NFL Best Bets: Week 10

I forgot to record my results in the last blog I wrote, which, big surprise, was one of my worst weeks of the season (1-3). Last week I scraped out another 2-2 mark, bringing my overall record on the season to 17-14-1 (55.4%). In a similar vein, in the Pregame dot com Super Contest — where each person takes five sides (against the spread) every week — my record on the season is 24-20-1 (54.5%).

What does that mean? It means combining the picks I’ve made on my blog with the picks I’ve made in the Super Contest, my record on the season is 41-34-2 (54.7%). They say a good bettor needs to hit on 55% of their picks to turn a profit, given that the house is going to take 10-15% on every bet, and thus far into the season I am teetering right on that edge. All things being equal, every bet I’ve made in 2020 has basically brought me to a push.

Last week ATS: 2-2

Overall ATS: 17-14-1

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-5.5) at Carolina Panthers

To be honest I like this number a lot more at Tampa Bay -4.5, but either way I think it’s an opportunity to buy low on the Bucs and sell high on the Panthers. Last week Tampa got destroyed, 38-3, at home against New Orleans, while the Panthers lost respectably, 33-31, on the road to Kansas City.

So this game comes down to motivation. Of course the Panthers are young and energetic, and they are probably going to be going all out to beat Tom Brady and the Bucs. But when you look at Tampa Bay, and all those weapons Brady has to throw to, it’s hard not to think when they turn it on they can beat teams like the Panthers by two touchdowns whenever they want. Coming off an embarrassing loss in the most important game of their season, I picture a motivated Bucs squad who will be out for blood against a team they should be able to push around.

How many points is that worth? I don’t know. This line suggests the Bucs would be a 7-point favorite on a neutral field — which feels about right — so I’m using a little gambler’s intuition in believing Tampa is poised for a comfortable win.

Score prediction: Buccaneers 31, Panthers 20

2. Denver Broncos (+4.5) at Las Vegas Raiders

This pick is about two things, and they are both about the Raiders. First off, they just got done surviving a 31-26 scare against a Chargers team that would have won had their tight end secured a catch in the end zone as time expired. Secondly, Las Vegas has a matchup against the Chiefs in Week 11, so it’s the perfect spot for a letdown.

I honestly don’t care for the Broncos very much. Quarterback Drew Lock isn’t consistent enough for me, and their vaunted defense is in the bottom third of the NFL in points allowed (27.1 per game). Even so, it’s not a club anyone can sleepwalk through and expect a win. This team has enough weapons on offense to bust a few big plays, and in a game that probably won’t be very high scoring, those can be the difference.

It just feels like a weird spot for the Raiders. I generally like to bet against teams that come off emotional victories, and given the fact that they are scheduled to play the world champs next week it seems like a game they can lose.

Score prediction: Raiders 23, Broncos 21

3. Buffalo Bills (+2.5) at Arizona Cardinals

The Bills have slowly turned into my ride-or-die team in 2020, and I’m generally going to like them catching points against anyone given that I think they are a top-8 team in the NFL. The Cardinals are the new kid on the block with a ton of upside, but I think they are limited in this game with an inferior head coach.

Buffalo is known historically as a ground and pound team who has a strong defense, but that really doesn’t apply a whole lot this season. Their ground game is actually pretty weak (and I know because RB Devin Singletary has done next to nothing for me in fantasy this year), and their strength is at quarterback and at receiver. Unironically they have the type of offense that plays well in domes (where Arizona plays), and plays weaker in bad weather games (such as the Kansas City loss earlier in the year).

The Bills’ defense hasn’t been that good this year, but I’m betting on their coaching staff being strong enough to make it improve in the second half of the season. Arizona has been a fun team to watch, but now that we’re in November I’m going to be betting on teams who are built to go to the playoffs. Buffalo is an extremely quiet 7-2, and I think they have the guts to go into Arizona as underdogs and come out with a win.

Score prediction: Bills 27, Cardinals 24

4. Detroit Lions (-3.5) vs. Washington Football Team

Fuck it, gimme the Lions. Alex Smith probably shouldn’t be an NFL quarterback right now, and Lions’ head coach Matt Patricia is fighting every week to keep his job. I’m not going to watch this game even for a second, but I’ll roll with the Lions to come out with an ugly win against a team they should have no problem with.

Score prediction: Lions 23, Football Team 13

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