Week 9 NFL Pick ’em Pool Picks: Expert advice on favorites, upsets to consider in confidence pools, office pools

Week 9 features a few intriguing matchups in terms of value picks (Colts, Bills), but you’ll need to stomach some risk in order to take these underdogs. That may not be worth it depending on where you currently find yourself in the standings in your NFL pick ’em pool, but if you need to make up some ground, it’s important to understand which picks could give you the biggest expected boost over your competitors from a risk-reward standpoint.

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Week 9 NFL Picks Advice: Tips for Pick ’em Pools

Note: Win odds and estimated pick popularity data below may change between publication time and kickoff time. If you want the latest numbers, our product updates multiple times per day.

Favorites at a Reasonable Price

The picks below may not be significantly underrated by the public, but compared to other favorites this week, they are a relative bargain in terms of pick popularity. Think twice about picking against them, as there are smarter upset pick opportunities on the board.

Houston (at Jacksonville)

Based on their predictive rating, the Texans aren’t as bad as their 1-6 record implies. We have them rated slightly higher entering Week 9 than 3-4 Detroit and barely behind 3-4 Denver. Facing a Jaguars team that will be missing starting QB Gardner Minshew (thumb) and starting rookie and sixth-round draft pick Jake Luton in his place, Houston is a seven-point favorite this week. However, the Texans are being picked only half as often by the public as the other touchdown favorite this week, New England, and their 80-percent pick popularity is in line with several much smaller favorites this week.

If you’re looking for a big upset pick, don’t make it this game.

Tampa Bay (vs New Orleans)

Recent memories linger in the minds of fans, and a near upset on Monday Night Football at the hands of the underperforming Giants last week has the public a bit more skittish about Tampa Bay this week than you’d expect. However, it’s never wise to overreact to one game result. Despite the close win against the G-men, the Bucs still top our “Last 5 Games” ratings, while New Orleans has won all of its past three games by the close margin of just three points.

Vegas odds are currently giving the Bucs about 69-percent win odds, but public pick popularity of about 75 percent. Those numbers are close enough that it makes sense to stick with the favorite here.

Unpopular Toss-Up Pick

When a matchup is close to a 50/50 proposition, it often makes sense to pick the less popular team. To win an NFL pick ’em pool, you’re probably going to need some luck in these “coin flip” games, and when you get it, you want to maximize the upside.

LA Chargers (vs Las Vegas)

So far, the Chargers (No. 15 in our predictive ratings) are a near-average team wearing the disguise of a 2-5 record thanks to some stiff early competition. They’ve played Kansas City, Tampa Bay, and New Orleans all close. LAC is currently a very slight favorite (-1) in this home game, yet just 33 percent of the public is going with them in pick ’em pools.

This game is an even matchup and could go either way, but from a risk-reward perspective, the Chargers are the clear value play.

Value Gambles

If you’re going to make a gamble on a decently sized underdog, you need to make sure that the potential reward if you get it right — that is, how much your odds to win your pool will increase — is big. Take a bunch of extra risk to make a trendy upset pick, and the joke is on you.

The picks below are definitely not appropriate for all pools. If you’re in a smaller, season-long pool, it is probably not worth the risk. However, it should be seriously considered for single-week contests or if you only care about weekly prizes.

Indianapolis (vs Baltimore)

After a season-opening upset loss to Jacksonville, the Colts have gone 5-1 straight up, 4-2 against the spread, and 3-0 at home under new QB Philip Rivers. While Baltimore is clearly the better team at this point, Lamar Jackson hasn’t looked his 2019 self so far, and this game could be a lot closer than many people think. Indianapolis is only a 2.5-point underdog in the betting markets, yet fewer than 20 percent of the public is picking the Colts upset.

For comparison, more people are picking Jacksonville (a seven-point underdog) to beat Houston this week. With that profile, the Colts are well worth consideration as a risky gamble in Week 9.

Buffalo (vs Seattle)

Seattle has the hype train going in full effect right now, with a gaudy 6-1 record and MVP chatter about QB Russell Wilson. But peel back a layer of the onion and things are not quite so pretty. The Seahawks’ 10-point win against injury-riddled San Francisco last week may be a bit misleading, and a road loss to Arizona in Week 6 demonstrated that despite the legend, Wilson doesn’t always make the key plays down the stretch.

On balance, our ratings have Seattle as 4-5 points better than Buffalo on a neutral field, right in line with the point spread in this game (Seattle by 2.5) factoring in some home field advantage for Buffalo. That’s not a huge margin, and fewer than 25 percent of the public is picking Buffalo to win. If you’re in a weekly prize pool, especially a larger pool, that’s likely worth a gander.

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Get all of our Week 9 picks for your pool!

The teams mentioned in this post provide some of the best opportunities to differentiate your Week 9 picks from your pool opponents by taking on little or no additional risk. That’s the basic strategy foundation for winning more pick ’em pools, and a big reason why an average of 72 percent our subscribers have reported winning a prize in a football pick ’em contest since 2014.

Please note, we are not saying that you should make all of the picks mentioned in this article — the upset picks especially. The best Week 9 picks for your NFL pool depend on a number of strategy factors particular to your pool.

We’ve built technology to do all the data gathering and analysis needed to make the best calls. Our Football Pick ’em Picks is the only product that gives you the tools and data you need to maximize your edge, and we invite you to try it out for free using our free trial below.

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