We are back for Week 11 of the NFL season. We went 4-1-1 last week and look to keep that going here.
We got a Sunday night football game in the Bay. A look ahead spot for Mahomes and Chiefs. Are the Packers and Aaron Rodgers at a breaking point? How about Jeff Saturday coaching for the Colts?
A lot of things to come about so let’s jump right into it, with a quick reminder: The picks are presented by Betfred Sportsbook. You can bet $50 on any game, and get $250 in free bets courtesy of Betfred.
To the picks!
Indianapolis at Las Vegas
Spread: Las Vegas (-6.5)
There’s a first time for everything right? An NFL football team hiring an ESPN analyst in the middle of the season. One that has been criticizing the team all year long at that. How does that make the current coaching staff feel? Beyond that, Sam Ehlinger is still at quarterback and Indy will have a 30-year-old calling offensive plays.
On the other side you have the Raiders who just blew their third 17 point lead of the season.
So what’s the play? The under- you have two ugly teams.
The Colts are going to run the ball, while the Raiders ranked 32nd in defensive DVOA but they rank 17th against the run. The Colts defense is pretty good, ranking 11th overall in DVOA.
Let’s take the under here.
The pick: under 42.5
Jacksonville at Kansas City
Spread: Kansas City (-9.5)
The Jaguars have been a different team since Travis Etienne has taken the reins at running back. Jacksonville ranks fourth in success rate and 11th in EPA. Kansas City ranks 20th in rush DVOA.
I can see a route where Jacksonville is very successful in the running game and they can churn out long possessions. Kansas City has beaten a team by double digits all year.
I grade Jacksonville slightly better than the average football team. Kansas City has a primetime divisional matchup with Los Angeles ahead.
I think this could be a look ahead spot.
Give me the Jags and the points.
The pick: Jacksonville +9.5
Cleveland at Miami
Spread: Miami (-3.5)
This is one of the few occurrences where I’m going against analytics here. Cleveland is ahead of Miami in the overall DVOA rating yet Miami is laying a field goal plus the hook at home. I just genuinely like what this Miami team is doing. They rank second in the NFL in yards per play. Miami QB Tua Tagovailoa ranks first in the NFL in QBR.
Point being, Miami is going to shred this Cleveland defense. Cleveland ranks 30th in rush DVOA and they are 18th against the pass. They have struggled to defend zone run schemes all year, and that’s all that Miami does.
Miami’s defense hasn’t been much better, but they rank seventh against the run and Cleveland runs the ball at a top five rate.
Miami is grooving and Cleveland can’t get out of their own way. Maybe that changes when Deshaun Watson comes in at quarterback.
But he isn’t there yet.
I like Miami to keep the hot streak going under the Florida sun.
The pick: Miami -3.5
Dallas at Green Bay
Spread: Dallas (-4.5)
Every market has its freezing point. Green Bay has lost five in a row and now has to face Dallas coming off a bye. To make things worse, Green Bay will be missing important starters on offense (OT David Bakhtiari, OG Elgton Jenkins) and three starters on defense (LB Rashan Gary, LB De’Vonre Campbell, CB Eric Stokes). Aaron Rodgers threw three picks against Detroit. Now he has to play Dallas who ranks first in defensive DVOA and leads the league in pressure rate by a wide margin (while missing two starting offensive lineman.). Beyond that, last week Detroit featured one of the worst rushing defenses in the NFL, yet Green Bay managed a good, but not great, 4.2 yards per carry on 25 carries.
While many are banking on a Rodgers comeback, I think Green Bay’s season is over after this. The defense struggles to stop the run and Dallas is a dual rushing threat that ranks third in the NFL in DVOA. The wise guys like Green Bay at home in Lambeau. I just don’t see a matchup where Green Bay has a distinct advantage. Give me Dallas to win and cover here.
The pick: Dallas -4.5
Los Angeles Chargers at San Francisco
Spread: San Francisco (-7)
Sunday Night Football is in a “Golden State” of mind in Week 10 when the Los Angeles Chargers visit the San Francisco 49ers for an all-California non-conference clash under the prime-time lights. The 49ers opened last week as a 3.5-point favorite. But now they are a 7-point choice across the board.
As a lifelong Chargers fan, I'll be out in San Francisco, freezing watching the Chargers play. Before you say, Austin this is a biased pick. I want to let you know, that I know, how my Chargers play: They keep it close in the big games.
I know San Francisco is coming off a great second half against the Rams and they are on a bye. They are getting healthier. The Chargers benign rushing defense is banged up. They just limped by the Falcons last week, who we saw get beat by the Panthers on Thursday.
Here is one thing also: If you are giving me Justin Herbert and seven points, I’m going to take it. This is the game where he shows he is truly one of the best quarterbacks in the league. A simple value bet taking the under appreciated dog in prime time. Sometimes, it’s simple to just go with your gut here.
Take the Bolts.
The Chargers +7
Follow Austin on Twitter - @AMontgomeryLive