This column will be available Monday through Friday (posted no later than 1:00 ET), EXCLUSIVELY at BigAl.com. I like to call it my daily 'random thoughts' on the sports betting world, although I'll pass along that my therapist refers to it as "thoughtful commentary."
Eights were wild in Week 9's MNF contest between the New England Patriots and the NY Jets. The Pats had won EIGHT consecutive meetings against the New York Jets, while the Jets had lost all EIGHT of their games this season. The Jets had mustered a league-low 94 points this season, 39 fewer than the next-closest team (Washington had played one fewer game) entering Week 9. They had only scored two TDs in their last four games and ranked last in total offense (259.0 YPG), last in passing (155.9 YPG) and last in third-down conversions (28.3 percent). However, the Jets took a 20-10 halftime lead, with their 20 points being more than the team had scored in SEVEN of its previous eight full games. Then, unfortunately for Jet fans, came the fourth quarter. The Pats trailed 27-17 but would score the game's final 13 points, with Nick Folk's 51 yard FG accounting for the game-winner on the contest's final play. Flacco had his best game as a Jet (262 passing yards with three TDs and one INT) but the Jets were outgained 433-to-322 in yards and 30-18 in FDs. The much-maligned Can Newton completed 27 of 35 for 274 yards and while he did not have a TD pass, he did not turn the ball over (Pats had zero for the game as a team). Newton ran for two TDs, as the Pats had 159 yards rushing to the Jets' 59. The Pats snapped their four-game slide and yes, the Jets remain the lone winless team in the NFL at 0-9 but they did easily cover.
Week 9 was good to home dogs, which were just 1-4 SU but 4-1 ATS. However, home teams finished just 5-9 SU but led by those home dogs, managed to go 7-7 ATS. Checking in on the Y-T-D numbers, home teams fell below .500 at 65-67-1 (.492) on the season while going 60-71-2 ATS (45.8%). Home dogs are well below .500 at 12-33 (.267) SU but are a small money-maker in going 24-19-2 (55.8%) ATS. Scoring was robust, as games averaged 52.9 PPG, resulting in nine overs, four unders and one push. There have now been 69 overs, 60 unders and four pushes after nine weeks. Week 10 will kick off on Thursday, as the 5-3 Indianapolis Colts are in Nashville to take on the 6-2 Tennessee Titans in an AFC clash.
Week 9 highlights: The Jets entered Week 9 as the NFL's lone winless team and despite their easy ATS win, will enter Week 10 at 0-9. In a somewhat similar situation, the Cowboys entered Week 9 at 2-6 but as the league's lone winless ATS team. Dallas' opponent was the NFL's lone unbeaten team, the 7-0 Pittsburgh Steelers (6-1 ATS). Similar to what the Jets did last night vs the Pats, the Cowboys took a 10-point lead into the 4th quarter (19-9) and just like the Jets, the Cowboys allowed the game's final 15 points in a 24-19 loss. However, as a 14-point home dog, Dallas earned its first ATS win of 2020. How 'bout dem Cowboys! Pittsburgh is 8-0 and its closest competitor for the NFL's best record is the defending champion KC Chiefs. Mahomes had four more TD passes (zero INTs), giving him 25 TDs and just one INT on the season (115.9 QB rating). However, the KC running game produced just 30 yards (2.5 YPC) and the defense allowed Carolina 435 yards. KC scored 33 points and when Carolina's 67-yard game-winning FG attempt was long enough but wide-right, the Chiefs held on for a two-point win.
The SNF contest set up as a "classic," with Brees and Brady squaring off for the second time this season. However, it quickly turned into a R-O-U-T, as the Saints took over first place in the NFC South with a 38-3 win. New Orleans led 31-0 at the half and Tampa Bay's ONLY score came when the Bucs decided to kick a meaningless FG with just under 6:00 minutes to go (trailing 38-0), just to avoid a shutout (kind of sad). Brees was 26 of 32 for 222 yards with four TDs and zero INTs, while Brady threw for just 209 yards, was intercepted three times and sacked three times. FIVE of Brady's seven INTs in 2020 have come in the team's two losses to the Saints, as he owns an 18-2 ratio in Tampa Bay's other seven contests, in which the Bucs are 6-1.
Seattle took its 6-1 record into Buffalo against the 6-2 Bills and neither team could run the ball, as Seattle had 57 yards on the ground (3.4 YPC) and Buffalo 34 (1.8 YPC). So it came down to a mano-a-mano showdown between QBs Russell Wilson and Josh Allen. Allen was the clear winner, completing 31 of 38 for 415 yards with three TDs and no INTs (138.5 QB rating). Wilson threw for 390 yards but had as many INTs (2) as TD passes (2). It was Tua vs Kyler in Phoenix and both played great. Tua moved to 2-0 as an NFL starter as the Dolphins scored the game's final 10 points (a familiar theme in Week 9) for a 34-31 win. Tua completed 20 of 28 for 248 yards with two TDs and no INTs (122.3 QB rating) plus added 35 rushing yards. However, Kyler outperformed him, completing 21 of 26 for 283 yards with three TDs and no INTs (150.5 rating) plus ran for 106 yards on 9.6 YPC with a TD.
The Ravens outscored the Colts 17-0 in the second half (there's that recurring theme, again) of Baltimore's 24-10 win at Indianapolis. The Ravens are 6-2 but have lost their two biggest games of the season to the Chiefs and Steelers, both at home. QB Lamar Jackson has taken 'the heat' for those losses but with Sunday's win, he matched Dan Marino's 25-5 record as a starting QB to open one's career (in the Super Bowl era). Dan NEVER won a Super Bowl. Will Lamar follow the same path? Working in his favor is the fact that he's just 23 years-old!
The new CFB week opens Tuesday night with MACtion, as six MAC schools play three games. 0-1 Akron is at 0-1 Ohio, 1-0 Kent is at 0-1 Bowling Green and 1-0 Miami-Ohio is at 1-0 Buffalo. Ohio is favored by 27 1/2 points, Kent by 20 1/2 and even though Miami won the MAC last season, Buffalo is favored by 9 1/2-points. Wednesday and Thursdays Notes will feature much more on CFB 2020.