NFL Tipsheet: Mini previews and recommended bets for all Week 11 fixtures

Ben Roethlisberger can end the week with a Pittsburgh win

The NFL play-off picture is murkier than the set of River Monsters. Luca Bercelli wades through the mud and shines some light on this weekend's games

"The Chargers' season is fizzling out faster than a Poundland sparkler on bonfire night. Three losses in a row have taken them firmly out of the AFC West race and they're struggling to even make a wildcard spot. The question is, can the 0-9 Raiders take advantage? Well with a 10 point spread on offer the answer is a definite yes"

Atlanta Falcons @ Carolina Panthers
Sunday 18:00

Cam Newton has been moaning about carrying injuries for the majority of the season. That sounds like a poor excuse for his below average play since not many injuries cause QBs to throw the ball harder. That's been his main problem; hurling the nugget at warp factor 10 and either overthrowing receivers, or leaving them with no time to adjust to the flight. The problem is fixable because the weapons are there; rookie Kelvin Benjamin has been a revelation and veteran Greg Olsen is ultra reliable. Classic no-bet territory but with recent signs of improvement from the Falcons, they just get the vote.
Recommended Bet
Back the Atlanta Falcons to win @ 2.111/10

Cincinnati Bengals @ New Orleans Saints
Sunday 18:00

The Bengals are very thin at backup quarterback, and that's a relief for Carrot Top, as any viable alternative would be straining at the leash by now. That being said, a few more helpings of the kind of tripe he dished out last weekend and fifth round draft pick A.J. McCarron could be looking for A.J. Green faster than you can say A.J.T.D. The Saints are pretty hit-and-miss this season, but they're always a handful at home. I'll take then on the spread.
Recommended Bet
Back the New Orleans Saints -4.5pts @ 1.584/7

Denver Broncos @ St Louis Rams
Sunday 18:00

If you've been reading these columns you'll know that I'm itching to oppose the Broncos on account of the fact that I think Peyton Manning is grossly overrated. Even I can't deny, however, that he (or at least his defense and wide receivers) generally steam-rollers sub-standard opposition. The Rams have a three and six record, which speaks for itself; but they have beaten the 49ers and the Seahawks in recent weeks, and actually match up quite well against Denver. Key to beating Manning is to pressure him in the pocket; something that the Rams should be able to do with their sack-happy defense.
Recommended Bet
Back the St Louis Rams +9.5pts @ 2.111/10

Houston Texans @ Cleveland Browns
Sunday 18:00

Cleveland has all the momentum in this one and even a quarterback change for the Texans shouldn't spoil the party. Ex-Patriots back-up Ryan Mallett will have to do more for his dollar this week than clipboard relay duties and, promising though he may be, the Browns have a good passing defense and should keep him in check. The Browns are staring at the dizzy heights of four wins in a row, and although not a mortgage job, well worth a nibble in your weekly Acca.
Recommended Bet
Back the Cleveland Browns to win @ 1.68/13

Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears
Sunday 18:00

It's not possible for the Bears to be as clueless as they were last week but whatever sized rocket they've had up their collective arse since then will not be enough to revitalise what is, without doubt a sinking ship. Every area of the squad is under-performing, as are the coaching staff, and that just won't be good enough against the sneakily efficient Vikings. The Vikes have been keeping me in bread and butter (with the odd scone thrown in) on a regular basis, and their exciting rookie quarterback and solid defense should be enough for another W.
Recommended Bet
Back the Minnesota Vikings +3.5pts @ 1.910/11

San Francisco 49ers @ New York Giants
Sunday 18:00

If it wasn't for rookie sensation Odell Beckham racking up the yards at wide receiver the Giants would be in an even bigger funk than they already are, having slumped to three and six. The kid could again be starring in a losing cause as he'll face the Niners, a strong defensive outfit, and a squad that is gradually rediscovering some of its mojo. Tricky from a betting perspective but the play has to be San Fran on the spread.
Recommended Bet
Back the San Francisco 49ers -4.0pts @ 2.01/1

Seattle Seahawks @ Kansas City Chiefs
Sunday 18:00

Game of the week in my humble opinion. A good match-up for the Seahawks, whose multi-pronged rushing attack will test the Chiefs' suspect run-defense. I'll be shocked if this one isn't close but even with home advantage and a four-game winning streak, I still think the Chiefs have it all to do against the champs.
Recommended Bet
Back the Seattle Seahawks to win @ 2.166/5

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Washington Redskins
Sunday 18:00

Washington's Robert Griffin III needs to have a strong performance in the near future to get his career back on track. It nearly happened last week against the Vikings; nearly, but not quite. He needs to jump all over the Bucs or else rumblings of discontent will only get louder. Colt McCoy came in for the previous two games, played solidly, and walked away with two wins. The fact that he was immediately dumped for RG III has not pleased some of his teammates. The spread doesn't appeal so I'll rely on a tense atmosphere and take the unders.
Recommended Bet
Back under 45.5pts @ 2.0421/20

Oakland Raiders @ San Diego Chargers
Sunday 21:05

The Chargers' season is fizzling out faster than a Poundland sparkler on bonfire night. Three losses in a row have taken them firmly out of the AFC West race and they're struggling to even make a wildcard spot. The question is, can the 0-9 Raiders take advantage? Well, with a 10 point spread on offer the answer is a definite yes. There's no team in the league that won't get mullered by the Broncos, as the Raiders did last week; but in their previous four games they'd played hard and kept it close against good opposition. Ten points is a gift.
Recommended Bet
Back the Oakland Raiders +10.0pts @ 1.910/11
Best Bet

Detroit Lions @ Arizona Cardinals
Sunday 21:25

The Cards have done it for us all season but, much as I rate them, I'm struggling to see why they should be favourites here. Points will be hard to come by against this defense, whereas Megatron for the Lions could do some serious damage. It should be a grind all round but I'm always wary of Garbage Time points in this situation. Let's concentrate on the first half total and take any stress out of the equation.
Recommended Bet
Back under 20.5pts in the first half @ 2.01/1

Philadelphia Eagles @ Green Bay Packers
Sunday 21:25

If Clay Matthews plays in his new position of inside linebacker anywhere near as effectively as he did last week then powderpuff interception machine Mark Sanchez will need plenty of spare underpants. It's not just that he's limited, it's specifically because the worst aspect of his game is his lack of awareness in the pocket, something that Matthews should be able to exploit mercilessly. With a strong Philly defense, and a hopefully misfiring Mark Sanchez this is yet another game where I'm happy to take the unders.
Recommended Bet
Back under 55.0pts @ 2.01/1

New England Patriots @ Indianapolis Colts
Monday 01:30

This game is a pick if ever I've seen one yet the market has Indy as fairly strong favourites at 1.75/7. Now, no one is a bigger fan than me of Andrew (the Answer) Luck; but he has faltered against New England in the past, and comes up against a red-hot side who destroyed Denver in their own back yard last time out. The Pats should be odds-on against anybody after a performance like that and I'm all over them with a three point start.
Recommended Bet
Back the New England Patriots +3.0pts @ 2.01/1

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Tennessee Titans
Tuesday 01:30

This'll be a win for the Steelers whose loss to the Jets last week wasn't as horrible as some experts think. After all, the Jets with Micky Vicky at the helm are a dangerous beast, and I think they'll be tough to beat down the stretch. Pittsburgh's D will make life tough for rookie QB Zach Mettenberger, and that, plus the ever dependable Ben Roethlisberger racking up points on the other side makes this Berger Battle fairly easy to predict.
Recommended Bet
Back the Pittsburgh Steelers -5.5pts @ 1.9520/21

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