Pick of the Week
High Confidence Picks
Medium Confidence Picks
Low Confidence Picks
No Confidence Picks
MIN +105 vs. DAL
LV +125 @ DEN
HOU +140 vs. WAS
Pick of the Week
High Confidence Picks
Medium Confidence Picks
Low Confidence Picks
No Confidence Picks
MIN +105 vs. DAL
LV +125 @ DEN
HOU +140 vs. WAS
Kansas City Chiefs (7-2) at Los Angeles Chargers (5-4)
The Chargers are 5-4, but their only win by more than one score came by 10 points against arguably the worst team in the league in the Houston Texans, while two of their losses came by 14 points or more, giving them a point differential of -28 (23rd in the NFL). That’s despite a +2 turnover margin, which is not predictive, and they are even worse than that in terms of schedule adjusted efficiency, ranking 30th, 5.5 points below average, which is much more predictive than turnover margin.
The biggest problem for the Chargers has been their injuries, with stud left tackle Rashawn Slater, their two talented wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, stud edge defender Joey Bosa, and expected #1 cornerback JC Jackson, among others, all out for extended periods of time. It seems like Allen and Williams could return this week, after practicing throughout the week, but they only practiced in a limited fashion and they are returning from injuries that have cost them seven games and two games respectively, so it’s far from a guarantee that they’ll play, that they’ll play at full strength, and that they’ll play the full game.
With Allen and Williams at least somewhat likely to return in some fashion, the Chargers are only 1.5 points below average in my roster rankings, which isn’t great, but it’s better than where they are in schedule adjusted efficiency. However, the Chiefs still fare much better in both, ranking 2nd in schedule adjusted efficiency, about 8 points above average, and 4th in my roster rankings, about 9 points above average. Not only do the Chiefs rank 3rd in the NFL in point differential at +64, but they have done it despite a -4 turnover margin, which should improve going forward.
The Chargers also have next to no homefield advantage in Los Angeles, which has been the case since they arrived in the city in 2017, as they lack a local fanbase. As a result of largely playing in front of crowds that favor the road team, the Chargers are 16-27 ATS at home since moving in 2017, as opposed to 27-16 ATS on the road. Chiefs fans especially show up to games in Los Angeles and, unsurprisingly, the Chargers are 1-3 ATS against the Chiefs in Los Angeles. I want to wait on the status of Mike Williams and Keenan Allen before locking in a bigger bet, but getting the Chiefs as just 5-point favorites in what amounts to a neutral site game against a still banged up Chargers team seems like a great value. This is a medium confidence pick for now, but could end up as a high confidence pick.
Kansas City Chiefs 27 Los Angeles Chargers 17
Pick against the spread: Kansas City -5
Dallas Cowboys (6-3) at Minnesota Vikings (8-1)
The Vikings are 8-1, but they have won all seven of their one-score games and have won the turnover battle by 8 (2nd best in the NFL), both of which are not sustainable long-term. They beat the Bills last week, but Buffalo was missing several key defenders and, despite that, the Vikings lost the first down rate battle and yards per play battle by 9.04% and 0.66 respectively, needing to win the turnover battle by two and to score a defensive touchdown to barely win in overtime.
Even with that win taken into account, the Vikings still rank just 19th in schedule adjusted efficiency, about one point below average, which is much more predictive than turnover margin. The Cowboys are a couple games worse in the standings, but rank about 3.5 points above average in schedule adjusted efficiency, 8th in the league, even though starting quarterback Dak Prescott missed five games with injury. The public and the oddsmakers both seem to understand that though, leading to the Vikings actually being 2-point home underdogs in this game.
With that in mind, I actually like the Vikings for pick ‘em purposes. While there is a significant gap between these two teams in schedule adjusted efficiency, my roster rankings have them much closer together, with the Vikings still among the most talented teams in the league, despite what the statistics say, and I think the Vikings could play with a chip on their shoulder being underdogs yet again. There isn’t enough here for the Vikings to be worth betting against the spread, but they seem like the right side for pick ‘em purposes and a small bet on the money line at +105 makes sense as well, as the Vikings should be considered no worse than 50/50 to win this game here at home.
Minnesota Vikings 24 Dallas Cowboys 23 Upset Pick +105
Pick against the spread: Minnesota +1.5
Chicago Bears (3-7) at Atlanta Falcons (4-6)
A week ago on the early line, the Falcons were 5-point favorites, but this line has since shrunk to favor the Falcons by 3, a significant line movement, considering about 1 in 5 games are decided by 3-4 points exactly. That is likely due to the Falcons losing to the Panthers, but the Falcons split the yards per play and first down rate battle in that game, as the Bears did in their loss to the Lions, so I don’t think those results warrant this line movement. I normally like to go against significant week-to-week line movements like that and my calculated line actually has the Falcons favored by 7 points, as the Falcons have a 5.5-point edge over the Bears in schedule adjusted efficiency and a 5-point edge in my roster rankings.
The Bears have been better on offense in recent weeks, but their defense has been horrendous since trading away Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith, two of their best defensive players. The Falcons are bettable as mere 3-point home favorites and, while this is a small bet for now, I would increase this to a high confidence pick if top cornerback AJ Terrell returns from injury for the Falcons, a strong possibility and something that would be a big boost after a 3-game absence, and/or if this line drops down to 2.5, which also seems like a possibility, with the public all over the Bears for some reason.
Update: -2.5s are showing up Sunday morning, so I am going to increase this bet.
Atlanta Falcons 31 Chicago Bears 24
Pick against the spread: Atlanta -2.5
Arizona Cardinals (4-6) vs. San Francisco 49ers (5-4) in Mexico City
Typically the rule of thumb is to take the favorite in neutral site international games, as the better team tends to have a bigger international fan base and tends to be better suited to play in a weird situation like this, leading to the favorite covering at a 62.8% rate (27-16 ATS) all-time. The 49ers are 8-point favorites, but that’s probably not high enough. The Cardinals are 4-6, which isn’t bad, but they have needed a +5 turnover margin (5th best in the NFL) just to sustain that mediocre record and turnover margins are not predictive week-to-week. Meanwhile, in terms of schedule adjusted efficiency, which is much more predictive, the Cardinals rank just 25th, four points below average.
My roster rankings have the Cardinals even worse, 8.5 points below average, due to injuries, primarily on the offensive line, with arguably their top-4 offensive linemen left tackle DJ Humphries, left guard Justin Pugh, right guard Will Hernandez and center Rodney Hudson all out. Starting quarterback Kyler Murray is also questionable and, while backup Colt McCoy is a decent replacement, he doesn’t give this offense the same upside as Murray, especially behind an injured offensive line and, even if Murray plays, he might not be quick as mobile this week, due to his lingering hamstring injury, also a problem behind a banged up offensive line.
The 49ers, meanwhile, are much better than their 5-4 record, ranking 8th in point differential at +35 and 5th in schedule adjusted efficiency, five points above average. The 49ers are also healthier now than they were earlier in the season. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel, tight end George Kittle, and left tackle Trent Williams are all among their best offensive players and all missed time earlier this season, but all three have returned, a huge boost for an offense that also got a big boost from adding Christian McCaffrey in a trade a few weeks ago. The 49ers’ defense also got healthier out of the bye, with linebackers Dre Greenlaw and Azeez Al-Shaair and safety Jimmie Ward returning to action last week. My calculated line has the 49ers favored by 11.5 on a neutral site and, in a good spot as well, I think the 49ers are bettable.
San Francisco 49ers 28 Arizona Cardinals 16
Pick against the spread: San Francisco -8
New York Jets (6-3) at New England Patriots (5-4)
The Patriots play again a few days after this game, facing the Vikings on Thanksgiving, which would normally put the Patriots in a bad spot, as favorites cover at just a 44.6% rate before Thursday Night Football, but the Patriots are also coming off of a bye, which might nullify that somewhat. There isn’t a large sample size of favorites playing between a bye week and a Thursday game, but teams are 9-10 ATS in that spot, which isn’t good, but it’s not particularly bad either and it makes sense that having extra rest beforehand would somewhat offset having an upcoming short turnaround, so I wouldn’t shy away from the Patriots this week just because they have to play again a few days after this one.
That being said, I do still like the Jets a little bit at +3.5, as I expect this to be a close, low scoring game, with two teams that have much better defenses than offenses. About 1 in 4 games are decided by three points or fewer and this seems likely to be one of them. However, this is a no confidence pick and, if the line were to move to three, I would like the Patriots at that number more than I like the Jets at this number, so I would change my pick in that circumstance. Either way, there’s nothing worth betting on here and this is one of my lowest confidence picks of the week.
New England Patriots 19 New York Jets 16
Pick against the spread: NY Jets +3.5
Detroit Lions (3-6) at New York Giants (7-2)
This line moved from favoring the Giants by four points on the early line last week to just three points this week, a significant swing given that 1 in 6 games are decided by exactly three points. Normally I like to go against a significant week-to-week line movement like that as it tends to be an overreaction, but, in this case, I don’t think the line has moved far enough and was too high to begin with. The Giants beat the Texans last week, but the Texans are arguably the worst team in the league and the Giants needed to win the turnover margin by two to win the game by eight and they lost the first down rate battle and yards per play battle by 8.12% and 0.97 respectively, which are much more predictive than turnovers.
The Giants are 7-2 overall, but all of their wins have come by eight points or fewer, with all but two coming against sub-.500 teams, and several of their wins have required comebacks, with the Giants ranking just 27th in time leading per game, despite their record. They could beat the Lions and move to 8-2, but I expect the Lions to keep this game close and, with this line at a full field goal, the Lions seem like the better side, at least for pick ‘em purposes. There isn’t enough here for the Giants to be worth betting, but, with my calculated line at NY Giants -1.5, I expect this to be a close game and one the Lions could end up winning.
New York Giants 24 Detroit Lions 23
Pick against the spread: Detroit +3
Los Angeles Rams (3-6) at New Orleans Saints (3-6)
Both of these teams are 3-6 and have serious injury problems, among the worst in the league. The Rams will get quarterback Matt Stafford back from a one-game absence with a concussion, but he’ll return to a team that lost arguably the best wide receiver in the league in Cooper Kupp to injury and that is without a trio of starting offensive linemen, left tackle Joe Noteboom, left guard David Edwards, and center Brian Allen from what was already a shaky offensive line entering the season. The Rams’ defense still remains an above average unit, but the absence of their best offensive player and three key offensive linemen has left their offense well below average.
The Saints, meanwhile, have injury problems on both sides of the ball. On offense, they will be without top wide receiver Michael Thomas, starting left tackle James Hurst, and starting center Erik McCoy, while their defense will be without top cornerback Marshon Lattimore, talented starting linebacker Pete Werner, and their stud edge defender duo of Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport. The Saints have a one-point edge in schedule adjusted efficiency and a one-point edge in my roster rankings, but they’re also field goal favorites at home, which is about what they should be. My numbers suggest the Saints are slightly more likely to cover at this number, but this is a no confidence pick and a push is a likely outcome, given that one in six games are decided by exactly three points.
New Orleans Saints 20 Los Angeles Rams 17
Pick against the spread: New Orleans -3
Las Vegas Raiders (2-7) at Denver Broncos (3-6)
The Broncos are off to a disappointing start, sitting at 3-6, while ranking 26th in schedule adjusted efficiency, about five points below average, suggesting they’ve played just as bad, if not worse than their record suggests. Injuries have been a huge part of the problem, with starting running back Javonte Williams, starting wide receiver Tim Patrick, stud left tackle Garrett Bolles, starting right tackle candidates Tom Compton and Billy Turner, starting center candidates Graham Glasgow and Lloyd Cushenberry, talented edge defenders Randy Gregory and Baron Browning, top linebacker Josey Jewell, top safety Justin Simmons, and starting cornerback Ronald Darby all missing significant time with injury to begin the season.
The majority of those players remain out, with Simmons and Jewell returning a few weeks back, and Glasgow, Browning, and Compton possibly returning this week, but none of those players are guaranteed to return and the Broncos have some new injury absences as well, with starting linebacker Jonas Griffith, talented slot cornerback K’Waun Williams, and starting wide receiver Jerry Jeudy all going down in the past week. The Broncos also traded away edge defender Bradley Chubb for draft picks at the trade deadline, which is another big loss. With Glasgow, Browning, and Compton questionable and the rest of those players out, I have the Broncos 7.5 points below average in my roster rankings, which would be even worse if those aforementioned players didn’t play.
The Raiders are off to a disappointing 2-7 start as well, but they are healthy and have overall played better, possessing a 2.5-point edge in schedule adjusted efficiency and a 5-point edge in my roster rankings. Despite that, the Raiders are 2.5 point underdogs in Denver, suggesting these two teams are about even. My calculated line has the Raiders favored by 2.5 points, so we’re getting good line value with the Raiders at +2.5. I don’t want to lock in this bet until I know the status of Compton, Glasgow, and Browning and I am holding out hope that we will get a +3 at some point, but the Raiders are the pick for pick ‘em purposes either way, even at +2.5, and the money line is a good value as well at +125, as the Raiders should be the ones at least slightly favored in this matchup.
Update: +3s have started showing up, so I am going to lock in a bet at that number.
Las Vegas Raiders 20 Denver Broncos 17 Upset Pick +125
Pick against the spread: Las Vegas +3
Washington Commanders (5-5) at Houston Texans (1-7-1)
This line shifted from favoring the Commanders by 2.5 points on the early line last week to 3 points this week, a significant shift considering 1 in 6 games are decided by a field goal exactly. That’s because the Commanders pulled the surprising upset in Philadelphia last week, winning as 11-point underdogs to give the Eagles their first loss of the season, but teams tend not to follow up big upsets well, covering the spread at a 42.0% rate after winning a game as double digit underdogs. The Commanders also won that game because they converted 13 of 22 on third and fourth down and won the turnover battle by two, both of which are not predictive.
Meanwhile, the Commanders lost the first down rate battle by 8.09% and the yards per play battle by 1.54, which are much more predictive, so I still consider them a mediocre team. The Texans are arguably the worst team in the league, but they’re not as bad as the worst team in the league is in most years and the Commanders are the type of team they can beat in a home game, especially if the Commanders don’t take them seriously after a huge upset win last week. Getting a full field goal, the Texans are worth a bet this week and there’s a decent chance they can pull the straight up upset, so the money line (+140) is a good bet as well.
Houston Texans 17 Washington Commanders 16 Upset Pick +140
Pick against the spread: Houston +3