Mike Carlson take his weekly look at the NFL action and he can't resist dabbling (rwice!) in the clash between Kansas City and LA...
"Both teams are high scoring, neither team is dominating defensively, and even when you look at the Rams win last week (36-31 over Seattle) and the Chiefs stuttering against the Arizona D (26-14) you have 62 points."
Week 10 reminded us of an old lesson: "nobody knows anything"
Here's the thing about best bets. Sometimes they kick you in the butt and laugh. Last week I advised Tampa at home giving three to Washington looked pretty good. Well, if you deducted the three points from the Bucs Sunday, you got zero, both literally and metaphorically. It was one of those weeks. Luckily, small solace, the Chargers managed to cover giving the Raiders 10 (thanks coach Gruden, for that terrible sweep on fourth and goal at the one which set the tone), but looking back it was the kind of week where none of your picks make you feel uncomfortable until Sunday night.
I wrote last week about how the teams were stratifying at this stage of the season, and we were getting a better idea of who was who in the playoff race. What I didn't catch at that point was the way the middle stratum is a bit bigger and a lot more amorphous than I realised. Which is a very fancy way of saying, in the immortal words of the screenwriter William Goldman explaining how Hollywood works: "nobody knows anything". Especially me. I was only 7-7 straight up, but looking back, there were only two of those losses where I even considered seriously picking the other way. Having said that, and having taken a few large grains of salt, let's get on to week 11, and bring on the over!
Chiefs and Rams set for shootout
Best Bet: Kansas City at LA Rams Over (63.5 at evs)
This is the highest over/under in NFL history, though it's gone down since the game was moved from Mexico City back to Los Angeles, and now is inching back up (at 62.5 it was a steal). If you want to bet it, bet it now because it's only going to go higher before Monday night (as all the disappointed Sunday money comes rolling in on the only game on offer). Both teams are high scoring, neither team is dominating defensively, and even when you look at the Rams win last week (36-31 over Seattle) and the Chiefs stuttering against the Arizona D (26-14) you have 62 points. But if you're not convinced by the over/under, or if it moves any higher, check the outside bets below.
Ryan to keep Falcons close
Value Bet: Atlanta (-3.5 at 11/10) vs Dallas
The Falcons are homers, no two ways about it. They score more, Matt Ryan's passes go further and they sometimes look as if they know their way around the red zone. The Cowboys came out last week and looked like their two moves around the trading deadline had paid off: Amari Cooper won some matchups and more importantly the O line appeared to blocking with the simple efficency they had two seasons ago, when Zeke Elliott ran wild. This is a problem for the Falcons, who aren't very good in run D against power teams, but the Cowboys are playing back-to-back road games, and their back end pass coverage is something Ryan can exploit if the Falcons have their home field shoes on.
Chiefs may be value straight-up while Bears can start fast
Outside Bet: Kansas City (moneyline at 6/4) at LA Rams
The Rams were giving the Chiefs 2.5 when the game was in Mexico City, and now with it moved to LA, home field advantage has boosted that to 3.5 at 19/20. But if you think that this is a 60 points plus kind of game, that 3.5 looks a bit smaller than it usually would, and if you fancy the Chiefs it might be better to jump on the better odds on the moneyline. If the whole game scares you off, or if you can't wait until Monday night, you might try Sunday night's Minnesota at Chicago game.
The Bears are giving 2.5, which is kind of a dead number, even in this relatively low scoring game (the over/under is at 44.5, and I'm tempted by the over at 19/20). But what I really like is betting the Bears (first half total over 10.5 at 5/6) since they have been a fairly good starting team, probably because coach Matt Nagy tends to work off a scripted play list at the start of the game, which QB Mitch Trubisky can execute better with the preparation.