Pick’em News and Notes for NFL Week 9 2020

News, notes, and observations impacting the 2020 NFL Week 9 pick'em pool landscape, straight from the TeamRankings experts.

Survivor Myths Road Teams

Derek Carr and the Raiders get the Chargers in a rivalry game (Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire)

Monday, November 9th (12:30 pm ET)

While there were several upsets by value underdogs yesterday, there were two key games in many of our game winner pools that didn’t go our way.

The Colts were an unpopular choice against the Ravens, and our picks were heavily on Indianapolis. They played Baltimore even except for some costly turnovers, and were just the second team to hold the Ravens under 300 total yards (the Kansas City game was the other). At least we got one of the most entertaining plays of the season out of one of those big swing plays that went the wrong way in deciding this one.

The other high leverage game was even tighter. The Chargers had the ball at the goal line and missed on two goal line fades, including what appeared to be the game-winning touchdown that was bobbled as it hit the ground. Next time we will change our algorithms to adjust for the Chargers’ low percentage fade propensity.

We’ll have the full recap with the specific details of how frequently we recommended teams under various prize goals tomorrow, but before counting the results, those two games are likely to be the difference between a really good week and closer to an average one, at least in game winner pools.

Sunday, November 8th (8:30 am ET)

Detroit QB Matthew Stafford has been cleared to play today after being placed on the Covid/Reserve list earlier in the week because of a close contact. The Saints’ Drew Brees will also be active after appearing on the injury report during the week. So in a week where there are plenty of backup quarterbacks called into action due to injury (Jets, Jaguars, Cowboys, 49ers), those situations have stabilized.

As of now, this is a week that is lighter on high value gamble options. The Indianapolis Colts are the only team who have a difference of greater than 20% between their pick popularity and win odds. For comparison, the first eight weeks have averaged six such games per week. That’s why you might see fewer upset picks being recommended in weekly pools than normal.

Friday, November 6th (2 pm ET)

Green Bay comfortably handled a depleted San Francisco team in the Thursday night opener for Week 9, so now it’s time to look ahead to Sunday.

One big matchup is Baltimore vs. Indianapolis, and it shows up as one of our biggest value plays of the week. Our models have actually favored the Colts slightly in this contest, even though the point spread was at 2.5 points earlier this week. That line has continued to move downward and is between 1.5 points and a pick’em at most sports books now. That movement has come while the public pick popularity is squarely on the side of the Ravens. Over 80% of the public is taking Baltimore in this one. That extreme pick difference, along with our models being favorable to the Colts, is why you should see the Colts in most pick formats as of now.

In the college ranks, Tennessee shows up as a value favorite play, as they are favored by 2 points at Arkansas, while the public is going with Arkansas 60% of the time.

Thursday, November 5th (12:30 pm ET)

The Green Bay Packers are now favored by 7 points with 74% win odds against San Francisco on the road. Those odds have shifted because of the slew of injuries that San Francisco already had, coupled with the further absences due to coronavirus rules on player eligibility for close contacts. For example, a lot of the San Francisco wide receiver group is out for tonight, with Kendrick Bourne on the list, and Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk also kept out because of contact.

San Francisco will have no skill player playing in this game who touched the ball in the NFC Championship game a year ago. The NFL, as of now, is still insisting that the game go forward, but San Francisco will be a shell of the team that started the season for this one.

Tuesday, November 3rd (2:15 pm ET)

Week 7 was full of upsets, as favorites only went 7-7 straight up in week 8, while covering the point spread in only 4 of the 14 games. A week like that typically means our game winner season prize picks will perform near the public, depending on the specifics of some swing games. And that’s what we see in the results, as our max profit season prize picks averaged 7.4 wins versus 7.6 for the public. Our weekly picks averaged 7.4 wins as well, with likely plenty of variance in the specific scores depending on which upsets were included in the weekly recommendations, and how many.

After multiple weeks of strongly outperforming the public, the Week 8 game winner season picks were just below the public, and that was almost entirely due to two games: Pittsburgh over Baltimore and Las Vegas over Cleveland. If just one of those favorites had won, it would have been a solid week above the public, and if both had, it would have been a high value week. With both losing, though, the overall week results fell roughly near the public average.

Meanwhile, spread pool weekly picks did very well in a week where underdogs barked and covered at a high rate (the public is usually biased to favorites).

For the second week in a row, the top recommendations in spread pools averaged about two wins more than the public, with 8.6 wins versus 6.7 for the public. The season prize max profit recommendations also outperformed the public in Week 8, with 7.3 average wins.

The biggest results in spread pools for us was the kickoff to the week, with Atlanta over Carolina, where the public was heavily on the Panthers and nearly 100% of all our recommendations across various prize types were on Atlanta. Miami beating the LA Rams straight up was also another big ATS result with our picks heavily on the unpopular Dolphins.