NFL expert Mike Carlson landed two out of three bets last week and serves up a further trio of tips for week 10 including a low-scoring contest between Jacksonville and Indianapolis...
Myles Jack's range was a huge part of the Jags win over the Bills, but the Colts have a lot of range at the second level too, and I think their O line is a step above Buffalo's. It looks to me like a low scoring game.
Under the new trophies for every kid NFL playoffs, there are seven spots for each 16 team conference. As it happens the AFC has 11 teams with winning records right now; the NFC has only six. But the inter-conference record shows the AFC leading 23-22.
Yes, the NFC has winless Detroit, but Washington Team Football is the only other team below three wins (with two), while the AFC has Houston with one win and Jacksonville and the NY Jest all with two, Miami edged out of the two win club with an unexpected defeat of Baltimore Ravens last night. More significant, maybe, is the idea that the NFC has one loss Arizona and two loss Dallas, Tampa, Green Bay and LA, while Tennessee and Baltimore were the only AFC teams with only two losses.
Hell of a fight for wild cards
What does this mean? I think you have a lot of teams in the AFC struggling at the moment to establish who they are, while in the NFC there is going to be a group of not so good teams that will ride their second-half schedules, one way or another into a wild card. Contenders or pretenders? Atlanta? Minnesota? Seattle? Could 9-8 get one in? Meanwhile, say Baltimore, Buffalo, Tennessee (7-2 and with an easy schedule even without Derrick Henry) and someone from the West - instinct says KC - win their divisions. Those three wild cards could be a hell of a fight.
And Thursday night's result emphasized the point, besides the obvious one that the game itself is a weekly abomination of lessened readiness. The 6-2 Ravens met a good defensive game plan, couldn't really adjust without their non-Lamar running game stymied, and gave up a pick turnover TD that changed the face of the game: the same sort of scenario that informed another couple of surprise wins in week 9.
The second half of the season is where the teams that have found their identity round into form - see the Bucs last season - and where the grind of the schedule starts to really bite at teams with injury concerns or unsettled weaknesses their opponents have learned to exploit.
Last week I told you my NFL...Only Bettor podcast best bet was the Chargers/Eagles over 50. Sadly, it wasn't the pod best bet (I messed that up somehow) but it did pay off here. Our best bet here was Falcons/Saints over 42, which duly paid as well, though the Ravens failed to cover six (which was our value bet and the pod best) and the Rams failed miserably, losing to the Titans. It was break even kind of week, even though straight up it was an 8-6 nightmare.
Week 10 Tips as season enters second half
Sunday 18:00 - Colts will be better than Bills at containing Jags
It will be harder for the Jags to duplicate that amazing win against the Bills now that they are on the road: but you can bet pressure will again be their primary weapon, and you can force Carson Wentz into big mistakes, as we have seen. Myles Jack's range was a huge part of that win, but the Colts have a lot of range at the second level too, and I think their O line is step above Buffalo's. It looks to me like a low scoring game.
Jamie Collins Bowl! The Covid status of Nick Chubb is a factor here: D'Earnest Johnson is one of D'Best backups in the league. The Pats are a strong run D, which could make the battle Baker vs their secondary which remains somewhat patchwork after the losses of Gilmore and Jones. J O-K is returning from IR, but for him and others (Chris Carson in Seattle) that doesn't necessarily mean he plays, as the team has 21 days to activate him.
The Pats want to be a run-first team, but their own top two backs: Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris are both in concussion protocol, which would make Brandon Bolden the number one guy. They might be getting Trent Brown to play tackle, which would help, as the Browns will likely emphasize Myles Garrett and the blitz against rookie Mac Jones. The Pats have knee worries about both Nick Folk and Jake Bailey - big problems for a ball-control team.
The Cowboys were stymied by Vic Fangio's D, who made Dak look very rusty, but the big question is how will the Dallas O line look against the Falcon's Front, which looked better the past couple of weeks. But I wonder if Atlanta can perform the same kind of magic in their second straight road game, or if the Cowboys could be so bad. Watch AJ Terrell, who quietly is having a top season for the Falcons at corner, while Trevon Diggs gets a lot of spotlight for his picks (how about JC Jackson?)
The Bills couldn't do what they wanted against the Jags, not only because of Josh Allen's pressure on Josh Allen, but because they held the latter Allen inside the pocket, and Buffalo couldn't run the ball. Zach Moss is in concussion protocol, and would help if he's back. The Jets' front could take a page from the Jags' game plan and, with Mike White back, they'll hope they can generate some offense. The line is down to Jets +12, from 13.5, but even so they could be in a position to cover.
The Titans beat up the Rams up front: Jeffrey Simmons and Denico "Gene" Autry forcing them into a one dimensional game. They may have a harder time doing that against a very good Saints' line, but the Saints have RB problems of their own if Alvin Kamara isn't ready, and it's hard to evaluate the rumours about his injury status. The Saints will want to force the Titans into the kind of game Tenn put the Rams into, and I can see it falling to Ryan Tannehill and AJ Brown to win it, against a pretty good Saints' secondary. But I'd rather be counting on Tanny than either Taysom or Trevot the Passing Primate.
Palindromic Records! For a reason. The Bucs are coming off a bye and WTF will probably look at last week and think maybe they can do the same sort of thing with pressure to them that the Jags did to the Bills or Titans to the Rams. Think again. The line has stayed firm at -9.5 and, though it's a road game for the Bucs, that is tempting.
They have to win sometime, don't they? Pittsburgh were the only one of the 11 teams in the AFC with a winning record who have been outscored by their opponents, and the slow Lion D would seem to be best suited to play against what is a creaky if not slow Steeler. It is significant that the spread is "only" +8.5 for the Lions, and Pitts have won their last three games by two, five and three. You might see a cover here, in a low scoring Under 42.5 kind of thing.
Sunday 21:05 - Cardinals and Panthers to score plenty of points
Palindromic Records and one of the week's most interesting games. Brandan Staley wants the Chargers to establish the run because he knows how important toughness is at this stage of the season, but their line isn't very good, they don't have much power in their run game and the Vikes remain a tough nut up front. Problem is Minn is pretty predictable on O, and if you can stop the run you can beat them. But the Chargers cannot stop the run either, which means their game is primarily big plays by Justin Hebert and their big play defenders, Joey Bosa and Derwin James. Vikings +3 is a well-weighted line, but I'd be more inclined to look under 53.
The Panthers put Sam Darnold on IR, with a sprained game, and signed Matt Barkley, making them his ninth NFL team in eight seasons. I suspect they signed him only after failing to talk Mark Sanchez out of the TV studios. The Cards won and scored 41 with Colt McCoy, although most of the credit belongs to James Connor. The Cards ought to score, and the Panthers, whoever is at QB (PJ Taylor or Barkley) should only have to contribute 10 to a 44 point over.
Sunday 21:25 - Combo bet value at Mile High
Russell Wilson should be back for the Hawks and, although he refused to say so unequivocally, it's likely Aaron Rodgers will be back for the Pack, assuming he stops searching for the $14,000 the NFL fined him for, get this, not wearing a mask to the team's Halloween party. If he'd gone as, say, Joe Rogan, he would have been fine, not fined. CeeDee Lamb was fined $20,000 for having his jersey untucked during last week's game, which is an indication of the NFL's position on their Covid policy. Love certainly wasn't all the Pats need: it was shocking how unprepared he seemed. I like the Pack to cover 3.5 here.
The Broncos turned in a brilliant performance in Dallas: 41 minutes of possession off the running of rookie Javonte Williams and veteran Melvin Gordon, and the good luck of the recovered muffed blocked punt just when Dallas had held them to start the third quarter trailing 16-0. The Eagles are not Dallas; they're a one dimensional running team that isn't really able to run much unless Jalen Hurts breaks some big plays; they are, however, a good run D up front with Javon Hargrave taking over as the main main inside with Fletcher Cox. Denver-3 was my best bet pick on the pod, and the line is now 2.5 which to my mind makes it even better. So take that as a best, and try a combo bet for value, as 44.5 is point lower than the straight over/under line.
DeSean Jackson Bowl! DeSean of course had his big years with the Eagles under Andy Reid, but now he is primarily a one-dimensional deep threat who is supposed to replace Henry Ruggs as the guy who opens up defenses underneath. I thought Andy might make a pitch to bring Jackson to try and make life easier for Tyreek Hill in terms of big plays. The Raiders are coming off a bye, and Derek Carr has quietly been playing pretty consistently well, especially since Gruden left and got off his back, while Patrick Mahomes continues to baffle us.
Everyone keeps waiting for the "old" Chiefs to bounce back, as if they'll be like Jerry Lawler and drop the strap from their metaphorical wrestling trunks and stage a Superman comeback. But sitting at 5-4, with the Bills and Ravens losing, they are sitting a game behind and their D appears to be getting back into some kind of form: though facing Love instead of Rodgers may have contributed to that illusion.
The Rams are loading up on big names: first Von Miller now Odell Beckham. The Beckham signing isn't as overblown as it has been overblown: he's been frustrated with the Giants' losing culture and with the Browns' run-first schemes, and of course he's been playing his way back from injury, but among a lot of teams that feel the loss of the legit third WR who makes things work, OBJ to the Rams could be a very good fit. It doesn't do much to address their softness up front, but McVay likes to scheme around that, and Miller is a perfect chess piece to make Shanahan's efforts to do the same in San Francisco more difficult.
Matt Stafford sprained his ankle Sunday, but the Rams have him off the injury report, so it seems likely he will play (if he doesn't they ought to face a massive punishment from the league) and Beckham probably helped the healing process. You saw how Cooper Kupp was contained by the Titans: you can't do that if a legit deep threat is there. I think the Rams react with a win, and a four point cover is not impossible.
Bye week: Cincinnati (5-4), Chicago (3-6), NY Giants (3-6)
Bye bye week: Houston (1-8) "Tyrod or not Tyrod, that is the question"
Get a £5 Free Bet on Multiples - Every Day!
Place £20 worth of Multiples or Bet Builders over the course of a day, and, after the bets have settled, you'll get a free £5 bet to use on Multiples or Bet Builders. Bets must settle within 48 hours. No opt-in required, T&Cs apply.