By Logan Sella
Odds via OddsShark, The Action Network
Welcome to Week 10! As we hit double digits, Thanksgiving is in sight, and I officially had to bring out my winter coat this week. As it gets colder, and the Christmas decorations start going up (not until after Thanksgiving for my taste, but whatever), I’m hoping that we can catch a heater and have some extra holiday spending money. It starts with a good week here:
Washington (+3.5) @ Detroit
For those who don’t know, I am a Michigan native. It goes without saying things aren’t so good on the football front (looking at you, Michigan Wolverines). I figure if the Lions are going to be miserable, we might as well make some money on them.
This is just a bad Detroit team, and there is no way that they should be getting more than a field goal against anybody, especially with as banged up as they are. The Lions will be without top receiver Kenny Golladay today, and TE TJ Hockenson will be a game-time decision with a toe injury.
This is a bad matchup for the Lions offensive line, who have struggled this year as well. They are 21st in sack percentage and 22nd in sacks allowed, facing a Washington front who is 2nd to only Pittsburgh in sack percentage.
The only thing that may give some slight pause here would be the quarterback situation for Washington. They are now on their 3rd starter of the season so far, this time with Alex Smith set to take the reins for a full game for the first time this year. While he has been middling in his appearances as a backup this year, with 3 interceptions to only 1 touchdown, this is a good spot for him. He is a perfect 5-0 against the Lions in his career, and is a career 12-2 ATS as an underdog against teams with a losing record. Shoutout to my Lions fan friends who hope a loss today gets Matt Patricia fired. $100 to win $85.
San Francisco (+10) @ New Orleans
Points, points, points. Any time we can get double-digits, I have to think long and hard about it, and I think that this is a good spot here.
Many an unwise bettor would throw their wallet at the Saints after their 38-3 whooping of the Buccaneers, but that would be an unsmart overreaction. I don’t think that the Niners can win here, but I find it hard to believe that New Orleans will boatrace another team in back-to-back weeks.
Even with the return of Michael Thomas, Drew Brees and company were spectacular, but still not all that explosive, with only 2 passing plays of over 20 yards last week, and Brees still averaged less than 7 yards per attempt. I think San Francisco can do enough to keep it close if they keep the ball in front of them.
This is more of a bet on Kyle Shanahan after a bye than any of the Niners players: with more than a week to prepare, his teams are 5-2 with an average of 33.6 points per game, and are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games away from home. I like them to bounce back after 2 consecutive losses against the number, a spot in which they are 7-1-1 in their last 9. $100 to win $90.
Cleveland (-4) vs. Houston
Let’s go with a favorite after taking two underdogs. I don’t think ‘Bet on the Cleveland Browns’ should be at the top of any gambler’s manifesto, and I am 0-1 betting their games this year (I picked them to lose to the Cowboys), but I really like them here.
Sure, the Browns have struggled against the good teams, getting blown out by the Ravens and Steelers, but they hammer the bad ones. They are +93 in point differential in their 5 wins, coming against teams with a combined 11-21-1 record. Houston fits right in here, bringing their sorry 2-6 record to Progressive Field.
With top RB Nick Chubb returning to the lineup, this plays to the Browns’ strengths. They are 4th in yards per rush attempt, with the Texans ranking 31st in that category. Houston gives up an NFL-worst 159 rushing yards per game, and with Chubb in the lineup, Cleveland rushed for an average of 205 yards an outing. Guard Wyatt Teller returns for the Browns as well, further bolstering the run game.
The thought of a Deshaun backdoor cover scares me a bit, but I like Cleveland a lot here. $100 to win $90.
Pittsburgh (-6.5) vs. Cincinnati
One more favorite for the day. While Steeler fan Emily Musella here at the Lynq was turned off of this game because of COVID concerns, with 4 Steelers, including Ben Roethlisberger, placed on protocol earlier this week, I can’t say no here.
This is a great spot for a defense to bounce back against a rookie quarterback who hasn’t seen them before. While Joe Burrow and the Bengals have been a bit of a gambling darling so far this season, checking in at 6-2 against the spread, this is a good spot to fade them here.
In 2 games against top-10 defenses in sack percentage (Baltimore and Philadelphia), Burrow was sacked 15 times. Pittsburgh is first in the NFL in sacks, pressures and sack percentage. This is an awful Bengals offensive line, and I find it hard to believe that Burrow will have a good day having to pick himself up off the ground.
Ben missing practice doesn’t bother me much, as he is now a 17-year veteran and seems to always be battling some kind of injury. Cincy won’t bother him much either; they are 31st in QB pressure created. For some reason, Pittsburgh like to play to the level of their competition, but I expect them to win a bit more convincingly after putzing around with the lowly Cowboys last week. $100 to win $90.
2020 Season Record: 15-16, $100 bettor down $111