Carolina Panthers at Green Bay Packers: 2019 Week 10 NFL Pick

Carolina Panthers (5-3) at Green Bay Packers (7-2)

The Packers surprisingly lost to the Chargers last week, but the Chargers were healthier in that game than they’ve been all season, so it’s not a huge surprise the Packers had trouble with a team that was one of the better teams in the league a year ago. The Packers are still well positioned in the NFC at 7-2 and are still one of my top ranked teams. They also tend to do well off of a loss in the Aaron Rodgers era, going 34-21 ATS off of a loss with Rodgers under center since his first season as a starter in 2008. 

The Packers also head home this week, where they are 41-21 ATS since 2011 in games Rodgers starts and finishes. They face a Panthers team that is 5-3 and that has lost just once in 6 games since inserting backup quarterback Kyle Allen into the lineup for an injured Cam Newton, but that loss came by 38, while some of their wins have been close games that could have gone either way. On the season, they have just a +5 point differential, despite benefitting from a +6 turnover margin that ranks 5th in the NFL. Turnover margins tend to be inconsistent on a week-to-week basis and the Panthers rank just 21st in the league with a -2.52% first down rate differential. That lines up with my roster rankings, which have them 18th.

I have this line calculated at Green Bay -10, giving us a ton of line value with the Packers as 5-point favorites. The line has shifted a point and a half from the early line last week as a result of the Packers’ loss, but even at -6.5 the Packers would have been an enticing bet. I like their chances of bouncing back at home a lot, against an overrated opponent, especially with a bye on deck. Home favorites of 6+ are 49-17 ATS since 2002 before a bye and, while the Packers aren’t favored by that many points, they should be, so the logic still holds. They should be focused and take care of business without any upcoming distractions. This would be my Pick of the Week if the Packers didn’t have a pair of banged up key defensive backs (Jaire Alexander and Adrian Amos), but both seem likely to play through their injuries and the Packers are otherwise healthy.

Green Bay Packers 30 Carolina Panthers 20

Pick against the spread: Green Bay -5

Confidence: High

Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts: 2019 Week 10 NFL Pick

Miami Dolphins (1-7) at Indianapolis Colts (5-3)

The Dolphins won their first game of the season last week, but that wasn’t all that surprising. Winless teams tend to be good bets this late in the season (55-31 ATS in week 8 or later) because they tend to be undervalued and highly motivated to get their first win and the Dolphins were at home facing a Jets team that didn’t rank much higher than them. The Dolphins’ win moved this line from Indianapolis -15 on the early line last week to Indianapolis -11.5 this week, but the Dolphins are unlikely to have that same motivation after winning their first game.

In fact, after basically winning their Super Bowl last week, I expect the Dolphins to be relatively flat, especially with a much bigger divisional game against the Bills on deck. The Dolphins are +7.5 on the early line and teams have a lot of trouble covering before being big home underdogs, going 43-77 ATS before being home underdogs of 6+ since 2014. On top of that, underdogs of 6+ are 59-92 ATS before being underdogs of 6+ again the following week, over that same time period.

The Dolphins being flat would be a big problem because they still rank dead last in both my roster rankings and in first down rate differential (-9.38%) and they have a much tougher matchup this week than last week. The Colts haven’t won a game by more than 7 points this season, but they haven’t lost by more than 7 points either and something tells me they won’t have much of a problem winning against a bottom level team like the Dolphins, who already have 5 double digit losses this season and 20 since the start of the 2017 season.

The Colts have an injury concern with quarterback Jacoby Brissett questionable with a knee injury, but I don’t think the drop off from Brissett to backup Brian Hoyer would be all that significant, especially in a matchup like this. Hoyer led the Colts to a loss in Pittsburgh last week in relief of Brissett, but he also threw three touchdowns on the road against a good defense and led the Colts to a +8.95% first down rate differential, with the game swinging entirely on a 97-yard pick six. With Brissett under center, I would have this line calculated at Indianapolis -14.5 and with Hoyer I would have it at Indianapolis -14, giving us line value either way. Add in the Colts being in a better spot and there’s enough to bet the Colts confidently this week.

Update: Brissett has been ruled out, but this line has dropped to 10.5 to compensate, so I still like the Colts.

Indianapolis Colts 33 Miami Dolphins 17

Pick against the spread: Indianapolis -10.5

Confidence: Medium

Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals: 2019 Week 10 NFL Pick

Baltimore Ravens (6-2) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-8)

If the Bengals hadn’t benched Andy Dalton, I would have been excited about betting them this week as double digit home underdogs against the Ravens. The Ravens got a huge win at home over the Patriots last week, but that actually works against their chances of covering this week, as teams are just 27-52 ATS since 2002 after 17+ point win as home underdogs. The last instance was the Titans falling flat 38-10 in Indianapolis a week after pulling a huge home upset over the Patriots. The Ravens played last week like it was their Super Bowl and will likely have a tough time getting up for a winless Bengals team, especially with another big game on deck against the Texans. Winless teams tend to be good bets this late in the season anyway, going 55-31 ATS in week 9 or later over the past 30 seasons, as winless teams tend to be undervalued and highly motivated to get their first win.

On top of that, as impressive as their win last week was, the Ravens have also won 3 games by a combined 15 points against 3 teams who are now a combined 7-17 (including a mere 6-point home victory over these Bengals) and they lost at home by 15 to a now 2-6 Browns team. If the Ravens don’t bring their a-game, this could easily be a close matchup. The Bengals are still missing AJ Green, but are healthier coming out of their bye than they’ve been for most of the season, with players like left tackle Cordy Glenn, defensive ends Carlos Dunlap and Carl Lawson, and cornerbacks William Jackson and Darqueze Dennard all expected to play after missing varying amounts of time in the first half of the season.

Unfortunately, I can’t recommend a bet now that Dalton has been benched. Dalton’s statistical production has been arguably the worst of his career this season, but he’s also had the worst supporting cast he’s ever had around him. He was far from the problem for this winless team and benching him for 4th round rookie Ryan Finley is not a move the Bengals made to give themselves a better chance to win games this season. In a lost season, this is all about evaluating for the future, with the chance at drafting a franchise quarterback atop the draft very much in reach. The Bengals are still the pick for pick ‘em purposes, but I have this line calculated at Baltimore -10 with Finley under center, so we’re not getting enough points to bet the Bengals confidently.

Update: Glenn is still out for the Bengals despite practicing in full all week. That doesn’t change my pick, however, as I still like the Bengals chances of keeping this relatively close with the Ravens in a bad spot, but not enough to bet on it.

Baltimore Ravens 24 Cincinnati Bengals 16

Pick against the spread: Cincinnati +10.5

Confidence: Low

Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland Raiders: 2019 Week 10 NFL Pick

Los Angeles Chargers (4-5) at Oakland Raiders (4-4)

The Chargers had an impressive 26-11 victory over the Packers last week, but that wasn’t necessarily surprising. The Chargers, who went 12-4 last season, are as healthy as they’ve been all season. Left tackle Russell Okung, edge defender Melvin Ingram, and tight end Hunter Henry all healthy back healthy and playing well after missing significant time, leaving safety Derwin James as their only key injury absence. 

James was one of the top safeties in the league last season, but even without him the Chargers are a playoff caliber team. They rank 12th in my roster rankings and, despite their early season injuries, the Chargers actually rank 11th in first down rate differential on the season at +2.54%, albeit against an easy schedule. With all five of their losses coming by a touchdown or less, the Chargers rank 13th in point differential at +15, despite not benefiting from turnovers, at -3.

The most impressive part of the Chargers’ win was that they played so well at home, in front of a crowd that had so many Packers fans that the game might as well have been in Lambeau. The Chargers have underwhelmed at home since moving to Los Angeles, where they have no fans, going 7-12-1 ATS, but the flip side of that is they’ve traveled well, going 14-6-2 ATS away from Los Angeles. 

Despite the Chargers’ impressive win, this line has not moved significantly in the past week, going from Oakland -2.5 on the early line last week to Los Angeles -1 this week, which barely matters because only about 8% of games are decided by 2 points or fewer. Using 1 point for homefield advantage instead of the standard 3 points because the Chargers travel so well, this line suggests that the Chargers are only a couple points better than the Raiders, which I disagree with.

While the Chargers are a playoff caliber team now that they are healthier, the Raiders still are a middling team at best, ranking 24th in point differential at -34 and 26th in first down rate differential at -3.98%. They’ve faced a tougher schedule than the Chargers and could have their starting five offensive linemen together for this game for the first time all season if center Rodney Hudson can return from a one-game absence, but both Hudson and right tackle Trent Brown are dealing with injuries that could limit them or be re-aggravated mid-game. Their defense, meanwhile, is still horrendous, allowing the second highest first down rate differential in the league at 41.53%. I have these two teams about four points apart, suggesting the Chargers should be favored by a field goal on the road (and by five points if this game was in Los Angeles). In a game the Chargers just need to win to cover, they’re worth a small bet this week.

Los Angeles Chargers 23 Oakland Raiders 20

Pick against the spread: LA Chargers -1

Confidence: Medium