NFL Picks Against the Spread: Week 10 Underdogs Worth Taking Straight Up

Darin PikeContributor INovember 9, 2012

The absence of McFadden hurts the Raiders' chances on Sunday.
The absence of McFadden hurts the Raiders' chances on Sunday.Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Week 10 of the NFL schedule offers several large spreads. Three games have double-digit variances, while three more are in the touchdown range.

I can't see a reason to risk much of anything on the Kansas City Chiefs to win a game, let alone when they have to play in Pittsburgh. The Buffalo Bills at the New England Patriots is another matchup where it is more than difficult to pick the visiting team.

But there are a few games where the underdogs (via OddsShark) could sneak up and reward someone willing to take the risk. 


Game: Oakland Raiders vs. Baltimore Ravens

Where: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD

When: Sunday, Nov. 11, 1 p.m. ET

Spread: Ravens -9

Money Line: Raiders +275

This is a game I was watching early in the week to see where the money line landed. I like Oakland to win in a more neutral matchup because Baltimore is having issues on defense, and its attention will be on its upcoming games with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Raiders haven't won an early game on the east coast in three years, though. If they were at full strength I would see that trend ending.

The Raiders will be without Darren McFadden and backup Mike Goodson. Taiwan Jones is an exciting back, but his size will make it difficult for him to pound the rock.

OUT: Darren Sproles, Darren McFadden, Mike Goodson. QUEST: Ahmad Bradshaw, Stevie Johnson, Owen Daniels. DOUBTFUL: Percy Harvin.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 9, 2012

Marcel Reece will also get some carries in this game, but he has as many fumbles as carries this season. That number is one higher than his total yards.

I'd like this game a lot more with McFadden playing, but the offense can still produce against the Ravens. With the potential payout, this is still an intriguing game straight-up.


Game: Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings

Where: Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, MN

When: Sunday, Nov. 11, 1 p.m. ET

Spread: Lions -1

Money Line: Vikings +120

Percy Harvin's status for this game is in question. It might be tough to take the Vikings with limited options in the receiving game, but the Vikings are at home and still have Adrian Peterson.

The Lions have a good rush defense, but teams have been able to run the ball on them. Matt Forte picked up 96 yards, and Marshawn Lynch hit them for 105 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.

Granted, 77 of Lynch's yards were on his touchdown run, leaving a 2.5 yards-per-carry average on the remaining carries. But Frank Gore had a 5.2 yards-per-carry average (89 yards on 17 rushes) and a touchdown without a long run.

If Harvin is able to play, then this game is an easy upset pick. Without him the Vikings will need to get creative with Kyle Rudolph to open up the passing game and keep the box clean for Peterson.

The Vikings proved they can beat the Lions without much productivity from Harvin. He had just 22 yards in their Week 4 game.


Game: Tennessee Titans vs. Miami Dolphins

Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL

When: Sunday, Nov. 11, 1 p.m. ET

Spread: Dolphins -7

Money Line: Titans +220

The Titans will expect to get a lift this weekend with the return of starting quarterback Jake Locker. He adds a different dimension to the offense with his ability to scramble and run the ball.

Chris Johnson is definitely back on track, averaging 5.0 yards-per-carry with 736 yards on the season. The Titans will put up some points.

Miami will be expecting Ryan Tannehill to have a big game. But defenses have been able to shut down Brian Hartline and Davone Bess. The Titans are capable of doing the same. 


Game: Houston Texans vs. Chicago Bears

Where: Soldier Field, Chicago, IL

When: Sunday, Nov. 11, 8:20 p.m. ET

Spread: Bears -1

Money Line: Texans +105

This game pits one of the best AFC teams with one of the best teams in the NFC. At this point I'm not convinced the Bears offense is good enough to get a team win if the Chicago defense can't force turnovers, though.

The Texans play clean on offense and have an NFL-best six giveaways this season. Four of those are Matt Schaub interceptions, but he hasn't been asked to do much with his arm this season.

Look for the Texans to steal one on the road as the Bears won't be able to steal the ball from the Houston offense.


Darin Pike is a writer for Bleacher Report's Breaking News Team and a Featured Columnist covering the NFL and the Seattle Seahawks.