Today's Free Picks for
Posted Friday, November 11 at 3:30 PM EST. Odds are subject to change.
NFL Week 10
What you see below is our early leans. Many of the selections below will stay the same and some will be moved into official plays with wagers on Sunday. However, there is also the possibility that we see, read or get a sense that something is not right with one of our selections and change our pick. There are several different criteria we use to grade a game and make it an official play and a lot of things can happen or change between Friday and Sunday. We’re intent on providing our We’ll have all write-ups (except Monday Night Football) posted on Friday but our actual wagers won’t be posted until Sunday morning between 10 AM and 12:00 PM EST
Sunday, November 11
NFL Week 10
Seattle +2½ over Tampa Bay
9:30 AM EST. Guten Tag! This game takes place in Germany in another one of Roger Goodell’s mafia cash grab. We do not fault Goodell for going overseas and grabbing as much as he can because money is money and we would all do the same thing to increase our bottom line. Going overseas is not the issue we have. The issue is the time slot. Germany, like the U.K. is only six and five hours ahead of us respectively. That means if they started at 1:00 PM EST, it would be 7:00 PM in Germany and we’d watch games like we always do but the greedy pig that runs the NFL wants us to be watching from 9:30 AM until midnight. He’s like the Grinch that Stole Christmas, grabbing every last piece of tinsel that he can find.
Sunday mornings are great for kids and dads to go grab some breakfast and coffee and talk about whatever. Spend some time in the morning doing what families do on a day off in the morning before NFL starts. Now, we understand that people have choices but there is just a Mount Everest of interest in the NFL and Roger wants it all. Unless our consumption of the NFL changes, he’ll continue to show it the way he wants to. I, for one, refuse to watch or wager on overseas games for two reasons. The first reason is listed above. The second reason is because of all the unknown intangibles that go with traveling to another country. We have no idea which team will get acclimated better, which team is partying more or which key players are hooking up with whoever. A recently divorced Tom Brady in Germany? Oh Junge, oh là là. We trust you get the picture.
As for the game itself, we stated before that the Bucs are not going to be getting any more of our money because we can find better ways to lose it than to be on a 45-year-old playing a kids game. Like all the other overseas games, we have no interest in watching, betting or participating in it so we’ll pass. Hold a gun to our head and we’d take Seattle straight up. Recommendation: Seattle +2½
Minnesota @ Buffalo -3½
1:00 PM EST. There is so much to like about this game that we are going to get right to it. First and foremost you have the injury chasers, who are going to be out in full force in light of Josh Allen’s status for Sunday morning. We’re not going to worry about Allen’s status at all, as the posted line tells us all we need to know at the moment. Dude isn't going to play. That doesn’t deter us one iota, in fact, we might like the Bills more at this discounted price with the ever reliable Case Keenum than we did at the -7½ they opened at when Allen was expected to play.
Regardless of who suits up for the Bills, we are fading Minnesota again this week after doing so last week. We call that “sticking with it” and it’s one of the most important strategies to remember to keep in your toolbox. In Week 9, we pointed out many of the warts on the Vikes, but worry not, there’s more. Much more. The Vikes are the biggest frauds in the NFC, maybe the entire league. In a market where winning trumps all else, Minny’s curb appeal is gorgeous. They have ripped off six Ws in a row and cashed tickets in three straight weeks (last Sunday was a win or a push depending on the number you landed on).
That success has come under a fog of smoke and mirrors, as a closer look shows the Vikings are living a charmed life. Minny has played a weak schedule that ranks just 24th according to Football Outsiders. For some perspective, the Vikes estimated win total sits at just 4.2. That’s nearly a three game swing and it’s based totally on their play v that cupcake sked. Minnesota is just the 18th-ranked team by total DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average). That’s not great, and hopefully, it gives you a little bit of insight into the value of studying the “goods under the hood”.
We were prepared to pump up the Bills with the analytics to back it up, but we’ll save that for another day. Without Allen in the lineup, those numbers will fall on deaf ears. However, just know, the Bills are elite, and they are very prideful. Motivation is not going to be an issue, as they rally around their injured leader.
From our humble perch, the bookies are begging for action on the Vikings here. How else could the Bills be spotting more than a field goal with journeyman Case Keenum at the helm? When you see the oddsmakers hang a “hook” (half-point), they are enticing the market to back the underdog. When the favorite is missing its All-Pro pivot, that wager is going to be even more tempting. It’s low hanging fruit, but as we pointed out above, the Vikes are not what their record shows, and therefore are not worth the squeeze. The oddsmakers are not bothered by Keenum starting this game and neither are we. We actually like it more because of the aforementioned great value on the host. Recommendation: Buffalo -3½
Arizona @ L.A. Rams -1½
4:25 PM EST. Picking a side here is like being forced to choose between a turd sandwich or a toenail salad for lunch. Much like those tasty delicacies, one might be slightly more appealing than the other. There isn’t enough A-1 sauce in the world to make that sandwich palatable, but at least you can drown that salad in oil and vinegar to choke it down.
In this case, the Cardinals are the turd sandwich. At 3-6, coach Kliff Kingsbury is on the hot seat and very likely the next coach to be fired. A poor showing here just might be enough to get the job done. It’s been a downward spiral for Kingsbury and the Cardinals after starting last season 8-1. Since then, Arizona is 6-11, which is not a good look. With the propensity for teams to fire their coaches mid-season, the mindset of the Cardinals must be considered. If their coach's message is old, tired, or not relevant, and they want a new voice, the Cards may intentionally or unintentionally play down to reach that final destination.
The market is attacking the Rams in this game because the status of Matt Stafford is in question, as he is in concussion protocol. We’re not going to lie—sitting Stafford might be the best thing for the Rams. Dude is toast. We received a number of messages during last Sunday’s game versus the Buccaneers that expressed that Matty was cooked and that he had no business being on the field. Those messages were spot on.
The Rams’ backup QB is John Wolford, who made his only career start in a do-or-die game against the Cardinals back in the 2020 season. The winner of that game made the playoffs and the loser went home. The Rams were a slim 1-point favorite that day and won easily, 18-7. Kingsbury was outwitted and outclassed by Sean McVay that afternoon and we trust more of the same is on the horizon.
Situationally, the Cardinals host Monday Night Football next week against San Francisco, which also presents the opportunity for a “lookahead spot”. Playing in prime time is a big deal and it’s even more significant when a team is hosting that game. Look no further than the Panthers on Thursday night, where Carolina played one of its best games of the year after playing its worst up in Cincinnati. No one would admit they were looking forward to the spotlight, but they all do. Very likely that the same fate awaits the Red Birds. Recommendation: L.A. Rams -1½
Jacksonville @ Kansas City -9½
1:00 PM EST. The Jaguars won and covered as a 2½-point home pooch last Sunday against the Raiders, but it’s very difficult to put much stock into a game they were down 17-0 in at the 10:51 mark of the second quarter. We’re reading the argument that clawing back into that game is a sign of “character”. Is it? Or did the Raiders get a little full of themselves and take their foot off the gas? The Jags are also getting a ton of respect from the pundits for shutting out Las Vegas in the second half. That would be impressive if the Saints had not done the same for a full 60 minutes just a couple of weeks ago. Measuring the success of one’s anything against Vegas in its current state is not very prudent.
Prior to piling on the Raiders' nightmare season, Duval County was crying in its Corn Flakes after five straight losses. Jacksonville would not cover one of those games by the way. They lost by six to the Giants, seven to the Colts and Texans, and eight to Philadelphia. That last result might not look too bad considering the Eagles are 8-0, but that game was five weeks ago and matters very little now. If you hear a pick seller or pundit referencing that contest as a reason to back the Jags this week, run for the hills and make sure you get your $8 back.
We’re not going to focus too much on the Chiefs here, as they need little introduction. They play in a feature game nearly every week and have the highest-profile pivot in the league in Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs are elite. A juggernaut. However, they are just 3-5 against the spread this season. That is not going to win you friends in this market. When you don’t pay, the market doesn't play.
After backing the Chiefs at home on Sunday Night Football and spotting double-digits to the Titans, we cannot, in good conscience, recommend fading them here. It might be tempting, but If we decide to bet this game on Sunday morning, it will be the Chiefs or nothing. Recommendation: Kansas City -9½
Cleveland @ Miami -3½
1:00 PM EST. Perhaps no game on the board checks more of our boxes in Week 10 than this one. If you’re of a certain age, or you just have good taste in music, you may remember the song, “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” by Paul Simon. It goes a little something like this—
?"The problem is all inside your head,” she said to me
The answer is easy if you take it logically
I'd like to help you in your struggle to be free
There must be fifty ways to leave your lover?
Much of what is said in that verse rings true to wagering and so we’ve come up with a little ditty of our own. It’s called “50 Ways to Lose Your Money.”
?Putting too much stock in prime time is not fine
Nor is switching sides when your ticket’s in the trash
We’d like to help you snuff out these terrible sins
Those are just two of fifty ways to lose your money?
Just bet a horse to show, Joe,
Bet a three-game point-spread parlay, Charlay.
On a key number, buy a hook, Brook,
Just get yourself broke,
Purchase a pick, Nick
You don't need to discuss much
Just drop off the cash, Nash
And take your losses again?
It’s still a work in progress, but we hope you take our point.
As for not overreacting to one prime time game, we’ll welcome in the Brownies, who we backed in their Halloween night waffling of Cincinnati. The market was decidedly behind Cincy in that game, and so now there is going to be a temptation to switch sides and back Cleveland in this spot. As tempting as that might be, we call that “zig-zagging” and it’s one of 50 ways to lose your money.
That temptation to “zig-zag” here is going to be amplified greatly because the market was also decidedly on the Dolphins as a 4-point favorite in Chicago last Sunday. Miami would fail to cover. Now the market has its pitchforks out, and why not? The case against the Fish is an easy one to make. We know this because it’s all the talking heads can muster up. Miami has covered one game since their 21-19 win over Buffalo back in Week 3. That one cover came in Detroit in a game the Dolphins were down 14-0, 21-7, and 27-17 in the first half. If we had a ticket on the Fish that day, we’d have sold it for pennies on the dollar. We can’t be the only ones.
This game presents the rare, double “zig-zag,” which is like finding a unicorn in the wild. It presents a tremendous opportunity because there is an overreaction on both sides. The Browns' stock is up, and the Fish are down and it is the market that is driving both of those perceptions. Miami just might be the best value on the slate this week as a short priced favorite. Recommendation: Miami -3½
L.A. Chargers +7 @ San Francisco
8:20 PM EST. Like, what in the actual fuck kind of line is this? Seriously. Somebody is going to have to explain this one to us nice and slow because we have looked at this game from every angle available to us and we don’t see it. How could the Chargers be a 3-point favorite last week in Atlanta against a covering machine like the Falcons (who whacked the 49ers in Week 6) and be talking back more than a touchdown a week later to a .500 football team?
The Chargers made our slate last Sunday, so we know that was not a pretty outing. However, L.A. won the game, even if we were left kissing our sisters with a push at the pay window. Road wins are never easy, so credit where it’s due. Despite the win, the Chargers are getting a ton of negative press. The media has a great influence and so if their perception is reality, this inflated line starts to make a little more sense.
The Charger offense is where their issues apparently lie. The run game is in the bottom five, the WRs are banged up, and Justin Herbert “just isn’t right”. All of those things might be factual, but they also are not privileged information. It’s all a part of the narrative that the Chargers are once again failing to live up to their high expectations. That perception has L.A.’s stock in the tank. That makes the Chargers and their superstar pivot a very interesting “buy low” candidate.
On the “sell high” front, we’ll welcome the 49ers back from their bye. Prior to that break, the ‘Niners smacked around the Rams, 31-14. That win looked a lot better a couple of weeks ago, but right now, beating the Rams is like beating the 1976 Buccaneers. It’s pretty common and therefore, pretty worthless. Recent results carry the most weight in the market, but don’t forget that in the two games before beating the Rams, the 49ers were outscored 74-37 in back-to-back games (both double digit losses) by the Falcons and Chiefs. Perhaps we are totally off our rockers here and our read on this game is wrong, but we trust that the Chargers are taking back an absolutely ridiculous price in a game they can absolutely win outright. Recommendation: L.A. Chargers +7
Leans & analysis Wk 10 0 (Risking 0 units - To Win: 0.00)