If this week looks particularly tough when it comes to picks against the spread, regular bets or even teases, it’s because we have a ton of “even” matchups. Out of 14 games in week 10, three of them have a heavy favorite (spread of 7 or greater), and the other 11 don’t have a spread greater than FOUR!
That’s insane, right? While you may think it’s just luck of the draw in terms of getting this many close games, it’s actually because the league standings are bloated in the middle. Check out that link. There are 21 teams that have either five, four or three wins. There are only four teams worse than that and seven teams better.
So yeah, it makes sense that we keep getting these matchups. Maybe we’re not seeing a ton of high quality games, but the league as a whole remains intriguing with so many teams still within range of a playoff spot.
How about this? We have five divisions where at least three teams still have a chance to end the year in first place: AFC North, South & West…and NFC North & East (all four teams still in the playoff race).
So criticize the NFL all you want, but the playoff races are going to keep everyone tuning in.
Let’s dive into the week 10 picks.
Teams on Bye: Buffalo, Detroit, Indianapolis, Oakland
Cleveland at Baltimore (-9) | over/under 44
The Pick: Cleveland
The Score: Baltimore 23, Cleveland 15
The Bets: Baltimore (+1) in a 3-way tease / Under (55) in a 3-way tease
The home team has the worst offense in the league according to FootballOutsiders.com, and the other team is #24 on offense & traveling on a short week. So brace yourselves for a particularly boring and low-scoring Thursday night game. Just what the NFL needs as its post-election showcase to get the ratings back on track.
Side Note: This is the first time in four years that I forgot to make a preseason bet on “Will any team go 0-16?” I think they moved the odds from the standard 33/1 down to 25/1 this year and it scared me away. Really need Cleveland to win one game so I don’t regret it.
Houston at Jacksonville (-1.5) | over/under 42
The Pick: Jacksonville
The Score: Jacksonville 22, Houston 19
The Bets: Under (52) in a 3-way tease
SuperContest: Yes with Jacksonville (-1.5)
This line significantly moved between Wednesday night and Thursday morning. It was Houston -2 and then abruptly changed to the current line, where the Jags are a small favorite.
There are very few circumstances where picking Jacksonville makes sense. Brock Osweiler on the road is one of them. You know how everyone’s been killing Blake Bortles for how bad he obviously is at this point? Well Osweiler ranks five spots below Bortles in FootballOutsider’s QB rankings! Osweiler on the road is toxic.
If you’re picking Houston in this game, you are obviously thinking of a different installment of the Texans than what currently exists. And I’m warning you, you’re wrong.
Besides the Jaguars being one of my favorite picks, I’m also liking the under a lot here. Both teams have above average defenses and putrid offenses. Houston has scored 0, 13 and 9 points in their three road games this year.
Denver at New Orleans (-3) | over/under 49
The Pick: New Orleans
The Score: New Orleans 30, Denver 24
The Bets: Over (49) / Over (39) in a 3-way tease
SuperContest: Yes with New Orleans (-3)
I’ve been saying the Saints’ offense at home is as explosive as the Falcons & Raiders. The Broncos just struggled at Oakland last week, and the Falcons were able to win in Denver earlier this year. So this feels like another Denver loss.
As usual when the Saints play at home, I’m into the over. And if the Broncos were healthy, I’d probably stay away from using the Saints in my SuperContest pick, but Aqib Talib and Derek Wolfe are probably out for this game. Can’t see Denver getting to the 28+ points they’ll need to knock off the Saints.
Los Angeles at NY Jets (-2) | over/under 39.5
The Pick: NY Jets
The Score: NY Jets 24, Los Angeles 17
The Bets: None
Here’s a really shitty game that doesn’t deserve our attention. If you wanted to bet the under here, I wouldn’t be mad at you. These are two of the worst offenses in the league. But to me it cries “stay away.” So I will.
Atlanta (-1.5) at Philadelphia | over/under 50.5
The Pick: Atlanta
The Score: Atlanta 28, Philadelphia 24
The Bets: Over (40.5) in a 3-way tease
SuperContest: Yes with Atlanta (-1.5)
With the way Atlanta has played at Oakland, Denver and Seattle this year, I’m not at all worried about them performing away from home. And they got extra rest after pummeling Tampa Bay last Thursday.
I know the Eagles still have a good defense and they haven’t lost at home this year, but they feel like a very average team. Atlanta looks like one of the three or four best teams in football right now.
I like the over because Atlanta’s a scoring machine and the Eagles have actually looked good on offense at home this year.
Kansas City at Carolina (-3) | over/under 44
The Pick: Kansas City
The Score: Kansas City 23, Carolina 21
The Bets: None
I think Carolina is still tough to gauge so I don’t want to put too much confidence in this pick. But it seems to me that the Chiefs are really good and they’re getting some great news on the defensive side with the return of Justin Houston. That’s gotta scare the league a little bit.
Chicago (-1) at Tampa Bay | over/under 46
The Pick: Tampa Bay
The Score: Tampa Bay 27, Chicago 20
The Bets: None
I can’t for the life of me figure this game out. I thought the Bucs should have been favored by the standard three points at home so I figured grabbing Tampa +1 was an easy choice. But I keep hearing people talk about how much better the Bears are than the Bucs, and even the stats seem to make the case for Chicago. I dunno. I’ll just take the home team and cross my fingers.
Minnesota at Washington (-3) | over/under 42
The Pick: Washington
The Score: Washington 23, Minnesota 19
The Bets: None
Both teams need this game desperately to keep pace in their respective divisions. I still don’t know if either team is good after nine weeks. So I’m not betting it, but I do think the Skins at home deserve the benefit of the doubt. At this point, the Vikings’ inability to score seems to be the biggest weakness of either team.
Green Bay (-3) at Tennessee | over/under 49.5
The Pick: Tennessee
The Score: Tennessee 26, Green Bay 24
The Bets: Over (39.5) in a 3-way tease
It’s still mind-boggling to me that Tennessee has a top 10 offense, and that they’ve averaged 31 points over their last five games. Meanwhile, the Packers are finally putting up points (28.3 points per game in the last three weeks), and the Titans rank a lot lower on defense than you probably think.
Teasing this over down to 39.5 is a slam dunk.
Not only do I think the Titans could win this game outright, but I’m rooting for it in a big way. For betting purposes, I wanna see the Titans & Lions in the playoffs. And a Tennessee win in week 10 would help both cases.
Miami at San Diego (-4) | over/under 48.5
The Pick: Miami
The Score: San Diego 26, Miami 24
The Bets: None
The biggest problem with San Diego is that while their overall defense is much better than it’s been the last couple years, their run D is still somewhat suspect. And that’s all Miami knows how to do now is run the ball. This could be a sneaky entertaining game, but I’ve got no real read from a betting standpoint.
San Francisco at Arizona (-13.5) | over/under 48.5
The Pick: Arizona
The Score: Arizona 31, San Francisco 14
The Bets: Arizona (-3.5) in a 3-way tease
Sure, 13.5 seems insanely high for a point spread in the NFL. And even if you don’t think the Cardinals are the kind of team that should be getting that level of respect (you’d think only the Patriots, Cowboys or Falcons could get this type of spread right now), it’s a pretty good spot for them to blow out the Niners.
They already beat the 49ers by 12 this year up in San Francisco. And the Niners have lost road games this year by 19, 19 and 29 points.
In fact, here’s the point differential of each of the seven straight games that they’ve lost: 19, 19, 7, 12, 29, 17 and 18.
Add to that the fact that San Francisco’s near the bottom of the league in giveaways, and the Cardinals are top 5 in takeaways.
I didn’t even mention that the Cardinals’ win over SF earlier in the year was with Drew Stanton at quarterback. Say what you want about 2016 Carson Palmer, but he’s still better than Stanton.
This should be a blowout, but if you don’t like giving that many points, toss Arizona into a teaser.
Dallas at Pittsburgh (-2) | over/under 50
The Pick: Pittsburgh
The Score: Pittsburgh 31, Dallas 27
The Bets: Over (40) in a 3-way tease
SuperContest: Yes with Pittsburgh (-2)
First of all, this game should have a ton of points. Two good offenses, not so great defenses. Ben Roethlisberger should be a lot healthier this week.
I’m also pretty confident it’s the Cowboys’ turn to lose a game. They aren’t going 14-2 or better so they need to lose a couple more games. This is one of the prime opportunities for someone to hand them a loss. We still don’t know how good their secondary is and I think the Steelers will be able to exploit that just enough.
Seattle at New England (-7.5) | over/under 49
The Pick: New England
The Score: New England 30, Seattle 20
The Bets: New England (-7.5) / New England (+2.5) in a 3-way tease / Over (39) in a 3-way tease
SuperContest: Yes with New England (-7.5)
I’ll confidently take the Belichick-coached team that has had two full weeks to prepare over a West Coast team coming off an exhausting Monday night win, on short rest and traveling across the country. Do we really need any more analysis than that?
Add in the fact that New England is extremely healthy right now and the Seahawks will be missing at least Michael Bennett from their defense, and I think this has the makings of a big win for the Patriots.
They rarely lose at home, they’re rested and Seattle isn’t nearly as scary as it has been the last few years on offense or defense.
Cincinnati at NY Giants (-1) | over/under 47
The Pick: Cincinnati
The Score: Cincinnati 26, NY Giants 22
The Bets: None
I was originally confident in the Giants in this Monday night matchup, but then two things happened:
- I was reminded that Cincy’s scoring problems on the road (only 17.5 points per game on the road so far) were likely solved by Tyler Eifert’s return to the field.
- I realized that the Giants have won three in a row and this is exactly when their fans are starting to feel a little bit good. So of course this team has to lose a winnable home game.
My confidence is low on this pick though.
Here are the season-long stats I’m tracking:
- Favorites are 55-71-7 against the spread through 9 weeks (including 6-5-2 in week 9)
- The Point Total has landed on Over 72 times, Under 59 times, and Pushed 2 times
- I’m 68-60-4 against the spread.
Enjoy week 10.