NFL Picks Week #11 (2020 regular season)
NFL PICKS (WEEK #11)
BY PROFESSOR MJ
Written Tuesday November 17th, 2020 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time (spreads/odds may have changed)
We got back on the winning track with a 2-1-2 record with our picks against the spread (ATS) last week.
If not for a miraculous Hail Mary pass in the final seconds by the Cards, and Nick Chubb giving himself up at Houston’s one-yard line instead of scoring the touchdown, we would have enjoyed a nice 4-1 ATS record.
The top pick, the Steelers -3.5 in the first half, was an easy winner.
Let’s follow up with another strong week, shall we?
In Week 11, I’ve got more plays than usual: 6 official picks and 3 leans. Enjoy!
PICK #1 (4 STARS): TENNESSEE TITANS +6.5 AT BALTIMORE RAVENS
The Titans are the typical team that I feel like you should bet when they are established as underdogs, but that you want to fade when they are favorites. They can beat the best teams in the NFL, but they are also subject to lose to weaker ones.
As a matter of fact, over their last seven road games facing a team with a winning record, Tennessee holds a nice 6-1 ATS record.
Meanwhile, Baltimore has a scary 1-7 ATS record following a straight up loss and shows a 5-13 ATS record over their most recent 18 games as home favorites.
The one thing that worries me, though, is the revenge factor. The Ravens were ousted by the Titans in last year’s playoffs, so Baltimore will be looking for payback.
Still, I’m backing Tennessee here. They are benefiting from three additional days of rest after playing last Thursday. They have also been at home on six of the past seven weeks, which means they did not have to travel very often.
PICK #2 (4 STARS): ATLANTA FALCONS +5 AT NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
I’m pretty sure this line will drop until kickoff. The closing spread might end up being 3.5 or 4.
Three much publicized epic fourth quarter collapses by the Falcons have them sitting on a 3-6 record, which could easily be 6-3 instead.
I like how they have performed recently by winning three of their past four matchups. We would be talking about a four-game winning streak if not for the late Detroit Lions comeback a few weeks ago.
Atlanta is also coming off its bye week and they are likely to get wide receiver Calvin Ridley back on the field. New Orleans’ run defense is solid, but Atlanta’s strength is through the air anyway. I believe Matt Ryan and company can move the ball against this defense.
Meanwhile, the Saints will be without Drew Brees at quarterback. Jameis Winston is expected to take over, unless head coach Sean Payton decides to go with Taysom Hill, which would surprise me. I thought the Winston signing was a smart move during the offseason, but he looked shaky when he replaced Brees last week. He might need some time to get up to playing speed and I doubt the offense will be firing on all cylinders right away.
The Falcons have beaten the spread on only one occasion in the past five meeting with New Orleans, but they are 7-1 ATS as road underdogs recently. Also note that the Saints are 5-12 ATS in their last 17 games as home favorites.
PICK #3 (3 STARS): UNDER 48 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES VS CLEVELAND BROWNS
Both teams have struggled passing the ball this season. Indeed, the Eagles rank 27th in terms of passing yards per game, while the Browns occupy the 30th spot.
These two squads have done very well on the ground, though. Philly has the 3rd highest yards-per-carry average in the NFL and Cleveland is right behind them in 4th place.
However, running the ball may not be an easy task for either team this Sunday since their respective run defenses can certainly hold their ground. The Eagles have not done super well versus the run this season, but I believe that may be an anomaly since they were pretty stout last year.
With both teams likely to have trouble with their aerial attacks and relying on their running game, that’s going to run the clock and make it difficult to rack up over 48 points on the scoreboard.
As of now (Tuesday afternoon), the weather forecast expects a good dose of wind and rain. That has led to many unders hitting this season (Jags-Packers, Texans-Browns, Raiders-Browns, Ravens-Pats).
There have been 17 and 22 total points in Cleveland’s last two contests versus 44 and 32 in Philadelphia’s two most recent matches. I like under 48 points to hit here!
PICK #4 (3 STARS): KANSAS CITY CHIEFS -6 AT LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
I’ve got a ton of arguments backing this pick. I felt like it might become a 5-star play until I saw the point spread, which is higher than what I expected. If you plan on betting Kansas City, I recommend holding off because I’m confident the line will eventually drop by one point.
First, I love road favorites coming off their bye week. As mentioned in previous weeks, elite teams tend to make good use of the extra time.
The Chiefs lost 40-32 to those same Raiders back in Week 5. There is no chance they take them lightly, and they will keep their foot on the gas throughout the game to send them a message that THEY are the kings of the AFC West.
Over their last 17 road trips against the Raiders, the Chiefs hold a 12-5 ATS record. They are also 4-1 ATS as road favorites recently, and an astounding 9-1 ATS in their past 10 games facing a squad with a winning record.
Teams coming off a game where they intercepted at least three passes (the Raiders picked off Drew Lock on four occasions last week) and that are now 5.5-point underdogs or more have not done well against the spread. Indeed, they present a disappointing 12-22-1 ATS record.
For all of those reasons, I’m taking the Chiefs to crush Las Vegas, but I’m waiting for the line to drop around 5, if possible.
PICK #5 (2 STARS): SEATTLE SEAHAWKS -3 VS ARIZONA CARDINALS
Seattle’s bad streak ends right here against a division rival. That’s it.
I bet against the Seahawks last week in L.A., which was a winner. This time, I believe Russell Wilson rights the ship and goes back on the winning track.
In his last 10 games on Thursday Night Football, Wilson has posted a great 7-1-2 ATS record. Moreover, he holds an impressive 32-15-4 ATS record following a straight up loss. This team knows how to rebound after bad performances.
There are several injuries for both sides, but I believe they will hurt Arizona the most. Why? Because they currently have seven of their 11 starters on defense who are listed as questionable. That’s unbelievable! Sure, some of them will suit up this Thursday, but some will miss the game too (and those who will be taking the field won’t be at 100%).
Seattle’s bad run started in Week 7 with an overtime loss to those same Cardinals. As you know, I love the revenge factor, especially in-season division revenge.
A few things play in favor of Arizona, though. They have beaten the spread in each of their past five visits in Seattle. They have also done well as road underdogs recently, as shown by their 8-1-2 ATS record.
Still, I expect the Seahawks to win this matchup by more than three points.
PICK #6 (1 STAR): NEW YORK JETS +9 AT LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
The Jets have faced very tough opposition thus far this season. They have played the Bills twice, as well as the Chiefs, the Colts, the Cards, the surprising Dolphins, the Patriots and the 49ers. The latter game was played before the injury bug hit San Francisco. The only easier opponent was Denver. The overall combined record of those teams is 51-33.
New York had its trio of wide receivers for the first time in 2020 and it translated into Joe Flacco’s best game of the year. Crowder, Perriman and Mims all had a positive impact on the field.
The Jets almost pulled off the upset against New England. See what the Patriots did to the Ravens in the following week, which shows they aren’t that bad.
Meanwhile, can we affirm that the Chargers have shown they deserve being 9-point favorites? Not really. Justin Herbert is showing promise in his rookie season, but beating an NFL opponent by 10+ points is no easy task. Los Angeles has been involved in many tight games, and I expect this one to close too.
The Jets are coming off their bye week, and a good betting angle that has done well over the years is as follows:
Bet a bad team as a road underdog by 7.5+ points if they have been underdogs in at least four straight games.
New York meets all criteria for betting here. They also have a 7-3 ATS record over the past 10 head-to-head meetings with the Chargers.
Also note that Los Angeles has a mediocre 8-20 ATS record at home facing a team with a losing record. They simply struggle to crush weaker opponents at home.
For entertainment purposes, here are some leans for you:
- LEAN #1: Patriots -2.5 at Texans (Houston’s defense is bad, their running game is bad and their offensive line is bad. The only positive about this team is its aerial attack, but the Pats are pretty effective defending the pass);
- LEAN #2: Packers +2.5 at Colts (Green Bay survived a scare against the Jags last week, so they won’t play softly again. Taking Aaron Rodgers as an underdog is often a good idea, especially facing a suspect QB like Philip Rivers. The Pack beat the spread 7 out of 8 times on fieldturf recently);
- LEAN #3: Dolphins -3 at Broncos (Tua Tagovailoa >>>>>> Brett Rypien (or Drew Lock, if he plays) and Miami is simply playing much smarter football than Denver. Amazing job by Brian Flores, who has a good shot to win the head coach of the year award).
Have a lucrative weekend, buddy!
(Sports Betting Expert / University Professor / PhD in statistics)