During the NFL season, Stadium sports betting analyst Nate Jacobson will break down every single point spread using lines as of Thursday morning. Here are his thoughts on the Week 11 slate.
Note: Nate will discuss all of his college football and NFL bets on the Sharp Lessons podcast that drops every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Subscribe on Spotify and Apple for episodes and follow Stadium Bets on Twitter for more sports betting content.
Sides I Like
Washington (+3.5) over Panthers: This is my favorite bet of the week, and I bet it Wednesday morning at the current number. It’s a perfect spot to fade Cam Newton after Carolina brought him back last week when Sam Darnold was placed on injured reserve. Newton was featured in some packages, and now the former NFL MVP is in line to make his first start as a Panther since his breakup with the organization after the 2019 season.
The line for this game moved from -2.5 to -3.5 due to the Panthers’ win over a very injured Cardinals team, and I believe that’s a massive overreaction due to Newton’s return. He struggled last year with the Patriots, which is largely why he was released by New England before this season. I would be surprised if Newton played at an above-average level right away, especially since he has to learn a new offense in a short amount of time.
Washington’s Ron Rivera is returning to coach in a stadium he called home for nine seasons. Rivera has a defensive background, so he’ll also know the best way to defend a quarterback he is very familiar with. I’m hoping Washington’s offense, which has struggled in the red zone this season, picks up where they left off against the Buccaneers. I’m also betting Washington on the moneyline.
Vikings (+2.5) over Packers: I’ve backed the Vikings several times this season, so regular readers shouldn’t be surprised I’m going with them here. They have a 4-5 record, but have been on the wrong side of a lot of close games. The talent on offense is there, but conservative coaching has doomed the Vikings numerous times. They still have a realistic chance to make the playoffs with very winnable games left on their schedule.
Last week, the Packers closed as a three-point favorite against the Seahawks at home. Russell Wilson was returning from a broken finger and playing in cold weather, so I wasn’t expecting him to be 100 percent, and the Green Bay defense took advantage and pitched a shutout. I don’t understand how the Packers were only a field-goal favorite at home last week but are road favorites against the Vikings, given that I have the Seahawks and Vikings equally rated.
I like Minnesota at any underdog price, and they are also an attractive teaser leg because of their propensity to play close games (all five of their losses have been by seven points or less).
Sides I’m Considering
Falcons (+7) over Patriots: In Week 10, the Falcons lost by 40 points and the Patriots won by 38. Given the craziness of the NFL in the last three weeks, it makes sense to back the team coming off the blowout loss.
I’m half kidding, but I do believe the number is inflated with New England playing very well the last four weeks and the Falcons lacking offensive firepower. The look-ahead line for this game was Patriots -4, so it’s quite the adjustment to a full touchdown after two 60-minute sample sizes. I don’t love the idea of betting on first-year head coach Arthur Smith in his first Thursday night matchup against Bill Belichick, but the number is too good to pass up.
Colts (+7) over Bills: This is a rematch of the AFC Wild Card game where the point spread was in the same range and the Colts had a real chance to pull off the upset with Philip Rivers at quarterback. Some things have changed since that game, but it’s a very similar setup with the big difference being Carson Wentz now quarterbacking Frank Reich’s team.
The Bills are a little overvalued in this spot. Outside of a convincing win in Week 5 against the Chiefs, the quarterbacks they’ve defeated are Tua Tagovailoa, Taylor Heinicke, Davis Mills and Mike White — and they shockingly lost to the Jaguars. I don’t think Wentz is an elite quarterback, but I do like Indianapolis’ ground game led by RB Jonathan Taylor.
I don’t like betting the Colts as a big favorite because of Reich’s conservative nature late in games, but I’m fine with taking a shot at them in a big underdog role.
Seahawks (+2.5) over Cardinals: There’s still a lot of information we need to know in this game before I bet it, but I currently like the home underdog in the Seahawks. This line indicates Kyler Murray will return after missing the last two games with an ankle injury. If Murray does play, I will likely bet the Seahawks as an underdog and hope Russell Wilson is more effective after another week of getting treatment on his finger.
If Murray can’t go and Colt McCoy starts, I would guess the Cardinals would become the ‘dog like they did when they played at the 49ers in Week 9. If that happens, then I would wait until right before kickoff and bet on Arizona. It’s definitely odd that I would bet against the Cardinals if their star quarterback plays but back them if their backup starts instead, but that’s the fun part of betting numbers and not teams in this league.
Cowboys (+2.5) over Chiefs: Before Week 10, the look-ahead line for this game was Chiefs -2.5. The Cowboys then ran the Falcons off the field and the line re-opened at a pick’em before the Chiefs played the Raiders on Sunday night. After the Chiefs’ convincing win in primetime, the line switched back to the original number.
I am hesitant to bet this game because maybe the Chiefs are rounding into form and primed for another statement performance. That being said, the Cowboys are one of the more talented NFL teams, so I’ll definitely look toward the Cowboys in contests where I have to play more than five sides.
Sides I Plan to Use in a Six-Point Teaser
Saints (+2) over Eagles: I can’t pick a side in this game, but I’d tease the underdog of 1.5 or more, which is currently the Saints. The game has a low total of 43, so it’s a very strong teaser leg because it’s likely that this game is decided by one possession.
Lions at Browns (-11): The line was sitting at -10 on Wednesday morning before the news came out revealing that QB Jared Goff wasn’t at practice. If he can’t go, Tim Boyle will start and the line will go up. Regardless, I’m staying away from this game.
49ers (-6.5) at Jaguars: This could be a tricky spot for the 49ers coming off an impressive win on Monday against a divisional opponent in the Rams. They now have to travel across the country for an early start against a Jaguars team that has covered the spread during the last two weeks. The situation says Jacksonville should be considered, but I would need at least +7 to put my money on them.
Dolphins (-3.5) at Jets: I planned to consider the Jets at this number if Zach Wilson was going to return from injury. But Joe Flacco is expected to start, which is a puzzling move to me. I would now only bet the Dolphins in this spot.
Ravens (-5) at Bears: The line for this game was sitting at Ravens -6 early in the week, and I was surprised that it dropped to -5 on Wednesday. Baltimore closed -8.5 last Thursday at the Dolphins, and I don’t think there’s much of a difference between Miami and Chicago. I want to see where the line moves before making a decision on this one.
Texans at Titans (-10): The Titans staved off the Saints last week to win the game, but their offense struggled statistically for the second-straight game without Derrick Henry. Now Tennessee is being asked to cover a huge number against a team that’s rested from their bye. Unfortunately, I don’t feel comfortable betting on this untalented Houston team. They are so bad that they forced five turnovers and still couldn’t cover against the Dolphins in the last game they played.
Bengals (-1) at Raiders: These are two teams I want to fade in the second half of the season, so I’m going to avoid it.
Steelers at Chargers (-5.5): Ben Roethlisberger missed last week’s game after being placed on the COVID-19 list on Saturday, and he’s questionable to play in this game. Just like the Cardinals-Seahawks game, I would be more likely to bet the Steelers as a bigger underdog with Mason Rudolph than with Roethlisberger at a shorter price.
Giants at Buccaneers (-11): The Giants are coming off a bye, so they should finally be healthy after having numerous offensive players injured this season. There’s also the trend of Joe Judge as a road underdog that comes into play. The Giants are 9-2 since the beginning of 2020 when they are in that role on the highway. Still, I’m not interested in getting in front of Tom Brady and the Buccaneers after Bruce Arians called out his team for their recent performance.