Week 10 NFL picks against the spread
The Eagles, Patriots and Falcons headline this week’s best bets, with picks for every game
How is it already Week 10?! The leaves are falling, the election is past, and the NFL playoffs are starting to feel real. Last week before our picks, we did a midseason NFL power rankings to get a sense of where everything stood, and that seemed to help! We had our best betting week in a month, including a perfect 3–0 on best bets for the first time this season. We also nailed another lock and moved to 3–0 on locks. Things are looking up.
Things are looking up for the New Orleans Saints too, who look like the best team in football after big wins against the Vikings and Rams. Los Angeles went from undefeated to not even the 1-seed in the NFC, and they’re not the only surprise as we start the second half. The Washington Redskins and Chicago Bears are surprise division leaders, and the Kansas City Chiefs have the hottest offense in football.
So what have we learned the first two months, and which teams will be victorious in Week 10? It’s time to make some picks.
The stay aways
New York Jets -7 vs Buffalo
Josh McCown! Derek Anderson! Or maybe Nathan Peterman! It’s the AFC East on CBS! Suddenly you remember why the Patriots have won 700 division titles in a row. The Bills have games this season with 0, 3, 5, 6, and 9 points, and it’s only half over. The line was -8 but dropped with the Darnold injury news. That doesn’t make sense. McCown was good last year. Josh McCown is the quarterback Nathan Peterman only dreams he could be someday.
Update: Peterman’s out too, so now it’s Matt Barkley. Hm. He seems less terrible, so let’s take the points and stay miles away.
New York Giants +3 at San Francisco (Monday)
Two straight primetime 49ers games, you shouldn’t have! No, seriously NFL, why? Why not just re-air the classic 90s matchups? The ESPN commercials for this game talk about Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham against … the 49ers! They didn’t even bother to name a San Francisco player. Too bad, because Nick Mullens was pretty good in his first start. You know what’d be fun? If Mullens finished the season well enough to create a real QB controversy in San Francisco. For now, we’ll take the healthier team coming off a bye week.
Points a plenty
Kansas City -16 vs Arizona
You know the Chiefs are going to score a lot of points, so how much confidence do you have that Byron Leftwich figured this Arizona offense out during the week off? Kansas City is averaging 36 points a game at home. Arizona has scored more than 18 only once. We’ll stick with Mahomes.
Tampa Bay -2 vs Washington
Well this is a weird one. I projected Washington to be a 2-point favorite and instead they’re a 2-point dog, probably mostly due to the explosion of injury news this week as the Redskins lost half of their offensive line. Still, the line is close enough that you just pick the winner here. Washington is scoring just 19 ppg in five games since their bye, and their defense has struggled against downfield passing attacks like New Orleans and Atlanta. It’s Fitzmagic time.
Miami +11 at Green Bay
And so it’s come to this: I am picking Brock Osweiler against Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay has three wins: one against Josh Allen, one on a last second field goal over the 49ers, and one sham victory over the Bears. The weird thing with the Dolphins is they either win or lose big. All four Miami losses are by double digits, which would mean a Packers cover. This is Green Bay’s one breath of air between four road games against the Rams, Pats, Vikings, and Seahawks. This is a trap game, and if you’re really feeling bold, the Dolphins are +400 to win outright and end the Packers season for good.
The division rivalries
Indianapolis -2.5 vs Jacksonville
The Jaguars have won four of five against the Colts … but also four of 11. Oddly enough, only three of those 11 have been within two scores. The Colts are much better at home, and the Jags haven’t won since September. Both teams are 3–5 and coming off a bye. Winner keeps their division hopes alive.
Detroit +7 at Chicago
The Lions have won nine of their last 10 games against the Bears, and all but two of those have come down to one score. Detroit has a knack for hanging around these division battles until the final minutes, and they actually have the best division record among NFC North teams over the past five seasons at 21–11. If the Lions only played division games all year, they’d win 10+ games. They might even win a playoff game!
Oakland +10 vs Los Angeles Chargers
When these division lines get too high, it’s usually best to just take the points and count on rivals to keep it close. The last four matchups in Oakland have been within a field goal, and the Raiders have won three of five at home. Add in a half-bye for Oakland and the way the Chargers let teams hang around and sure, let’s go with an L.A. letdown in Oakland!
Seattle +10 at Los Angeles Rams
You’ve caught onto the theme: take the division rival points. Seattle with Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll has only lost by 10 three times ever. Of course, one of those was 42–7 against these Rams last year, so there’s that. But Seattle just almost never gets blown out, and the Rams showed some vulnerabilities last week in their first loss. We’ll go with the Seahawks keeping it close.
The games of the week
Pittsburgh -3.5 vs Carolina (Thursday)
Holy cow, an interesting Thursday night game! And next week we get Packers vs. Seahawks, which is always interesting, then a Falcons and Saints shootout on Thanksgiving night and a Saints-Cowboys game after that. Thursday night football is back! Can something be back if it was never really here? The Steelers are definitely back, but bettors seem to think otherwise. This game opened at -7 but has been bet all the way down to -3.5. This is like the Super Bowl of teams competing for the playoffs with no real chance at the Super Bowl. I’m still not buying Carolina, and I don’t think their secondary will have any answers against Antonio Brown or JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Cincinnati +6 vs New Orleans
The Bengals are missing A.J. Green, and their defense is cratering a bit after injuries ruined a good start. But Cincinnati had a bye week to get things in order, and the Saints are coming off a brutal stretch against the Ravens, Vikings, and Rams. This feels like a letdown game for New Orleans. Cincinnati’s offense is good enough to keep this close. They look like the second AFC wildcard by default. My 8–0 record picking Bengals games is on the line. Can Andy Dalton and Marvin Lewis keep it close against the hottest team in the NFL? *gulp*
Week 10 best bets
New England -6 at Tennessee
The Patriots have seven wins and would’ve covered this line in six of them. Tennessee is coming off a short week and hasn’t figured out its offense all season, and Belichick is squaring off against his guy Mike Vrabel for the first time. That didn’t go so well with Matt Patricia and Detroit in September, so you can bet Belichick will be ready for this one. The Pats take care of business.
Atlanta -4 at Cleveland
Cleveland was 2–2–1 their first five games with a +1 point differential, and every game was within four. In their last four games, they’re 0–4 with a -58 differential, allowing more than 33 ppg. Atlanta’s offense is rolling, and they’re starting to get healthy. The Browns offense looked better without Hue Jackson and Todd Haley, but they’re going to need a lot more than a week to turn this thing around.
Philadelphia -6.5 vs Dallas (Sunday night)
Dallas is hitting the road off a short week, and Philadelphia is rested after a bye week. That’s a massive advantage for the Eagles, a team that badly needed to get healthy and in sync after trudging through the first half. Dallas has won five of six in Philly, but a couple of those were meaningless games in Week 17. The Cowboys are 0–4 on the road, averaging under 14 ppg. Dak Prescott got the dreaded Jerry Jones vote of confidence this week. Can’t you just see the Eagles dominating the first half to right the NFC East ship for good before a surprise Cooper Rush unveiling before a national audience?