Free NFL Picks - Week 9 (2008)

Written by:
Frank Doyle
Published on:
Oct/29/2008
Patriots vs. Colts

Sports Interaction's betting analyst Frank Doyle makes his free NFL picks for Week 9 of the 2008 season, with a special emphasis on the New England Patriots vs. Indianapolis Colts game. All betting odds were courtesy of Sports Interaction, offering a 15 percent cash signup bonus to Gambling911.com readers. Canada's first online sports book!

The NFL is a quarterback league. You sink or swim according to your ability at quarterback. And it's this reason, more so than any other, that sees Indianapolis a 5.5 point home favorite on Sunday when New England visits Lucas Oil Field.

That doesn't make Indy the smart play though.

Indy is the favorite because Peyton Manning is the greatest quarterback of his generation, a first ballot Hall of Famer, a super star. By contrast, the chief thing Matt Cassel is famous for is for not being Tom Brady, and all his other qualities are dwarfed in the public mind because of that. The public perception is Peyton Manning, superstar, Matt Cassel, bum. Therefore, Indy is the favorite.

But the figures tell you a different story. Matt Cassel himself probably wouldn't claim to hold a torch to Manning in terms of career, but right now Cassel is the better quarterback. Cassel's quarterback rating is 84.6; Peyton Manning's is 79.0, Manning's lowest since he arrived at Indianapolis from Tennessee. Cassel is completing 65.8% of his passes, Manning 61.1%. And here's the biggest stat of all - the Patriots are 5-2 are cruising nicely along the rail, while the Colts are 3-4 and listing badly. If Matt Cassel had replaced any other quarterback in the league - with the exception of Peyton Manning himself - Cassel's success with the Pats would be one of the stories of the year. Instead, he's just the guy that's holding someone else's jacket.

Peyton Manning is going to the Hall of Fame while Matt Cassel will be the answer to a sports trivia question in ten years time, but right now Cassel is the better quarterback with the better team. New England +5.5 with Sports Interaction is the bet.

Elsewhere, Sports Interaction opened the Giants as 8.5 point home favorites against the Cowboys and that's already moved out to nine. The public is lapping it up and the public is completely correct. The Giants confirmed their status as one of the most complete teams in the league when they won that great game at Pittsburgh on Sunday while the Cowboys look like an accident waiting to happen. Brad Johnson's arm was never good but opposing teams can see quite clearly that Johnson can't beat you deep any more and they're making their defensive shifts accordingly. Dallas must control the ball through rushing Marion Barber to win, but if the Cowboys fall behind at all they could get a hiding. The Giants -9 with Sports Interaction is the pick.

Finally, I find it very hard to see Pittsburgh being beaten two weeks in a row. Washington is a fine team and the Redskins have many things to admire this year, but Pittsburgh looks good to still be playing in late January and the Steelers can't afford to drop two straight. Pittsburgh +1.5 with Sports Interaction at Washington on Monday Night is the final pick for Week 9.

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