SC AdvanEdge: Week 11
For the first time in six weeks, it was the betting favourites that outpaced the underdogs in Week 10.
The favourites went 8-5-1 against the spread.
Meanwhile, unders went 9-5, marking the first time in four weeks that the unders hit at a higher rate than the over.
Will those trends continue this week?
Or will we see more upsets and higher scoring games?
Here are our best bets for Week 11 in the NFL.
Chris Amberley: Atlanta Falcons +3.5 vs New Orleans Saints
Find someone who loves you as much as Sean Payton loves Taysom Hill.
Despite having former No. 1 pick and five-year starter Jameis Winston on his bench, Payton is electing to give Hill his first career NFL start against Atlanta.
Hill has thrown just 18 career NFL regular season passes, completing 10 of them for 205 yards and an interception.
His college resume wasn’t exactly sparkling either (58.2 per cent completion rate, 43-31 TD-INT ratio), which seems to suggest we can expect a run heavy game plan against the Falcons.
The problem is, if there’s one thing Atlanta does well, it’s stop the run.
They have a top-10 run defence by DVOA, and rank sixth in defensive adjusted line yards allowed.
Conversely, only the Seattle Seahawks allow more passing yards per game than the Falcons.
Since firing Dan Quinn, the Falcons have won three of five contests and are surrendering just 22.6 points per outing, which is an 11.9-point improvement from the first four games of 2020.
After missing the Falcons Week 9 game, Calvin Ridley is due back to bolster an Atlanta pass game that’s in a great spot.
New Orleans ranks 21st in coverage according to PFF and was lit up by both Aaron Rodgers and Justin Herbert at home this season.
Don’t forget three of the Falcons’ six losses came when they had a win probability north of 90 per cent in the fourth quarter.
If those games hadn’t ended in disaster, we’d have an entirely different view of this team.
Pick: Falcons +3.5
Jacksonville Jaguars +10 at Pittsburgh Steelers
I’m going to hate myself for this one, but I have to do it.
I’m taking the Jaguars this week to cover the 10 points and it’s because the numbers, and my gut, tell me to.
In the last 15 years, we have seen an NFL team be a double-digit home underdog 78 times.
In those 78 games, the home underdog has gone 46-30-2 against the spread.
Just a few weeks ago, we saw Mike Tomlin and the Steelers as 14-point favourites over the Dallas Cowboys. They didn’t cover.
At the time, the Cowboys had looked terrible for weeks in their search for a quarterback and had failed to cover the spread all season.
And yet, the Steelers escaped Dallas with a narrow five-point win.
It’s worth pointing out that Jacksonville looked good last week.
They fell 24-20 to the Green Bay Packers, and have gone 4-1 this season against the spread when entering a game as a 7+ point underdog.
I mentioned my gut earlier so I’ll address that.
We’re all human, and we all know that people tend to take things for granted.
Looking ahead a few nights and it’s impossible to ignore that the Steelers take on the Baltimore Ravens Thursday night to conclude a day of American Thanksgiving football.
I think Pittsburgh overlooks this Jaguars team and finds themselves in a closer game than Vegas expects.
Or maybe they’re blowing them out and Jacksonville backdoors it.
Either way, a cover is a cover. And I think 10 points is too many in this spot.
Give me Jacksonville and the points.
Pick: Jaguars +10.5
Domenic Padula: Kansas City Chiefs -8 at Las Vegas Raiders
Unfortunately, we don’t publish this article earlier in the week when the line for this game was Chiefs -6.
While I love Kansas City -6, I’m still confident enough to take them at -8.
Chiefs’ Head coach Andy Reid is 18-3 straight up all-time coming off a bye week, including a 40-9 win over the Raiders when these teams met for the second time last season.
Kansas City won that game to start an eight-game win streak to close out the year as Super Bowl champions.
Will history repeat itself?
The Chiefs are still in a class of their own, and will be that much more motivated to answer back after Las Vegas handed them their only loss of the season in the first meeting.
Kansas City is also 29-3 straight up and 22-9-1 in its past 32 games against AFC West opponents.
With six of their eight wins this season coming by nine points or more, I think the Chiefs can clear that mark again in this one.
I’ll take Kansas City -8
Pick: Chiefs -8