Beating the Spread: Week 11 Picks

Our Week 11 Beat the Spread column is ready to go for your consideration as you put in your weekly bets!

I’m just going to rip the band-aid off and move on when talking about last week.  It was a bloodbath as Justin, at 3-2, had more correct picks than the rest of us COMBINED (Erik 1-4, Bryan and Brennan 0-5).  It was by far our worst week of the season and we’re going to do better this week.  We almost have to.

Brennan stated he’s looking to change things up this week after getting shut out last week including a bet against a total and a rare underdog!  Justin doesn’t like any of the ‘dogs this week and, as usual, found a couple of totals he likes.  Erik went with FOUR underdogs this week, but that might be the way given how this season has played out so far.  I stepped out of my comfort zone a bit with two totals and a big favorite.

Gamblers know that 60% is the magic number to come out ahead, so that’s the goal again this season.  We didn’t make it last year, which just motivates us, even more, this season.  Every week the four of us will pick five games against the spread or on the over/under.  We’ll track the picks every week and see where we end up.  Feel free to play along in the comments or find us on Twitter!

Let’s get to the lines and picks for Week 11!

The following lines were captured on Tuesday. Betting lines can vary by site and move throughout the week so check yours to make sure that you have similar information.

 

Week 11 Betting Lines
Away Home Line O/U
Texans Titans Titans -10.5 45
Packers Vikings Packers -2.5 49
Ravens Bears Ravens -6 45.5
Colts Bills Bills -7 49
Saints Eagles Eagles -1 44
Dolphins Jets Dolphins -3 45
Football Team Panthers Panthers -3 42.5
Lions Browns Browns -10 44
49ers Jaguars 49ers -7 46
Bengals Raiders Bengals -1 49
Cardinals Seahawks Cardinals -2.5 50
Cowboys Chiefs Chiefs -2 56
Steelers Chargers Chargers 4.5 47
Giants Buccaneers Buccaneers -11.5 50
Staff Picks

 

Analysis

 

Justin Dunbar: Justin puts together an article analyzing some of his picks in more detail.  Check out his Week 11 Betting Preview for more! Here are some snippets from his first two picks for this week.

The coaching mismatch and offensive mismatch lean with Baltimore, and they should be at least a touchdown favorite here. BAL -4.5

It’s time to see Fields in a new light and acknowledge that last week was likely a fluke for the Ravens. Take the “over” here, and don’t look back! BAL/CHI Over 45.5

Picking the Chargers did not work in my favor last week, but I’m confident that will change this week. While we expect Ben Roethlisberger to return under center for the Steelers this week, it can’t be emphasized enough how much of a quarterback advantage the Chargers have here. This season, Justin Herbert is PFF’s fourth-highest graded quarterback. Roethlisberger? 28th out of 29th. I’ll gladly side with Los Angeles here. LAC -4.5

Dolphins vs a Joe Flacco-led Jets team should be enough of an explanation as to why I’m siding with the under, but that wouldn’t be as fun, would it? This season, Miami and New York each rank as bottom-eight offenses in both yards/play and PFF offense grade. Meanwhile, both are averaging under 18 points/game, and have exceeded 20 points in less than half of their games. I’d take the under on the project totals for both the Dolphins (23.75 points) and Jets (20.75), which leads me to take the under altogether here. MIA/NYJ Under 45

Cam Newton is back! All indications are that the Panthers legend will be back under center this week, which equals a massive quarterback upgrade over what Carolina has dealt with this year with Sam Darnold and PJ Walker. That will be a big boost for a defense that ranks 2nd in yards/play allowed and 4th in PFF coverage grade. Washington is coming off of a nice win against Tampa Bay, but that was off of their bye week, and they had a massive turnover advantage to guide them. They still rank second-worst with Taylor Heinicke in team PFF passing grade for the season, and with some turnover regression, their run-heavy style offense from last week won’t carry over as well. With me getting some insurance if Carolina only wins by a field goal, this is a favorable pick with the Panthers having all the positive energy in the world on their side right now. CAR -3

 

Brennan Rampe: The Ravens are coming off of a shocking loss to the Dolphins, where their offense got stifled. The Bears were on their bye week, but last time we saw them, they lost controversially to the Steelers. The Ravens still look like the best team in the AFC North, but they’ll have to continue stacking wins to stay in the lead. Bears’ rookie quarterback Justin Fields continues to improve every week, and although the Ravens defense has struggled this year, this will be their first time facing a rookie quarterback. I doubt the Ravens will have two ineffective performances in a row on offense, and the Bears’ defense, once a dominant force, is now rather average. They’ve also never faced a quarterback as athletic as Lamar Jackson this season. I think the Ravens get back on track with a win while questions about Matt Nagy’s future with the Bears continue to grow. Inside the Numbers: Chicago is 6-7 against the spread as home underdogs under Matt Nagy. BAL -6

The Colts defeated their divisional rival Jaguars in week 10 but nearly blew a 17-0 lead. The Bills got their offense back on track with a dominating win over the Jets, while the defense intercepted Jets quarterback Mike White four times. The Colts will be much more of a challenge to the Bills than the Jets were. This game will be a rematch of a playoff game from last season, where the Colts nearly pulled off the upset with Philip Rivers at quarterback. The Colts have a better quarterback, roster, and coach than the Jets, which was made clear during their 45-30 win against them a couple of weeks ago. Carson Wentz has the arm strength and athleticism that Rivers didn’t have, and the Colts have one of the best offensive lines in the league, coupled with a great running game. Jonathan Taylor is developing into a top-five running back in this league, and Nyheim Hines and Marlon Mack round out a solid rotation. The defense has tons of playmakers, headlined by DeForest Buckner and Darius Leonard. Only two of the Colts’ losses have been by more than one possession, so they’re generally a team that stays in games until the very end. This is a very talented team whose record could be a lot better. I’ll take the Colts to cover and won’t be surprised if they win outright in this playoff rematch. Inside the Numbers: Indianapolis is 11-7-2 against the spread as road underdogs under Frank Reich.  IND +7

The Dolphins pulled off a stunning upset of the Ravens, mainly due to their defense, which resembled last year’s team. They had constant pressure on Lamar Jackson and sacked him four times. Cornerback Xavien Howard had a defensive touchdown in the game, which was integral to their victory. The offense didn’t commit any turnovers and did just enough to win. It’s the typical season for the Jets, and Joe Flacco is the starter this week. The legend of Mike White is seemingly over after throwing four interceptions against the Bills, and second overall pick Zach Wilson is still recovering from an injury. I think it’ll be a low-scoring game that the Dolphins win in the end, and a turnover will probably seal the game late. Inside the Numbers: The Dolphins are averaging 17.7 points a game while the Jets are averaging 17.8. Dolphins/Jets Under 45

The 49ers looked like the team I thought they would be on Monday night, dominating their divisional rival Rams 31-10. The offense had multiple sustained drives, while the defense shut down the Rams for the second straight week. Safety Jimmie Ward had two interceptions, including a pick-six. It was the most complete game they played all year long. The Jaguars found themselves down 17-0 early against the Colts, but their comeback attempt fell short as they lost 23-17. Trevor Lawrence is the second rookie quarterback the 49ers will face this year. They faced Justin Fields a couple of weeks ago, and he had a phenomenal performance against them, but still fell short. It’s a different situation with the Jaguars, where Lawrence has had typical rookie struggles, and the coaching staff and talent level isn’t as good as the Bears, in my opinion. The 49ers have struggled with consistency this season, but I think they improve to 5-5 with a road win, and they should be able to beat this team by a touchdown. Running back Elijah Mitchell fractured his finger in the win against the Rams, but indications are he will play through the injury. Inside the Numbers: Jacksonville is 8-11-1 against the spread as home underdogs since 2017. SF -7

The Bengals have struggled recently, losing a stunner to the Jets and getting blown out by the Browns. I think their bye week came at the right time. The Raiders looked terrible on both sides of the ball in a 41-14 loss to the Chiefs. The offensive line has been constantly shuffled throughout the year, and the absence of Henry Ruggs III is being felt, with the Raiders scoring under 20 points in consecutive weeks. They signed veteran wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who can still run pretty fast, but he still isn’t Ruggs and had a crucial third-quarter fumble. The Raiders have started off well and then collapsed two seasons in a row, and I feel like it’s going to happen yet again. I think these teams are somewhat evenly matched, but the Bengals have the clear advantage at wide receiver with the trio of Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, and Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate Ja’Marr Chase. Teams tend to be rusty coming off of their bye week, but I think the Bengals get back on track and win by more than one point. I’m ignoring all the statistical indicators of Cincinnati’s performance against the spread under Zac Taylor and sticking with the Bengals. CIN -1

 

Erik Smith: The Bears find themselves big underdogs in Week 11, but with the improvement that we’ve seen from Justin Fields, I’m backing the home dog here. Fields is using his legs to move the chains while also pushing the ball downfield, and the offense is starting to look competent. The Bears will struggle to slow the Ravens, but I think they can hang around at home and make this a ball game. Chicago stays within six and gives the Ravens a scare. CHI +6

I love the Bills, but seven points is an awfully high number against a strong Colts team. The combination of the Indianapolis offensive line mauling people in the trenches and Jonathan Taylor’s breakaway ability are a threat to any defense. The Colts should be able to do just enough to slow the Bills passing game, keeping them in it down to the wire. And if the Colts can jump out to an early lead they may be able to take a shot at an upset. IND +7

The Panthers’ defense is tough, and Cam Newton looks poised to provide a spark to the offense. Christian McCaffrey is back and catching 10 passes in a game, and D.J. Moore is just waiting for a competent quarterback to feed him again. And despite the Football Team upsetting the Buccaneers last week, can you remind me again what their strengths are? I’ll take the superior home team here, and hope the Panthers can put this game away late. CAR -3

I hate to pick against my Bengals, but I don’t see these two teams as being all that much different. Two questionable defenses, two good but not great quarterbacks. The fact that the Raiders are getting a point at home feels like a no-brainer to me. The Bengals have lost to the Jets and the Bears on the road, and Las Vegas is better than both of those teams. LV +1

I think this is a statement game for the Cowboys, and they have the better all-around team in this matchup. Dallas can pound the ball on the ground, air it out to their three excellent wide receivers, or throw short to their solid tight ends and running backs. The Cheifs still feel like a limited, yet extremely explosive offense, and I’d rank the Cowboys’ defense ahead of Kansas City’s as well. It worries me picking the upset on the road in such a huge game, but I truly do think the Cowboys are one of the league’s best two or three teams. DAL +2

 

Bryan Sweet: The Texans are struggling to score points this season as they have failed to get into double-digits in five of their last seven games.  Tennessee, despite the loss of Derrick Henry for the near future, has continued to stay true to its identity as a power-run team.  Tennessee’s defense has also found its stride in recent weeks and should continue to thrive against a bad Houston team.  If these two teams stay true to their recent form, this looks like a 24-10 type of game.  Give me the under. HOU/TEN Under 45

I’ve not kept up with ratings for individual games, but I think this week’s game between the Jets and Dolphins might rank high on the list of least-watched games.  Miami seems to have no confidence in Tua and the Jets are running out a former Super Bowl MVP in Joe Flacco on Sunday.  Both teams rank near the bottom of the NFL in both points scored per game and points allowed per game.  I’ve found two bad teams don’t always mean no offense so I’m leaning on a bit of a surprising final this week and going with the over.  MIA/NYJ Over 45

A few weeks ago I picked against Arizona when they were on the road in San Francisco without Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, or A.J. Green and lost Chase Edmonds on the first play of the game.  They cruised to an easy victory, so I picked them last week against a bad Carolina team and they got boat raced.  This week, they’re on the road again and it looks like Hopkins will be out again although Murray has a chance to play.  Russell Wilson returned last week and looked rusty but should be at or near 100% for this divisional matchup in front of the 12th man.  I think Seattle keeps it close and I wouldn’t be surprised by an outright victory.  SEA +2.5

Had Aaron Rodgers not tested positive for COVID I firmly believe the Packers would have beaten the Chiefs and entered the game this week on a nine-game winning streak.  A.J. Dillon looked like a capable replacement for Aaron Jones and David Bakhtiari may be back this week to bolster Green Bay’s O-Line.  Minnesota has been very middle-of-the-road this year and I think they’re considerably worse than the Packers, even at home.  I think Green Bay cruises in this one.  GB -2.5

My heart is with the Lions but my wallet is against them.  Pittsburgh all but handed them the game last week and they STILL couldn’t win.  Granted, they didn’t lose but it was still hard to watch.  Now it looks like Jared Goff is going to miss the game with an oblique injury, although the way he’s played I don’t know if that’s addition by subtraction or not.  The Browns should be better than their record given the quality of their roster but have continually shot themselves in the foot.  I think they take out some frustrations on the Lions this week and overwhelm them en route to an easy victory.  CLE -10

 


 

What are your favorite picks of the week? Put in your comments below to play along. We’ll be updating our records all season!

 

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

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