By John Kaufman NFL Betting Analyst
First of all, my apologies for not posting this article last week. You know how sometimes you win at life, but at other times life just whips your rear end? Well, last week life just won. But, like the old saying goes, “it’s not how many times you get knocked down, it’s how many times you get back up.” Damn straight. I’m back with more Best Bets for you. Let’s do this.
I’m going toc quickly recap week nine and then move on to week 11’s Best Bets. It’s time to make some money, y’all. #LFG!
(Oh, and don’t forget to check out this week’s Across the Board Best Bets/DFS podcast, where Chandler Adams and I walk you through our Best Bets for this week, and we also built one hell of a DFS lineup for you to use. Enjoy the free money!)
Week Nine Postmortem Results: 1-3 2019 Record: 13-17-1 44% win rate
What a frustrating week. I finished with a dismal 1-3 record, but I was two missed field goals away from going 3-1. Sometimes it just seems like anything that can go wrong, will. The silver lining is that I had the games nailed as far as them playing out as I predicted they would. I just got unlucky that both kickers choked. Like I said, it was annoyingly frustrating to watch.
IND -PICK- (-115) at PIT Result: LOSS (PIT 26-IND 24)
Despite T.Y. Hilton not being available to suit up due to an injured calf, and also losing quarterback Jacoby Brissett very early in the game to a knee sprain, the Colts held up just fine in this contest. Backup quarterback Brian Hoyer played well enough to give his team a chance to steal this one on the road. But as I mentioned above, Adam Vinatieri missed a 43-yard field goal with 1:11 left in the game that would have given the Colts a 27-26 lead. Instead he pushed the kick way left and the Steelers took two knees and ended the game. I believe that I was on the right side of this bet. I just got unlucky.
Before we move on this needs to be addressed:
Adam Vinatieri is 46 years old and has now missed five field goals in 17 attempts this year. It is his worst season ever by far. Maybe I’m an idiot for asking this question, but hell, I’m going to ask it anyway. Do the Colts have to have a kicker on the roster who was born during Richard Nixon’s presidency? I mean, wouldn’t it make sense if they tried to find a guy who isn’t collecting Social Security? I just don’t get it at all. There has to be a kicker out there who was born after the invention of airplanes that the Colts could use. There just has to be. Their unwillingness to move on from this mummy cost them a pretty important win, and of course, my bet. Unreal.
In all seriousness, I have no ill will toward Adam Vinatieri at all, and I’m sure he’s a lovely human being. I am simply stupefied, however, that he is on an NFL roster. That’s all.
TB +5.5 (-110) at SEA Result: LOSS (SEA 40-TB 34)
After watching Vinatieri whiff on his potential game-winning kick, I didn’t think things could get worse. To which Seattle’s kicker, Jason Myers, promptly responded, “Hold my beer.”
With 4:25 left in this game and Tampa Bay down 34-27, Jameis Winston led his team on a 10-play drive resulting in a game-tying touchdown with :46 seconds left. It was an impressive performance from a quarterback known much more for making game-ending mistakes than he is for anything else. Being on the Bucs side of this bet, that touchdown drive was huge for us.
On the ensuing possession and with very little time left, Russell Wilson’s only goal was to try to get his team into field goal range so that Myers could at least attempt a game-winning field goal. Wilson, as brilliant as ever, ripped off a 21-yard with 35 seconds left in the game that put Seattle on the Bucs 31-yard line. Two plays later Seattle found itself on Tampa’s 22, which is where the game-winning attempt would be snapped from. But clearly Myers didn’t want Vinatieri to have all the fun in ripping our hearts out on Sunday. No, Myers wanted in on the disappointing action as well, so he pushed his 40-yard attempt wide right, sending the game into overtime. And of course, Seattle won the toss, got the ball, marched right down the field and scored a game-winning touchdown, thus winning by six disgusting points. There are bad beats and then there was this game. Ugh.
Just before halftime Tampa Bay led Seattle 21-7. They looked like the better team all day long. And just as I predicted, Seattle’s defense really struggled with trying to stop the Bucs’ offense. Tampa ran 72 plays in this game and racked up 418 total yards. They also won the time of possession battle. They should have won this game for sure so backing the Bucs was a good call. If Myers makes a pretty easy 40-yard field goal as time expired, we’d have won this bet. Again, frustrating doesn’t even begin to describe this one.
OAK -2.5 (-110) vs DET Result: WIN (OAK 31-DET 24)
Oakland pretty much controlled this game from start to finish, so this bet felt pretty comfortable all game long. Although Detroit’s last possession did end at the Oakland one-yard line, but thankfully Matt Stafford’s 4th and goal pass attempt fell harmlessly to the turf. Watching that last drive was anything but comfortable, that’s for sure. But the bad luck that gobbled us up with the Indianapolis and Tamp Bay bets evened out a bit here and helped us cash this bet. Most importantly, I liked Oakland in this game for two reasons, both of which came to fruition. First, prior to this matchup with Detroit, the Raiders hadn’t played a home game in 49 days. I pointed out that being back in the friendly confines would help them immensely, and it did. Second, Detroit has been having an awful time trying to stop their opponents’ rushing attacks, which I thought the Raiders would be able to take advantage of. And boy did they ever. They rushed for 171 yards on 4.8 yards per carry vs the Lions, which directly contributed to this win. There is nothing more beautiful than when my pregame research leads me to feel pretty solid about a bet, and then the game unfolds exactly as I thought it would. Man is that the absolute best. And after the way those first two games ended, this win felt especially good. Six Point Teaser of The Week:
+ 6 points, -110
Result: LOSS JAX +7.5 vs HOU – Result: LOSS (HOU 26-JAX 3) BAL +9.5 vs NE – Result: WIN (BAL 37-NE 20)
Jacksonville getting hammered in this game really surprised me. I did not see that coming at all. Don’t get me wrong – I like Houston a lot and I think that they have a better chance than most people realize to at least play in the AFC Championship game, if not win it. But in the past few seasons, Jacksonville had played the Texans very tough and very close in each game. I expected that to continue and I was dead wrong. This is an example of bad process. Houston is simply a much better team than Jacksonville is, but I let recency bias get the better of me. Nothing to do but correct that and be better next time.
Of course, the real shame of getting the Jags part of this teaser wrong was that I was right about liking Baltimore against New England. After watching the Patriots get run all over by the Cleveland Browns the week prior, I was instantly concerned about how New England would be able to contain the Ravens’ rushing attack. Obviously if any coach can stop an offense that had been previously unstoppable, it’s Bill Belichick. And that is why I didn’t recommend taking the Ravens +3.5 – Belichick is pretty scary to bet against. But taking 9.5 points at home with a team that can run on anyone felt like a great bet, which is exactly how it turned out. Again, getting the Jacksonville half of this bet wrong killed this teaser, but it was nice to correctly identify the Baltimore half of the bet.
NFL Week Eleven – Best Bets
We have 13 games of NFL action still ahead of us this week. The Cleveland Browns beat the Pittsburgh Steelers by a score of 21-7 this past Thursday night. But if you don’t remember who won that game or what the score was, I can hardly blame you. I know you were inundated with incessant replays of the Browns’ Myles Garrett playing Whack-A-Mason with Steelers quarterback, Mason Rudolph’s head. I don’t think I can say anything here that you haven’t already heard/read/seen. What I will say, though, is this:
As a Browns fan who just watched his team beat Pittsburgh for the first time since 2014, it was the worst win I have ever experienced. That ending was so disgustingly ugly that it completely removed all the positives aspects from huge win over a division foe, to say nothing of the fact that the Browns are currently on a two-game home winning streak and had begun to claw their way back into the fringes of a playoff discussion. But instead of being happy and talking about something positive, the only discussion to be had is about Garrett’s massive suspension and Rudolph’s curious lack of one. By now you’ve all made up your minds regarding how you feel about what went down, who is to blame, etc. I’m not going to address that or try to get you to change your mind. I am simply saying that I just wish that I could talk about how my team has been playing better recently and to maybe even dream a little about making the postseason for the first time in this century. But instead we have to deal with this putrid mess. Not fun. Not fun at all.
Moving on to Sunday and Monday’s games, we have four teams on bye this week. The Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans are all off this week.
Alrighty then. The table is now set. All we need is the steak, y’all. Let’s go.
CAR -4 (-110) vs ATL – 1:00 PM
Typically, there are three to four games each NFL season that completely astound us all and take us entirely by surprise. The Falcons trouncing the Saints in New Orleans last weekend certainly qualifies as one of those games. And while I wouldn’t even know how to begin to explain how the Falcons did that, what I do know is this: Atlanta played in their Super Bowl last weekend, and there’s no way they have anything left in the tank to deal with Christian McCaffrey and the Carolina Panthers. Despite the insane result last week, the Falcons are still a bad team that struggles to stop the run, generates almost no pass rush, and is dealing with quite a few injuries. I love Carolina in this game. I think the Falcons are going to be overwhelmed by the Panthers, so I don’t mind laying the four points whatsoever.
MIA +6.5 (-110) vs BUF – 1:00 PM
Miami didn’t cover a single spread the first four weeks of the season. Since then, they’ve covered in every single game. And while it’s obvious that their front office is tanking, nobody seems to have told the players that as they keep on showing up and playing tough each week. I don’t have a ton of confidence that a Ryan Fitzpatrick-led team will defeat a pretty solid Buffalo Bills team. But I have even less faith in Josh Allen as a near-touchdown road favorite. That’s silly. Take the points in this game, folks.
HOU +4.5 (-110) at BAL – 1:00 PM
Boy oh boy, I cannot WAIT to watch this game. What a matchup this is going to be. I am taking the points with Houston in this contest because these two teams are very evenly matched, both on offense and on defense, so 4.5 is simply too many points to give to Deshaun Watson. The Texans’ rush offense has been surprisingly efficient this season, even with Carlos Hyde getting the majority of the backfield touches. And, the Ravens can be run on which plays directly into Houston’s hands. Obviously, Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore offense are to be feared. They’ve proven that week in and week out. But Houston’s defense is better than they’re being credit for, and I like them to be able to slow down the Ravens’ rushing attack. We’re going to see Houston turn Jackson into a pocket QB, and that is just not his strength. Even though this game is in Baltimore, I really like the Texans and I think they have a great shot to win this game. However, I’ll recommend taking the points just to be safe, but if you’re feeling a bit saucy, by all means go sprinkle a little cheddar on that Houston moneyline (+190). KC -4 (-110) at LAC (in Mexico City) 8:15 PM on MNF
Patrick Mahomes is 100% healthy. I’m going to type more words here, thus forming a few sentences to fill out this section, but you can simply refer back to the first sentence. Mahomes is healthy and there just isn’t any stopping him. Oh, and to make matters worse for the Chargers, they are a mess on defense. The only advantage that L.A. has in this game is that the Chiefs’ rushing defense is abysmal, but if K.C. gets any kind of a lead they Chargers won’t be able to exploit that weakness whatsoever. Last, the Chiefs are coming off a loss in Tennessee, a game in which they ran more plays than the Titans, gained more first downs, had way more total yards, and won the time of possession battle by just over 15 minutes. Tennessee didn’t win that game, Kansas City lost it. They are the better team here by a mile, and they are going to have their way with the Chargers. Six Point Teaser of the Week: +6 points, -110
NYJ +8.5 at WAS – 1:00 PM PHI +10 vs NE – 4:25 PM
(There is a teaser bet explanation below if you need it.)
If you can please explain to me why the Dwayne Haskins-led Washington Redskins are 2.5-point favorites over the Jets, please do. I don’t understand this line at all. I get that Sam Darnold and the Jets have looked awful lately, but the Jets’ defense is still one of the best units in the NFL, and Washington’s defense is a joke. I don’t think Darnold is going to pass for 450 yards, or that Le’Veon Bell will rush for 200 or anything, but they are going to look great against a Redskins unit that just can’t stop anyone. I’m taking the 8.5 because, well, it is the Jets and I don’t want to light money on fire. But I just don’t get how the Redskins can be favored in this game.
This Eagles-Patriots game is another one that I am really looking forward to watching. With Dallas sputtering lately, the Eagles have a chance to take control of the NFC East. To do that, they’ll have to beat a really good New England team. I’m not certain that they’ll be able to do that, but they are at home and being able to move this line through some key numbers (four and seven) makes a ton of sense. I absolutely believe that the Eagles will keep this one close, so this bet has a ton of value.
Alright y’all, that’s it for week 11. Good luck to us all this weekend!! Let’s cash some tickets!!
(TEASER BET EXPLANATION: In case you’re not familiar with a teaser, it’s a bet in which you get six points to manipulate the point spread and/or game total in a favorable direction. For example, in week two this year Denver was underdog against Chicago, as the Broncos were getting +2 points. In a teaser, you get to add six points to Denver’s line and increase it from +2 to +8. Or instead, if you liked Chicago in that game you could have taken the six points and teased their line from -2 to +4. Teasers are great ways to manipulate lines so that they’re more favorable to you. Last, just like a parlay, teasers must include two bets or more, and you must win all the legs in the teaser to win the bet. If you lose one leg of the teaser your whole bet is busted.)
John Kaufman Across the Board Sports