The Complete Bettor's Guide to NFL Week 11
We're 11 weeks into the NFL season—a point when we know what to expect from each team by now and so does Vegas.
The gang of backup quarterback who could be starting might make some of the games a little tougher to predict, but for the most part we know what we're getting.
At this point in the season it's easier to find what teams aren't playing well to bet against than to find true value in the good teams.
All lines are updated as of Nov. 15, according to Bovada.
Safest Bets of the Week
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2) at Carolina Panthers
In nine games this season. Carolina has played three games in which the opposing team scored under 20 points. Tampa Bay has scored 30 or more points in four of the last five games and looks like an offensive juggernaut right now.
The Bucs have the ground advantage on both sides of the ball. It seems like no one is ever going to stop Doug Martin while Tampa is on offense, and the defense is only allowing 80 rushing yards per game—the best in the league.
This line is a rare gift from the oddsmakers—Tampa Bay wins this game by way more than two.
Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5) at Kansas City Chiefs
Don't let Monday night's close game against the Steelers fool you: Kansas City is still a terrible team. The Chiefs have only scored over 20 points three times this season and have yet to eclipse 30.
The Bengals are coming off a blowout win against the New York Giants and have an unstoppable force on offense in A.J. Green. The Bengals need to win to keep any slim chance of playoff hope alive and won't overlook the Chiefs like Pittsburgh might have done last week.
Also, last time I checked the Chiefs were still led by Romeo Crennel and Matt Cassel.
Take the Bengals.
St. Louis Rams (-3.5) vs. New York Jets
The Rams are coming off a hard-fought tie against the San Francisco 49ers, while the Jets have lost three in a row and five of their last six.
The Jets offense right now is playing like everyone on that side of the ball is an anonymous player, scoring nine and seven points in the last two games.
Coming from the person who built the Rams bandwagon this season, it's tough to not like them against the Jets, especially after putting up 24 points against the 49ers defense last week.
*Bonus: Cleveland (+8) at Dallas is an intriguing line—not quite enough to call it a "safe" bet, but too close to Cleveland's advantage to put it on the next page.
Toss-Up Games of the Week
Green Bay (-3.5) at Detroit Lions
Green Bay is a better team and should win this game, but that half point makes the line a little tricky. This game could end up in a shootout with both teams ripping through the other's defense.
A late score here could come into play as I could see the Lions down 10 with a minute left and scoring a touchdown to cover, but not getting a field goal to tie the game—because that's how gambling usually works.
New Orleans (-6) at Oakland Raiders
This could be another shootout, and as good as the New Orleans offense has been, the lack of defense should cause some hesitation with the Saints favored by six points.
The Raiders aren't afraid to throw the ball—actually they might be scared of running the ball—and have put up 20 points in each of the last five games.
Don't get too carried away with the Saints' win over the previously undefeated Falcons last week. Drew Brees and the offense could easily score 40 on this Oakland secondary, but the Saints' defense could just as easily give up as much to Carson Palmer and the Raiders.
Atlanta Falcons (-10) vs. Arizona Cardinals
Let's set the record straight: the Atlanta Falcons are a way better team than the Cardinals. The Cardinals are actually terrible. A double-digit line, though, has garbage-time potential written all over it.
Arizona could be down by 17 all game, then a late fourth-quarter pass to Larry Fitzgerald brings the deficit down to 10—because again, the gambling gods think garbage time is funny.
Top Elimination Pool Pick
If you've made it this far in an elimination pool, congratulations. You made it nine weeks longer than most.
The obvious choice here is Houston playing home against the 1-7 Jacksonville Jaguars.
Odds are if you've made it this far in an elimination pool, you've probably already used the Texans.
If Houston isn't in play for you, take a hard look at the Rams, a team you probably haven't even though of using this season, at home against the Jets, as well as the Bengals in Kansas City.
Injuries That Could Have Impact
This is all about quarterbacks. Week 10 was a fun week to be under center in the NFL. The late games seemed to be like a scene out of Final Destination with quarterbacks being taken out one by one.
Alex Smith returned to practice for the 49ers following his concussion and could be in line to start Monday night against the Bears.
Ben Roethlisberger has already been ruled out of Sunday night's game against the Baltimore Ravens. Roethlisbeger suffered multiple injures Monday night, including a sprained shoulder, but his rib injury is what could be the most dangerous. Byron Leftwich will be the Steelers quarterback.
Stay-Away Game of the Week
Philadelphia Eagles (+4) at Washington Redskins
Nick Foles will get the start for the Philadelphia Eagles and for how much Eagles fans wanted to see him, he wasn't very impressive in his debut.
A full week of practice could give Foles enough preparation to face a terrible Washington secondary.
With all the other quarterback injuries, we know what to expect with the backups. There are a lot of unknowns with Foles, though. He could throw for four touchdowns and just as easily throw four interceptions. It's probably going to be somewhere in the middle.
There's too many other safer games going on this week, so this seems like the biggest stay away.