Let’s dissect some NFL point spreads for the coming Week 11 that might look a bit weird at first glance and then try to explain why these perceived great numerical equalizers are whey they are right now.
This Thursday Night Football AFC showdown (44½, BetDSI) and Week 11 lidlifter (NBC, NFLN, 8:25 pm ET) from The Steel City sees 11th-year Head Coach Mike Tomlin (93-89-2 ATS) and the AFC North-leading Steelers (7-2 SU, 5-4 ATS) facing Marcus Mariota and the Titans (6-3 SU, 3-5-1 ATS) in a primetime affair from Heinz Field now much more important to Delanie Walker and the AFC South-(tied for) leading Titans (40/1 to win Super Bowl, Bovada) with Blake Bortles and the upstart Jaguars (6-3 SU) also having a wonderful 2017 NFL Regular Season.
The TD spread looks a little high with how well Tennessee (2-2 SU on Road) has played and the linemakers are giving credit to QB Ben Roethlisberger, RB Le’Veon Bell and the Steelers Offense in a game they could lose outright depending on things like momentum, Field Position, Turnovers and Time of Possession. To try to keep the football (and the game clock) out of Pittsburgh (3-1 SU Home) and Big Ben’s hands, 2nd-year Titans Head Coach Mike Mularkey (12-21-1 ATS) will try to use workhorse RBs DeMarco Murray (391 Rushing yards) and Derrick Henry (357 Rushing yards) heavily and he will need production from the backfield with LB Ryan Shazier (64 Tackles, 3 INTs), LB Vince Williams (42 Tackles, 4 Sacks) and the Steelers D playing much better than in recent seasons.
Looking at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook 2017 NFL Games of the Year Point Spread for this game -- released in the Summer -- and we find Antonio Brown and the Steelers (7/1 to win Super Bowl, Intertops) opened up as 7-point chalks, so, despite how well Tennessee (W3 into Week 10) has played, there has been no change in perceptions for the betting number put on this game. A number of 5, 5½ or maybe 6 would seem more appropriate, but with the Site edges and the Steelers (W3 into Week 10) also on a roll, linemakers Offshore have opted to keep the game right around a TD. Mariota will look often for Walker, Rishard Matthews, Rookie Corey Davis and Eric Decker often and Oregon product Mariota (130 Rushing yards, 3 TDs) will pull the pigskin down and run when he has to. The Trends show the Titans are a surprising 3-0 ATS their L3 meetings vs. the Steelers (W4, Allowed 14.8 ppg L4).
Baltimore Ravens (-2½) at Green Bay Packers
At first blush it looks strange to see the Blackbirds even favored in Cheeseland, but considering the way Packers backup Brett Hundley (Questionable) and Green Bay have looked on Offense since starting QB Aaron Rodgers (Shoulder) went down and how well QB Joe Flacco and visitors Baltimore (175/1 to win Super Bowl, 5Dimes) have played of late, the Point Spread may actually look a little light for this game from Lambeau Field on Sunday (CBS, 1 pm ET; Total 38½u -105, Pinnacle).
In Week 10 action, OLB Clay Matthews, WR Randall Cobb and the Packers (45/1 to win NFC, YouWager) were in Chicago to play the Bears on Sunday in a game which saw Green Bay come in as 5-point Underdogs (Bovada) -- the first time the Packers (115/1 to win Super Bowl, 5Dimes) had been Underdogs to NFC North rivals Chicago in 9 years -- and beat the Bears outright, 23-16, while the Ravens (67/1 to win AFC, BookMaker) enjoyed their Bye Week and will be well-rested heading in here, but no doubt in a foul mood and with just one thing (Win) on their collective minds after going 2-5 their L7 after a 2-0 start. And with Wins over the Raiders in Oakland and a 43-0 trouncing of the Dolphins in Baltimore, the enigmatic Ravens can play some good football if they have to and sitting at 4-5 SU off a Bye Week in Week 11 of the NFL Regular Season, need to wake up immediately and the ultimate loser of this game may be behind the 8-ball chasing a Wild Card spot from here on out.
The recent and relevant Trends Show that Flacco (42-38-1 ATS on Road) and the Ravens are 0-4 ATS the L4 trips to Brown County, but haven’t played in Lambeau Field since 2009 (GB 27-14, GB -4) and actually won and covered ATS the last meeting (2013) in Crab City, covering by ½ point as a 2½-point Home Underdog with a healthy Rodgers going for the Cheeseheads. Baltimore (14/1 to win AFC North, Intertops) has gone 3-8-2 ATS as a Road Favorite since 2013, including an 0-1 mark in that role this year (BAL -3 @ JAX, L44-7), so this might be one of those games that one team ends up losing somehow from a stupid mistake or even maybe a bad bounce and also a tough game to handicap but host Green Bay is worth a value look on the Moneyline.
Los Angeles Rams at Minnesota Vikings (-2½)
This one also weird and one that could still look normal 2 points either way -- Minnesota minus 5 or Minnesota minus 1 -- with the way prolific QB Jared Goff and the Rams (32.9 ppg Scoring Offense, #1 NFL) have played, line in Rams games would surprise few now, especially with RB Todd Gurley (10 TDs from Scrimmage, #1 NFL) and his knees finally finding their NFL groove. The host Vikings (+850 to win NFC, 5Dimes) sit in 1st place in the NFC North with a 7-2 Record and with Los Angeles (7-2 SU) looking over its shoulder at 2nd-place Seattle (6-3 SU) and Minnesota (-240 to win NFC North, BetOnline) still enjoying a nice 2-game cushion between itself and the 2nd place team in its division, the Motivation and Fear will be with the visiting Rams (+325 to win NFC West, YouWager) at US Bank Stadium (FieldTurf) in Minneapolis in Week 11.
In Week 10 games from Sunday, Minnesota were smallish 2-point Road Favorites at Washington and FedExField in Landover, Maryland and the Purple People Eaters v2.0 won and covered ATS, holding on for a 38-30 win after leading 28-17 at Half while the Rams hosted the Texans in Los Angeles (LA -11½, 45½, BetOnline) and made the Texans (3-6 SU) definitely in the “Now Y’all Gotta Wait Until Next Year Club, Bub” after a 33-7 humbling in La La Land in a Sunday late afternoon game, which saw the Rams outscoring Houston 24-0 in the 2nd Half en route to their 4th straight SU and ATS Wins, in games won by 26, 34, 33 and 10, or a profitable average of 25.75 ppg.
The Trends show Minnesota is a profitable 4-0 ATS the L4 meetings with the Rams but that was when the franchise was still rebuilding and even still in the Midwest city of St. Louis for some meetings. This is probably the best the Rams (10/1 to win NFC, Bovada) have played as a team since the Kurt Warner, “The Greatest Show on Turf” years and this is most definitely a game this young and hungry team can win, but California product Goff & Company best be ready for Everson Griffen and a stingy Vikings Defense (135 Points allowed, #1 in NFC) on Sunday (FOX, 1 pm ET). These two could meet in the NFC Playoffs and this could be a great watch.
Philadelphia Eagles (-3) at Dallas Cowboys
We all know why this number is where it is, and it’s because of two names: Ezekiel Elliott and Carson Wentz. The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook opened this big NFC East game at (Dallas minus) -6 in its renowned 2017 NFL games of the Year, so with the latest Suspension (upholding) of Dallas RB Elliott and the evolution of Eagles young and gritty QB Wentz and the Philadelphia Offense (31.4 ppg, #2 NFL), that’s a robust 9½-point swing in perceptions from Back Then (Summer) until Now (Fall).
The Eagles, off their bye, will have Momentum and Confidence on their side and the way the Cowboys (5-4 SU) looked in a humiliating Week 10 Loss at Atlanta without Elliott, the Pressure may start to creep into this team and QB Dak Prescott and his teammates know that trying to catch the Eagles (W7) in the NFC East is now nothing but wishful thinking and something on Uncle Jerry’s Blue and Silver Christmas List that Santa Claus just can’t deliver this year. Zeke has ducked down into the big, red Salvation Army kettle again, and if and when he returns this season, an NFC Wild Card may likely be the only America’s Team can make the NFL Postseason.
Solid lean to visitors Philadelphia (6/1 to win Super Bowl, Bovada) here as the Eagles Defense is also playing very well (19.9 ppg, #10) and streaking teams aren’t teams to get in front of, much like high-speed trains. And the Trends support backing Philadelphia, with the Eagles 3-1 SU the L4 trips to Jerry World (2-2 ATS) and 4-2 ATS the L6 in the Lone Star State with Quarterbacks far from Wentz’s talented ilk. Are we looking at two future NFL stars in Goff and Wentz? It’s sure starting to look that way after the first 10 weeks of this NFL Regular Season.NFL Free Picks: Rams +2.5, Eagles -3