Austin’s locks are back for another week. We went a disappointing 2-3 last week after Dallas wasn’t able to hold a two touchdown lead in the second half. Things almost proved disastrous after the Chargers turned it over on downs in the final minutes down three. But we were able to avoid the bad beat in that one.
It’s a very interesting slate in the middle of November.
We preview the marquee matchup between Minnesota Dallas, Los Angeles and Kansas City plus a lot more.
Before we get to the picks, a quick reminder: All picks are presented by the Betfred Sportsbook, where you can bet $50 on any game this weekend and get $250 in free bets. Take advantage of the offer in the Betfred Sportsbook
Now, let's go into the picks.
Record to date 28-23-2
Washington at Houston
Spread: Washington (-3.5)
Washington enters this matchup fresh off a 32-21 Monday night victory over Philadelphia. Washington has won three out of their last four since Taylor Heinicke has entered the starting lineup. Houston has just one win all season. Houston ranks last in rush DVOA and 22nd in passing DVOA.
So why is Houston the pick here?
Sometimes when everyone is betting one side, you move to the other. Houston is the best contrarian play this week. Houston corner Derek Stingley ranks in among the top rookie corners and he will take away Terry McClaurin. Houston has added some reinforcements on the waiver wire picking up Eno Benjamin from Arizona. I can just see this has a great letdown spot from Washington. It’s their second straight road game in a short week. They are coming off their best win of the year and now they face arguably the worst team on the road and they only have to lay over a field goal.
Something seems fishy and the sportsbook has the hook right in the public’s jaw .
Look for Houston to come up with the upset here.
The pick: Houston +3.5
Philadelphia at Indianapolis
Spread: Philadelphia (-6.5)
Both teams came up with surprising results last weekend. Jeff Saturday won his first game as the Colts head coach. Philly lost to Washington at home as an 11-point favorite on Monday Night Football.
Looking ahead to this week, this line has been crashing down with sharp bettors taking the Colts. But the number has decreased to the point where it’s not all that valuable. So we are going to take the under route here. The Colts get Jonathon Taylor back at running back. But the Colts offense, whether Matt Ryan or Sam Ehlinger has been under center, has been abysmal. The Colts ranked 30th in scoring, 28th in yards per play, and 30th overall in DVOA. The Eagles defense allows just 4.6 yards per play (2nd in the league). But teams are able to run the ball on them as they give up 4.6 yards per rush. With Taylor back in the lineup, I expect Indy to run the ball a lot. They should slowly move the ball down the field.
On the opposite end, the Colts defense has been legit. They rank fifth in the NFL in yards per play allowed (4.9) and they keep this Colts team in games. They rank 5th in the NFL in rush DVOA. They should keep the Eagles running game from going wild. I think the game script will have this play out as a low scoring game.
I like the under in this spot.
The pick: Under 45.5
Dallas at Minnesota
Spread: Dallas (-1)
This is one of the few times I’m moving away from metrics and simply using common sense. Minnesota is 7-0 straight up as a favorite this year. All of their games have been close, but they have been good at winning those close games all year. I have Minnesota and Dallas power rated very similarly to each other.
Yet Minnesota is an underdog at home, where they have one of the best home atmosphere’s in the NFL.
Dallas ranks 16th in DVOA against the run, and I expect Dalvin Cook to run wild here. At this point, I trust Kirk Cousins more than Dak Prescott in big games- which is saying something. Minnesota has the better weapons on the offensive side of the ball. I think they are going to be able to score points on a stout Dallas defense.
Skol Vikings here.
The pick: Minnesota (+1)
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh
Spread: Cincinnati (-4)
We have a big AFC North battle. Cincy started their AFC title defense with a 23-20 home loss to Pittsburgh in Week 1. Will they be able to avenge that loss? Pittsburgh looks to be moving back into form after TJ Watt made it back into the starting lineup.
The main question to ask here, can Joe Burrow find his groove without Ja'Marr Chase? Burrow is averaging just 212 yards passing and three total touchdowns in the last two games. Burrow was averaging nearly 300 yards passing with Chase in the lineup. Joe Mixon carried the load last week, scoring four touchdowns against Carolina. Running the ball over the Steelers who rank 7th in the NFL in rush DVOA won't be easy. Without Chase having a quick outlet, how does Burrow handle pressure? Despite investing in the O-Line, the Bengals offensive line is giving up more pressure than anyone in the NFL.
The Bengals will be throwing against a Steelers pass defense which ranks 30th this season. With the return of Watt, the Steelers need to pressure Burrow to limit this explosive offense.
Pittsburgh has never had a losing season under Mike Tomlin. They will be playing for pride here. Kenny Pickett is getting more comfortable at quarterback. We are going to see Pittsburgh’s D-line dominate this game. The Steelers are improved and the Bengals are dwindling. I will take the team that keeps playing better every week at home as an underdog.
The pick: Pittsburgh (+4)
Kansas City at Los Angeles Chargers
Spread: Kansas City (-5)
This game has major division title implications. If the Chiefs win on the road, they more or less clinch the division before December. LA needs a big win here.
Last week, the Chargers nearly upset the 49ers on the road without their two top receiving weapons and pass rusher Joey Bosa. Kenan Allen and Mike Williams are likely to play on Sunday. This feels like a must win game for them.
On the KC sideline, Patrick Mahomes has been playing like the superstar he is. He is currently leading the NFL in both passing touchdowns and passing yards. The Chargers defensive line unit has been a mess with injuries. They give up an NFL worst 5.7 yards per carry and they have struggled rushing the quarterback with Joey Bosa out.
All things considered, I think the Chargers are the spot here. This game is going to be a shootout, and we see the best of Justin Herbert here. The Chargers are a great underdog team when catching over a field goal. Similar to last year’s primetime showdown at SoFi, this game goes down to the wire. I’ll gladly take the points here.
The pick: Chargers +5
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