NFL Picks Week 11 Against the Spread: Which Underdogs Will Cover?
The National Football League has been pretty easy to wager on the past two weeks heading into Monday night's contest between the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers, as winning teams are 28-1 against-the-spread over that span.
Turnovers played an important role in the outcome of games Sunday, with the team creating more miscues finishing up with a 10-1 ATS record.
Let's take a closer look at Week 11 from a betting perspective.
New York Jets at Denver Broncos
The New York Jets were flying high until the New England Patriots shot them down Sunday night, dropping a 37-16 affair as 2.5-point home favorites.
New York is 6-2 ATS when playing a team with a losing record down the stretch the past two-plus campaigns, while also covering both Thursday games in that span.
Handicapper Line: New York Jets (-5.5)
Recommendation: New York Jets (-4)
Jacksonville Jaguars at Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns haven't scored an offensive touchdown in the first and third quarters the entire year, while not hitting pay dirt at home in over 123 minutes.
Second-year quarterback Colt McCoy will be without running back Peyton Hillis for another week, which isn't much of a surprise, coming off a 20-of-27 performance for 218 yards.
Oddsmakers sent out the Browns as 1.5-point home favorites, only to see the early wagering establish them as a underdog.
The Jacksonville Jaguars will not be easy to score on, ranking fourth in the league in allowing 296.4 yards per game, while surrendering just 18.4 points a contest.
Handicapper Line: Cleveland Browns (-1)
Recommendation: Cleveland Browns (+1)
Carolina Panthers at Detroit Lions
Before you jump off the Detroit Lions' bandwagon, realize that the team out-gained the Chicago Bears by a sizable 177-yard margin in Sunday's 37-13 loss as 2.5-point road underdogs.
Casual bettors may figure that the Lions bounce back in their first home game since Oct. 23, but the offense ranks 27th in the league in rushing.
Not the best statistic when trying to exploit a Carolina Panthers' rush defense that is allowing 137.6 yards per game on the ground.
Rookie quarterback Cam Newton came out flat after the bye week, and looms dangerous on a fast track.
Handicapper Line: Detroit Lions (-7.5)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers will be coming off a Monday Night Football contest against the Minnesota Vikings and looking ahead to another divisional opponent the following week in traveling to take on the Detroit Lions.
If there's going to be a flat spot for the defending Super Bowl champions—this is certainly it.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers bring in the 31st-ranked defense, allowing 401.2 yards per game, which is just 10.8 less than the New England Patriots.
Bettors will likely lay the points due to the Buccaneers being 1-2 ATS as road underdogs this year.
Handicapper Line: Green Bay Packers (-10)
Recommendation: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+13)
Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins are on a two-game win streak and likely were left unimpressed with Stanford Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck's performance against the Oregon Ducks last Saturday night.
I can't imagine why else they'd be so motivated to start reeling off victories.
Oh wait—their last two games were against the Kansas City Chiefs and Washington Redskins.
The Buffalo Bills need this game more than any other on the 2011-12 schedule, which has caused me to inflate my handicapper line.
Sometimes you just have to do it.
Handicapper Line: Buffalo Bills (-2)
Recommendation: Buffalo Bills (+2.5)
Oakland Raiders at Minnesota Vikings
The Oakland Raiders benefited greatly in facing a San Diego Chargers squad that was playing their third game in a matter of 11 days last Thursday night.
Quarterback Carson Palmer and the Raiders' offense will benefit again from the NFL's schedule, traveling to take on the Minnesota Vikings, who will be coming off a divisional contest on Monday Night Football against the Green Bay Packers.
Handicapper Line: Oakland Raiders (-2.5)
Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins
The Dallas Cowboys have plenty of reasons to smile after tallying back-to-back home wins over the Seattle Seahawks and Buffalo Bills, but don't get too carried away at the betting window.
Laying this amount of points on the road against a divisional opponent is never a good idea.
Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan has lost five consecutive games for the first time in his career and is certainly on the hot seat.
Handicapper Line: Dallas Cowboys (-7)
Recommendation: Washington Redskins (+9)
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens dropped a 22-17 contest to the Seattle Seahawks as seven-point road favorites, surprising many bettors on the Las Vegas Strip, but they simply couldn't overcome a minus-three turnover margin.
Cincinnati Bengals rookie quarterback Andy Dalton got his first real taste of the AFC North division, completing 15-of-30 passes for 170 yards in a 24-17 defeat at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers as three-point home underdogs Sunday.
Oddsmakers seem to be spot on with the betting odds here, with the Ravens being 4-0 ATS as a home favorite of 3.5 to 7 points, while the Bengals are 5-0 ATS on the road.
Handicapper Line: Baltimore Ravens (-6.5)
Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams
This NFC West divisional contest will receive the fewest amount of wagers Sunday, as both teams are out of the race with the San Francisco 49ers jumping out to an 8-1 record.
The home team won both meetings a year ago—why would that change now?
Handicapper Line: St. Louis Rams (-3)
Recommendation: St. Louis Rams (-1)
Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers have tallied an impressive 8-1 straight-up record and 8-0-1 ATS mark, which has led to a seemingly insurmountable five-game lead in the NFC West division.
From a situational standpoint, I'd normally expect a letdown from the home team after a huge 27-20 win over the New York Giants, but first-year head coach Jim Harbaugh has the locker room in a frenzy.
The Arizona Cardinals are coming off a 21-17 win over the Philadelphia Eagles as 13.5-point road underdogs, but that's not saying much considering the problems inside the "Dream Team" locker room.
Handicapper Line: San Francisco 49ers (-8)
Tennessee Titans at Atlanta Falcons
I thought Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith made the right call when going for it on fourth down and inches Sunday, only to fall short in a 26-23 overtime loss to the New Orleans Saints inside the Georgia Dome.
I've watched a lot of football in my day and Saints quarterback Drew Brees would have likely driven the best offense in terms of total yardage down the field for a score anyways.
The Tennessee Titans caught a youthful Carolina Panthers squad napping after their bye week, but that won't be the case in Week 11.
Handicapper Line: Atlanta Falcons (-7)
Recommendation: Atlanta Falcons (-5.5)
San Diego Chargers at Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears gained revenge from an earlier loss on Monday Night Football in registering a 37-13 blowout win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday inside Solider Field.
It's important to note that the box score reflects that the Bears gained just 216 yards in the game, as interception and punt returns were the true story.
In coin-flip games in the National Football League, winners are often determined by pure motivation.
San Diego needs a win here in the worst way and got some extra rest due to playing in last week's Thursday night affair.
The Chargers are also 8-0 ATS off back-to-back straight-up losses when playing an opponent that has won and covered in consecutive games.
Handicapper Line: Chicago Bears (-2)
Recommendation: San Diego Chargers (+4)
Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots
The oddsmakers certainly inflated the betting odds for this Monday Night Football affair after watching the New England Patriots dismantle the New York Jets on national television.
Bettors will have a hard time taking double-digit points with a Kansas City Chiefs team that just lost to a quarterback that completed two passes against them.
That's not going to be the final tally when facing Patriots signal-caller Tom Brady.
Handicapper Line: New England Patriots (-12.5)