Welcome to another edition of Lines' Best Bets of the week.
The Week 10 NFL schedule includes intra-divisional matchups in seven of the 14 games. Obviously, that makes things a little more challenging to predict. However, we’ve crunched the numbers and put some deep thought into this week’s picks. Here are our preferred betting options for Week 10 of the NFL season.
Jacksonville Jaguars +13.5 at Green Bay Packers
On paper, this seems like a mismatch deserving of such a big spread. But we’re a little wary of laying down this many points, even for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Even with four of their six wins coming by at least two touchdowns, keep in mind that the Packers have lost two of their last four games. Rodgers is also overly reliant on Davante Adams, as the rest of Green Bay’s receivers are inconsistent from week to week. With the Jaguars coming to town, the Packers may not be as sharp as they would like, leading to a much closer game.
At the same time, there are lingering concerns about the Green Bay defense. The Packers still need a decent performance on that side of the ball to ensure a two-touchdown win, even against the lowly Jaguars. We’ve seen the Packers struggle to stop the run while Jags running back James Robinson has rushed for 218 yards and two touchdowns in his last two games. Rookie quarterback Jake Luton also showed some promise in his debut last week. The Packers won’t have much film on Luton to help prepare for him, so with the element of surprise, the Jaguars could give the Packers a game and keep the final score closer than 14 points.
Miami Dolphins -2.5 vs Los Angeles Chargers
The time has come to start taking the Dolphins seriously. Miami has won four straight games and even managed to switch quarterbacks without suffering a loss. There were some questions about whether Tua Tagovailoa was ready for his first start. But he looked comfortable and poised last week against Arizona. Outside of Week 1, the Dolphins have scored at least 23 points in every game, so their offense has been consistent this year even if they haven’t put up eye-popping numbers.
More importantly, the Fins defense has been one of the best in the NFL, conceding just 20.1 points per game. The games when the Dolphins have struggled are when they’ve faced mobile quarterbacks like Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson. While the Chargers are no doubt pleased with the play of rookie Justin Herbert, he’s not a serious running threat. Herbert’s efforts also haven’t been enough to win games. The Bolts defense has conceded close to 32 points per game over the team’s last five games. The Chargers haven’t been good at playing with a lead and they haven’t even stopped mediocre rushing teams from running the ball. Ultimately, the Dolphins winning this game by at least a field goal doesn’t seem like a big risk.
Los Angeles Rams -1.5 vs Seattle Seahawks
It’s important not to overreact too much to the Seahawks losing two of their last three games. After all, they’re still atop the NFC West standings and they still have an MVP candidate in Russell Wilson leading the way. However, recent losses to Arizona and Buffalo on the road have exposed some of Seattle’s problems. For starters, the defense is one of the worst in the NFL. Even more concerning, Wilson isn’t getting the protection he needs and is becoming turnover prone, throwing five interceptions over his last three games. The Seahawks are also struggling to find a consistent ground game with Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde battling injuries.
All of Seattle’s flaws could spell trouble against a team like the Rams. Despite some inconsistency this season, we know the L.A. offense can get it cranking, especially against flawed defensive teams. The Rams have also allowed the second-fewest points in the NFL this season. With Aaron Donald, the Rams have a defensive line that can continue to disrupt Seattle’s running game and put Wilson under constant pressure. Over four quarters, that figures to wear the Seahawks down and make it difficult for Wilson to work his magic in a close game. Seattle has been out-scored 47-31 in the fourth quarter over their last three games, and if that trend continues, the Rams should be able to pull out a close win and cover the 1.5-point spread at home.
San Francisco 49ers +9 at New Orleans Saints
San Francisco has been a wildly inconsistent team in recent weeks, but it's never smart to count out the 49ers. It’s also fair to dismiss their loss to the Packers after several key players were placed on the COVID-19 list the night before the game. With more than a week to recover and prepare, the 49ers should be in decent shape heading into this game. Even with Jimmy Garoppolo out, Nick Mullens can be a viable quarterback, especially if the 49ers can avoid digging themselves an early hole.
At the same time, it’s important not to overreact to the Saints dominating the Bucs 38-3 last week. It was just one of those nights for Tampa Bay rather than a major statement by the Saints. While New Orleans has won five consecutive games, the previous four have all come by six points or less. In fact, the Bucs are the only team the Saints have beat this year by more than six points. While the New Orleans defense is decent, the Saints have conceded at least 23 points in every game outside of last week’s win over the Buccaneers. If that trend continues, it won’t be that easy for the Saints to cover nine points against a well-rested and motivated San Francisco team.
Baltimore Ravens -7 at New England Patriots
A seven-point spread in this game feels like a gift, even with the Ravens going on the road against New England got a much-needed confidence boost with last week’s win over the winless Jets. While the Ravens aren’t quite the high-flyers offensively they were a year ago, they typically don’t have a problem finding the end zone a few times every game. Even against quality defensive teams like the Steelers and Colts in the last two weeks, Baltimore scored 24 points. That should be the minimum that the Ravens will score this week against a New England defense that gave up 27 points to a team with Joe Flacco at quarterback.
Meanwhile, we shouldn’t be expecting any miracle comebacks by Cam Newton and the New England offense against the Baltimore defense. The Ravens should be ready for a team that has to do everything on the ground because Newton’s arm isn’t what it used to be. Keep in mind he has just two touchdown passes in seven games this season. That’s not going to cut it against a team that’s given up the fewest points in the NFL and averages three sacks per game. Even if the Pats keep it close in the first half, the Ravens should impose their will and win by a comfortable margin, covering the spread.
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