NFL BEST BETS
After noticing an upward trend in favorites winning at a higher rate in the last few weeks, we bet on three favorites last week but only won one of them, bringing the season total to 13-17-1. There will always be tough stretches to navigate when you’re trying to outsmart Vegas. It’s generally a losing proposition, as I’m seeing this year. However, outside of my best bets, I’ve been profitable (barely) overall, so I feel like the process is solid, and some of this bad luck will change very soon.
When looking at this week’s best bets, each of these games has one thing in common – a new quarterback at the helm for one of the teams. In one case, it’s a rookie whom the team is trying to establish as their franchise quarterback. Another team is starting a rookie because the starting quarterback was just announced this week as being out for the season. Lastly, one team has their starting quarterback returning after an injury last year kept him out until now. The thought is the lines have not properly taken into account the value, or lack thereof, of these quarterbacks, so I’m hoping to exploit that this week.
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I was under the weather last week, so I wasn’t able to update my betting model. I will continue to track it to see how it performs throughout the season and where it excels and where it needs to be refined. As always, you can see all of my model’s picks on Sunday mornings on my X profile. So far this year, the record stands as follows:
- 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 11 Best Bets
Steelers +1 at Browns
The Pittsburgh Steelers might have a 6-3 record, but their success has been attributed to what some may call luck. Despite being outscored by an average of 2.9 points per game, they have managed a winning record. Facing a banged-up Cleveland Browns team, and without Deshaun Watson, further plays into the Steelers’ favor.
Both offenses have struggled to put up points, with the Steelers averaging only 17.3 points per game. The Browns, while having the best defense in the league, may struggle to capitalize on the Steelers’ offensive weaknesses. If rookie QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson can’t move the chains, Cleveland won’t be able to play to their strength; one of the best running games in the league.
This game is likely to be a low-scoring affair, which I believe favors Pittsburgh. Their offense isn’t going to score many points, but neither are the Browns. I think the Steelers will pull out a close win in Cleveland.
Cardinals +4.5 at Texans
The Texans have struggled against the spread this year with a 0-3 record when favored. The Cardinals, with a healthy Kyler Murray and James Conner back, showed last week that they are a different team with Murray at the helm. Houston’s run defense, already exploitable, now has to contend with a dual-threat QB, in addition to Conner. The Texans also struggle defending against tight ends, allowing the 31st most fantasy points to the position, which creates an opportunity for Trey McBride to make an impact in the game.
Houston has played great football lately, but the Cardinals are potentially underrated based on their performance before Kyler Murray’s return. They finished 11th in DVOA in his first game back last week. The Texans are due for some offensive regression, and while I think they will win this game, I think the final score will be closer than they would like.
Jaguars -7 vs Titans
Jacksonville is coming off a humbling loss to San Francisco last week but gets a chance to redeem themselves in a very winnable game at home. Trevor Lawrence should regain some confidence against the Titans pass defense, which ranks 27th in the league.
The Titans will be playing their third straight road game, where their offense struggles. They’re averaging just 12 points away from home. Will Levis looked sharp in his first start, but at this point in his career, Tennessee’s offense is probably worse with him under center.
In my power ratings, I have the Jaguars ranked 9th, whereas the Titans are at 22nd. Additionally, the Jaguars boast one of the healthiest rosters in the league. I think they will secure an easy win against the downward-trending Tennessee team.
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.