NFL Picks Week #10 (2019 regular season)
NFL PICKS (WEEK #10)
BY PROFESSOR MJ
Written Wednesday November 7th, 2019 at 10 a.m. Eastern Time (spreads/odds may have changed)
PICK #1: Atlanta Falcons +13 at New Orleans Saints (rated 4 stars)
Both teams are coming off their bye week, and both have spent a lot of time at home over the past few weeks. The rest factor does not come into play here.
Atlanta’s 1-7 start is quite puzzling. They definitely have talent, especially on the offensive side of the ball, with Matt Ryan, Davonta Freeman, stud wide receiver Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Austin Hooper. Their defense must step up, though. Atlanta’s opponents have a combined 41-28-1 record, so they had a tough strength of opposition.
The bye week gave them some time to refocus and I expect them to make it difficult for New Orleans in this game. This is a divisional game and the Falcons won’t simply hand the victory to the Saints.
Matt Ryan missed Atlanta’s last game, but he is expected to suit up this Sunday. We all know what he’s capable of doing, especially with all those weapons at his disposal. Despite his team’s poor record, he has completed close to 70% of his passes this year. He needs to cut on the turnovers and the Falcons should be able to keep up with the Saints.
PICK #2: Indianapolis Colts -10 vs Miami Dolphins (rated 3 stars)
When I told a friend I was thinking about picking the Colts in my survivor pool, he replied: “What? Are you sure? Even though Brissett is hurt?” That shows me most people are afraid of betting Indy because of this injury, and also because of Miami’s good recent performances.
First, let’s address the QB situation. Brissett has a sprained MCL, the Colts might be able to get past the Dolphins with Brian Hoyer under center, but Brissett is expected to try and play. Indianapolis is pushing hard for a playoff spot and they cannot afford to lose this game.
Speaking of injuries, the betting public might underestimate the impact of the Dolphins missing two key pieces to their offense. Running back Mark Walton got suspended for four games, while the very impressive wide receiver Preston Williams is done for the year after hurting his right knee.
One could argue the Colts may look past Miami since they are expecting matchups against their three divisional rivals in the next three weeks. But I could counter this argument by saying this is a sandwich game for the Dolphins; indeed, they played the Jets last week and have a meeting with the Bills in Week #11.
I believe Miami may not play as hard, now that they’ve finally earned their first win of the season. Meanwhile, the Colts are certain to give everything they’ve got, considering how tight the playoff race is.
PICK #3: Cincinnati Bengals +10 vs Baltimore Ravens (rated 3 stars)
We have many ingredients to an inflated point spread here.
First, the Ravens received great publicity following an impressive win over the undefeated Patriots on primetime television. Secondly, the Bengals are starting a rookie at quarterback, Ryan Finley, a fourth round pick out of NC State.
Winning by 11 points or more on the road is a difficult task. The elements I just mentioned have contributed to boosting the line.
Winless teams coming off a bye week are one of my favorites betting angles in the NFL, and that applies here. Cincinnati has had plenty of time to rest and game plan for their next opponent. Giving 2 weeks to the rookie QB to work with the first stringers was a smart move.
Ryan Finley is 24 years old so he’s a more mature rookie. From the reports I’ve read, he looked bad during offseason practices, but he improved significantly during preseason games.
He is considered a game manager. He’s an accurate passer, but not explosive. But that’s okay! We want him to sustain drives to keep Lamar Jackson off the field, and running out the clock to shorten the game.
Head coach Zac Taylor declared he expects star wide receiver A.J. Green to make his debut against the Ravens. However, Green didn’t feel well enough to practice Wednesday, so he is considered questionable to play. Even if he plays, he could be rusty and be limited to a specific number of plays. But he might still draw attention for Baltimore’s defense.
The Bengals will be looking for payback after dropping a Week #6 meeting with the Ravens by a 23-to-17 score earlier this year.
I expect the crowd to fully support his team despite an 0-8 record, considering they’ll be excited to see their new QB at work and also because it’s a divisional game against a hated rival.
PICK #4: Dallas Cowboys -3 vs Minnesota Vikings (rated 2 stars)
These two teams have a similar record and a comparable point differential. Therefore, a spread of three points favoring the home team isn’t surprising.
However, the injury to Adam Thielen will make the Vikings more one-dimensional. The Cowboys will stack the line of scrimmage and dare Kirk Cousins to beat them. He looks good at times, and bad at others. Without one of his top targets, I expect a long night for him.
The Cowboys defense is solid. Thielen’s absence will make it easier for them to stop Dalvin Cook. The Vikings defense is also good, but facing a more well-balanced attack will create more problems for them. In case you are wondering, Amari Cooper is expected to play despite being bothered by a knee injury.
Dallas is losing one day of rest after playing the Monday Nighter against the Giants, but Minnesota will be on the road for a third time over the past four weeks.
PICK #5: New York Jets +2.5 vs New York Giants (rated 1 star)
This is essentially a game played at a neutral location. There should be plenty of action in the stands at Metlife stadium during the game!
To be honest with you, I expected the Jets to be one-point favorites here. For this reason, I’m going with them as 2.5-point dogs.
The Giants lose one day of preparation following a Monday night game. The Jets will do everything they can to rebound after a shameful loss to the winless Dolphins last week.
To me, the Jets have the slightly better defense. They have allowed 26 points per game compared to 28 for the Giants. On offense, I’m not sure I’d consider the Giants has having the better squad, especially with Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard out. The Jets don’t have a playmaker quite like Saquon Barkley, though, I’ll give you that! We are still waiting for Le’Veon Bell to have his first breakout game as a Jet; will it be this week? He should be good to go despite nursing a couple of injuries.
LEAN #1: Tampa Bay Bucs -4.5 vs Arizona Cardinals
Bruce Arians coached the Cards for five years and he will now face his former team. Do you think he’ll be motivated to beat them? I think so!
It has been six weeks (!!!) since the Bucs last played at home, so their players should be pumped. That was one of my arguments when picking the Raiders last week, as they were in the same situation. It worked out well, so let’s give it a try once again!
The rest factor favors Arizona, though, since they played last Thursday so they benefit from three more days of rest. However, the Cards will be traveling a couple of time zones to play an early Sunday game, which will make things tougher.
Tight end O.J. Howard is “ready to roll”, according to his coach. The timing for his return couldn’t be more perfect since the Cards have allowed league-highs in catches, receiving yards and touchdowns to opposing tight ends this year.
Arizona has beaten three teams this season. Do you know what those teams’ combined record is? An abysmal 3-22!! Meanwhile, the Bucs have just won a couple of games, but they were significantly more impressive: at Carolina and at the Rams.
LEAN #2: Pittsburgh Steelers +3.5 vs Los Angeles Rams
I don’t like fading teams coming off a bye week, but I’m going to do an exception since the line seems too big to me.
The Steelers will be at home for the fourth straight week, so not much traveling there! The Rams are going to go through three time zones for this meeting in Pennsylvania.
Except their Week #1’s horrible loss to the Patriots, Pittsburgh has done a good job in all other seven games. Their other three losses were by 2-, 3- and 4-point margins against strong opponents: the Seahawks, the 49ers and the Ravens. Nothing to be ashamed of!
The Steelers defense has done a fairly good job in 2019 and I believe it will make it difficult for the Rams to win this meeting on the road by 4 points or more.
I wish you the best of luck with your NFL plays!
(Sports Betting Expert / University Professor / PhD in statistics)