Welcome to the Week 11 edition of our NFL Bets of the Week column. Here, I’ll strive to identify a handful of games I feel have profit potential at DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, 888 Sports and BetStars Sportsbook.
Depending on the circumstance, I’ll hone in on moneylines, point spreads, or projected totals. Sometimes I may even touch on multiple metrics for one game. We’ll strive for quality over quantity here as well — the focus will only be on spots that seem to truly be advantageous. Then, I’ll take you on a fairly deep dive as to why.
Please note we’ll be referencing only legal, regulated sportsbook betting odds and totals here at PlayPicks. A “pick” is a wager that, as of the time of this writing, we feel confident recommending. A “lean” is a wager that we favor over the other side. This play could end up on our card with the release of additional information.
Let’s take a quick look at how things went in Week 10 and follow that up with a leap into two interesting scenarios for Week 11.
Recapping Week 10
Week 10 winners: Browns + 6.5
Week 10 losers: Lions +7, Buccaneers -3, Buccaneers moneyline (-144)
Season record to date:
ATS Picks: 16-9 (.640)
ATS Leans: 1-0 (.1000)
Moneyline: 6-5 (.545)
Week 11 NFL Betting Picks
Oakland Raiders (1-8) at Arizona Cardinals (2-7)
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Cardinals -5
BetStars Sportsbook Odds: Cardinals -5.5
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: Cardinals -5.5
888 Sportsbook Odds: Cardinals -5
Over/Under Total: 41
How They Fared in Week 10
The Raiders were dispatched by the division-rival Los Angeles Chargers, 20-6. Some of the individual numbers for the Raiders were acceptable. Derek Carr threw for 243 yards and zero interceptions and lead back Doug Martin turned 15 carries into 61 yards, but Oakland couldn’t finish any of its drives in the end zone. Their inefficiency was defined by a 13-play, 80-yard opening drive that ended on a failed 4th-and-goal play at the Chargers’ 1-yard line. The Raiders also had a nine-play, 60-yard march later in the game end on downs. Pass protection continued to be a problem. Carr was dropped on four occasions and hit six times overall. The loss was the Silver and Black’s third straight.
The Cardinals had the unenviable task of trying to score consecutive wins for the first time this season against the class of the AFC, the Kansas City Chiefs, at Arrowhead Stadium. Arizona actually played competitively for portions of the contest before falling by a 26-14 score. The game was 20-14 until early in the fourth quarter. That’s when Spencer Ware notched a 3-yard TD run to provide the final margin of victory for KC. Josh Rosen completed 22 of 39 passes for 208 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, but he was taken down five times. The most encouraging aspect of the Cardinals’ performance in their second game — under new offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich — was the heavy use of RB David Johnson. The former Pro Bowler gained 98 yards on 21 rushes and complemented the ground production with seven receptions (on nine targets) for 85 yards.
Notable Matchups and Metrics
Jon Gruden 2.0 already looks primed for a reboot — or at a minimum, a deep malware scan. The veteran head coach has been trying to do some of that himself with a series of personnel moves that have jettisoned some big-name players out of town. However, those transactions have also left Oakland significantly thin on talent. That’s evident at several positions, but perhaps none more than the receiver. That’s where the Raiders may be trotting out Brandon LaFell and Seth Roberts as their top two wideouts Sunday if Jordy Nelson is unable to overcome a thigh bruise.
The numbers bear out the Raiders’ general ineptitude on both sides of the ball.
- 16.3 points per game (30th-ranked)
- 97.1 rushing yards peer game (24th-ranked)
- 29 sacks allowed (tied for sixth most in NFL)
- 30.2 points per game allowed (30th-ranked)
- 141.0 rushing yards per game allowed (30th-ranked)
- 9.1 yards per pass attempt allowed (highest in NFL)
- Eight sacks (fewest in NFL)
On the flip side, the Cardinals have had their share of troubles on offense. Hope is on the horizon. Leftwich took over the offensive coordinator position two games ago and begun deploying Johnson in a manner much closer to how the talented back was used during a spectacular 2016 campaign. That much was evident versus the vulnerable Chiefs defense in Week 10. Arizona gets an even tastier matchup Sunday against Oakland’s often-plodding unit.
With Johnson once again developing into a legitimate concern for defenses, the game should get a lot easier for Rosen, who’s endured some of the growing pains inherent in rookie campaigns. The receiving corps — headlined by two players at the opposite end of the age spectrum in Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk — should have more space within which to operate downfield due to the viable threat of a running game. Emerging tight end Ricky Seals-Jones could also cash in on some seam routes versus the Raiders’ slow linebackers. Oakland is notably allowing 14.7 yards per reception to tight ends, along with six touchdowns.
On the defensive side, Arizona has the horses to make life miserable for an already struggling Oakland offense, especially through the air. The Cardinals are allowing the fourth-fewest passing yards per game (223.0). They have also managed the third-most sacks (29). Neither of those numbers bodes well for a Raiders passing attack that is completely hamstrung by injuries. One of Oakland’s most consistent weapons through the air, Jared Cook, doesn’t have the best matchup either. Arizona has allowed tight ends a collective, stingy 34-378-2 line through nine games.
Then, the expected limitations of the passing game should also make life difficult for Doug Martin to find consistent lanes against a Cardinals front that has actually proven vulnerable defending the run (140.3 rush yards per game allowed, fourth-most in NFL).
By the Numbers
The Raiders are 2-7 (22.2 percent) against the number overall this season. That includes a 1-3 mark (25.0 percent) against the spread on the road, and 1-2 (33.3 percent) as a road underdog. The Raiders are also 0-3 versus the number in nonconference games, failing to cover by an average of 22.3 points.
The Cardinals are 5-3-1 (62.5 percent) against the spread overall this season. That includes a 3-2 mark (60.0 percent) versus the number at home.
The Final Word
The Cardinals offense and Rosen are works in progress. However, there seem to be real inroads being made with Leftwich at the helm. The Raiders set up as an ideal opponent for Arizona to continue its development. There are plenty of whispers in Oakland about players giving less than 100 percent. That’s especially on defense, where the unit often looks woefully slow. Johnson should particularly thrive in this matchup. Plus, Rosen could have one of his best games as a pro versus the permeable Raiders secondary. With a relatively modest spread to conquer and the home crowd behind them, I like Arizona to — at minimum — notch a modest victory.
The Pick: Cardinals -5, Cardinals moneyline (-230)
Minnesota Vikings (5-3-1) at Chicago Bears (6-3)
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Bears -2.5
BetStars Sportsbook Odds: Bears -2.5
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: Bears -2.5
888 Sportsbook Odds: Bears -2.5
Over/Under total: 44.5
How They Fared in Week 10
The Vikings were on their bye in Week 10. In Week 9, they toppled the Lions by a 24-9 score, a game in which they sacked Matthew Stafford on 10 occasions. Star running back Dalvin Cook notably made his return from a hamstring injury in that contest and ripped off a 70-yard run on his way to a 10-carry, 89-yard performance on the ground.
The Bears continued their impressive season by mostly dominating the division-rival Lions by a 34-22 score. The final margin of victory wasn’t necessarily indicative of the disparity between the two teams’ performances. Chicago held a 34-10 until nearly the halfway mark of the fourth quarter before a pair of late Detroit touchdowns made the final score respectable. Mitchell Trubisky continued his strong play with 355 yards and three touchdowns. Allen Robinson made his return from a two-game absence due to a groin injury with a 6-133-2 line.
Notable Matchups and Metrics
The Vikings’ good-not-great record sums up the type of year it’s been. Minnesota hasn’t exactly disappointed, but they haven’t fully lived up to expectations either. However, the Vikes have shown signs of figuring things out following a 1-2-1 start. They headed into their Week 10 bye with wins in four of their previous five games. Their one loss during that stretch was to an elite New Orleans Saints squad on the road in prime time, and it came by a respectable 30-20 score.
Kirk Cousins has been every bit as good as advertised in his first year with the team. He’s completing a career-high 71.3 percent of his passes and owns a sparkling 17:5 TD:INT. He’s shown immediate and excellent rapport with top receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. And he’s the only quarterback that’s been able to get appreciable production out of 2016 first-round pick Laquon Treadwell thus far. Treadwell has a 27-253-1 tally through nine games. All three components of his line are career highs.
The Vikings have been undoubtedly affected by Cook’s absences due to injury. The 2017 second-round pick has played just 153 snaps across parts of four games this season. His performance in Week 9 seems to corroborate he’s over his hamstring issues once and for all. Granted, backup Latavius Murray (92-417-5 on the ground, 18-132 through the air) often turned in admirable efforts in Cook’s stead. No other back on the roster can quite threaten defenses like Cook.
Of course, the Bears have been no slouches. They’re one of the NFC’s pleasant surprises, turning in strong efforts on both sides of the ball. Chicago is generating 363.4 yards per contest on offense and ranks fifth in points per game (29.9). Then, they’ve yielded a respectable 319.6 yards per game on defense while allowing the fourth-fewest points per contest (19.4). However, they’ve also had the benefit of facing a collection of quarterbacks who include Sam Bradford, Sam Darnold, and Nathan Peterman. It’s worth noting when they came up against a much higher caliber of competition (Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady), the Bears lost both games. Plus, the Dolphins’ Brock Osweiler somehow eviscerated them for 380 yards.
Moreover, as good as Trubisky has been in several games, the offense runs the risk of becoming dangerously one-dimensional against a solid defense like the Vikings. Jordan Howard has exceeded only 4.0 yards per carry in one game this season. And he’s topped 50 rushing yards just twice in the last six games. Then, change-of-pace option Tarik Cohen can wreak havoc through the air but is far less effective on the ground. He’s used only sparingly as a runner and has totaled between five and 15 rushing yards in three of the past four. The fact that Minnesota is tied with several teams with the lowest yards per carry allowed (3.6) certainly doesn’t brighten the prospects of either player.
By the Numbers
The Vikings are 5-3-1 (62.5 percent) against the spread overall this season. That includes a 3-1 mark (75.0 percent) on the road and a 2-0 mark as a road underdog. Minnesota has also gone over their projected total in three of four road games (75.0 percent), exceeding it by an average of 9.6 points.
The Bears have gone over their projected total in six of nine games (66.7 percent) this season. That includes three of their five games (60.0 percent) at Soldier Field and both of the division games they’ve played thus far.
The Final Word
These two teams are pretty evenly matched and should come in at relatively full health. Minnesota should especially be refreshed coming out of the bye, which gave star corner Xavier Rhodes a chance to fully heal from a toe injury. The Vikes should be able to press the Chicago defense with Cousins at the helm and a healthy Cook. NFC North games are often hard-fought, defensive battles, but both offenses have what it takes to put up some points in a prime-time matchup. Minnesota should also be able to hang close and make life uncomfortable enough for Trubisky to keep this game close. Expect a cover at minimum.
The Lean: Vikings +2.5
The Pick: Over 44.5