After a two-week hiatus, we’re back this week with our betting preview! In Week 10, we saw some great matchups, including a Bears-Steelers game that gave us the first taste of Justin Fields’ potential, in addition to a game that went down to the wire. Also, have fun sorting out the NFL’s top teams in a week where underdogs were able to win outright as much as the actual favorites!
Today, let’s take a look at the Week 10 slate. Every week, I’ll be providing my projections on the outcome of each game, and then contextualizing what to do with that information: best bets, teasers, parlays, survivor picks, and much more!
These projections started with me using projected PFF grades to decipher the true talent of every team. From there, I utilized those projections to establish each team’s offense and defense rank, which allowed me to derive how talented each team is compared to the average team with a neutral field; as the season goes, I’ll be analyzing PFF data and other key metrics to continue to update each team’s offense and defense ranking. Adding in an adjustment for home field, and, what do you know, each game had a projection! The combination of the foundation of it starting objectively, and then the mixture of subjective analysis to make it less of a “blind” projection, will hopefully lead us to where we want to go. You can consider these, based on the subjective touch, predictions instead of pure projections, but, hey, it gets us in the same place!
Enough rambling; it’s time to get to the point of this article! Let’s completely preview Week 7 from a betting perspective!
All Stats via Pro Football Focus
Week 10 Personal Projections
CLE (+1.5) at NE
No OBJ, no problem, am I right? In all seriousness, the Browns find themselves as an underdog heading into New England, which, in my opinion, doesn’t make a lot of sense when you break down this matchup.
Quietly, Cleveland ranks 4th in yards/play this season, which you wouldn’t expect given the negative perception surrounding them. Meanwhile, quarterback Baker Mayfield ranks 5th in yards/pass attempt (8.5), and has been able to produce big-time throws (5.9%) without much in the way of turnover-worthy plays (2.2%). Head coach Kevin Stefanski has built a well-oiled offensive attack, especially when comparing them to the Patriots. New England ranks just 20th in yards/play, while Mac Jones is averaging only 7.1 yards/pass attempt this year.
Let’s put it this way; Cleveland has the superior offense, and they actually rate out better defensively in yards/play allowed and PFF defense grade, where they rank 3rd and 2nd, respectively. This is a well-rounded team that is failing to get the respect they deserve here, or the Patriots are getting just too much respect. I think the Browns win this game outright, so I’ll gladly back them as a slight underdog here.
JAX (+10.5) at IND
Now, it’s time to support another underdog, albeit a much larger one.
Coming off an impressive win against the Bills, I would have expected the Jaguars to get more respect from the betting markets, yet they still offer a lot of value here. By all measures, they aren’t a very good team. In fact, they have the fourth-worst point differential. To be fair, though, there are signs they are starting to turn things around. Here are their overall PFF team grades per week:
- Week 1: 58.5
- Week 2: 52.1
- Week 3: 53.8
- Week 4: 65
- Week 5: 50.8
- Week 6: 77.8
- Week 7: 68.9
- Week 8: 67.2
That’s right; their three highest-graded games have come one each of the past three weeks. You’d expect a team led by a rookie quarterback and a new coaching staff to take time to adjust, and there are signs of improvement here.
Really, though, it comes down to the Colts; it’s hard to support them as such a massive favorite. This season, they rank in the bottom-ten in PFF offense grade, while Carson Wentz is averaging just 7.3 yards/pass attempt. I simply don’t believe they have the offensive firepower to be expected to cover this spread. This is crossing several key numbers, and all you have to bank on is a garbage-time touchdown for a ten-point less by Jacksonville. That’s the beauty of backing such a large underdog here. Take the points, and don’t look back!
KC (-2.5) at LV
To make up for the past two weeks, why not add a bonus pick here? I know the Chiefs have been struggling, yet this seems too good to be real.
To be fair, the Chiefs certainly have had their issues this year. Seen as the top offense coming into the year, they rank just 14th in yards/play, while Patrick Mahomes is averaging just 7 yards/pass attempt with a 69.7 PFF passing grade. It gets worse if you look at just the past three games, where he’s averaging just 5.35 yards/pass attempt. Let’s not forget, however, that we have plenty of prior data to back the Chiefs as still a top-five offense, while Mahomes remains one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. Kansas City has finished in the top two in yards/play in every season with Mahomes at quarterback, and it’s silly to assume they suddenly fell off.
Plus, it’s not as though the Raiders are the toughest of challenges for them. Despite facing just one team with a winning record over their past five games, they have a negative-11 point differential, and that includes losses to the Bears and Giants. Without a deep threat following the release of Henry Ruggs, the offense is lacking any sort of explosive component, and the Chiefs have been much better defensively over the past month. Mainly, though, the top intrigue here is the spread, which doesn’t go through the key number of three. Thus, you’re mostly just banking on the Chiefs to win this game, which I don’t think should be a surprise given their overall talent compared to what the Raiders are going through right now. Whereas the Raiders haven’t faced much in the way of tough competition, the Chiefs have faced a team with a winning record in 66.7% of their games this year. Simply put, they’re the better team by a decent margin, and I expect that to be on full display on Sunday Night Football.
BAL (-1.5) vs MIA
CLE (+7.5) at NE
It’s an AFC North teaser here! We’ve already touched on the Browns, who become even more appealing when you cross the key number of seven. Meanwhile, the Ravens seem like a really good bet to come out victorious on Thursday Night Football at home against the Dolphins. It’s unclear if Tua Tagovailoa will be able to play this week, so you’re either getting an injured version of him or Jacoby Brissett.
Parlay (Four Games and Eight Games)
CLE (+1) at NE
JAX (+10.5) at IND
KC (-2.5) at LV
TB at WSH (Under 51.5)
SEA at GB (Over 49.5)
MIN at LAC (Under 53)
TB (-9.5) at WSH
DET (+9) at PIT
For the rest of the season, I’m forcing myself to deliver an eight-game parlay, which is a worse option than the four-game parlay this week. I obviously really like the top three picks, and am in full support of fading the Washington Football Team offense in a game that is expected to be a blowout. From there, Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers should be expected to exceed 49.5 points, while 53 points seems high considering the Vikings likely will adopt a run-heavy offense against the Chargers on Sunday. Lastly, it’s hard to expect the Steelers offense to allow them to cover as a nine-point favorite, while the Bucs appear the be the best team in the NFL currently. If I have to pick, though, I’d roll with the four-game parlay here.
BUF at NYJ
BAL vs MIA
The Bills are the obvious pick here as 13-point favorites against the Jets, but they play New York again and have a very favorable schedule. Thus, the Ravens are an intriguing pick here. They have a very difficult schedule from here on out, and there’s a great deal of comfort in them being able to handle an injured Dolphins team. It’s a riskier pick, but one that is likely to pay off if you haven’t used the Ravens yet.
Parting Bold Predictions
The Patriots Fail To Score a Touchdown
The Jaguars/Colts Game Is Decided By Three Points or Less
The Chiefs Score 40+ Points
Remember, these are BOLD predictions! All of these align with my previous betting picks, but allow us to get a bit spicy here. Enjoy an exciting week of football, and please remember to bet responsibly!
Photos by Cody Glenn & Fred Kfoury III at Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Aaron Polcare (@bearydoesgfx on Twitter)