NFL

The 3 Most Popular NFL Bets for Week 9

Betting NFL games can be a blast. Whether you take the time to analyze each line and cash in big, or you do it for the fun -- share your bets with friends and tilt with one another in a group chat. Either way, having another layer of interest in your weekly football-watching is great. A lot of times, whether you like or not, you're not alone, either.

And that's where numberFire's oddsFire tool comes in. oddsFire breaks down the differences in betting odds, lines, and totals across a number of sportsbooks, but it also shows us what percentage of total bets and money is being laid on any line at FanDuel Sportsbook. Using oddsFire, you can then decide if you would like to align yourself with the betting public -- and enjoy the sweat together -- or go against the grain to capitalize on an over-hyped situation.

In this weekly article, we're here to dive into the three lines (one spread, one moneyline, one over/under) getting the most love, with the goal of deciding whether the numbers support or contradict the public's heavy investment.

Pittsburgh Steelers (-13.5) at Dallas Cowboys

Two historic franchises, two totally different seasons. While the Pittsburgh Steelers come into Week 9 at a perfect 7-0, the Dallas Cowboys are scrambling for breath after a 2-6 start through the midway point. Needless to say, a whole 26 spots separate the two in our latest power rankings. Pittsburgh is fourth behind only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kansas City Chiefs, and Baltimore Ravens.

Considering all the other circumstances, it's no surprise to see such a big line in Pittsburgh's favor away from Heinz Field. Already without Dak Prescott, Dallas just placed Andy Dalton on the COVID list and would go with one of Cooper Rush or Garrett Gilbert in his absence. Rush and Gilbert have combined for 11 appearances and 0 starts in their careers to this point.

By way of our math, the Steelers are 10th in offense and 6th in defense, led by a defensive front holding teams to the second-lowest Adjusted Rushing NEP per play. That combination has gotten them to a 6-1 record against the spread, including a 5-1 record when favored. According to Killer Sports, they have won those six games by an average of 10.8 points. It would be no shock to see Pittsburgh win by at least two touchdowns, fulfilling the 96% of bets and 99% of the money coming in on their side of this Week 9 matchup.

Las Vegas Raiders (-102) at Los Angeles Chargers

The Las Vegas Raiders' moneyline against the Los Angeles Chargers is a bit perplexing. Not only are the Chargers seven spots better in our power rankings, but there is actually no true underdog on the moneyline here. L.A. is currently -116 after opening at -121 to Vegas' more appealing +101 at the time. And as for the spread, that favors the home team by 1.5 for this divisional matchup.

It would probably be safe to assume that 91% of bets placed on the Raiders came when they were listed as underdogs, meaning they have been bet down over the last three days. However, it's important to note that only 64% of the money follows, which would suggest sharp money on coach Anthony Lynn, Justin Herbert, and the Chargers.

Recent trends would give the Chargers the edge, as well. Under Lynn's leadership, they are 4-2 with an average margin of seven points in six games. They have covered in four and in three of the four, they have been favored by any amount (they've never been favored by fewer than 6.5). They are also 2-2 as the favorites this year, including a 1-1 record on their home turf. It would be wise to follow the sharps and avoid the Raiders at their current price.

Carolina Panthers at Kansas City Chiefs (Over 52.5)

The Kansas City Chiefs, as expected, are second in the league in offensive efficiency and second in scoring at 31.6 points per game through eight weeks of play. Patrick Mahomes and company are clicking on all cylinders, having put up 35 or more points in each of their last two. But much more unforeseeable was the Carolina Panthers' rise to be the league's 11th-best offense, ranking 15th in both passing and rushing. However, they have been held to just 22.4 points per game.

There is no telling which way the points will break around this 52.5-point total, but pace suggests a lower-scoring game than the experts think. Per Football Outsiders, Kansas City is 17th in overall pace and 14th in situation-neutral pace, but Carolina is a mere 28th and 23rd in those two categories. Accordingly, the Panthers have held opposing offenses to 24.1 points per game, leading to three games hitting the over, four the under, and one push. Their games have averaged a total of 46.5 points with the under winning out or pushing in three of their four road games.

The Chiefs have also seen two of their four home games come up short of the set total, in addition to a push in their opener. Those four outcomes have averaged 51.5 points against an average betting line of 52. This line is solid, but it has not budged since open, and at that 87% of bets and 96% of the cash has been on the over. It sounds like the oddsmakers are heavy on this game disappointing those betting the over and relying on real-world points to translate to their fantasy lineups. Staying away might be the best course, after all is said and done.