Week 10 Rankings & Game Flowbotics
Once again, my picks against the spread and Week 10 rankings are below. The picks and ranks are informed by the matchup data in my Game Flowbotics spreadsheet. Here’s a link to this week’s edition:
The betting gods struck down my against the spread picks last week, as I went 1-5 and fell to 24-22-2 on the season. I took too many road favorites (including some classically public teams like Green Bay and New England, tsk tsk), while the Jacoby Brissett injury doomed my IND (+1) pick. On the flip side, I managed to get back on track with over/unders in Week 9, going 3-1 to raise my seasonal record to 15-11-0. My only miss was going over on Houston-Jacksonville (where believing in the Jags’ passing offense also cost me grossly in fantasy, ugh). The lesson, as always, is beware the London games. Here are the lines I like on the upcoming slate:
BAL at CIN (+9.5), 45.5-Point Over/Under
I laid a lot of points last week to no avail, and here I am again taking a road favorite. Picking Baltimore to win by 10 might seem even sketchier when you look back to the Week 6 contest between these teams, where the Ravens won by a mere six points at home. But Cincinnati had the good fortune of opening that game with a kick return touchdown, and their defense managed to keep Baltimore out of the end zone after the first quarter. All in all, the game’s 23-17 result feels fluky considering the Ravens’ fourth-ranked offense and the Bengals 31st-ranked defense. Maybe I haven’t learned my lesson after getting spanked last week, but I expect Baltimore to soar past their wingless (not to mention winless) opponent.
The Pick: BAL (-9.5)
BUF at CLE (-3), 40-Point Over/Under
It’s tough to believe a 2-6 team could be favored over a 6-2 team, but total DVOA pegs these teams pretty closely—Buffalo ranks 25th and Cleveland ranks 24th. Their average point differentials paint a different picture, though, with Buffalo winning by an average of 3.4 points and Cleveland losing by an average of 6.6 points. Furthermore, the Bills own this matchups only better-than-average position group, as their defensive DVOA sits at -1.40% (negative numbers are good for defense), which ranks 15th in the league. The line is so strange that I wouldn’t blame anyone for staying away (and I’m only throwing a couple units at it in the BettingPros accuracy contest for that reason), but give me the points.
The Pick: BUF (+3)
KC at TEN (+3.5), 48.5-Point Over/Under
Tennessee cornerback Malcolm Butler just landed on injured reserve, and the Titans defense was already without defensive tackle Jurrell Casey. Even if Casey can return, the Chiefs should have little trouble moving the ball, and the Titans’ offense will have to keep up. Taking the over is a little shaky because Patrick Mahomes’ availability is still in question and Tennessee has a habit of making games ugly, but I feel like we’re getting a discounted line relative to those recent injuries to Titans defenders.
The Pick: Over 48.5
ARI at TB (-4.5), 51.5-Point Over/Under
The Cardinals are a covering machine, and they’re squaring off against another pass-first offense in the Buccaneers. Look for Kyler Murray to keep this close with a lot of help from Christian Kirk, and smash the over.
The Picks: ARI (+4.5), Over 51.5
DET at CHI (-2.5), 42.5-Point Over/Under
I’m not sure if I’ll ever get the Bears right this season. With that said, I believe passing offense is the most important aspect of an NFL team, and Detroit has a significant advantage in that phase of the game over Chicago. In passing offense DVOA, the Lions rank fifth and the Bears rank 22nd. That’s reason enough for me to take the points with the road team.
2019-11-10 UPDATE: With Matthew Stafford ruled out and the line shifting to CHI (-6.5), this matchup is a stayaway.
DET +2.5 No Pick
MIA at IND (-10), 44-Point Over/Under
Taking Miami to cover these inflated spreads has been easy money over the past few weeks, and I’m staying on that train for another game. Indianapolis simply hasn’t been winning big this season (average point differential of 0.6), and now they’re in line for a downgrade from Jacoby Brissett to Brian Hoyer at quarterback.
The Pick: MIA (+10)
LAR at PIT (+3.5), 44-Point Over/Under
With the Rams’ fourth-ranked defense well rested off their bye, I expect a rude awakening game for Mason Rudolph and the Steelers’ 28th-ranked offense. Hopefully, the extra week of preparation will also pay dividends for Jared Goff and the Rams’ struggling offensive line, which is no guarantee because Pittsburgh’s defense has been great this season. But because the Steelers are a public team and because I believe their offense is fraudulent, I’m laying the points with the road favorite who ranks 10 spots better in total DVOA.
The Pick: LAR (-3.5)
MIN at DAL (-3.5), 47.5-Point Over/Under
Minnesota and Dallas are the sixth- and fourth-best teams according to total DVOA, so this is a pretty even matchup. Factor in the Cowboys playing on a short week, and I think it’s worth grabbing the points.
The Pick: MIN (+3.5)
On to the weekly rankings…