Welcome back to another edition of Beating the Spread! I’m Jake Roy, and I’m leading the BTS team again this season. I’m joined by two-time Beating the Spread participant and Brennan Rampe and newcomer Jason Wolf. We’ll be here every weekend throughout the season and crown our champion at the end.
First and foremost, a shoutout to Brennan Rampe for the undefeated Week 10. After a slow start, Brennan has really turned it on in recent weeks. Can you believe it’s Week 11 already? The season has absolutely flown by as we’re already in the thick of the playoff chase. Still, there are many teams who don’t have a clear identity. Are the Bills good? What about the Jaguars? We’ve seen months of football, and it still may be too soon to say. That’s the beauty of the NFL.
|Jake Roy (@Jake3Roy)||Brennan Rampe (@Phdinnfl)||Jason Wolf (@J_Wolf_picks)|
|Pick #1||Steelers +3.5||Texans +4.0||Dolphins/Raiders over 47.5|
|Pick #2||Vikings/Broncos under 43.5||Cowboys -10.5||Panthers +10.5|
|Pick #3||Cardinals +4.0||Chiefs -2.5||Bears +9.5|
Dorian Thompson-Robinson is not an NFL quarterback by the literal definition. Yes, he is in the NFL and he is a quarterback, but it’s hard to believe he’s not some guy who just wandered onto the field. For logistical purposes, we lock in the lines early and the line I’m using for this pick is from before Deshaun Watson was ruled out. Still, I would play the Steelers at the current number. Thompson-Robinson is like a chicken with its head cut off on the field, and the Steelers create chaos. Unless the Browns hit a few long plays, I don’t see a way they find the endzone on Sunday. I just don’t see a way the Browns win this game by more than a field goal, if at all. PIT +3.5
Prime time unders have been all the rage this season, hitting at a remarkable rate. With two teams that are starting to get a bit of hype, I’m backing that trend to keep going. The Broncos and Vikings are both having a moment right now. Denver coming off big wins against the Bills and Chiefs, while Joshua Dobbs has come up with some heroics for Minnesota. With the public loving these two teams, I see another disappointing game on Sunday night. Dobbs has played about as well as he can, and that won’t last forever. Denver, even as they’re hot, has struggled to move the ball. The defense has come to life, holding their opponents to respectable numbers over the last few weeks. I won’t pick a side in this game, because I think the Broncos might be too popular a pick after their big win on Monday night, but I will bet on another ugly game in prime time. MIN/DEN U43.5
Somebody needs to knock the Houston Texans down a peg. I know they just beat the Bengals and C.J. Stroud is becoming a star before our very eyes, but they’re still the Houston Texans. They lost a game to the Carolina Panthers just a few short weeks ago. Given the small spread here, I’m expecting Houston to be a very public pick, and I’m hopping off the train before it goes off the rails. Kyler Murray is back for Arizona and looked like his pre-injury self in his season debut. He’s worth at least a few points over Clayton Tune or whoever else they were going to trot out at quarterback. Even on the road, I see the Cardinals keeping this one close, if not winning outright. ARI +4.0
The Houston Texans are 5-4 and look like they could win the AFC South. I didn’t even think that was possible going into the year, but it is because of rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud. He is the clear favorite to win Offensive Rookie of the Year and even has a case to be MVP. He is already a top quarterback in this league and deserves to be mentioned when talking about elite AFC quarterbacks. The Arizona Cardinals got the win last week as Kyler Murray made his return to the field. However, they’re 2-8 since Murray missed the first nine weeks. They were able to beat the Atlanta Falcons, but playing Houston on the road will likely be too tough of a task for this team. HOU -4.0
Inside the Numbers: The Texans are 3-1-0 against the spread after a win under DeMeco Ryans.
I’m honestly surprised this spread isn’t bigger. The Dallas Cowboys dominated the New York Giants once again to improve to 6-3. The Carolina Panthers are 1-8, and their offense is awful. It’s a struggle for this team to score points, and they didn’t score an offensive touchdown in two of those losses. They’re banged up and lack talent. Frank Reich and general manager Scott Fitterer are likely gone after the year. I don’t see Carolina scoring a whole lot. I don’t know how much of a contender Dallas really is, but they should have no problems covering the spread against another bad team. DAL -10.5
Inside the Numbers: The Cowboys are 11-5-0 against the spread as an away favorite under Mike McCarthy.
The Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles are set to meet once again in this Super Bowl rematch. Both of these teams are coming off their bye week, and both are the top seeds in their respective conference. I think Kansas City is catching Philadelphia at the right time. Jalen Hurts is playing through some sort of leg injury, and tight end Dallas Goedert will be out for a couple of weeks. The Chiefs shut down the explosive Dolphins offense, and I think they have what it takes to slow down another high-powered offense. Kansas City just might be the toughest place to play in the league, and I think the Chiefs will beat the Eagles once again. We could very well see these two teams play again in February. KC -2.5
Inside the Numbers: The Chiefs are 25-24-3 as a home favorite against the spread since 2018.
Coming off their bye, Miami has had nearly two full weeks to recover from their tough loss to the Chiefs. The Dolphins responded to each of their first two losses of the season by scoring 30+ points in convincing double-digit wins the following weeks. I am expecting more of the same scoring output this week as Miami gets a Raiders team that, while rejuvenated by the Antonio Pierce hiring, still has glaring holes, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
I would take Miami to cover the large spread here but I don’t trust the Dolphins defense either, even with Jalen Ramsey back in the fold. Instead, I’m gonna trust the Dolphins to put up 30+ yet again and I would not be surprised to see the Raiders put 20 up on the board due to the Dolphin’s uninspiring defense with a little help from a heavy dose of garbage time. Seeing as Aidan O’Connell is making only his fourth career start, he is at very low risk of being pulled in a blowout, and I think he has enough arm talent to move the ball with enough reliability to put up a few scores. The teaser-inclined folks might consider a Dolphins + over teaser in this one. MIA/LV O47.5
Classic buy-low / sell-high spot here as the Cowboys’ market valuation has never been higher, and coming off an ugly loss to the Bears in front of a primetime TNF audience, the Panthers are on the complete other side of the spectrum as their value has never been lower. If you’re looking for advanced statistics and football reasons as to why the Panthers should keep this game close….you’ve come to the wrong place. This is simply the “plug your nose and lock it in” bet of the week. You know all of your friends (and the rest of America) are gonna be on the Cowboys, which if you are like me, brings some amount of comfort to this highly uncomfortable bet. CAR +10.5
Justin Fields is back, and that could spell trouble for the Lions. Detroit’s defense is middling at best, the Lions historically have no idea what to do against legitimate dual-threat quarterbacks, and Fields has absolutely destroyed the Lions on the ground in two out of three career games. In his last two games against Detroit, Fields rushed for 132 and 147 yards. Take into consideration that Fields (assuming he’s at full health) has been playing the quarterback position better than he has at any point in his career (not saying much, I know), I think he can keep it close enough to where Bears stay within 10. CHI +9.5
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)