Pick-up Lines: Week 11

Last week started off with a lot of promise and ended with a couple of prime-duds as home favorites Dallas and San Francisco not only failed to cover, but drove home sad and alone. This week, I’m hoping and praying once again for some regression re: home favorites, as both have been getting crushed throughout the season.

Some nuggets (data per BetLabs):

Underdogs were 9-2-2 last week ATS, driving their season-long record 85-59-4 (59%). That’s absolutely bonkers.

Road Teams also rebounded last week, finishing 6-5-2 ATS.

Week 10 record: 5-4

Season Record: 61-41-1

Week 11 Picks

As always, my picks will be listed most to least confident. For reference, I will have the team I’m picking in bold font next to the point spread. My gun-to-my-head picks show the games I did not bet on (hence the poopy record above) but the pick I would make if there was a…..you get the picture. Some of these picks will not be locked in until Sunday, as lines do often change/hint at future change in the middle of the week.

  • Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers (-4)

Atlanta surprised everyone last week with a huge upset of the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome.


I don’t believe in the Falcons at all, and Carolina is not getting enough respect in this divisional match-up after the public and sharps hammered Atlanta when the line opened at 7. I’m going to keep watching this one, hoping it continues to drop to 4, but Carolina is the right side here despite Atlanta’s resurgence last week.

  • Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins (+6)

Why though?

I don’t understand this line, or why Vegas continues to love Buffalo in weird spots. Miami has covered four weeks in a row, and clearly don’t give a damn that the Cincinnati Bengals are out-tanking them heading into Week 11.

Still, the public is loving the Bills, as they are catching 66% of the bets compared to only 49% of the money thus far. It’s wise to follow the money in this divisional match-up where both teams are a lot closer than their records would suggest.

  • Houston Texans (+4.5) at Baltimore Ravens

I love Houston in this spot. I faded the Ravens last week, thinking they would be in for a trap against the Bengals on the road.

The Bengals did not feel the same way. I never had a chance in that game, but I like Houston coming off a bye and catching 4.5 points in a game that I believe can go either way. Houston is just as legit as Baltimore is, and I expect this game to be close. I’m placing a small wager on Houston money line as well.

  • Arizona Cardinals (+14) at San Francisco 49ers

I jumped on this on Monday after the Cardinals covered against last week in Tampa Bay (Cardinals tied with the Packers for an NFL-best 7-3 ATS this season). The 49ers fell on Monday night are likely to come into this game pissed off, but as long as this line stays above 10 there’s value in Arizona.

  • Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns (-2.5)

Pittsburgh just turned in another fine performance at home against Los Angeles (in a game I stayed away from because I’m chicken shit) and the Browns limped to a cover at home against a moribund Bills squad.

In all seriousness, I felt like the Browns should have beaten Buffalo by two touchdowns, but they kept shooting themselves in the foot in vintage Browns fashion. The Steelers, while the better team, are not looking great in this spot with a middle-of-the-pack run defense going up against the almighty Nick Chubb and a woman beater which I refuse to acknowledge.

Run the damn ball, Cleveland. Bench Baker if you have to. He shouldn’t throw more than 20 times in this one.

  • Denver Broncosat Minnesota Vikings (-10)

I believe this is the biggest favorite I’ve taken all season. The Vikings are an absolute terror at home. They should be laying 14 against Brandon Allen. As non‑divisional home favorites, the Vikings are 19-3-1 ATS since Mike Zimmer’s hire.

Fair warning, this is a 100% square play by me. This game has the largest discrepancy on the bored with the Vikings catching 68% of the bets but only 28% of the money (gulp). That is unheard of level of sharp involvement on the other side, which is not typical for this blog. It’s just how I think this game is going to play out. Typically, a double-digit dog with that much of a bets-money discrepancy is a lock for me to bet. Not this week.

Nov 29, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) walks off the field during the second half against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 30-24. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
  • New England Patriots (-3) at Philadelphia Eagles

You don’t get rich betting against Tom Brady coming off a loss after a bye week, even against my beloved Eagles.

Since 2003, road favorites after a bye week have gone 64-34-2 (65%) ATS. The Patriots in that timeframe (obviously with Tom Brady at quarterback) have gone 6-1 ATS. The same still applies when you factor in the other side coming off a bye (as Philadelphia is here), as road favorites still cover at a terrific rate (8-3 ATS).

This is one spot where I very much like the Patriots. Keep an eye on the fronts for both teams, as those are the areas where the Eagles have the edge. If Philly wins, it’s going to be due to the work in the trenches.

  • Kansas City Chiefs (-3.5) at Los Angeles Chargers

The Chiefs were my saddest loss last week, and that’s saying something. They looked like they were going to cover probably 75% of the game (including within the last minute) before giving up a late touchdown in Tennessee that shattered my hopes and dreams.

Kansas City have some real issues stopping the run, but that game felt fluke-ish to me. Los Angeles has a tough defense and few good match-ups in this one, but Kansas City has consistently owned Los Angeles in this spot since Andy Reid rolled into town. Give me the walrus and all of his glory, despite how sad the Chiefs have made me this season.

  • Chicago Bears (+7) at Los Angeles Rams

This line just seems too big, and I feel like Vegas is tricking me, but I’m taking the full touchdown against a Rams team that has seen their offensive line fall off the face of the earth after being one of the better units last year. Even with Khalil Mack also (quietly) having a mediocre season, I like the Bears pass rush in this game in what is essentially a neutral field.

Gun-to-my-head picks: 27-18-1

Dallas Cowboys (-3) at Detroit Lions*

Jacksonville Jaguars (+3) at Indianapolis Colts*

New Orleans Saints (-5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

New York Jets at Washington Redskins (-1)

Cincinnati Bengals (+10.5) at Oakland Raiders

*Off the board

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