Sunday Scaries: The Week 9 bets to avoid

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I write the Sunday Scaries at the end of each week. Every time I write, I wonder if that inevitable positive test or team outbreak will lead to a canceled game (and one you should avoid betting).

We saw rescheduled games earlier in the year with the Titans and Patriots. But we haven’t seen that happen in weeks. No team has had an outbreak like Tennessee, but a new team (or more than one) seems to record positive cases every week.

Your eyes may have been elsewhere these past few days, but four NFL teams (49ers, Texans, Bears and Eagles) had players test positive for the coronavirus. As of this morning, all of their games will go on, except the Eagles have a bye. Other teams were disciplined for mask violations.

We’re halfway through the season and we know the league will do whatever it takes to trudge through the rest of 2020. There is no wiggle room for the NFL. They want to get to Super Bowl Sunday by any means necessary.

As long as the league goes, there will be Scary Sundays. Here are the bets you should avoid this week.

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Steelers at Cowboys (+14.5)

Steelers at Cowboys (+14.5)

Illustration for article titled Sunday Scaries: The Week 9 bets to avoid
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The largest spread of the week also includes the team you love to hate in the NFC East. Who will be trying to get the ball to promising rookie CeeDee Lamb? Good question. The Cowboys are down to their fourth-string QB after Andy Dalton got concussed then was placed on the COVID reserve list. Ben DiNucci did not impress in primetime so Dallas will turn to Garrett Gilbert. Who is he? No one knows. Or cares. If only there was a QB who… nevermind.

Gilbert will get his first career start against the only undefeated team in the NFL. Good luck. Obviously, Pittsburgh, with Juju Smith-Schuster, should be favored here. But a 14.5-point spread is always one to stay away from, regardless of who’s playing.

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Lions at Vikings (-4)

Lions at Vikings (-4)

Illustration for article titled Sunday Scaries: The Week 9 bets to avoid
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This line stayed at -4 throughout the workweek while Matt Stafford was on the COVID reserve list. He is clear to play today, but the line did not jump. That should tell you all you need to know about Detroit’s chances according to Vegas.
The Lions came into last Sunday as three-point dogs to the Colts. Detroit lost by 20. Worse, the team is giving up 29.6 points per game, ranking near the bottom of the league. On the other side of the ball, the Vikings shocked the Packers last week, winning 28-22. But Minnesota has not won a home game this season and Kirk Cousins ranks second in INT’s.

The Lions have a 3-1 ATS away record but will start Stafford, who missed most of practice this week. With all the uncertainty and inconsistent play from these teams below .500, I’d stay away.

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Texans at Jaguars (+7)

Texans at Jaguars (+7)

Illustration for article titled Sunday Scaries: The Week 9 bets to avoid
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This game was featured in the Week 5 edition of the Sunday Scaries and these teams haven’t gotten much better since. Houston (1-6) won their only game against Jacksonville (1-6) that week. The Jags haven’t won a game since week one.

Houston has played one of the toughest schedules in the league so far, going against the Chiefs, Ravens, Steelers, Packers and Titans. And Deshaun Watson said he still believes the Texans can win the AFC south which is… delusional. But the good news is that the second half of the Texans schedule looks a lot better than the first. The bad news — no team in NFL history has gone 0-4 (as Houston did) and made the playoffs.

As for the Jags, they are in the hunt for Trevor Lawrence. Minshew Mania was fun while it lasted for two weeks last year. Jacksonville, with Josh Allen, will get a shot at the Clemson QB or Justin Fields if the Jags continue to lose games week after week.

Neither team is good against the spread or good period. Pick your poison here if you can’t stay away.

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Dolphins at Cardinals (-6)

Dolphins at Cardinals (-6)

Illustration for article titled Sunday Scaries: The Week 9 bets to avoid
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Do you trust Tua yet? That’s the question every bettor has to ask themselves before considering this game.

The Dolphins got a surprise win last week against the Rams, but the rookie QB went 12/22 and threw less than 100 yards. It was really the Miami defense and special teams that won the game. With Arizona coming off a bye, how much confidence do you have in Tua making his second start? Watching two young talents in Kyler Murray and Tagovailoa could be exciting and surprising. That doesn’t make this game a good bet.

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If you can’t resist…

If you can’t resist…

Honestly, this is starting to get funny. Every week I try to find the worst spreads and tell you who to avoid. That’s the point. You can’t bet every game, so you should know when to fold. But we’re halfway through the NFL season and I seem to be winning the games I’m telling you to stay away from. I went 3-1 last week. That makes me 17-13 (56 percent) on the season.

I’m not a professional gambler and I’ll never pretend to be. I’m just starting to get good at picking bad games and scary lines. Hope I didn’t jinx myself this week. Here’s who I like.

  • The Cowboys are 0-7 ATS. They’re going to be 0-8 ATS by Sunday night. I know it’s a ton of points. But take the undefeated Steelers against the Cowboys in Jerry World.
  • Minnesota looked like the division contender they were supposed to be last week. I think the Lions get blown out again here. Take the Vikings at -4.
  • I told you to take the Jags in week 5. I won’t make the same mistake again. Neither 1-6 team will play in a meaningful game this year, but the Texans should beat up Jacksonville again.
  • There is still so much uncertainty around Tua. For that reason, I like the Cardinals at home off a bye.
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