NFL Betting Plays and Predictions – Week 10
13 November 2020
After a heat wave that hit most of the continental United States last week, fall and perhaps winter is certainly here and here to stay for the remainder of the season. We are moving closer to snow games but also we are seeing a semblance of normal over the past few weeks.
This one off season was certainly odd at the onset but I am relieved at the normalization. Perhaps it is me adjusting to the insane amount of injuries and not a normalization, but in any event, I feel I have much better reads over the past month or so, and the results are showing. Let’s get to this week’s NFL picks and predictions.
This Weeks Betting Plays
|Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers||Over 47.5|
|Washington Football Team at Detroit Lions||Football Team +3|
|Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns||Browns -3 and Over 48.5|
|Los Angeles Chargers at Miami Dolphins||Dolphins -1.5|
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers
Opening Line: Steelers -10 and 48.5
Current Line: Steelers -7.5 and 47.5
The Steelers are inarguably the hottest team through the midway point of their schedule, boasting the league’s only undefeated record. To put in perspective how impressive that is, consider that there is only one other team with one loss.
It hasn’t been a cake walk for them by any means. While they have played a relatively easy schedule, they have five wins by just one score and two more wins of exactly 10 points. There has been just one blow out in their eight wins. They have gotten there with an opportunistic defense and a high end passing game. Their wide receiving trio is easily the best in the NFL and like their opponents before them, the Bengals won’t have an answer. The Steelers have scored at least 24 points in every game this season, and this is hardly a difficult matchup for them.
The Bengals are exploitable at every level and have allowed at least 23 points in 6 of 8 games and allowed 31 or more in the three of those. They have also allowed at least 23 in every road game. That figure should be considered the rock bottom floor for the Steeler offense. On the other side of the ball, the Bengals are also a pass happy unit, and we should get an absolute mountain of plays run in this game.
I think it’s somewhat probable the Bengals make a mistake on offense and the Steelers defense scores a touchdown, but that will only push the scoring pace and the pass happiness even further.
What I’m getting at here, is the total in this game is set too low, and we are likely to see a game in the 50s and cannot rule out the 60s. This was a total I circled when lines were released, hoping it didn’t spike too much. Now that it has dropped, it is in must play territory.
Betting Play: Over 47.5
Washington Football Team at Detroit Lions
Opening Line: Lions -4 and 45.5
Current Line: Lions -3 and 45.5
The Lions were a team looking like they might surpass expectations at the beginning of the season, but we have seen the wheels come off the last couple of weeks. Their defense has been utterly helpless against backs and have allowed 41 and 34 points in consecutive weeks. They have also been inept defensively at home all season. They are 0-3 and they’ve allowed at least 27 points in every home game, which is notable because they have only scored past that total twice on the season.
Speaking of the offense lacking points, this unit has lost its best playmaker for the foreseeable future in Kenny Golladay, and is in danger of being without tight end TJ Hockenson as well. On the other side, we had zero expectations for them coming into the season, but they have shaped up as competitive, particularly since moving on from Dwayne Haskins at quarterback.
They now are forced to make another quarterback change after the injury to Kyle Allen, but they have lucked into established vet Alex Smith making a recovery and well enough to take over the reigns at quarterback. Fortunately for them, this is a matchup where they will likely be able to run the ball quite effectively, and will be able to ease Smith back into the game. Rookie back Antonio Gibson should be the star of this game, and with the current state of each team, I would certainly deem the Football Team the more likely to win.
In any event, a competitive Lions team would not be blowing anyone out, and the three points that come on the Washington side are incredibly attractive. The Football Team is the play here as the descending Lions likely lose to the ascending Football Team.
Betting Play: Football Team +3
Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns
Opening Line: Browns -2.5 and 54.5
Current Line: Browns -3 and 48.5
My first thought when digging into this game was, Nick Chubb is going to go nuclear in this matchup. The Texans are friendly to run of the mill backs, but can be absolutely decimated by high end rushers like Chubb. With Chubb returning this week, the Browns and Chubb are set up to drop a similar result to Derrick Henry’s 22/212/2 line against them on the ground. It should also be noted the Titans scored 42 in that game and the total landed on 78, and I see many similarities in this matchup.
The Browns, much like the Titans have a very exploitable secondary, and one that Deshaun Watson and company will be able to exploit as they attempt to keep pace with the Browns offense, which will use the one two punch of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt at will as they will face little resistance from the Texan front.
The Texans have allowed at least 25 points in every game except a Jaguars matchup this season, and the Browns are built perfectly to drop points on their defense. On the other side, Will Fuller and Brandin Cooks will likewise run free against the Browns secondary, and I expect to see a similar performance from Watson as to what we saw against Tennesee. He had 335 passing in that game to go with four touchdowns. Much like the Texans, the Browns have struggled giving up points, and have allowed at least 30 points to every competent passing attack they’ve faced this season.
Sometimes we simply get specific matchups that favors the offense on both sides of the ball, and this is one of those games. We are going to see a lot of points and the total dropping six points is absolutely wild to me. The over is an absolute lock it in play, but that’s not where this game ends in terms of plays. With the Browns high end rushing attack and the consistent scoring that comes with that, I lean them to get the win and cover. Browns and the over in this one.
Note: if it looks like we will be experiencing high winds in Cleveland on game day like we saw roll in on the day of the Raiders game, the over would come off the table, but the Browns would not.
Betting Plays: Browns -3 and Over 48.5
Los Angeles Chargers at Miami Dolphins
Opening Line: Dolphins -1.5 and 47.5
Current Line: Dolphins -1.5 and 48
Don’t look now, but the surging Dolphins may actually be the real deal. After a 1-3 start, they have won four straight and had a field day with west coast teams in that span. Three of those wins have come against west coast teams, and the three wins combined for a +40 point differential against the 49ers, Rams and Cardinals.
With the training wheels off in his second start last week, Tua Tagovailoa looked the part as he lead his team to his second win against the Cardinals. Enter a home matchup with the 2-6 Chargers who have only been able to muster wins against the Bengals in Burrow’s first start and the lowly Jaguars. The Chargers have also allowed at least 29 points in five consecutive weeks and that is a trend we can expect to continue.
Their defense is not pulling their weight and are being beaten soundly by opposing passing games. While rookie quarterback Justin Herbert has been a bright spot for them, the offense is simply having a difficult time keeping up with the scoring paces allowed. While west coast native Herbert is avoiding the 1PM start time, this will still be his first start on the east coast and for the life of me, I do not understand why the line is not wider for this Dolphins team that is impressing on a weekly basis.
To win this game, the Chargers would likely have to match the 39 points they scored on the Jaguars. All things considered, the Dolphins laying less than a field goal feels like stealing, and if it is a trap line, it is one I am happy to fall into backing the Dolphins.
Betting Play: Dolphins -1.5
Other Game Predictions
🏈 Packers win and cover against the Jaguars, over
🏈 Eagles win and cover against the Giants, over (the over here was close to being a dedicated play)
🏈 Bucs win but no cover against the Panthers, under
🏈 Raiders win and cover against the Broncos, over
🏈 Cardinals win and cover against the Bills, over
🏈 Seahawks win as underdogs at the Rams, over
🏈 Saints win but no cover against the 49ers, under
🏈 Ravens win and cover at the Patriots, under
NFL Week 10 – 2019
Thanks for stopping back for this week’s NFL Picks. Week 9 saw a new occurrence, the Dolphins finding their way into the win column. It seemed like a foregone conclusion that Miami would be picking first in the draft but now we have the Redskins, Jets and particularly the Bengals very much in play for and potentially even more likely for the top pick.
Week 10 NFL Picks
We have another week short on total games with six teams on a bye, and we have a couple of clunker games mixed in this week that will likely be slow and sloppy. The most significant player news of the week is the probable return of Patrick Mahomes in a road spot against the Titans. We also have a handful of teams whose playoff hopes are hanging by the thinnest of threads playing at home and favored, and it will be interesting to see which of these teams can find the motivation to potentially turn their season around. We get a better set of prime time games this week that should feature a couple competitive matchups and those will be discussed. Let’s get to the games.
Play Of The Week
Carolina Panthers at Green Bay Packers
Opening Line: Packers -7 and 48
Current Line: Packers -5 and 47
The Panthers are coming off an easy home win in which running back Christian McCaffrey further solidified his claim to be the league MVP. McCaffrey added 166 yards and three more scores to his resume and DJ Moore added a 100 yard receiving performance in a tougher matchup than the one standing in front of them this week. The Packers were routed last week in an ugly performance at the Chargers and this game could work as a blueprint for the rest of the league on how to stop the LaFleur offense. The Packers also saw an alarming trend continue on the defensive side of the ball, and that is allowing running backs to take over the game against them. The Packers allowed 202 total yards and a pair of scores to Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler and the matchup this week is extremely more dangerous in McCaffrey. In addition to not being able to stop the backs, the Pack allowed a 100 yard receiving day to Mike Williams and tight end Hunter Henry nearly got there as well. We could be looking at a Groundhog Day outcome here, despite the Pack playing this game at home. Even if Aaron Rodgers and co are able to right the ship on the offensive side of the ball, they will have no answer for McCaffrey and the Panthers +5 is our play of the week .
Betting Pick: Panthers +5
Kansas City Chiefs at Tennessee Titans
Opening Line: Chiefs -3 and 48.5
Current Line: Chiefs -4 and 48.5
Obviously the huge news to monitor here is Patrick Mahomes returning to the lineup as he is expected to do. Matt Moore performed admirably in his absence, but the team as a whole just has extra levels when Mahomes is on the field. Additionally working in the Chiefs favor is head coach Andy Reid remembering a player that was a massive part of their success in 2018, and he is Damien Williams. In the last game and a half, Williams has been back to dominating the backfield touches and the offense is better and more effective for it. I don’t expect the Titans to just roll over at home, but they can be simply outscored like Carolina did last week and have developed issues defending top wide receivers, which means Tyreek Hill could be in for quite a day. The Titans are certainly at their best when playing from ahead, but they won’t get that luxury here. They do however have competence when being forced to throw with Ryan Tannehill under center and there will be enough points coming back to play the over along with the Chiefs in the return of Mahomes.
Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns
Opening Line: Browns -2.5 and 42.5
Current Line: Browns -3 and 40
It is quite telling when a 2-6 team opens as a favorite against a healthy 6-2 team. It is also telling what to expect in that game when the total is bet down to a gross 40 almost immediately. The Browns woes have been well publicized this season, and they are a team that has consistently snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. The Bills are simply not a team indicative of a 6-2 record, but instead the beneficiary of a favorable schedule. Their losses were a close one against the divisional rival Patriots and a route against the Eagles. Their wins have come against the worst teams in the . That list with margin of victory looks like Jets 1, Giants 14, Bengals 4, Titans 7, Dolphins 10 and Redskins 15. While the Browns have had their own issues, particularly with poor coaching, they are a superior team to the list above. If the Bills are to win this game, it is likely on the back of rookie running back Devin Singletary, who was elevated to a feature role last week. This is certainly a spot to stay away from as the Browns are now at full desperation albeit in a home game against an offense that doesn’t generally put teams away.
Arizona Cardinals at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Opening Line: Bucs -5.5 and 54
Current Line: Bucs -4.5 and 51.5
The loser of this game will have their playoff hopes snuffed out. The Cardinals secondary improved with cornerback Patrick Peterson back in the fold, and the Bucs don’t use the tight end position as a volume receiving threat, so this matchup isn’t perfect for Jameis Winston and company. The Cardinals tight end defense has been horrific to this point in the season. The Bucs appear to have turned the lead in the backfield over to Ronald Jones, but they aren’t a threat to control the ball and clock with the running game and the offense will continue to only go as far as the passing game takes it. For the Bucs, Mike Evans is likely to be shadowed by Peterson and Evans was not at all productive in their last matchup in 2017. This is a spot where the Bucs will likely need to rely on slot receiver Chris Godwin and a bit of an uptick in tight end production. For the Cardinals, the passing game will have to answer the bell in this one as the Bucs are quite exploitable by the pass at every level, but are stout against the run. Rookie quarterback Kyler Murray has had ups and downs to this point in the season, but this is a spot where top receiver Christian Kirk could be in for a big game and it should be noted the Cardinals staff is now working to get big play threat Andy Isabella involved in the offense. This is a game with a wide range of outcomes and should be viewed as over or pass, and I lean pass here as it is difficult to trust either offense to be efficient.
New York Giants at New York Jets
Opening Line: Jets -1.5 and 41
Current Line: Giants -2.5 and 43.5
In a week that saw the Jets beaten fairly easily by the Dolphins, there is a strong argument to be made the Giants had an even worse week. While Sam Darnold and company continued to struggle and soon to be unemployed Adam Gase still couldn’t find a way to unleash Leveon Bell, the Giants offense and quarterback was even worse. Rookie quarterback Daniel Jones continued to turn the ball over and the Giants were unable to finish drives when they didn’t turn it over, the Giants low end defense was worn down and they were eventually blown out by the Cowboys. The Jets are stout against the run and will be an imperfect matchup for Saquon Barkley and the Jets have been unable to effectively run the ball this entire season. This means the weight will fall on the shoulders of two young quarterbacks whose confidence will be the most fragile of things at this juncture, and it could create quite an ugly game. If I had to take a lean in this game it would be towards the Jets as their defense is a superior unit and Darnold should have more open targets available, but this is not a game to risk any portion of the bankroll.
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints
Opening Line: Saints -13 and 50
Current Line: Saints -12.5 and 51
The Falcons and Saints both come off their bye weeks and it was needed for the health of both teams. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and Saints running back Alvin Kamara were both dealing with injuries that should be behind them with the week off. Saints quarterback Drew Brees also got an extra week for the completion of healing to his injured thumb. Something that can’t be healed however, is the state of the Falcons defense. This remains arguably the league’s worst unit and they have to go on the road to face one of the most efficient offenses in the league. The Saints will beat them at every level and the expectation is the Saints will score at will. The Saints defense is markedly improved form 2018, and a bit more balanced. The strength of the unit is still against running backs, but they are better against passing games overall this season. They aren’t quite as good against the tight end as they were, but they are much better at covering wide receivers. Even with this being the case, the high end Atlanta passing game will be forced to throw often to attempt to keep pace, and they are capable of doing so, at least within the point spread. The more favorable play here is the over as the Saints should easily be in the 30s with the Falcons keeping enough pace to see the over comfortably home.
Betting Pick: Over 51
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals
Opening Line: Ravens -10 and 46
Current Line: Ravens -10 and 45.5
This game will mark the debut of Bengals rookie quarterback Ryan Finley as it was announced he would replace incumbent starter Andy Dalton during their bye week. Also expected this week is the season debut of wide receiver AJ Green for the Bengals. We know what Green brings to the table as a high end vet, the more unknown is what Finley brings to the table and whether he can be an upgrade on Dalton. The Bengals defense remains balanced and just about average, but one that could not overcome the woeful nature of the offense to this point in the season. They are most susceptible to the run and that is quite obviously the strength of the Baltimore attack, so they will need some help from the offense in this one. To be blunt, the Bengal offense couldn’t get much worse and Green will add an extra layer. This game is favorite or pass for me, but with the elements of unknown and the divisional nature of the matchup, it is a spot to stay away from.
Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears
Opening Line: Bears -3.5 and 44
Current Line: Bears -2.5 and 41.5
This is a must win spot for both teams if they want any hope of keeping pace with the Vikings and Packers within their division. After being stubborn in 2018 about throwing the football when called for, the Lions have opened up the offense enough that Matthew Stafford gives them a chance in most games, and the underrated receiving corps helps immensely with that. How much of the willingness to pass has to do with losing running back Kerryon Johnson is arguable and likely plays a factor, but the offense has good balance at this time, and is effective. The Bears vaunted unit form the beginning of the year is hardly that at this point and they are susceptible to a balanced attack and the Lions will be able to score in the 20s. On the other side of the ball, it’s safe to say Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has bottomed out, and their only hope of an effective offense lies in riding rookie running back David Montgomery. Luckily for them, the Lions defense is perhaps the worst in the league against the running back position and they will have difficulty stopping a rush heavy attack from the Bears, should coach Matt Nagy embrace this as the path of least resistance. Given the matchups on each side, the total is simply too low here and that is the point of attack. I envision the over being home some time in the 3rd quarter.
Betting Pick: Over +41.5
Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts
Opening Line: Colts -15.5 and 44
Current Line: Colts -10.5 and 44.5
The Colts saw starting quarterback Jacoby Brissett suffer an apparently minor injury last week. The injury forced him from last week’s loss to the Steelers. Brian Hoyer played aggressively in relief, accounting for three passing touchdowns, but also accounting for two back breaking turnovers. The Dolphins have vastly improved after the quarterback switch back to Ryan Fitzpatrick and got their first win of the season last week. The Colts will just be the deeper and more talented team in this one, but they are notorious for playing close games this season, and the value in taking the underdog was sucked out of this one by the massive line shift. In what was a dog or pass situation, the five point line movement took the value out of the play and this game is one to sit out of.
Los Angeles Rams at Pittsburgh Steelers
4:25 PM EST
Opening Line: Rams -3.5 and 45.5
Current Line: Rams -3.5 and 44
The Rams come off their bye week and face a stiff defensive test, as the Steelers unit has risen to the elite of the league on that side of the ball. Jared Goff will need to protect the football against this opportunistic unit. This is a spot where the passing game may need some help from running back Todd Gurley as too much passing could easily lead to turnovers. Working against the Rams is the east coast game once the temperatures have shifted, but at least it isn’t a 1PM start time. Quarterback Mason Rudolph remains a work in progress and became a checkdown machine last week against the Colts, but the turnovers forced by the defense were enough to see the Steelers to a win. They should have running back James Conner back in the fold this week to bring balance back to the offense. The key to the day is likely finding a matchup to win with against the Rams secondary, and that will likely be the individual matchup on Troy Hill, who will see at least three different wide receivers line up against him. This and the game as a whole very much feels like a coin flip scenario and is a situation to avoid.
Minnesota Vikings at Dallas Cowboys
8:20 PM EST
Opening Line: Cowboys -3 and 45.5
Current Line: Cowboys -3 and 47
With the ineptitude displayed in prime time scheduling of games, it feels like a gift to get a matchup with true playoff implications. The 6-3 Vikings travel to Dallas and are just 2-3 on the road this year and likely to be without top wide out Adam Thielen. This is unfortunate as a balanced attack is the best against Dallas and the Vikings will need a big game from Stefon Diggs and will need either Kyle Rudolph or Olabisi Johnson to step up as the secondary pass catcher. Running back Dalvin Cook will continue to be the focal point of the offense and will likely be the key to the game. The 5-3 Cowboys will attempt to get their second win of the season against a non bottom feeding team, as their wins to this point have only come inside their division with a win against the Dolphins added. We assume Vikings corner Xavier Rhodes will shadow wide out Amari Cooper and that could very well be the individual matchup that decides this game. In a dog or pass spot, the best play is to sit out of this one.
Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers
8:15PM EST Monday Night
Opening Line: 49ers -6 and 44
Current Line: 49ers -6 and 46.5
Rejoice! Consecutive prime time games with playoff implications. The 8-0 49ers host the 7-2 Seahawks in a divisional clash, and this game could ultimately end up deciding the division as the 49ers still have to travel to Seattle in week 17. The 49ers will deploy their normal run heavy attack with slot receiver Emmanuel Sanders and tight end George Kittle pulling the weight in the receiving department. The Seahawks tend to have problems with slot and tight end so the passing game could be the path of least resistance in this one, but that means Jimmy Garroppolo will have to protect the football, an area he’s been unsteady in in the past. On the Seahawks side, we know what we’re getting from them. Attempt to run the ball and ultimately call on elite Russell Wilson to bail them out, resulting in a one score game one way or the other. Added to the arsenal of weaponry for Wilson this week is Josh Gordon, and the matchup for the 49ers high end secondary is a rough one. We know there is no defense for the perfect throw, and Russell Wilson and the pass catchers are nearly matchup proof because of this. The underdog is quite attractive here in what should be a highly competitive game and one to schedule yourself to tune in for.
Betting Pick: Seahawks +6
TJ Calkins was raised in a gambling loving household. He knew how to handicap horse races and follow line movements well before his tenth birthday. Follow@tjcalkins