NFL BEST BETS
Don’t let anyone tell you that betting on NFL games isn’t challenging, because it is. Even with betting models and access to advanced analytics, finding an edge against the Vegas lines is extremely difficult. What I’ve learned is that often when I think I’ve found that edge, it turns out that I was missing some information that made it seem like I had an edge, when in reality, it was working against me. Strangely, what I would consider my “3 Star” bets, which are included as best bets in this weekly column, have performed worse than my “2 Star” bets this year. After losing all three of my best bets last week, my year-to-date record stands at a dismal 12-15-1, or 44.6%. Overall, my bets are 66-63-4, or 51.2%. If I exclude my “best bets,” I’m winning at a 52.8% rate, which is profitable. What I can glean from this information is that I need to realize that I can’t outsmart Vegas by looking for outlier edges. The outliers are there because my system is flawed, not theirs. As such, I’ll be looking to include more of my “2 Star” bets in here going forward.
Interestingly, in the last few weeks, there has been a slight edge in betting favorites, especially home favorites. All of last year, and for the first few weeks of this season, road teams won at a much higher rate. The course has been corrected, it seems, so it’s time to abandon the “road dog” method that was so successful last year.
One thing that betting model has done every well is picking game straight up. I’ve been using for Fantasy Nerd’s Pick’em Accuracy contest, which I won last year. I’m currently in 2nd place, one game out of the lead. Our very own Leo Sells is tied for 3rd place. If you’re in a pick’em league, you should definitely check out our free weekly picks from all the Gridiron Experts writers to gain an edge in your league.
I’ve been tracking the results of my betting model each week to see where it excels and where it can improve. I’ve been putting one unit on each game for the spread, game total, moneyline. Through nine weeks, it’s done very well with game totals, but not so much in trying to find value in the moneyline.
- Straight Up: 89-41, 68.5%
- Spread: 66-63-4, 51.2%, ROI: 2.8%
- Over/Under: 70-61-4, 53.4%, ROI: 6.7%
- Moneyline: 67-63, 51.5%, ROI: -4.3%
Week 10 Best Bets
Saints -2.5 at Vikings
The New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings are set to face off in a matchup with playoff implications. Both teams currently have a 5-4 record, and a win here could give them a significant boost in their postseason aspirations.
New Orleans is coming off a victory against the Chicago Bears, where their defense forced five turnovers, and their offense did enough to secure the win. The Saints are now over .500 for the first time since Week 3 and sit atop the NFC South. They have a top-10 defense, and lead the league with 18 takeaways.
On the other hand, the Vikings have been finding ways to win, even in challenging situations. Quarterback Joshua Dobbs, who recently joined the team, played a crucial role in their comeback victory in their previous game. While the Vikings have shown resilience, they are up against the Saints’ strong defense. I think the Saints’ ability to generate turnovers will be enough to disrupt the Vikings’ offensive rhythm and win this game by at least a field goal.
Bengals -7 vs Texans
The Cincinnati Bengals travel to Houston to take on the Texans. Last week, CJ Stroud put on an amazing performance, but the Bengals represent a significant step up in competition. Cincinnati has a defense that excels in coverage and deception, which Stroud might find challenging to crack. The Texans’ struggles in running the ball further play into the Bengals’ hands, allowing them to employ a two-high safety formation with confidence.
The Bengals could feature Joe Mixon in this game. The Texans have struggled to defend passes to running backs, allowing an average of 8.3 yards per pass. Mixon’s ability to sustain drives and contribute to the passing game can be a game-changer.
The Bengals’ red zone defense has been a highlight of their season, which could prove critical in this matchup. If the Texans have trouble finding the end zone, the Bengals could build a lead and maintain control throughout the game.
A healthy Joe Burrow has been back to his normal self in his last four games. Facing a Texans’ pass defense that has had its share of struggles, Burrow could capitalize and be in for a very nice day. The Bengals are 17-7 against the spread since 2022, with four consecutive covers. I think they will make it five after this week.
Lions -2.5 at Chargers
With their defense looking stout and their offense firing on all cylinders, the Los Angeles Chargers have been riding high after two consecutive victories over the Chicago Bears and New York Jets. However, their upcoming matchup against the Detroit Lions is going to be a lot tougher.
The Lions are coming off a much-needed bye week and boasting a healthier roster. Their offense, ranked fourth in total DVOA and fifth in defensive DVOA, should be able to exploit the Chargers’ defensive weaknesses. The return of running back David Montgomery gives Detroit another big threat in the backfield, along with one of the best red zone backs in the league.
The Chargers’ defense, struggling against pass-heavy offenses and ranking last in yards per pass, could face a difficult task in containing the Lions’ passing attack. Their pass rush, which dominated the Jets’ makeshift offensive line, will have a much harder time against the Lions’ elite offensive line.
I think coaching could make a big difference in this game, with Detroit having a significant advantage. On top of that, throw out any home-field advantages as the Chargers don’t get much support from their fans. I think the Lions are the clear pick here.
Doug Burrell finished 2022 as Fantasy Nerd’s Most Accurate Expert in NFL Picks and Tallysight’s #1 ranked expert Against the Spread Expert out of 200+ experts. He is a veteran, a runner and an avid fantasy sports enthusiast since 1999. You can reach him on Twitter @dougwburrell.
Doug is a veteran, an avid runner, and works as a copywriter. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and three dogs. You can reach him on Twitter @dougwburrell.