2016 NFL Week 10 Bettor’s Guide (Audio Analysis Embedded)
AUDIO ANALYSIS HERE: 2016 NFL Week 10 Bettor’s Guide
Last week was pretty average in terms of handicapping, a few upsets, and a couple of backdoor covers on the spreads. We had Tampa’s money line (and the cover) of course, for last week’s Thursday Night game and whiffed. This week, we had the Browns getting 10 and covering, but the Ravens’ money line in Week 10. We missed on the cover, but the Ravens hit.
Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
My Call: HOU +2.5
Over/Under: Under 42
The Texans are beat up offensively. Jaelen Strong is out for a month, and Will Fuller — who had a bye week to heal his leg injury — is iffy, even if he plays, to be all that effective in this one. The Jaguars (surprisingly) have more issues stopping the run more than anything else. They’ve been pretty good against the pass, and they’re facing a subpar QB with limited weapons. However, the same can be said about Blake Bortles facing the Texans defense. The Jaguars have run the ball marginally better now that Chris Ivory is in midseason form, but Blake Bortles’ regression is so bad that he is barely cracking 100 yards passing through three quarters of most games, until teams have multiple score leads on the Jags, and back off in coverage, allowing him to dink and dunk in garbage time and pad his stats. That is what makes handicapping Jacksonville games tricky, although this one is less so, because there are fewer than three points on the table. This one can really go either way, so whoever wins won’t really be that surprising. The Texans aren’t as good as their 5-3 record would suggest.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Carolina Panthers
Bank of America Stadium
Charlotte, North Carolina
My Call: KC +3
Over/Under: Over 44
The Panthers are feeling inspired after reeling off a modest two-game winning streak (opponents notwithstanding). Jeremy Maclin (definitely) and Justin Houston (most likely) are out, but the Chiefs don’t seem to mind who’s in the game. They’re going to muck it up and beat the Panthers at their own game.
Kansas City 26
Denver Broncos vs. New Orleans Saints
New Orleans, Louisiana
My Call: NO -3
Over/Under: Over 49
Denver is in trouble here. Aqib Talib is out. Derek Wolfe is out. Their offense has been stagnant to below average since Trevor Siemian’s four-touchdown game against Cincinnati. We don’t like to talk about officiating heading into a game, but some shady things occur with officiating when the Saints are home. Plus, they’re generally more efficient offensively at home, the Saints. Denver’s middling offense, and now somewhat leaky defense with a few injuries looks imminently beatable. This line is tricky, though. You’d almost prefer that Denver was getting five or six points. This is tough to gauge, even with hugely impactful injuries to Talib and Wolfe.
New Orleans 27
Los Angeles Rams vs. New York Jets
East Rutherford, New Jersey
My Call: NYJ -2
Over/Under: Under 40
Head Coach (LOL) Jeff Fisher says the Rams won’t consider playing Jared Goff until they’re eliminated from playoff contention.
So that means Jared Goff will play in Week 11, no? (Even if the Rams won’t OFFICIALLY be eliminated with their next loss; but with losses to the Giants, Panthers and Lions, they may as well already be).
Los Angeles 16
NY Jets 20
Atlanta Falcons vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Lincoln Financial Field
My Call: ATL -1
Over/Under: Over 50
The Falcons are going to be able to get whatever they want offensively in this game. Can they slow the Eagles’ offense as well? We tend to think so. Atlanta has not played well in Philadelphia at any time in its history, however, and even though we do not like to apply historical data sets to players who had no hand in them, there is something about teams that play in domes and go on the road to play in natural elements. Atlanta has shown that their game is “portable”, though, against a far better defense in Seattle (although the Falcons’ only points came when Seattle defensive coordinator Kris Richard had his guys playing so much soft zone).
Minnesota Vikings vs. Washington Redskins
My Call: WSH -2.5
Over/Under: Under 42
We don’t like the Vikings right now. We hate their offense, which is terrible, and we know that their defense can be beaten. Teams had the ability to beat it (Giants) and didn’t take advantage. Since that game, teams have done just that. And the Vikes aren’t creating turnovers, which their offense desperately needs just to win the close games they were winning even when they were getting multiple turnovers per game and scoring on some of them. The Skins are coming off a bye and have a top 10 offense. Even with their bad defense, Washington has enough to keep the Vikings on the schneid.
Green Bay Packers vs. Tennessee Titans
My Call: TEN +3
Over/Under: Under 49.5
We don’t have the stats in front of us, but the Titans seem to lose every game when Marcus Mariota has one of his newly patented backbreaking turnovers late in the game.. If it hasn’t been all five losses, we’d be shocked. Green Bay has its issues on defense, and their offense is really backyard football. You cannot win or score efficiently from game to game this way. The Colts aren’t even as solid as the Titans (although they beat them with an aforementioned critical turnover by Mariota late in the game). Some people think Green Bay is just going to snap out of it, but we don’t think so. This is an 8-8 team if there ever was one.
Green Bay 23
Chicago Bears vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Raymond James Stadium
My Call: TB +2.5
Over/Under: Over 45.5
If Tampa has any designs on making the playoffs as a wild card, they are going to have to get on a 6-2/7-1 type run, and this would be a good place to start. They may be getting Doug Martin back for this game, but the Bears run defense has actually been sneaky good this year. This is what has enabled them to keep games close, while they still have issues with their secondary. Tampa can’t stop anyone, though, so again, it’s going to be how well the sieve that is the Tampa offensive line can protect Jameis Winston, and whether the Bucs can actually do anything to stop Jordan Howard and what Jay Cutler can potentially do against the Bucs’ disjointed secondary.
Tampa Bay 27
Miami Dolphins vs. San Diego Chargers
San Diego, California
My Call: SD -4
Over/Under: Over 48.5
The Bolts could very well be 8-1 or even undefeated right now. Think about the games they have blown. They had 2nd half and even late 4th quarter leads in all of these games but one. And they were right there in that game (Denver). The Fins have transformed their offensive image, and rookie head coach Adam Gase has sworn to not go away from Jay Ayaji, but the Bolts have been pretty effective and opportunistic on the defensive side of the football. It is uncanny, really. Then you get into how they’ve been able to overcome a half dozen injuries to key offensive starters and you wonder if Philip Rivers would be an MVP candidate had they won three or four of these games that they’ve blown late. They’d be jostling with the Raiders for AFC West supremacy. This is a team that no one wants to see if they somehow make the playoffs. This is a critical tiebreak game for both teams, do not think that it is lost on either (even if it MIGHT BE for Mike McCoy, who seems like he’s on another planet during games).
San Diego 31
San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals
University of Phoenix Stadium
My Call: SF +14
Over/Under: Over 48
The 49ers cannot stop anyone, and the Cards haven’t been all that defensive themselves. A shootout of the highest order. We are obviously looking at a prime backdoor cover by San Francisco late here, with the second-highest spread of the 2016 season (Cleveland was spotted 16.5 vs. New England in Week 5).
San Francisco 24
Dallas Cowboys vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
AMERICA’S GAME OF THE WEEK
My Call: PIT -2.5
Over/Under: Over 50
A few things to unpack here.
Bettors know that there is a built-in “3” for home teams by default on the opening line. That makes this game a veritable pick ’em, and, depending on the book, the Steelers a SLIGHT underdog. At home. Pittsburgh has been atrocious on the road with embarrassing losses the past two yeras or so, and they usually follow those games with explosive performances at home. Expect to see a lot of Le’Veon Bell both on the ground and the short passing game in order to exploit the Dallas defense that has played over its head all season. Dallas dominates game with ball control, time of possession, but has a relative dearth of big plays downfield. Pittsburgh will obviously take those plays when they have the ball — and there will be chances — but they will look to make Dallas’ defense work just as much, as well.
All bets are off when it comes to turnovers, though. Pittsburgh has no pass rush and aren’t the team that will make Dak Prescott actually have to make a throw outside of the rollouts that he thrives with while waiting for the underneath receiver to outflank his defender in man coverage, or Jason Witten to sit down in the soft spot of a zone, so this may very well be a shootout.
The Steelers’ ability to get big plays against what was already a bad secondary while healthy, and is now missing Barry Church and Morris Claiborne, is what will give them the edge here.
If Dallas does lose this game, Jerry Jones may very well cave in to his wont to replace Dak Prescott with Tony Romo.
Seattle Seahawks vs. New England Patriots
SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
My Call: SEA +7.5
Over/Under: Over 49
We hear consistently that Bill Belichick “will take away the one or two things that you love to do best.” Most weeks, this actually works. Even Belichick himself knows that when he traded Jamie Collins to Cleveland, his ability to slow Jimmy Graham for this game drastically subsided. Dont’a Hightower cannot run with Graham, nor can any of their other linebackers. And by pulling a safety down to bracket Graham, or playing nickel, opens the defense to be attacked by the Seahawks rushing attack, while giving one on one opportunities for Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, and Tyler Lockett. Some think this will be a walkover for New England, but we don’t even see them winning at all.
Seattle’s defense began to show chinks in the Super Bowl two seasons ago against New England, when Earl Thomas entered the game with an injury, Kam Chancellor was hobbled with an injury, Jeremy Lane got injured on the interception he notched against Tom Brady, and the Seahawks began to play a lot of the soft zone that routinely gets them beat whenever they give up points in the year and a half since. Chancellor (groin) will be back for this game, but Michael Bennett will not, for Seattle. Overall, however, Seattle’s back end will be better than it was in the second half of that Super Bowl game, as the three players who were injured while playing in that game are all relatively healthy (although Lane has been especially brutal at times this year).
If Seattle cannot run the football, however, they are going to be in trouble. We will see how much Russell Wilson can move outside of the pocket. He has been increasingly more mobile in the past two games.
New England 23
Cincinnati Bengals vs. New York Football Giants
East Rutherford, New Jersey
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
My Call: NYG +1
Over/Under: Over 47
The Giants have not played well in primetime games for several years, and thus far this season, have had their two worst offensive (pun intended) showings in the two that they have played to this point this season. However, Cincinnati is not a good road team. Both of these teams play relatively the same style of defense: an active defensive line, rangy linebackers and a ton (honestly too much — and too soft of it — zone defense) of zone, although Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo blitzes more than Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. The Giants have better corners (although Adam Jones is far superior to Eli Apple in the slot), and have the edge in safety play due to Landon Collins alone.
Tyler Eifert being back in the fold helps Cincinnati immensely. Teams were able to bracket AJ Green (or attempt to do so, and fail, in a couple of instances) and single up Brandon LaFell, who cannot run past anyone. But with Eifert cutting up the seams and working underneath, this forces a lot of nickel looks, and bringing safeties down into the box — allowing for some one on ones for Green on whichever side he lines up. Both Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Janoris Jenkins will get plenty of work against Green. The Giants have been pretty consistent in stopping the run, or at least stuffing it when they needed to do so most. Cincinnati does not have to worry about much from the Giants in that regard, but they do have questions in coverage. The amount of zone the Bengals play opens up for a lot of run after catch, and with Victor Cruz being hobbled (even if he plays, he won’t be 100%) this provides opportunities for Sterling Shepard to use his quickness and advanced — for a rookie — route-running underneath the coverage. Eventually, Cincinnati is going to have to roll coverage to devote attention to Odell Beckham. There will be opportunities for Shepard, Will Tye, and Roger Lewis, as well. The Giants looked to get Paul Perkins more involved in the run game, as well as getting him on the perimeter in the passing game, which can cause the Bengals problems.
Ultimately, can you trust Andy Dalton? Despite the Giants dumping Rueben Randle, Eli Manning still has half of his eight interceptions to be blamed on give-ups by route runners, tipped balls, or an egregious call that resulted in an “interception” last week. Dalton’s decision-making in close games thus far this year has been ghastly, for those who have watched the Bengals every week.
NY Giants 30
BYE: Buffalo (4-5), Detroit (5-4), Indianapolis (4-5), Oakland (7-2).