We have reached the virtual halfway point of the NFL season and the playoff picture in the AFC is still very murky, setting up what promises to be an exciting race down the stretch. Here are some picks in two key AFC matchups in Week 9.
Baltimore -3.5 at Cleveland at 5Dimes
It’s true that these two teams appear to be going in different directions. Cleveland has won two of its last three games (both at home) and Baltimore lost Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb for the season and got blown out 43-13 in its last game against Houston. Baltimore is 0-5 ATS over its last five games despite a 4-1 SU record.
With all of that in mind, the Ravens have two powerful things going for them this week; habitual dominance over their opponent and a bye week to prepare. A veteran team like Baltimore can correct a lot over the course of a bye week and can certainly put together a winning game plan for a below-average team like Cleveland. Also, the Ravens are 9-0 SU in their last nine games against the Browns and have won each of those nine games by at least six points.
It won’t be a blowout, but look for Baltimore to take care of business and cover this modest spread.
Miami -1.0 at Indianapolis at Pinnacle
Both of these teams are on the rise in the AFC with a 3-1 SU and ATS record over their last three games, and with 4-3 SU records could be in the Wild Card race down the stretch if they keep it up. While Indianapolis has proven to be tough at home this year, on paper this looks like a good matchup for the Dolphins.
Defensively, Miami has been strong all year, allowing just 18 points per game. By cutting down on turnovers the Dolphins have won three straight, and going up against Indianapolis’ offense that is only averaging 19.4 points per game, the defense should have another strong day. Indianapolis has one of the league’s worst rushing defenses (137.4 rushing yards against per game) and Miami runs the ball well (115 rushing yards per game) which should help the Dolphins control the tempo.
This could end up being a low-scoring game, but in the end the Dolphins should be able to get the upper hand with their running game and come out on top.
Other lines available this week (all at BET365) include Kansas City +7.5 at San Diego, Denver -3 at Cincinnati, Arizona +11 at Green Bay, Detroit -3.5 at Jacksonville, Buffalo +10 at Houston, Chicago -3 at Tennessee, Carolina +3 at Washington, Tampa Bay +1.5 at Oakland, Minnesota +5 at Seattle, Pittsburgh +3 at the New York Giants, Dallas +4 at Atlanta, and Philadelphia +3 at New Orleans.