Week 9 sent us stepping in the right direction with a 5-2 performance and another successful hit on the Lock of the Week. This is normally the part of the article where I'd complain about the "should'ves" that cost us those two bets we lost, but I've decided I'll change things up and acknowledge the bets I was spot on about in last week's article.
There were four games that I couldn't have predicted more perfectly, which benefitted us greatly financially in Week 9:
I'm feeling confident rolling into Week 10 as I've become more and more familiar with what each team is all about. We're 38-26 on the season, the Locks are 7-3, and we're about to go 7-0 in Week 11.
Minnesota Vikings +3.5 at Buffalo Bills
Let's begin with the game featuring the injured player everyone is talking about. Bills QB Josh Allen suffered an injury to his UCL on his throwing arm last week, and it's unclear if he'll be playing. I'm no anatomy expert, but I've learned that injuries to the UCL are what causes MLB pitchers to need the infamous Tommy John surgery which involves months and months of recovery. Now, doctors don't think Allen's injury is very severe, but I'm wondering if Sean McDermott will want to push him to come back this week or if he'll need to make sure his franchise quarterback is free from the risk of re-injury. As Allen is currently questionable to start on Sunday, I'm partially betting here that he won't suit up at all and Minnesota will get to face a backup QB in Buffalo. But even if Allen does play, I don't think he'll be rocketing the ball all over the place like he's done for most of his career. The Vikings are 7-1 and have looked really good in most of their outings this season, and I do believe they have a legitimate shot to hand Buffalo their second straight loss even if the Bills remain at full strength. The Bills haven't blown out any real contenders this year, so it should be a close one either way.
Cleveland Browns +3.5 at Miami Dolphins
I keep badly wanting to take the Dolphins to cover every week because of how explosive their offense is with both Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. But they just aren't as reliable as I would expect and haven't really won by a substantial margin in any game since their opener against the Patriots. While Cleveland was on a four game skid until they dominated Cincinnati two weeks ago on Monday night, only one of those losses was decided by more than three points. The Browns might have broken through some kind of mental barrier on Halloween when they unleashed nothing short of a beatdown on Joe Burrow and the Bengals and they have no doubt taken that confidence through their bye and will enter Sunday's game with a renewed energy. The fact they've had two weeks to prepare for Miami's offense also gives me extra confidence that they'll be able to contain the Dolphins' speedsters just enough to give themselves a chance to win. Following the trends that have been set by both teams, I'm predicting this game to be decided by a field goal either way, which would give us a win either way as well.
Houston Texans at New York Giants Under 41.0
This is a pretty low number to take the under against, but I remain confident that this will be a game where both teams finish in the teens. New York has only allowed three teams to exceed 20 points all season, with the Seahawks putting up the most they've allowed this year in their most recent game two weeks ago. The Giants have found their identity, and that's a ground and pound attack to wear down their opponents and win at the line of scrimmage. As a result, their games tend toward the lower side of the point total. Houston, on the other hand, has only surpassed the 20-point barrier once this season, putting up 24 in a loss to the Chargers. I expect that trend to continue this week as out of the eight games featuring the Giants this season, seven have stayed under the point total, including all four of their home appearances. Take the under and take your winnings when the Giants win this game 17-13.
Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears Over 48.5
I'm not sure what caused it, but Justin Fields and the Bears' offense magically started clicking in Week 7 at New England. Including that game, they've scored 33, 29, and 32 points against respectable defenses in their last three appearances. And this Sunday, they'll be facing off against one of the league's worst defenses, especially on the ground. Don't let Detroit's performance in their last game fool you. The Lions still rank dead last in the league in both yards allowed and points allowed on a per game basis. And this is AFTER they just held the Packers to nine points last week. I never dreamed I would say this at the beginning of the season, but I'm expecting the Bears to continue their offensive explosion and for the Lions to tag along for the point-filled ride as this NFC North matchup glides past the point total.
Las Vegas Raiders -4.0 vs. Indianapolis Colts
I alluded to the ineptitudes of the Colts' franchise this season in my intro, so I won't go into too much additional detail about the fact that they have a very inexperienced quarterback, injuries to their best players on both sides of the ball, no offensive line presence, and an interim head coach who has never coached an NFL game previously. Needless to say, the odds are stacked against Indianapolis as they head across the country to Las Vegas to take on the Raiders, who have had their fair share of troubles this year too. The difference is that the Raiders have weapons on offense who can make up for their lack of solid quarterback play. Vegas has blown three 17-point leads this season, indicating they typically start strong and collapse down the stretch. However, when they get up big on the Colts this Sunday, Indy won't have the offensive firepower to fight their way back. The Raiders will get a much needed win by double digits on Sunday to attempt to claw their way back into the wild card picture down the stretch.
Los Angeles Chargers at San Francisco 49ers Over 45.5
This bet is primarily on San Francisco's offense, who exploded for 31 points last week in L.A. against the Rams. With the addition of Christian McCaffrey to the backfield, their offense is simply scary with the amount of playmakers that abound. Can you imagine if the Niners had one of the young, pass-happy quarterbacks that have littered the AFC in recent years? It would be a thrill to watch. Still, Jimmy G is serviceable enough to keep things moving as long as McCaffrey continues to keep the defenses honest against the run. I don't love trusting the Chargers' offense to put up points while both Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are out of the lineup, but Austin Ekeler has been a touchdown machine in their absence. Realistically, both teams just need to surpass a bit over 20 points for the over to hit, and I'm not sure that one or both of them won't hit 30. Let's call it a 31-24 final for successful bet placed on the over.
Lock of the Week: Dallas Cowboys -4.0 at Green Bay Packers
I mentioned that the Packers were held to just nine points a week ago by a Detroit team that was and still is the worst defense in the league statistically. Even though they will be playing at home this Sunday, there's no way they perform much better against the Cowboys, who are the third best team at preventing points this season. Dallas also just put up 49 on the Bears in a 20-point blowout, so it's clear that Dak Prescott and company will be riding high into Green Bay (no pun intended). Additionally, I sense that Mike McCarthy will be on a bit of a revenge tour while back on the sidelines at Lambeau, so he's surely cooking up a gameplan to stifle his former quarterback and win by as much as possible out of spite. I like Dallas to go on the road and win by at least a touchdown if not more. It just feels like Packers offense is going to take more than a flip of a switch to fix this time.