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Week 10 of the NFL season got underway on Thursday night when the Miami Dolphins shocked the world and beat the Baltimore Ravens. It seems like upsets are picking up steam as we've seen some huge underdogs win straight up over the past three weeks. Such is life in the NFL and that's why we love it.
As we do weekly here, we're going over six games on the Week 10 slate with similar point spreads. Some of these games are tough and they're disgusting to pick, but by talking through them maybe we can find an angle worth exploring. All betting lines are as of Friday afternoon and courtesy of BetMGM.
Would you rather lay 3.5-points with Green Bay or the L.A. Chargers?
In a battle where we expect to see two star quarterbacks return, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are 3.5-point favorites over Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks. Elsewhere, the L.A. Chargers are 3.5-point favorites against the reeling but competitive Minnesota Vikings. Which home favorite are you laying over a field goal with?
Greg: The Packers game is one of the toughest on the board for me. Do I want the quarterback coming off a fractured finger or the one that just had COVID? If I had to pick a horse in this race, it would be the QB who isn’t taking ivermectin. Russell Wilson has been itching to get back out onto the field, but I don’t think they would trot him out there if his finger is significantly affecting his throws. Maybe we’ll see some jitters, but Wilson is a gamer and it’s a rare spot where you can get more than a field goal’s worth of points with him under center. Minnesota has gotten cooked by good quarterbacks this year, and half of its defensive starters are either questionable to play or already ruled out, including star safety Harrison Smith, who’s on the COVID-19/reserve list. I’m taking the Chargers and counting on a big Justin Herbert game.
Pete: I don't feel great about laying points with either team here. Lost in the drama surrounding his lies and his comments, Rodgers did have COVID. We saw the impact COVID had on players like Lamar Jackson, Cam Newton and Myles Garrett when they returned to action last year. Also, Russell Wilson is being extremely extra about this return and I can see him going berserk. On the other hand, the Chargers play close games and the Vikings lose close games. That luck could change for Minnesota, but even if it doesn't I can easily see the Vikings losing by a field goal and still covering. I guess I'll go with the Chargers, as well, due to Minnesota's defensive injuries.
Would you rather lay the big number with Indianapolis or Dallas?
The Indianapolis Colts need every game at this point. The Colts are 10.5-point home favorites over the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are coming off an upset win over the Buffalo Bills. Elsewhere, the Dallas Cowboys lost straight up as 10-point favorites last week against the Denver Broncos. That hasn't stopped the Cowboys from being 9.5-point favorites this week at home against the Falcons. Which home team are you laying the big number with?
Greg: I like both of the dogs in these two matchups. The Colts are a power running team, but the Jags are surrendering the third-fewest yards per carry and Trevor Lawrence’s throwing style is perfectly suited to take advantage of an Indianapolis secondary that’s given up the most passing touchdowns in the NFL. The Cowboys are without their two best pass-rushers after Randy Gregory’s calf injury, while Matt Ryan is PFF’s highest-graded quarterback over the last five weeks. Atlanta should be able to put up a lot of points and I think it can win that game straight up, so I guess I’m on the Colts.
Pete: I'm not really a trend-bettor, but I like Dallas because backing favorites after a straight-up loss in a game where they play an underdog after a straight-up win has been a very profitable trend for years. The logic checks out. If a team is a favorite in two straight weeks, it's probably good. If it lost straight up the week before, its antenna is up. If a team is an underdog in two straight weeks, it's probably not that great. If it won straight up the week before, it might be overvalued. If Dallas scores points, which it should, Atlanta doesn't have the weapons to keep up and Matt Ryan's PFF grade won't matter much. I don't like the Colts because I don't think they'll be able to bully-ball run the ball like they usually like to do.
Would you rather take the Browns or the Eagles as a small road favorite?
In a huge AFC game with potential playoff implications, the Cleveland Browns are 2-point underdogs on the road against the New England Patriots. The bottom of the NFC playoff picture is wide open, and the Denver Broncos and Philadelphia Eagles aren't dead. The Eagles are short 2.5-point road underdogs in Denver this week. Which short road underdog are you backing?
Greg: Denver may be playing three backups on its offensive line, which wasn’t that great to begin with. The under feels like a lock in this one, so I’m gravitating toward taking the points. The Patriots have been clamping down on the run and this could easily be a meltdown game for Baker Mayfield. Both of these are toss-ups to me. I feel most comfortable with the Eagles.
Pete: Is Odell Beckham Jr. lining up at wide receiver for the Browns on Sunday? No? All right, I'll take the Browns. At this point, I feel comfortable in saying that Baker Mayfield without Beckham Jr. is a slightly above average quarterback and Baker with OBJ is a mediocre game-manager. Seriously, look at the best stretches of Baker's career. His rookie year and the second half of last year. Odell was either in New York or on IR. In the three games without Odell this season, the Browns have scored 101 points. I'm not blaming Odell or Baker or Kevin Stefanski, but it hurt all three of them when Beckham was on the field. Baker is a better quarterback and Stefanski is a better play-caller with him out of the picture. I think this Browns team has more talent than New England, so unless Bill Belichick twists Baker into a pretzel, I like the Browns to win this game. The Broncos-Eagles game feels like a huge toss up where Denver can easily win by a field goal.