Last week was massive for our season outlook, as a 5-0 performance catapulted me up to 25-15 on the year, putting me exactly where I want to be after eight weeks: one point ahead of averaging three points per week. If you can do that over an entire season, you'll likely hit the cash line (but just barely). Put another way, if I can average 3-2 weeks the rest of the way, I should finish in the top 100 of the 5,273-person field.
Can we stay ultra hot and make a run at one of the quarter prizes? I'm 15-5 over the last four weeks, and a 5-0 week would give me a shot at finishing top five for the quarter. I also have a pretty solid opinion on most of the Week 9 NFL spreads, so it seems within reach, albeit difficult to do. Of course, the moment you feel like you have the best read on the league is the one where you tend to get thrown a curveball. I'll be devastated if we look back at this warning next week and wonder what might have been.
I've been SportsLine's No. 1 NFL against-the-spread expert over the last six years, going 535-450-30 against the spread to put me up more than 35 units on those picks at SportsLine since 2017. I've also delivered a 56.5% hit rate on my Vegas contest picks over the last eight seasons, which is exactly what you're getting below. And that run includes two finishes in the money, including finishing 18th out of 2,748 entries back in 2017.
If you're a SportsLine subscriber, you can get all my picks, which in a typical NFL week number can near double digits, at the same time as I make them by downloading the app and signing up for alerts on my expert page. That's crucial, as you might not have access to the same lines from the Las Vegas contests, which don't move after they're posted mid-week. This week, I'm fading a team I took in each of the last five weeks by going with the Dallas Cowboys +3 at the Philadelphia Eagles.
I escaped with a cover on Philly last week, but it certainly felt like the Eagles wouldn't get there in the end with how bad the defense performed. The pass rush couldn't get to sack machine Sam Howell, and the secondary couldn't cover anyone. The Philadelphia offense could've scored 50-plus if not for two fumbles inside the 5-yard line, but if the same defense shows up this week, I find it unlikely the Eagles will be able to win a shootout against an excellent Cowboys defense that has taken over multiple games this year. They did so last week, but unlike with some of the other times the Dallas defense has carried the day, Dak Prescott was fantastic against the Rams, ripping four touchdowns and looking to be at peak performance. As a result, I trust the Cowboys offense more than I trust the Philly offense in a tough matchup with Jalen Hurts less than 100%. I definitely trust the Cowboys defense more than I trust the Eagles defense. So it just makes all the sense in the world to take the full field goal here with the road team.
Get the rest of my Vegas contest picks below, along with my large-format survivor pool play for Week 9.
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