The Baltimore Ravens held off a furious Tampa Bay rally to kick off Week 8 in the NFL, though it was a costly victory, as the Ravens lost running back Gus Edwards, receiver Rashod Bateman, and tight end Mark Andrews along the way. For the Buccaneers, it was another disappointing loss in a season full of them. Tom Brady showed he can still sling it a little bit on some downfield balls, but outside of #12 still having the physical tools, nothing looks right about him or the group around him. They still have two months to rally by virtue of playing in the NFC South, which is trending toward producing a division winner with a losing record, but that might only set up a quick one-and-done.
While the Bucs might be disappointing, The Oracle hasn’t been; he’s on a tear in the 2022 NCAA and NFL season, so be sure to sign up for his picks today! Now, let’s get into The Professor’s Week 9 prop bets.
Denver Broncos “at” Jacksonville Jaguars (London)
Trevor Lawrence, Over 0.5 Interceptions, -125 (Model Projection: 0.9)
Melvin Gordon, Under 39.5 Rushing Yards, -115 (Model Projection: 29.7)
Latavius Murray, Under 37.5 Rushing Yards, -120 (Model Projection: 28.4)
Jaguars D, Anytime TD Scorer, +600 (Projected Russell Wilson Interceptions: 1.2)
Despite the fact that the head coach is incompetent and the quarterback is a raving lunatic, first-year defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero and the Broncos’ defense have continued to crush it, and unless Russell Wilson’s in-flight calisthenics prove to be the straw that broke the camel’s back, this unit is likely to put Trevor Lawrence and the Jags offense through another tough game, so we’ll take the over on Lawrence’s interceptions at -125.
Speaking of Wilson’s latest antics, it’s not often you get to compare Russell Wilson to Frank Reynolds, but Wilson’s awareness was similar to what Frank put on display here.
Wilson’s prop bets aren’t available yet due to his lingering presence on the injury report, but let’s fade the Denver offense and say that neither Melvin Gordon nor Latavius Murray gets much going in this weird backfield situation. On top of that, we’ll swing for the fences; with no Wilson interception prop to bet on, let’s take the Jaguars’ defense to get in the endzone at +600.
Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings
DeAndre Hopkins, TD Scorer, +125 (Model Projection: 0.6)
Two of Arizona’s running backs, James Conner and Eno Benjamin, have shorter Anytime Touchdown Scorer odds than DeAndre Hopkins this week, which strikes me as preposterous. The All-Pro receiver didn’t miss a beat in his return from suspension, and once quarterback Kyler Murray remembered what he had in #10, a 10-catch, 103-yard performance followed. Minnesota’s defense has not been especially impressive, so there is every reason to think Nuk will continue to tear it up this week. DraftKings doesn’t have Hopkins’ receiving yards prop up yet, but that over is another play to take a look at.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Philadelphia Eagles
Jalen Hurts, Over 229.5 Passing Yards, -115 (Model Projection: 243.9)
Najee Harris, Under 47.5 Rushing Yards, -115 (Model Projection: 45.2)
Jalen Hurts is averaging 252.3 passing yards per game this season, and while Philadelphia always has the option to shift gears into their run-centric offense, Pittsburgh’s pass defense has been suspect. The Steelers are allowing 6.9 net yards per pass attempt, which ranks in the bottom six in the NFL. The Eagles seem to want Hurts to continue his growth as possible whenever game circumstances allow for it; look for him to come out looking to sling it this week.
On the other side, Pittsburgh’s offensive line has done a very poor job setting up Najee Harris, who is averaging 47.0 yards per game in the 2022 NFL season. Now they have to face a loaded Eagles front that added edge rusher Robert Quinn this week, which will only make matters more difficult. The Eagles are likely to get out in front in this one, so if Harris does make an impact, there’s a good chance a significant chunk of his work comes as a receiver.
Las Vegas Raiders at New Orleans Saints
Derek Carr, Over 253.5 Passing Yards, -115 (Model Projection: 267.4)
Andy Dalton, Over 1.5 Passing TDs, +100 (Model Projection: 1.5)
Derek Carr is throwing for 253.0 yards per game this season, putting his over/under dead on his season average. If the Raiders were playing the New Orleans defense of the past few years, you’d go under on that, but this is not the same New Orleans defense. Top cornerback Marshon Lattimore continues to be absent from practice after missing the last game, Bradley Roby is on injured reserve, and even if they were in the lineup, the baffling trade of former slot Chauncey Gardner-Johnson to the Eagles had kneecapped what was one of the NFL’s most flexible defenses because of CGJ’s ability to act as a third linebacker in “base” situations.
Throw in the fact that the Saints have played some of the NFL’s wildest games the past few weeks, and there’s more reason to like the over on Carr’s passing yards as well as the over on Andy Dalton’s 1.5 passing touchdowns. Being in the same position room as Jameis Winston seems to have had quite the impact on Dalton, who threw 4 touchdowns to his team and 2 to the opponent last Thursday; the model puts him at a mean projection of 1.5, dead on with the odds of +100, but we’ll roll the dice on another barn burner.
Green Bay Packers at Buffalo Bills
Aaron Rodgers, Over 0.5 Interceptions, +140 (Model Projection: 0.4)
Green Bay’s defense seems unlikely to slow down a Buffalo offense that got running back Devin Singletary in the mix against the Chiefs ahead of their bye. Aaron Rodgers doesn’t throw many interceptions, but he will be without top receiver Allen Lazard in this one. With Randall Cobb already on injured reserve and Sammy Watkins missing practice time with another hamstring injury, miscommunications could come into play. At +140, it’s a rare occasion to bet on Rodgers to throw a pick.
Steven Clinton, better known as "The Professor", is a former D-1 Quality Control Assistant (Northwestern, Toledo) who holds a B.A. in Economics and M.S. in Predictive Analytics from Northwestern University. He maintains an end-to-end NFL game projection model and is a film junkie who breaks down the tape of every NFL game.