Welcome, welcome, welcome to another feeble attempt of NFL handicapping by yours truly. I select against the spread obviously, and have been scalding hot since Week 4. 15-8-2 ATS in the past six weeks, after going 1-2-1 in Week 8. From a viewer’s perspective, there are some really great Week 10 games featuring potential playoff teams, but also some really poor ones as well. Look no further than Thursday night’s match-up between the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens. There’s a realistic chance that Cleveland doesn’t win another game this season, yet they are featured in a prime-time game. No wonder the NFL ratings are so low.
Steelers (-2.5) at Cowboys
From an outsider’s perspective, this line is peculiar to say the least. Dallas has won seven straight, but they are an underdog on the road against Pittsburgh. 90% of the money wagered on this game thus far has been on the Cowboys due to this fact, yet the line has barely moved. So why are the Steelers favored?
The fact of the matter is, the Steelers, and particularly Ben Roethlisberger, are a much better team at home than on the road. Big Ben has thrown 51 touchdowns compared to 13 interceptions at home in the past two seasons, which is a staggering ratio. Pittsburgh is coming off a tough loss in Baltimore to the Ravens, which I think, is playing a part in why the Cowboys are receiving such a wide majority of the money. They’ve also lost three straight games and sitting at .500 after starting the season off 4-1. If you’re unfamiliar with how lines are made, recency bias from the public is factored into the creation of almost every line, particularly in the NFL. Conventional wisdom states that the Cowboys should be favored, yet the Steelers are STILL favored to win. That tells me that Vegas feels pretty strong about Pittsburgh’s chances in this game.
I’m going to side with the Steelers here, and I feel pretty confident in doing so. Public action is all over the Cowboys, which produces a historically positive yield for the sportsbooks. Steelers -2.5
Broncos at Saints (-2.5)
The Saints will return home to New Orleans riding a two-game winning streak, while the Broncos are coming off a hard fought loss to the Oakland Raiders on Sunday night. I’m going to side with the Saints here, they are strong team at home facing a defense that isn’t close to 100% health-wise. Denver’s offense is struggling as well, failing to move the ball on an Oakland defense that ranks towards the bottom of the league in almost every efficiency category. Denver’s secondary is banged up, and will be without their best cornerback Aqib Talib. Talib’s presence cannot be overlooked; he’s ranked as the best cornerback in the league according to Pro Football Focus.
Denver’s pass rush won’t be as effective as usual either against a New Orleans offensive line that ranks fourth in sacks allowed. Saints -2.5
Chiefs (+3) at Panthers
Kansas City will go on the road to Carolina after beating Jacksonville at home in Week 9. The Panthers, are enjoying their best success of the season, riding a two-game winning streak after beating the Rams in Week 9.
I have a feeling that the public is going to be all over the Panthers. Carolina is finally showing signs of what made them such a great team last season, but Kansas City continues to fly under the radar. They’ve won four games in a row, and while they didn’t look great last week against Jacksonville, they were also without some of their best offensive players.
Defensively, they’ve been terrific, especially on the road. They’ve held home teams to 19 or fewer points in 8 of their last 11 games, and are great at forcing takeaways. Coincidentally, the Panthers rank third in the league with 17 giveaways. Carolina is 1-3 straight up this season when Cam Newton throws an interception.
I like Kansas City to win straight up, but I’ll gladly take the three points too. Chiefs +3.
Falcons (-2) at Eagles
Philadelphia is currently ranked as the best team in the NFL according to DVOA and are playing at home, but I still like the Falcons. Philadelphia’s offense has really struggled in recent weeks, and coincidentally, Atlanta’s defense has been playing better as of late.
Statistics favor Philadelphia here, but I’m taking the team with the NFL’s best offense. They’ll score enough points to cover this small spread. Falcons -2.