NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It's safe to say we're on a bit of a heater over these last two weeks. After a so-so start to the year, my picks have come alive and are bringing me back to a more respectable record on the year overall. 

In Week 7 and Week 8, I was a combined 21-8 ATS in my NFL picks, which includes a 9-1 ATS mark in my locks of the week. We were also 22-7 on the Moneyline over that stretch as well. Last week, we ran the table with a 5-0 ATS mark in my locks of the week, which was thanks to the late-game heroics of Taylor Heinicke edging out a win and cover against the Colts in the final seconds. 

How long will these good vibes run? Who knows? That said, we'll take the wins when we can get them and will look to keep that momentum going as we turn our attention to Week 9, starting with my five locks of the week. 

2022 record

Regular season
Locks of the Week ATS
: 20-18-2
ATS: 59-61-3
ML: 71-52

All NFL odds via Caesars Sportsbook.

Seahawks at Cardinals

Latest Odds: Arizona Cardinals -2

I'm a believer in the Seahawks, which is something I thought I'd never say coming into the season. However, Seattle has played well and has been a good bet for us this season (including last week against New York), so let's go back to the well here as they head to Arizona. A large part of their success this season has been the play of Geno Smith. He is currently first in the NFL in completion percentage and passer rating. What's arguably most impressive has been Smith's ability to make some tough throws as he's top three in the NFL in passer rating 15+ yards down the field, throws outside the numbers, and passing when pressured. You match that against an Arizona pass defense that ranks 23rd in DVOA and Smith should have another strong outing, so taking the points is an easy choice. Kyler Murray is also 5-14 SU in his career against the NFC West. 

Projected score: Seahawks 27, Cardinals 24
The pick: Seahawks +2

Dolphins at Bears

Latest Odds: Chicago Bears +4

I've been impressed with what I've seen from Justin Fields over the last couple of weeks and am excited to see what the addition of Chase Claypool may do to further his development. However, I don't think this will be the weekend where he puts the NFL firmly on notice with an upset over the Dolphins. Miami's passing offense is as dangerous as any club in the NFL thanks to speedsters Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Meanwhile, Tua Tagovailoa is 5-0 SU when he plays a full game this season and leads the NFL in passer rating. This potent offense will be too much to handle for a Bears pass defense that ranks in the middle of the pack in DVOA. When you consider Miami being a top-10 run defense even before the addition of Bradley Chubb at the deadline, this unit should be able to contain Chicago enough that they clear laying five on the road. The Bears are also 2-6-1 ATS in their last nine home games.

Projected score: Dolphins 27, Bears 21
The pick: Dolphins -5

Packers at Lions

Latest Odds: Detroit Lions +4

Detroit feels like a team knocking on the door of a rebuild after firing its defensive backs coach and trading away T.J. Hockenson in the division at the deadline. The Lions have lost four straight and have failed to cover in their last four games, making them impossible to trust at the moment, even if we're getting a field goal and a hook at home. 

In terms of saving this season, you could make the case that the Packers are the more desperate team coming into Week 9 as they cling to playoff relevancy. Even in defeat last Sunday in Buffalo, the Packers were able to move the ball on the ground with Aaron Jones and the back has a great history against Detroit. He's the only opponent in franchise history with multiple games of 100+ scrimmage yards and three or more total touchdowns. The Lions also rank 30th in the NFL in DVOA against the run, so this could end up being a huge afternoon for both Jones and A.J. Dillon

Projected score: Packers 27, Lions 21
The pick: Packers -3.5

Raiders at Jaguars

Latest Odds: Jacksonville Jaguars +2.5

The Raiders seem lost at the moment after being shut out by the Saints in Week 8. With that in mind, it's quite surprising to see them as a slim road favorite here against the Jaguars. Is it a trap? Probably. I'm taking the cheese anyways and taking the point with Jacksonville. Las Vegas is one of three teams still winless on the road this season (0-4) and Derek Carr hasn't been a particularly strong bet as a road favorite in his career, owning a 5-12-1 ATS record. That includes a failure to cover in seven straight as a road favorite to go along with just nine touchdowns and 14 interceptions over that stretch. 

Meanwhile, there's no denying that the Jags have their own problems, but they have started to run the ball effectively with Travis Etienne ascending and that should help stabilize the offense for Trevor Lawrence, who'll be playing against the 31st-ranked pass defense in DVOA. 

Projected score: Jaguars 24, Raiders 21
The pick: Jaguars +1

Rams at Buccaneers

Latest Odds: Tampa Bay Buccaneers -3

Both of these teams have failed to meet expectations this season, which robs us of this being a can't-miss matchup in what is a so-so Week 9 slate overall. Neither club has shown an ability to run the football effectively, but I currently trust -- to use that word loosely --the Bucs passing attack more than I do the Rams. That is particularly true now that Cooper Kupp is dealing with an ankle injury. He is expected to play, but it is hard to imagine that he'll be 100% and that could be dire for Los Angeles' offense, especially when going against a Bucs defense that ranks No. 5 in DVOA. So long as Brady can hit his receivers for a couple of big plays, they should be able to clear this game by more than a field goal. That's also not mentioning that L.A. is 0-3 SU and ATS as an underdog this season. 

Projected score: 
The pick: Buccaneers -3

Rest of the bunch

Eagles at Texans
Projected score: Eagles 33, Texans 16
The pick: Eagles -14

Chargers at Falcons 
Projected score: Chargers 30, Falcons 28
The pick: Falcons +3

Panthers at Bengals
Projected score: Bengals 28, Panthers 20
The pick: Bengals -7

Colts at Patriots
Projected score: Patriots 24, Colts 21
The pick: Colts +5.5

Bills at Jets
Projected score: Bills 33, Jets 17
The pick: Bills -13

Vikings at Commanders
Projected score: Vikings 27, Commanders 21
The pick: Vikings -3.5

Titans at Chiefs
Projected score: Chiefs 33, Titans 20
The pick: Chiefs -12.5

Ravens at Saints
Projected score: Ravens 27, Saints 23
The pick: Ravens -3