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Despite the first losing week this season, our against-the-spread record stands at 24-14-2 through Week 8. Now officially in midseason, the focus turns to positional advantages and new NFL injuries as season-long injuries have been schemed around and accounted for in the betting lines.
The algorithm at Sports Injury Central focuses on health but also the recent and cluster injuries. Given that the analysis is broken down to both run and pass offense vs. run and pass defense, this gives us the best advantage. Match these with your own opinions to make the sharpest plays.
IND @ NE, Under 40.5
We start with an under play given that the Colts and Patriots defenses are largely healthy facing offenses with injuries. Indianapolis is without Jonathan Taylor and starting an inexperienced QB; Sam Ehlinger will make just his second career start. Meanwhile, New England has offensive line issues and is missing their #1 WR, DeVante Parker. Matthew Judon has been dominant for the Pats and, in the end, Bill Belichick is a defensive coach.
MIN -3 @ WAS
The visiting Vikings are 12.2 points healthier on the team SIC score scale and double-digit healthier teams have won against-the-spread at a historical average of 60%. Minnesota’s starting 22 has been healthy but they did lose TE Irv Smith — who they replaced in a trade for Detroit’s T.J. Hockenson — and DE Dalvin Tomlinson is likely out. Despite those losses, they are considerably healthier than Washington. With three of the front seven missing — including top run stopper Cole Holcomb — there is vulnerability against the run. Taylor Heinicke has been serviceable but there are lingering offensive line and pass catcher issues.
GB -3.5 @ DET
The Packers have struggled all year with protection given their issues at both tackle spots and that may be a bigger issue for Aaron Rodgers than not having dynamic receivers. They seem to have settled on a run-first formula to combat this issue. The Lions come in with an assortment of issues on both sides of the ball. All season, Green Bay has been the less-healthy side but for the first time, this flips.
SEA +2 @ ARI
No one could have envisioned taking the Seahawks on the road at the start of the season. They have outperformed this season and they are the healthier side in this contest. Kenneth Walker, III has been a an excellent replacement for injured RB Rashaad Penny. The Cardinals returned DeAndre Hopkins from suspension two weeks ago but having injury issues on 3/5ths of the offensive line does not portend well from and NFL injury standpoint.
LAR @ TB -3
Both offensive lines have issues but the Rams blockers have bigger and more recent problems. Yes, center Brian Allen has returned from a knee scope but is not yet 100%. That means four of their five offensive line starters are either dealing with injury or are out. They face Vita Vea and a now-healthier Akiem Hicks on a stout Bucs’ defensive line. This may give the immobile Matthew Stafford issues. Tom Brady has his own issues, losing three games in a row for the first time in 20 years, but the Bucs health actually improves this week, especially at corner. The trend up makes Tampa the pick.
Other Leans Due To NFL Injury Advantages
Honorable mentions include NYJ +11.5 given their healthy defense and MIA -4 with the Bears recently trading away their two top defenders in Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn.
Enjoy Week 9 as we hit the midway point of the regular season. Let’s increase our +10-unit record.