NFL Week 11 Betting Guide: Odds, Props and Picks
The Week 11 NFL slate is a bizarre one from a betting perspective.
No team is favored by more than eight points, and all but two games have spreads of 5.5 points or fewer.
The biggest over/under total of the season—and the highest since at least 1986, according to ESPN Stats and Information (h/t David Perdum of ESPN.com)—is occurring Monday as the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams face off. That number is currently set at 63 points.
We'll see how everything shakes out, but until then, here's a Week 11 betting guide with notes on props, stay-away games, over/under totals, the lock of the week and more.
Money-Line Picks and Picks Against the Spread
Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks (-3, 49 O/U): Green Bay +3 and +145
Carolina Panthers (-4.5, 49.5) at Detroit Lions: Carolina -4.5 and -210
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens (No Line): Baltimore
Dallas Cowboys at Atlanta Falcons (-3, 49.5): Dallas +3 and +155
Houston Texans (-3, 42.5) at Washington Redskins: Houston -3 and -149
Pittsburgh Steelers (-5.5, 46.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars: Pittsburgh -5.5 and -245
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New York Giants (-1.5, 52.5): New York -1.5 and -130
Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts (-1.5, 50): Indianapolis -1.5 and -120
Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers (-7, 45.5): Los Angeles -7 and -330
Oakland Raiders at Arizona Cardinals (-5.5, 41): Arizona -5.5 and -240
Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints (-8, 56): Philadelphia +8 and New Orleans -370
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears (-2.5, 44.5): Chicago -2.5 and -145
Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Rams (-3.5, 63): Kansas City +3.5 and +150
ML Season Record: 88-59-2
ATS Season Record: 74-67-8
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens (No Line)
Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco is doubtful for Sunday with a hip injury, which is why a line has not been set on the game.
Simply put, we don't know what we'll see out of either of those two. Jackson has received a little time this year (mainly on running plays), but he's only thrown 12 pro passes. Griffin hasn't made a start in two seasons.
Still, both quarterbacks could find success because the Bengals defense is in shambles. Cincinnati has allowed an average of 39.5 points per game over its past four outings and just fired defensive coordinator Teryl Austin following a 51-14 home loss to the Saints on Sunday.
But the coaching switch just adds to the confusion. Will the defense improve under the new tutelage of head coach Marvin Lewis, who is now the team's de facto coordinator? Or will it continue to wilt?
There are too many questions marks to bet on this game with any sort of confidence.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-5.5, 46.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars
The Steelers are on a five-game winning streak, while the Jaguars are on a five-game losing streak. At 6-2-1, Pittsburgh looks like the 2018 AFC North champion, while the AFC South's last-place Jags are dangerously close to losing their minimal chance of making the playoffs.
On paper, the Steelers are the better team, but the Jags present a difficult matchup, as noted last season when Jacksonville beat Pittsburgh twice at Heinz Field (once in the playoffs).
In particular, running back Leonard Fournette proved difficult to stop, as he amassed 290 rushing yards and five touchdowns in two games. Fournette is back healthy after missing nearly all of this season with hamstring injuries and should start Sunday.
The Jags are also home at EverBank Field, where the defense has largely fared well (20 or fewer points allowed in all four games). Cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye can give Steelers wideouts Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster some problems, and the Jags pass defense as a whole gives up just 7.1 passing yards per attempt, which is tied for fifth-best in the league.
This is a tough game to call. Momentum could be the difference, but so could the Jags' recent success and the potential matchups.
Prop Bets You Can Take to the Bank
Anytime Touchdown Scorer: Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (+110)
Back the Indianapolis offense as much as possible right now.
The Colts have won three straight games and scored an average of 36 points per contest during that stretch. They have returned previously injured players to the field, including Hilton, offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo and tight end Jack Doyle.
Hilton is one to watch Sunday. While Tennessee allows the fewest points per game in the league (16.8), Lucas Oil Stadium is a tough spot for the 5-4 team to play. The turf helps turn Hilton's speed into an even greater advantage. Of note, the Chiefs noted how fast (and hard) the stadium's surface was in a 2016 piece by Terez A. Paylor, then of the Kansas City Star.
Hilton is an excellent wideout, but he's clearly more productive in Indianapolis. Per Pro Football Reference, Hilton has averaged 76.6 yards per game at home versus 66.9 on the road.
Evan Silva of Rotoworld offered praise for Hilton in his Week 11 matchups column:
"Hilton led the Colts in targets (7) and Air Yards (71) and is a bounce-back candidate on Lucas Oil's fast track. In Tyrell Williams (4/118/1), Michael Crabtree (6/93/1), Josh Gordon (4/81/0), and Amari Cooper (5/56/1), Tennessee has coughed up at least one fantasy-viable stat line to a perimeter wideout in four straight games."
Hilton can get behind the Titans cornerbacks and beat them for a long score at some point. At +110 (bet $100 to win $110), he's not at all a bad bet to score a touchdown.
Total Halves Won (0): Oakland Raiders (+110) at Arizona Cardinals
Since a 45-42 overtime victory over the Cleveland Browns in their fourth game, the Raiders have won just one of 10 halves: a razor-thin 14-13 halftime edge over the Colts in a game the Silver and Black eventually lost 42-28.
The Raiders have scored just 50 points over their last five contests and allowed an average of 29.8 points per game during that span.
It's hard to imagine that Oakland will get much going against any team right now, but the Cardinals defense has been in a bit of a groove following an ugly 45-10 loss to the Denver Broncos in Week 7.
The team rebounded with an 18-15 win over the San Francisco 49ers before holding the Chiefs to just 26 points on the road. That latter number may not sound impressive, but the Chiefs averaged 35.8 points per game in their previous four home outings.
Backing the Raiders in any capacity is difficult at this juncture, so attack some pro-Cardinal props.
Spreads to Bet
Oakland Raiders at Arizona Cardinals (-5.5)
Cardinals running back David Johnson may simply take over and lead his team to a monster victory over the Raiders, who have lost each of their last five games by 14 or more points.
Johnson has largely struggled in 2018 but looks rejuvenated under new offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, who took over in mid-October. In his two contests since that transition, Johnson has amassed 283 yards from scrimmage, 11 receptions and two touchdowns.
Leftwich has also made a point to get future Hall of Fame wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald more involved: The 15th-year veteran saw an average of just 5.9 targets through his first seven games but has an average of 11 in his past two. Fitzgerald's eight-catch, 102-yard, one-touchdown performance against the 49ers on Oct. 28 helped his team to a win.
Meanwhile, the Raiders haven't been able to score. They've posted 10 points or fewer in four of their previous five contests. Arizona can pull away for the victory.
Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers (-7)
The Broncos pass rush led by linebackers Von Miller and Bradley Chubb (17 combined sacks) could be a problem, but the Bolts have so much offensive talent that it may not matter.
Between running backs Melvin Gordon III and Austin Ekeler, wideouts Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Tyrell Williams and quarterback Philip Rivers, the Chargers have one of the best skill-position crews in the league.
That group, plus an offensive line that has allowed the fourth-fewest sacks (13), has helped the team score 26.7 points per game (10th-best in football).
Also, the Broncos offensive line is starting three backups. Per Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic, guards Max Garcia and Ron Leary and center Matt Paradis have suffered season-ending injuries. Garcia's injury (a torn ACL) took place during practice Thursday, and that may hinder the Broncos' rushing attack.
The Bolts may get an added bonus in the form of edge-rusher Joey Bosa, who has missed all of this campaign after amassing 23 total sacks in 2016-17. He said the following to reporters Thursday: "It's really not decided yet [if I'll play]. We're continuing with the plan, and that's to practice this week. We'll assess it and see how it [my foot] feels on Sunday."
With or without Bosa, though, the Bolts should be able to win this one handily.
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears: CHI -3 to CHI -2.5
The line for the Vikings-Bears matchup has dropped off the key number of three points. That indicates some bettor support for Minnesota, even though Chicago is on a three-game winning streak in which the victory has come by an average of 19.3 points per contest.
Still, the support for the Vikings makes sense.
Offensive coordinator John DeFilippo said running back Dalvin Cook is a "full go," per Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune. Cook has missed nearly all of 2018 with injuries, but if he's finally healthy, the second-year pro can be a huge boost. He averaged 111 yards from scrimmage in three-plus games last year before a torn ACL prematurely ended his season.
Wideout Stefon Diggs will play Sunday after missing Week 9 with a rib injury (Detroit had a bye last week). The team's 2017 sack leader, Everson Griffen, has also returned.
However, Bears edge-rusher Khalil Mack can single-handedly wreck this contest. Mack has seven sacks despite missing two games with an injured ankle and playing hurt in two others. He's healthy now and dominated the Lions to the tune of five tackles and two sacks last Sunday.
This should be a close and competitive NFC North battle, but the half-point drop is intriguing enough to back the Bears.
Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts: IND -3 to IND -1.5
The Titans-Colts line also moved off the three-point mark and is a 1.5-point spread in favor of Indianapolis.
Tennessee has been dominating of late, with big wins over the Cowboys on the road and the New England Patriots at home. Dallas had not lost a 2018 home game prior to its matchup with the Titans, while the Pats were 7-2 and riding a six-game winning streak.
But the Colts have looked great recently, winning three straight after starting 1-5. The offense is on fire (sixth in points per game), and quarterback Andrew Luck hasn't taken a sack in his last four contests. The ex-Stanford star has also completed 72.3 percent of his passes over the last three weeks.
In fairness, Indianapolis' recent winning streak has come against teams with a combined 7-21 record. Still, the Colts are a tough draw at home given their recent returns off the injury list. It also helps that linebacker Darius Leonard, the NFL's leading tackler (97), will be active.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New York Giants: Over 52.5 Points
Who is stopping whom here?
The Giants have not done a good job of getting after the quarterback; they are second-to-last in sacks (10 in nine games).
That could leave Ryan Fitzpatrick with plenty of time to pick apart the Giants pass defense, which ranks just 25th in Football Outsiders DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average).
In particular, look for Bucs wideout Mike Evans to bounce back after catching just four passes in his last two games. Evans may go against No. 1 Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who has struggled this year. According to Pro Football Focus (h/t Dan Duggan of The Athletic), Jenkins allowed six touchdowns in his first eight contests and gave up a 129.4 passer rating.
But who will be stopping the Giants? The Bucs have allowed the most points per game (32.3), and their defense is banged up. Safety Justin Evans, defensive end Vinny Curry, linebacker Lavonte David and cornerback M.J. Stewart are all out.
No pass defense has allowed a higher completion rate than the Bucs (73.6 percent), so this game could end up being a track meet. Look for Giants wideout Odell Beckham Jr. (65 catches, 858 yards, four touchdowns) to have a massive output.
Houston Texans at Washington Redskins: Under 42 Points
The Texans and Redskins defenses are both very good (seventh and fourth in scoring defense, respectively).
However, their offenses are banged up. The Texans are without No. 2 wideout Will Fuller V (32 catches, 503 yards, four touchdowns) after the ex-Notre Dame star suffered a torn ACL. He and quarterback Deshaun Watson share an excellent rapport that is not easy to replace (11 touchdowns in 11 games together).
Meanwhile, Washington lost offensive guards Shawn Lauvao and Brandon Scherff and wideout Paul Richardson Jr. to season-ending injuries. In addition, running back Chris Thompson, wideout Jamison Crowder and offensive tackle Trent Williams are all on the injury report.
This looks like it'll be an ugly affair in which neither team gets much going. That has been the trend for Skins games this year (six of nine have seen just 40 total points or fewer).
Kansas City Chiefs (+150 ML) at Los Angeles Rams
The Chiefs have more offensive firepower than the Rams, who are without wide receiver Cooper Kupp for rest of the season. Kupp, who caught 40 passes for 566 yards and six touchdowns in eight games, suffered a torn ACL last Sunday.
The Chiefs arguably have the best and deepest skill-position crew in the league between quarterback Patrick Mahomes (No. 1 in passing touchdowns), running back Kareem Hunt (13 total touchdowns in 10 games), wideout Tyreek Hill (891 receiving yards, nine touchdowns), wide receiver Sammy Watkins (career-high 72.2 percent catch rate) and tight end Travis Kelce (second among all tight ends in receptions and receiving yards).
Those players will be a tough matchup. In particular, Hill is too fast for any cornerback in the league, and Hunt can take advantage of a run defense that is tied for the most rushing yards allowed per carry (5.2).
The Rams offense should be able to get going against a Chiefs defense that ranks 16th in points allowed per game (24), but the Chiefs can push 50 points like the Saints did in Week 9.
Dallas Cowboys (+155 ML) at Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons are the other team that has given up the most rushing yards per carry.
Therefore, Ezekiel Elliott could be a big problem for a rush defense that significantly struggled in a loss to Cleveland on Sunday. Of note, Atlanta allowed 176 rushing yards on 20 carries (including a 92-yard run) to the Nick Chubb.
Elliott amassed 187 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns Sunday against the Eagles. He's a workhorse back who can put the offense on his shoulders and lead his team to victory, as he's done a few times this year.
Furthermore, linebacker Deion Jones—who was Atlanta's leading tackler in 2016 and 2017—will not play. The team activated him off injured reserve Monday, but head coach Dan Quinn said he's not yet ready for action.
Elsewhere, the Falcons offense may encounter some trouble against a good Dallas defense. Rookie linebacker Leighton Vander Esch is tied for second in the league with 62 solo tackles, while cornerback Byron Jones shuts down the left side of the field.
Dallas' opponents have scored zero touchdowns on Jones' side in 2018, according to Next Gen Stats (h/t Marcus Mosher of Locked on Cowboys). That should help cut the field in half against the stout Falcons passing attack that ranks second in the NFL.
Sucker Bet: New Orleans Saints -370 ML over Philadelphia Eagles
The 8-1 Saints are winners of eight straight and favored by eight points over the struggling defending Super Bowl champion Eagles, who are just 4-5.
The Saints are clear -370 favorites on the money line, but betting them may be a risky proposition. It's also not one of great value, as a $370 bet returns just $100.
First, New Orleans will likely have no answer for Zach Ertz. The tight end has 59 catches, 647 yards and five touchdowns in seven games with quarterback Carson Wentz under center (he played two with backup Nick Foles as well). Extending that Ertz-Wentz pace over a 16-game season, Ertz would hypothetically get 135 catches, 1,479 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Second, new Eagles wideout Golden Tate could be a big problem. While the team didn't use him much in his first game with Philly—he had just two catches and 19 yards on four targets—that has to change against the Saints, right?
Tate had 44 catches for 517 yards and three scores in seven games with the Lions before a midseason trade. If the Saints offense dominates yet again, it would force more passing attempts from Philadelphia to keep pace. New Orleans is 28th in pass-defense DVOA, per Football Outsiders.
Wentz is mobile enough to avoid a Saints pass rush that hasn't fared particularly well (tied for 23rd with 21 sacks). Also, New Orleans is missing rookie defensive end Marcus Davenport (four sacks) because of a toe injury.
Picking the Eagles to win outright against the highest-scoring team is a tall order. But this one could be close, and a Saints money-line bet just doesn't seem worth it. If anything, take the Eagles to cover.
Lock of the Week: Carolina Panthers -4.5 over Detroit Lions
Yes, the Panthers just lost to the Steelers in a game that seemed even less competitive than the 52-21 score indicates.
However, the Lions are in a bad rut; they've lost three straight games by double digits.
In particular, the offense is struggling sans Golden Tate. Matthew Stafford has posted his second- and third-lowest quarterback ratings of the season without the 30-year-old wideout.
Also, wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. didn't practice all week, per Michael Fabiano of NFL Media. The team's injury report listed him out for Sunday, and that's a big loss considering Jones has amassed 35 catches for 508 yards and five touchdowns.
The Panthers offense, which Football Outsiders ranks seventh in DVOA, should be a problem for a Lions defense that is 30th in DVOA. Per Bill Voth of Carolina's official website, the Lions have allowed a 79.7 percent completion rate to the last three opposing quarterbacks.
These teams are going in opposite directions. As losers of three straight games, the Lions are 3-6 and have little hope of a playoff berth. Meanwhile, the 6-3 Panthers are holding the NFC's top wild-card spot.
Given these factors, expect a comfortable Panthers win.