Remind me never to doubt the National Football League again. As soon as I began to wonder if we’d ever see another good Thursday Night Football game, the NFL served up a doozie this week as the Seahawks edged the Packers 27-24 in a thriller in Seattle. While home teams still have too much of an advantage in those Thursday nighters (they’re now 9-2 straight up, with the only losers being the Giants and Cardinals), it was great to see a nationally-televised game between two marquee quarterbacks go down to the wire.

Unfortunately for Packers fans and bettors, there was a different annoying trend that didn’t end last night — Mike McCarthy’s moronic decision-making in tight games. While the rest of the league has figured out that going for it on fourth down and short is often a higher-percentage play than punting the ball away, the Green Bay coach stubbornly continues to play things by the book and go ultra-conservative even though he’s got Aaron Rodgers on his side. In case you missed it, McCarthy chose to punt on 4th-and-2 with around 4 minutes left in Thursday’s game and the Packers down by 3. Seattle then proceeded to run out the clock, preventing Rodgers from getting one more chance to win the game.

On the bright side, that Green Bay/Seattle game may have set the tone for what looks like a tremendous week of action in the NFL. There are lots of matchups with massive playoff implications for both teams involved (Dallas/Atlanta, Cincy/Baltimore, Houston/Washington, Philly/New Orleans and Minnesota/Chicago), and the cherry on top of the sundae comes Monday night as the Chiefs and Rams collide in arguably the most highly-anticipated regular season game of the century.

I’ve got a bet in that KC/LA game, plus two more wagers for this week as well. Let’s break them down in these NFL predictions for Week 11.

All odds that are referenced in this article were taken from at 9 a.m eastern on November 16, 2018. These odds may have changed since the time of this writing.

1. 6-Point Teaser (-110): Tampa Bay Buccaneers +8 (Sunday, 1 p.m. eastern) and LA Chargers -1 (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. eastern)

Props to Odell Beckham Jr. for setting the bar high in New York, but this Giants team isn’t going to win out the rest of the year and make the playoffs. Heck, the G-Men were barely able to get past a 2-win 49ers team starting its third-string quarterback Monday night in San Francisco, needing a penalty-assisted final drive to steal a 27-23 victory. Generating just 277 yards of offense against a fellow bottom-feeder doesn’t give much reason for optimism that this Giants offense is going to break out down the stretch.

Now the Giants have to fly all the way back across the country to host Tampa Bay on a short week and are laying points for the first time this season? I’m not buying it. As bad as Tampa’s defense has been this year, the Bucs are at least capable of shutting down an impotent offense, having just done so last week against the Redskins. In fact, Tampa Bay completely dominated that game in general. Don’t get fooled by the final score — a 16-3 Washington victory. The Buccaneers essentially did what they wanted on both sides of the ball all game, outgaining the Skins 501-286 in yards. But Tampa Bay routinely shot itself in the foot with turnovers, giving the ball away 4 times (2 interceptions, 2 fumbles) while not generating any takeaways of its own. If the Bucs had simply taken care of the ball a bit better to finish off drives, they would have won that game handily and we’d probably be looking at Tampa as a short favorite in this game instead of catching points.


Betting Prediction

You might be thinking, big deal, so Tampa Bay is +2 here instead of -2. When the point spread is this low, it almost doesn’t matter who is favored, since nearly all games are decided by 2 points or more. That’s true when you’re betting point spreads, but not when you’re betting teasers. With Tampa as a short underdog here, we’re now able to tease the Bucs over a touchdown, which creates some massive value. New York’s 2 wins this year have each come by 4 points, so by teasing Tampa to +8, the Giants would need to do something they haven’t done all year in order to beat us.

Place Your Bet Here

For the other leg of our teaser, let’s use the streaking Chargers to simply beat the Broncos this week at home. I’m not interested in laying a touchdown with LA against a Denver team coming off its bye (notice how the oddsmakers have been reluctant to move this spread off the key number of 7?), but I’m confident that the Chargers find a way to pull out the victory one way or another. LA’s done a great job of that this season, with 3 of its 6 straight victories coming by a single possession.

Betting Prediction

Meanwhile, the Broncos have been roadkill when away from home under head coach Vance Joseph, going 3-11 against the spread in their last 14 games on the highway. Home teams have dominated this AFC West rivalry in recent years, winning 5 straight meetings and 7 of the last 9. And although the Broncos have had a week off since a 19-17 loss to the Texans in Week 8, that loss — when Denver missed a game-winning field goal attempt on the final play — was the kill shot on any playoff hopes for the Broncos this season. Having lost 6 of their last 7 games (and with that lone win coming at Arizona), the Broncos might very well mail it in the rest of the way. But even if they bring their max effort here, teasing the Chargers down means we only need LA to win the game.

Place Your Bet Here

2. Jacksonville Jaguars +6 (-110) over Pittsburgh Steelers (Sunday, 1 p.m. eastern)

The Steelers’ tough start to the season (a tie against Cleveland and a loss at home to Kansas City) is a distant memory. Pittsburgh has won 6 of its last 7 games since that 0-1-1 start, including an impressive 52-21 dismantling of the visiting Carolina Panthers last Thursday night. The offense is humming along (fourth in the league in points scored) and the defense has held 6 straight opponents to 21 points or less. Heck, even the Le’Veon Bell saga seems to be behind them, now that Bell has missed his deadline to report and James Conner is more than filling the void.

But I’m sorry, 6 points is too much for Pittsburgh to be laying on the road in this spot, even against the struggling 3-6 Jaguars. As disappointing a year as it’s been in Jacksonville, the Jaguars can be counted on to put on a good fight here on their home field. They’re 2-2 at home this season (including a Week 2 win over the Patriots), and their proud defense has allowed an average of just 15 points per game when playing in Jacksonville. The Steelers’ offense has been far less prolific on the road than at home in recent years, and I don’t see the Pittsburgh attack hanging a big number in this one.

Jacksonville always gets up for Pittsburgh in a rivalry that dates back 20-plus years to their time together in the former AFC Central. The Jags have covered the number in 8 of the last 11 meetings overall as well as 9 of the last 12 meetings in Jacksonville, and the underdog has covered the spread in 10 of the last 11 meetings. In fact, over the last 10 times the teams have played, Pittsburgh has beaten Jacksonville by more than this point spread just once — a 17-9 victory in 2014. I know the rosters look different now than they did in all of those previous meetings, but the bad blood between these rivals still runs deep.

Betting Prediction

As much as Pittsburgh wants to get back at the Jags for a pair of losses last season (including in the AFC playoffs), Jacksonville will be totally up for this game as well. The Jaguars’ playoff hopes are on life support, and I expect them to bring everything they’ve got in this one. Give me the 6 points, and I’ll also have a piece of the Jacksonville moneyline (+200) in my pocket as well.

Place Your Bet Here

3. Kansas City Chiefs +3.5 (-116) over Los Angeles Rams (Monday, 8:15 p.m. eastern)

What can be said about this game that hasn’t been written already? This matchup’s got it all — a pair of 1-loss teams squaring off for regular season NFL supremacy, led by two of the most dynamic offenses that we’ve seen in NFL history. Speaking of history, the Over/Under of 64 is believed to be the highest NFL total that Vegas has ever seen. And if this game wasn’t interesting enough already, the horrible field conditions at Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium forced NFL officials to move the game back to the Rams’ home field in Los Angeles.

But when you get past all the sensational headlines and unusual circumstances surrounding this game, the handicap simply boils down to this: No team has yet to stop this Kansas City offense. Sure, the Chiefs offense “only” put up 26 points last week in a 26-14 win over the Cardinals, but do we really think the Arizona defense was the first to figure out how to slow down Patrick Mahomes and company? No, that game was a total letdown spot before this week’s highly-anticipated clash with the Rams, just like LA let down a bit with a tougher-than-expected 36-31 home win over the Seahawks last week.

The Rams’ defense gets a lot of respect from NFL bettors, but that stop unit has been more bark than bite this year. Just once in its last 8 games has Los Angeles held an opponent under 20 points, and that one time was against the 49ers. In games with Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson or Kirk Cousins as the opposing quarterback, the Rams have given up 165 yards in 5 games — an average of 33 points per outing. So what reason is there to think they can suddenly contain Patrick Mahomes and a KC offense that has scored 30-plus in all but 2 of its 10 games so far?

On the other side of the ball, there’s at least some reason to think the Chiefs can contain Jared Goff and the Rams’ attack. Kansas City’s defense has played quite well since giving up 37 points to the Steelers in Week 2, holding 3 of its last 8 opponents to 14 points or less and allowing more than 23 just twice. Meanwhile, the Rams’ offense limps into this game without one of its key receivers in Cooper Kupp, who was lost for the season with a torn ACL injury suffered last week against Seattle. Kupp’s name doesn’t hold the cachet of an Odell Beckham or Antonio Brown or Julio Jones, but his absence creates a huge hole for the Rams to fill. According to Pro Football Focus, Goff’s quarterback rating when throwing to Kupp is 145.9 — the third-highest of any player who has played at least 20% of his team’s offensive snaps this year.


Betting Prediction

Need a final reason to back the Chiefs this week? Just look at the trends. LA is an overrated team in the betting marketplace, failing to cover the spread in 6 of its last 7 outings — including a 10-point loss at New Orleans 2 weeks ago in the Rams’ biggest stepup spot of the year. Meanwhile, KC continues to deliver for its backers, covering the spread in 8 of 9 games before last week’s obvious letdown spot against Arizona. The Chiefs have also been excellent on the road under Andy Reid (20-7 ATS in their last 27 road games), while the Rams have covered the number in just 2 of their last 8 at home. Add it all up, and the Chiefs +3.5 looks like it’s just oozing with value.

Place Your Bet Here

Related Articles
Leave Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *