Situational handicapping – more popularly known as spot betting – is a great way to find hidden value on or against a certain team. From letdowns, lookaheads, and schedule spots, these blips on the calendar are just one of the weapons NFL bettors can use in their fight against the bookmakers.
Covers' Senior Industry Analyst Jason Logan combs through the Week 9 schedule and gives his favorite spot bet opportunities and how they could impact the outcomes.
LETDOWN SPOT: GREEN BAY PACKERS AT L.A. CHARGERS (+3.5, 47)
The Chargers finally snapped their three-game losing skid thanks to some classic kicking from the Chicago Bears last Sunday. Chicago kicker Eddy Pineiro botched a game-winning field goal, allowing the Bolts to escape the Windy City with a much-needed 17-16 victory.
Los Angeles has been in some tight contests this season, with all but one of its first eight games decided by a touchdown or less. The Week 8 win allows the franchise to exhale but only after pinning offense coordinator Ken Whisenhunt as the sacrificial lamb, firing him on Monday after the team slogged through offensive issues in the first half of the schedule.
The Chargers return “home” to Dignity Health Sports Park, which will undoubtedly be overtaken by resident and vacationing Cheeseheads this Sunday. With some of the urgency erased following that win, and the offense play calling in flux, this could be a bad spot for the Bolts in Week 9.
LOOKAHEAD SPOT: TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS AT SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (-6, 51.5)
The Buccaneers have been a sharp play in Week 9, drawing some action from the wiseguys for their trip to Seattle on Sunday. Tampa Bay has slimmed from +6.5 to +6, playing in what will be the team’s fifth straight road game, thanks to a chunk of scheduling that took the Bucs away from Raymond James Stadium (including across the pond to London, England and a Week 7 bye) for 49 days.
While the Seahawks are a formidable opponent and most teams wouldn’t look past that challenge, the homesick Buccos could be running on empty after crossing the country and dreaming of a full week in their own beds, heading into a Week 11 home stand with Arizona.
Tampa Bay has managed to cover the spread only once on this grueling four-game road stretch and is 6-8-3 ATS as a road underdog since 2017.
SCHEDULE SPOT: DETROIT LIONS AT OAKLAND RAIDERS (-2, 50.5)
We mentioned the Buccaneers’ long road home just within reach, but the Oakland Raiders are coming out the other end of a similar stretch of schedule that last saw them inside RingCentral Coliseum on September 15.
Oakland is playing its first home game since Week 2 and brings with it some momentum on the offensive side of the ball. After a 2018 in which the Silver and Black ranked among the basement in most scoring stats, this year’s Raiders are currently fourth in yards per play (6.2) and averaged almost 26 points per game over their last four outings – all away from home.
Detroit makes the cross-country trek to the Bay Area with one of the worst defenses in the NFL, and has injury concerns around standouts Snacks Harrison and Darius Slay. Action seems to be siding with Oakland in his homecoming, moving the spread from -1.5 to -2.