The dogs took a bite out of the chalk on the NFL odds last week, and won a bunch of games outright. What might Week 11 have cooked up for us and our NFL picks?
Dogs Dominate, At Least For A Week
NFL dogs had one of their days last Sunday, winning seven games outright, going 8-2 against the NFL odds. And that doesn't include Tampa Bay and Washington, because basically their victories went off as pick 'ems, even though both teams were dogged at one point or another during the betting week.
The biggest upset went down up at Lambeau Field, where a bad Detroit team beat a befuddled Green Bay outfit 18-16, taking that game outright as a 12-point dog, while getting upwards of +450 on the NFL moneyline.
Week 10 began with a road dog winning outright on a Thursday night, as Buffalo beat the Jets in New Jersey 22-17.
But what does all this mean to our Week 11 handicapping, if anything? Well, if the law of averages makes an appearance, and we won't be surprised if it does, we would expect the chalk to take most of this week's games, and cover most of this week's spreads. Especially considering nine of this week's favorites were lined at a field goal or less in the early betting.
Working With the Bullpens
As of this writing it looks like at least five teams will start backup quarterbacks this week.
The Colts, at 4-5 the leaders of the AFC South, will go with old-timer Matt Hasselbeck in place of the injured Andrew Luck at Atlanta; the Eagles, coming off a home loss to Miami, will probably go with the master of the butt-fumble, Mark Sanchez, in place of an injured Sam Bradford against the Buccaneers; the Broncos, losers of two straight, will go with Brock Osweiler in place of the injured Peyton Manning at improving Chicago; the 49ers will go again with Blaine Gabbert, who directed the team to a victory two weeks ago against the Falcons, this week against Seattle; and the Rams will apparently go with Case Keenum, formerly of the Texans, over the ineffective Nick Foles at Baltimore.
Last week teams that started backup quarterbacks – other than Pittsburgh, which started backup Landry Jones, but had to replace him early with a hobbled Ben Roethlisberger – went 0-2 both SU and ATS; Dallas blew a late lead and lost at Tampa Bay, and Cleveland with Johnny Football lost to the Steelers.
So over the last three weeks backup quarterbacks are just 1-7 SU, 2-6 ATS.
In early Week 11 betting action Indianapolis was getting six points from Atlanta; Denver was favored by two points over the Bears; San Francisco was getting 13 points from the Seahawks; St. Louis was getting two points from the Ravens; and Philly was favored by six points over the Bucs.
Dallas, which is 0-7 SU, 1-6 ATS since Tony Romo went down with that shoulder injury, apparently will get No. 9 back for Sunday's game at Miami. In the early betting most books listed that game as a pick 'em.
One week after eight of 13 games played OVER on the totals, Week 10 saw just four OVERS out of 14 contests, making a slight mockery of a couple of this handicapper's free NFL picks. And one of those OVERS needed help from one of the bigger line movements of the week; the total on the Patriots-Giants game opened at 55, fell to 52.5, then played OVER by a half-point when New England kicked a last-second field goal to win 27-26.
On the season NFL totals are now a very balanced 72-70, with four pushes.
Of the five largest totals last week, three played UNDER. At the other end of the scale four of the six games with the lowest totals also played UNDER. Overall, it was just a good week for the UNDERS.
This week the highest totals to be found are the 49 on Monday night's Patriots-Bills game, the 48's on both Oakland-Detroit and Falcons-Colts, and the 47 on Miami-Dallas.
The list of the lowest Week 11 totals consists of the 40 on the Seahawks-Niners game, and the 43's on Jacksonville-Tennessee (Thursday night), Broncos-Bears and Ravens-Rams.