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NFL Upset Picks for Week 9

Eric Thompson

by Eric Thompson in NFL Football

Updated Mar 4, 2021 · 12:43 PM PST

Brian Flores on the Miami sideline in a mask
Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores is seen on the sideline during the fourth quarter against the Las Vegas Raiders in an NFL football game, Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jeff Bottari)
  • The Saints are underdogs for the first time all season when they visit the Buccaneers on Sunday night
  • Can Tua make strides in his second start or will Kyler and the Cards run over the Phins?
  • Last week’s picks went 2-1, adding 1.84 units to bring our season total to +7.65

Week 9 in the NFL started with a frenzy of COVID-19 cases making Thursday Night Football pretty unwatchable, and even more games this Sunday are going to be impacted, after players on the Bears and Texans tested positive and staff on the Colts, Chiefs, Dolphins and Falcons also contracted the virus.

Remind me again why the league is so against having a makeup Week 18? Not only would it give people an extra edition of these awesome underdog picks, but it would make finding value among the NFL’s Week 9 odds a lot less stressful.

Anyway, here’s the upset picks I liked as of Saturday morning. If that team’s entire offense is ruled out between now and Sunday afternoon, blame the NFL, not me.

NFL Week 9 Upset Picks

Matchup Spread Moneyline Pick Units
New Orleans Saints vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers TB – 4.5 +188 Saints 1.5
Miami Dolphins vs Arizona Cardinals ARZ -4.5 +190 Dolphins 1.5

Odds taken Oct. 31st from DraftKings and FanDuel

Saints Getting Support At The Right Time

Remember Michael Thomas? Reigning Offensive Player of the Year? Set an NFL record for receptions in 2019?

It’s fair if the name doesn’t ring a bell, since he’s been a complete non-factor in 2020. But he should finally be back out on the field on Sunday night, ready to give the Saints offense a boost. Which is nice, because even though they’re winning games, New Orleans is leaving a lot of meat on the bone: they’ve covered just once in their last six games.

The Saints are 4.5-point underdogs in Tampa Bay, as conventional wisdom says this is a game the Bucs “have to have.” New Orleans took the first matchup 34-23 and another win here would essentially give them a two-game lead in the NFC South.

The public was quick to excuse that first loss for Tampa, as it was Tom Brady’s first game there. Now, this Sunday will be Antonio Brown’s inaugural game with the Buccaneers, as one of the most disruptive locker room forces in NFL history tries to carve out a role in an offense that also aims to get Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Rob Gronkowski the ball. Surely this will go well!

New Orleans was able to harass Brady in that first meeting and force the 43-year-old into a few mistakes. The Saints boast the fourth best adjusted sack rate in the NFL, so they should be able to repeat that performance here.

Most of the bets have been on Tampa’s side, and this looks to be a great spot to zag on the public. The Buccaneers are 0-2 covering the spread in primetime this season, while the Saints are 7-1 ATS as a dog since 2018.

Miami’s Rookie Gets Win Number Tua

Tua Tagovailoa’s debut was not as flashy as his fellow rookie QBs, but he was superior in the only stat we care about: wins. The Dolphins’ defense and special teams carried them in the fifth overall pick’s first start, as the offense only mustered 145 total yards. But a one-game sample size is not going to deter us from backing Miami as underdogs against the Cardinals’ suspect D.

Arizona allowed 572 yards to the Seahawks in their last outing, as Russell Wilson was able to gash them through the air and on the ground. Plays will be there for Tua; whether his teammates can catch those lefty balls will be the question.


Fell incomplete, but this is a dime from Tua Tagovailoa and another illustration of his ability to manipulate defensive backs #Dolphins #foryoupage

♬ original sound – Chris Trapasso

On the other side, Arizona’s offense has not exactly gone up against a murderer’s row of opposing defenses. With games against the Jets, Cowboys and Seahawks before their bye, it’s been a solid month since the Cardinals played a competent D.

Brian Flores has the Phins playing much better than competent: in their last two games against NFC West opponents, Miami has seven combined takeaways.

Even though they’re 5-2 on the year and 2-0 in their division; the Cardinals are still getting long odds to win the NFC West. This is a team bettors don’t trust to win games that they should, which is fair, considering they’re 2-2 straight up as a favorite this year.

At home against Miami is another spot Arizona should succeed in, meaning there’s a pretty good chance they’re going to blow it here.

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