Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers: 2017 Week 11 NFL Pick

Tennessee Titans (6-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2)

Typically, in non-divisional Thursday games like this one, the smart move is to pick the better team if they are at home. Non-divisional home favorites of 4+ are 22-11 ATS on Thursday Night Football all-time. It’s understandably very tough to face a superior opponent on the road on a short week, especially if they are an unfamiliar non-divisional opponent. The Steelers are the superior team here, but the problem is this line is pretty high at 7. I have these teams about 3 points apart. Even if we give the Steelers 4 points for homefield advantage on a short week, that doesn’t leave us any line value. Given that, I’m going to take the points for a no confidence pick. If this line moves to 6.5 before game time, I’ll switch to Pittsburgh. That’s how close this one is for me.

Also, by request, I’m going to be posting lines I lock in early in the week during my Thursday Night writeups this season, so readers can lock them in before they move. These are not all my picks for the week, just picks where I think the line may move in an unfavorable direction (usually underdogs). The rest of the writeups will continue to be posted over the weekend as normal.

CHI +3 vs. DET

Pittsburgh Steelers 27 Tennessee Titans 20

Pick against the spread: Tennessee +7

Confidence: None

New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers: 2017 Week 10 NFL Pick

New York Giants (1-7) at San Francisco 49ers (0-9)

The Giants lost 51-17 at home to the Rams last week, but they were missing a lot of guys with injury and they quit once they got down early. The Giants still have injury problems and will be without several key players for the rest of the season (center Weston Richburg, wide receivers Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall), but they should get defensive end Olivier Vernon, right tackle Justin Pugh, and cornerback Janoris Jenkins back this week, which should be a big help.

The 49ers also have a lot of injury problems and have the worst roster in the NFL right now as a result, so the Giants probably be favored by at least 3 here in San Francisco. At -2.5, they seem like a smart pick as they have a good chance to bounce back against a significantly inferior opponent. I can’t be confident in them though, given all of the locker room problems they are having right now. This is a veteran team whose season is basically over and the coaching staff may have lost control.

New York Giants 20 San Francisco 49ers 17

Pick against the spread: NY Giants -2.5

Confidence: None

Minnesota Vikings at Washington Redskins: 2017 Week 10 NFL Pick

Minnesota Vikings (6-2) at Washington Redskins (4-4)

The Redskins are a solid 4-4 and just beat the Seahawks in Seattle without 4 starting offensive linemen, but they still aren’t getting a ton of respect from the oddsmakers as they are 1.5 point home underdogs against the Vikings. The Redskins could get all 4 offensive linemen back this week, while right tackle Mike Remmers is out for the Vikings, so I have this line calculated at -1.5 in favor of the Redskins. Games decided by less than 3 points are rare so the line value we’re getting isn’t worth that much, but this line suggests the Vikings are 4.5 points better and that they would be about 7 or 7.5 point favorites if this game was in Minnesota. I like the Vikings, as they rank 10th in my roster rankings, but I think that’s a little off. The Redskins are only a low confidence pick, but the money line at +105 makes some sense for a small bet.

Washington Redskins 19 Minnesota Vikings 17 Upset Pick +105

Pick against the spread: Washington +1.5

Confidence: Low

Pittsburgh Steelers at Indianapolis Colts: 2017 Week 10 NFL Pick

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2) at Indianapolis Colts (3-5)

The Steelers are as healthy as they’ve been all season coming out of the bye, with right tackle Marcus Gilbert and defensive end Stephon Tuitt, a pair of key lineman, now healthy after missing 5 and 4 games respectively in the first 8 games of the season. At full strength, they are one of the best teams in the NFL and they are facing an Indianapolis team that is one of the worst in the NFL. However, this line is pretty high at 10 in favor of the visiting Steelers, so we’re actually getting a little bit of line value, as I have this line calculated at -8.5.

The Steelers are coming off of a bye and big road favorites tend to fare well after a bye, as road favorites of 3.5+ are 40-16 ATS since 1989 off of a regular season bye when their opponent is not coming off of a bye. However, the Steelers historically do not do well as big road favorites in the Ben Roethlisberger era, especially in non-divisional games like this one. They are 4-14 ATS since 2004 as non-divisional road favorites of 4.5 or more. The Steelers are also in a tough spot because they have to turn around and face the 5-3 Titans on Thursday Night Football next week. Favorites are 61-93 ATS since 2008 before Thursday Night Football and understandably so. The Steelers could easily look past the Colts a little bit with that game on deck. There isn’t enough for me to take the Colts confidently, but they should be the right side at +10.

Pittsburgh Steelers 24 Indianapolis Colts 16

Pick against the spread: Indianapolis +10

Confidence: Low

Cleveland Browns at Detroit Lions: 2017 Week 10 NFL Pick

Cleveland Browns (0-8) at Detroit Lions (4-4)

The Browns are winless again at 0-8, but the good news is they come out of their bye as healthy as they’ve been all season defensively. Defensive tackle Danny Shelton, defensive end Myles Garrett, linebacker Jamie Collins, and cornerback Jason McCourty are arguably their best defensive players and all 4 of them have missed time so far this season, but all 4 are healthy this week. They still have injury issues on offense with left tackle Joe Thomas out for the season and wide receiver Corey Coleman out at least another week, but the Browns could conceivably play their best game of the season this week.

Given that, I think this line is a little high at 10.5. The Lions are 4-4 and made the playoffs last season, but they are a mediocre team. They finished last season 28th in first down rate and so far rank 23rd this season. They are 13-11 over the past 2 seasons, but their margin of victory has been just 7.00 points per game, with 9 of 13 wins decided by a touchdown or less. They get left tackle Taylor Decker back from injury this week, but he might not be 100% in his first game back and they are expected to be without right guard TJ Lang and defensive end Ezekiel Ansah this week, two key players on the offensive and defensive lines respectively. There’s not enough for me to bet money on the Browns, but I have this line calculated at -8.5, so we’re getting some line value with Cleveland.

Detroit Lions 24 Cleveland Browns 16

Pick against the spread: Cleveland +10.5

Confidence: Low

Miami Dolphins at Carolina Panthers: 2017 Week 10 NFL Pick

Miami Dolphins (4-4) at Carolina Panthers (6-3)

The Dolphins are 4-4, but they have been one of the worst teams in the league this season. Their wins have come against the Chargers, who missed 2 field goals, both of which would have won the Chargers the game, the Titans, who were starting backup quarterback Matt Cassel, the Jets, by a field goal, and the Falcons, in a game in which the Falcons jumped out to a 17-0 lead and then took their foot off the gas with a Super Bowl rematch on deck. Meanwhile, their 4 losses have come by a combined 77 points. They have a -63 point differential and rank 29th in first down rate differential at -4.57%.

The Panthers are not quite as good as their 6-3 record either, as they are 4-1 in games decided by a touchdown or less, including a home game against the Falcons last week that they likely would have lost if not for a Julio Jones drop. The Panthers are in a good spot though, heading into the bye week, at home, against an easy opponent. Home favorites of 7+ are 49-28 ATS since 1989 before a regular season bye week when their opponent does not have a bye week on deck. The only reason I wouldn’t put money on the Panthers is because I don’t think we’re getting much line value with them at -9. I have this line calculated at -7.5. It’s a low confidence pick, but the Panthers are the smarter choice for pick ‘em purposes.

Carolina Panthers 23 Miami Dolphins 13

Pick against the spread: Carolina -9

Confidence: Low