Just like that, it’s Week 9 in the NFL.
The slate kicks off Thursday night with the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles, who look to continue steamrolling through the league. Jalen Hurts and friends have been bet up to 14-point road favorites against the 1-5-1 Houston Texans.
Let’s go over one prop I like for the Thursday night matchup as well as some teaser legs for the rest of the slate.
(-14) Philadelphia Eagles at Houston Texans, Thursday 8:15 p.m. ET
Most Rushing Yards of Game: Mile Sanders (-135, FanDuel Sportsbook)
This is a prop market I haven’t explored much but that can work well for a game script like this one. The market has bet the Eagles from a 9-point to a two-touchdown favorite in some books, which means they are expected to get and keep an early lead. As a result, they will be playing from ahead and can afford to bleed the clock out on the ground. We’ve seen this often, with Jalen Hurts averaging less than 75 passing yards in the second half of games this season. With a game plan like that, Eagles lead running back Miles Sanders should get plenty of touches. The fourth-year back is averaging over 80 yards a game and ranks top 10 in rushing attempts and yards. He’s also ranked in the top five when it comes to explosive plays, which can go a long way against a Texans run defense that ranks worst in the NFL by DVOA. Sanders has led the Eagles in rushing yards every game except for one, where Hurts had just three more yards. I do think the Texans will lean on Dameon Pierce, as well, especially with receiver Brandin Cooks out. However, they will be playing from behind and might not be able to afford to lean on the run as much as they’d like. Plus, Pierce’s rush yard prop is as low as 65.5, while Miles Sanders’ prop has been bet up to 80.5 at some shops. Everything in this game points toward Sanders being the leading rusher for both sides.
Cincinnati Bengals from -7 to -1 vs. Carolina Panthers
The absence of an injured Ja’Marr Chase makes a big difference for the Bengals’ offense, but Sunday should still be an easy win. Bookmakers making them a touchdown favorite speaks to that. Still, Chase’s unavailability does matter, so we will tease the Bengals down to 1-point favorites. Cincinnati has a top-10 defense by total DVOA and they’re facing a Panthers team that fired its head coach, traded away its best run-game threat (sending Christian McCaffrey to the 49ers) and is rolling with former XFL quarterback PJ Walker under center. Sure, Walker has shown signs of promise, but I still trust my money a lot more with a top-five quarterback in Joe Burrow, who leads the league in passing yards and is hanging around a 70% completion percentage, good for top five in the NFL. Carolina’s run defense is the only real threat here, but the Bengals can expose the Panthers’ passing defense (allowing 232 passing yards a game, sixth-worst pass DVOA) and lean on Burrow and his weapons.
Seahawks +8 at Arizona Cardinals
This is pretty simple: You’re getting over a touchdown with the leader of the NFC West against the cellar-dweller of the division. It’s not smoke and mirrors, either. The Seahawks are just outside the top 10 in total defensive DVOA, seventh in total DVOA on offense and are top five in points per game. Geno Smith has found his name in conversation with Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, and Joe Burrow with his performance so far. With 13 passing touchdowns to just three interceptions, Smith is currently a top statistical quarterback in the league. He has the fourth-best QBR at 66.6 and third-best EPA* at 47.2. The return of DeAndre Hopkins has been huge for this Cardinals offense, but I haven’t seen enough yet to be convinced they can win by more than a touchdown in this matchup. Smith and company should have no problem covering this 8-point spread against the Cardinals’ struggling offense and below-average defense.
*EPA: Total expected points added with low leverage plays, according to ESPN Win Probability model, down-weighted.