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October 16, 2019

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Vegas pick’em: NFL Week 9 winners against the spread

Gurley slows down


Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley (30), right, slows down and and allows Green Bay Packers cornerback Tramon Williams (38) to catch up rather than making the easy score to allow the time to run out with the Rams leading of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, in Los Angeles.

Week 9: Chargers at Seahawks

Which side would you take in Chargers at Seahawks? (Poll consensus year to date: 8-0)
Seahawks minus-2 — 54.6%
Chargers plus-2 — 45.4%

This poll is closed, see Full Results »

Note: This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Call it the surrender that sent shockwaves up and down the Strip’s sports books.

Rams running back Todd Gurley sparked a multimillion-dollar swing when he slowed down on a sure 21-yard touchdown run and allowed Packers defensive back Tramon Williams to tackle him at the end of the teams’ Week 8 game. The heady halt clinched a 29-27 win for the Rams, but also kept them from covering the 7.5-point spread, and allowed the total to stay under 57.5 points.

“Man, forget fantasy and forget Vegas,” Gurley said after the win.

It’s appropriate he used, “Vegas,” and not, “bettors,” because the stop, for the most part, helped the players and hurt the house. As hinted in Talking Points weekly poll — where 62.2 percent of the votes came in on the Packers to make the survey an inconceivable 8-0 on the year — gamblers were all over the points with the Packers.

At William Hill sports books, 72 percent of the money was on the Packers. A Gurley touchdown could have saved the books from one of their worst weeks of the season.

That also would have deprived everyone from one of the most memorable betting moments in NFL regular-season history. Expect Gurley’s decision to be referenced in Las Vegas for years to come.

Talking Points hit with the Packers as part of an otherwise poor week where the blog went 6-8 against the spread picking every game, bringing the season total to 64-50-7. Check below for all of Week 9’s picks. Sides are listed in rough order of confidence and separated into three categories, with lines the best currently available in Las Vegas.

Plays (13-11-1)

Denver Broncos plus-1 vs. Houston Texans Before relegating the Broncos to the lower reaches of NFL power rankings, must consider that they’ve played the second toughest scheduled in the league by Football Outsiders’ DVOA and mostly held their own despite a 3-5 straight-up record. The Texans, meanwhile, have mostly relied on close wins against the league’s 28th toughest schedule to build a flimsy 5-3 straight-up record.

Los Angeles Rams plus-2 at New Orleans Saints Opportunities to take the best team in the NFL as an underdog are fleeting, let alone one that has a chance to go down as an all-time great. The Rams are better on both sides of the ball, and were a pick’em in this game before last week when the spread swelled out of the Saints’ 30-20 win over the Vikings as 2-point favorites on Sunday Night Football.

Baltimore Ravens minus-3 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Steelers have strengthened their offensive numbers in three straight wins and covers over damaged defenses and dysfunctional situations — against the Falcons, Bengals and Browns. Don’t fall into the trap of forgetting what happened in the game before that run, and the last time Pittsburgh faced a formidable foe — The Ravens rendered them practically useless in a 26-14 win as 3-point underdogs.

Leans (20-13-3)

San Francisco 49ers minus-2.5 vs. Oakland Raiders Don’t write off games just because they’re between two squalid teams; such overlooked contests can often hold value. That looks like the case here, as Oakland has dominated the action to shave the spread as much as a point because of its offensive advantage. But there’s an even bigger gap on defense, where San Francisco is giving up only 5.6 yards per play to Oakland’s NFL-worst 6.7 yards per play.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers plus-7 at Carolina Panthers Must sell high on the Panthers, which are coming off their two biggest wins of the season and therefore laying an outrageous price. The look-ahead line on this game last week was only Carolina minus-4.5 before the Panthers pounded the Ravens 36-21 as 2.5-point favorites and the Buccaneers fell 37-34 to the Bengals in overtime as 3.5-point favorites. Don’t mind paying the minus-120 juice to get Tampa Bay plus-7, as is being offered around town.

Atlanta Falcons plus-2 at Washington Redskins No team needed a bye week more badly than the Falcons, which should come out rested and healthier against a less-talented Redskins’ team overvalued by virtue of a weak schedule. Only one of Washington’s four victories have come against a team with a winning record.

New England Patriots minus-5.5 vs. Green Bay Packers Feels like a lot to ask for the Packers to put together their best game two weeks in a row while racking up more than 5,000 miles of travel. And it will take their best game against the Patriots, which are not to be faded under Bill Belichick — who’s now 192-135-6 against the spread in New England after another profitable start — unless completely necessary.

Kansas City Chiefs minus-8.5 at Cleveland Browns Cleveland ranks right in the middle of the NFL in defensive efficiency, having given up 5.6 yards per play. That’s underwhelming considering how much talent it has on that side of the ball. Can’t put much faith, therefore, in defensive coordinator-turned-interim coach Gregg Williams turning things around, not against Kansas City’s historically strong offense.

Guesses (31-26-4)

Miami Dolphins minus-3 vs. New York Jets Spread is depressed by a half-point or so based on bettors coming in on New York because of Miami’s nationally-televised no-show in a 42-23 loss at Houston as 7.5-point favorites last week. It’s never fun to back Brock Osweiler, but Miami should be sharper with extra time to prepare.

Los Angeles Chargers plus-2 at Seattle Seahawks Feels like the market has finally caught up to the Seahawks, after it was a goldmine with a young team coalescing to cover in three straight games. The Chargers have such a decisive edge on offense — gaining 6.9 yards per play to the Seahawks’ 5.6 yards per play — that they should arguably be favored, or at least in a pick’em here.

Detroit Lions plus-5 at Minnesota Vikings Line movement complicates things, as the Lions looked like a much easier choice upon opening at plus-6.5. Still prefer to take the points with two teams that look evenly matched, and Minnesota getting most of its power-rating boost from prior performance and not anything it’s done this season.

Dallas Cowboys minus-6.5 vs. Tennessee Titans Not going to rush out to back a Jason Garrett-coached team over a Mike Vrabel-coached team, but this spread doesn’t seem as unjustified as some are making it out to be. Tennessee is struggling mightily on offense, as its 4.8 yards per play only edges Arizona and Buffalo at the bottom of the league.

Buffalo Bills plus-10 vs. Chicago Bears Buffalo’s defense is strong enough to keep it in games, as seen in Monday Night Football when it was within a touchdown of New England well into the fourth quarter. It gift-wrapped a cover for the Patriots in a 25-6 win as 14-point favorites with Devin McCourty’s 84-yard interception return, but can’t count on that happening every week.

Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at

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