Week 10 in the NFL sees six teams on a bye, leaving us with just 11 Sunday games to consider this week. There are some fascinating matchups this week, even if it is just in terms of discussions about which teams are the worst in the league. One spot I am keeping my eye on this week is the game in Cincinnati. The Ravens are coming off a statement win and the emotion that brings, while Cincinnati are 10-point underdogs at home coming off a bye. This has all the feelings a game where the spread is decided in the last minute of the game. Normally I would look to take the +10, but I want no part of the Cincinnati Bengals and their current mess.
Here are this week’s NFL Picks:
Bet of the Week:
Kansas City Chiefs @ Tennessee Titans | 1:00 pm EST
2u – Kansas City Chiefs -5.5 @ -115
- Per Statschecker, the Kansas City Chiefs are 3-1 ATS on the road this season
- Per Statschecker, the Tennessee Titans are 1-2-1 ATS at home this season
This line is going to move around a lot this week until there is absolutely definitive news on the availability of Patrick Mahomes. Right now, I have seen this line climb from -4.5 to -6, with -5.5 still available at one book. For what it is worth I would sit him one more week, then assess the field conditions in Mexico before putting him out there next week. However, that does not strike me as what the Chiefs are likely to do, and I think we see him this week against the Titans, which for me makes anything up to a touchdown a worthwhile bet.
Even without having had Mahomes for the last two and a half game (nearly a third of the season), the Chiefs still rank top-four in offensive expected points added (EPA) per play. Additionally, my YPP metrics have them to win this game by around seven points against a Titans defense who were taken to bits a little at times last week. Additionally, the Chiefs are getting their defensive pieces back, and should be able to handle a team who rank below average in offensive EPA/play.
Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears | 1:00 pm EST
1u – Detroit Lions +2.5 @ +100
- The Lions rank in the top half of the league in offensive EPA/play, while the Bears rank in the bottom-eight
My YPP metric has this game the complete opposite way around to the sportbooks, as I have the Lions as two or three-point favorites. The Bears offense should have a little more success in this game, but the Lions are going to be happy to challenge Mitchell Trubisky to try and beat them through the air. This game is not going to be a blowout and will be one of those you do not feel certain about until the closing moments potentially. However, give me the Lions getting 2.5 in a game I expect to be decided by three-points at most.
Buffalo Bills @ Cleveland Browns | 1:00 pm EST
1u – Buffalo Bills +3 @ -117
- According to EPA/play, the Cleveland Browns are one of the worst teams in the league offensively right now, and rank below average defensively as well.
Again, this line is flipped for me. The Bills have not beaten any one of any note this year, but why would we be considering this Browns team a team of note? The Bills come into this game 3-0 ATS in road games and should have enough on offense to handle a Browns team who were run all over last week by the Denver Broncos. My initial instinct was to laugh at this line, and I am going to stick with my gut on this one.
Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints | 1:00 pm EST
1u – Atlanta Falcons +13.5 @ +100
- The Atlanta Falcons rank in the top half of teams offensively in EPA/play
- The New Orleans Saints have only won two games by double-digits this season
On the surface of it this looks odd. The Falcons are not just bad defensively, they are really really bad. However, coming off the bye and looking a little healthier I am expecting a surge in the second half. Dan Quinn is supposedly a defensive coach, and he needs to have been using this week off to improve his defense if he wants another NFL job of note in the near future. The Falcons demonstrated fighting spirit last year to win their last three games and finish 7-9, and I expect them to fight hard for someone who is considered to be a players coach.
The caveat here is that if Matt Ryan is absent and we have Matt Schaub under center then I perhaps walk away from this one unless the line balloons to 15 or more. The scoreline won’t suggest it but the Saints were in this game last year, and bar a couple of costly untimely fumbles they could have upset the Saints in New Orleans. Give me the Falcons and the points, because I think at the very least pride in a rivalry game, and a soft Saints defense late, gives them a back-door cover this weekend.
Carolina Panthers @ Green Bay Packers | 4:05 pm EST
1u – Carolina Panthers +5.5 @ -116
- Per statschecker, the Carolina Panthers are 3-1 ATS on the road this season
- The Green Bay Packers have a negative net YPP this season
Cold weather and potentially snow are the order of the day in Green Bay this weekend, which should be a close, hard-fought battle. Last week the Packers’ offense was controlled by a strong defensive front, and they will face another one here this week. Christian McCaffrey should be able to get things going this week, and the Panthers should be able to keep things close at the very least.