) – Here's your first of two major trap games for the weekend. The books are just begging you to take the Pats here, and for good reason. After all, they have the best record in football, they're one of the best ATS teams in the game as well, and they really do appear like they are a better team now that WR Randy Moss is no longer a part of it. Not so fast, my friends! Cleveland is coming off of a bye week, and the offense seems to at least be remotely competent with QB Colt McCoy calling the shots. The New England defense still really hasn't done all that much to impress me, as I think this is a unit that can be had. Oh, don't worry, the Mad Scientist, HC Bill Belichick isn't losing this game… But to watch an 11 point lead get cut to either three or five in the dying moments with a backdoor cover seems like what the oddsmakers are banking on. I'm not falling into this trap! Cleveland +5.5
New York Giants @ Seattle Seahawks (+6.5) – Have we learned nothing about betting against the Seahawks when they're playing at Qwest Field? You're going to ask the Giants to come all the way across the country into the most hostile environment in the league and beat down Seattle by at least a full touchdown? I mean, geez… I like the G-Men, but isn't this a little absurd? I guess the oddsmakers still don't really believe in the Seahawks like I do. It's an easy call to take Seattle +6.5 at home. even a week after the Hawks were clipped by the Oakland Raiders on the road.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Oakland Raiders (-2.5) – Who would've thunk that both of these teams would really be in contention for the playoffs, while the San Diego Chargers are still just mired in their own little slump. Dare I say that Oakland has been the best team in the NFL over the last two weeks? It's fairly undeniable that something has clicked into place in the Black Hole, and the next team to feel the wrath of that might just be the Chiefs. Desperation might be kicking in for the Raiders as well, as they know that a loss here probably ends any hopes of making the playoffs. I'll lay the points and take Oakland -2.5.
Indianapolis Colts @ Philadelphia Eagles (-2.5) – And welcome to the biggest trap game that I have ever seen in all of my years of handicapping the NFL! The Colts are actually catching points for a change? It's not something that you see every day, and there is usually a reason for it. The Eagles have been preparing for this one for two weeks now, and they are going to be getting QB Michael Vick back once again. Add back WR DeSean Jackson to the mix as well. Indy is coming off of its biggest win of the season and is only a short week after playing on Monday Night Football in Week 8. There aren't many more raucous atmospheres than the one that QB Peyton Manning is going to try to conquer on Sunday afternoon. On paper, Indy's the better team. In this matchup though, Philadelphia -2.5 is the right choice.
Dallas Cowboys @ Green Bay Packers (-8) – Remember to make your tiebreaker picks in this game!!! Simply put, I just can't trust the damn Cowboys. They have ruined more Survivor Pool contestants this year across the country than any other team, and the point has to just be realized that they aren't very good. Now, I'm not so sure the Packers are all that great either, and I hate taking a team that is coming off of its best game of the season when perception is as high as it has been on it all season long, especially in a primetime, standalone game. Yet, I hate Dallas that much… Thus I have no choice but to take Green Bay -8.
Chicago Bears (-2.5) @ Buffalo Bills
San Diego Chargers (-2.5) @ Houston Texans
New Orleans Saints (-6.5) @ Carolina Panthers
Arizona Cardinals @ Minnesota Vikings (-8.5)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta Falcons (-8.5)
New York Jets (-4) @ Detroit Lions
Miami Dolphins @ Baltimore Ravens (-4.5)
New England Patriots (-5.5) @ Cleveland Browns
New York Giants (-6.5) @ Seattle Seahawks
Kansas City Chiefs @ Oakland Raiders (-2.5)
Indianapolis Colts @ Philadelphia Eagles (-2.5)
Dallas Cowboys @ Green Bay Packers (-8)