Expert NFL Picks for Week 10, Including Eagles-Giants and Bills-Cardinals
Chris Altruda of PennBets.com, Borgata sportsbook director Tom Gable and VSiN sports betting reporter Josh Appelbaum offer their insights
This is NFL Best Bets, a recurring series in which professional sports handicappers lend us their insights and picks for the most intriguing matchups for each week of the football season.
For this edition of Best Bets, Chris Altruda, a national betting industry analyst for PennBets.com, Thomas Gable, the director of race and sportsbook at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, and sports betting reporter Josh Appelbaum of VSiN share their opinions on five Week 10 games, including a divisional matchup between the Eagles and Giants in New Jersey and the Bills flying across the country to take on the Cardinals in the desert.
You’ve got places to go, people to see and possibly some wagers to make, so let’s get to it.
Philadelphia Eagles (3-4-1) (-3, -186, O/U 44.5) at New York Giants (2-7)
A compelling matchup because … the Eagles finally have a chance to really take control of their putrid division, while the Giants, who have somehow won two of their last four, would like nothing better than to be a thorn in their longtime rival’s side. The last time these two teams played in Philly, it was a one-point game. This time around, the Giants are at home.
Altruda’s Angle: The bye came at a good time for the Eagles, who are expected to get back both wide receiver Alshon Jeffery for his season debut and running back Miles Sanders. Additionally, tight end Dallas Goedert should also be available after missing the first meeting between the teams in Week 7. Should all three pieces return, it should remove some of the self-imposed burden quarterback Carson Wentz has put on himself, which has resulted in Philadelphia being inconsistent offensively. Before getting all gaga about the Giants being a contender in the division, let’s pump the brakes and remember they held off Washington in Week 9. Even missing Jeffery, Ertz, Goedert and Sanders in the first meeting, Wentz still threw for 359 yards and a pair of TDs as he rallied Philadelphia for two touchdowns in the final 6:17 for a 22-21 win. The Eagles have won six of their last seven at MetLife Stadium and scored 34 or more points in all of those wins. The feeling is it finally comes together for the Birds, who will make the trip back down the New Jersey Turnpike with a W. Give me the Eagles laying the points.
Gable’s Guess: The Giants are not out of it if they can pull out a win here, and they’ve actually have played some close games lately. They don’t seem to really be laying down for anyone. I don’t know if it’s going to be a well-played game, but I think it will be a close one. The Eagles have won 10 of their last 11 games against the Giants, but only they are only 5-6 against the spread. The Giants have not been good at home. They’re 3-11 straight up and 3-11 against the spread in their last 14 games at MetLife. I think this game is going to come down to turnovers and which quarterback can limit them. Both Daniel Jones and Carson Wentz have been turnover machines this year. I think whatever team leads in takeaways should be able to walk out with the victory on Sunday. I’d take the Giants getting 3.5 … If that’s not available, be wary.
Appelbaum’s Assessment: The Eagles (3-5 ATS) have gotten hot as of late, rebounding from an awful start to win two straight. Philadelphia most recently crushed Dallas 23-9, covering as a 10-point home favorite. The Giants (2-7 SU, 6-3 ATS) have a poor record but have been incredibly kind to bettors, covering two-thirds of their games. New York is coming off a 23-20 win over Washington last week, winning outright as 3-point road dogs. This line opened with Philadelphia listed as a 3-point road favorite. The public is rushing to the window to lay the points with Philly. However, we’ve seen some sharp buyback and liability on the Giants. Anytime the number ticked up to 3.5, books got hit by Giants money taking the hook (+3.5). Many books have dropped back down to 3, signaling a sharp line freeze and reverse line move on New York. The Giants have value as a divisional dog and a contrarian play in a heavily lopsided game. Divisional dogs are 29-16 ATS (64 percent) this season. These teams met about a month ago and the Eagles won 22-21 but the Giants covered as 5-point road dogs. I’ll back the Giants to cover once again.
Our Pick: The Eagles have too much on the line. Lay the points with Philly.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3) (-5.5, -245, O/U 50.5) at Carolina Panthers (3-6)
A compelling matchup because … the Panthers gave the defending champs a run for their money last week and were a missed field goal — albeit what would’ve been a record-setting one — away from knocking off the Chiefs. After getting stomped by the Saints, Tampa will be coming into this one with guns blazing, but the Panthers are no pushovers.
Altruda’s Angle: After laying an absolute egg at home last Sunday night versus New Orleans, the question begs: Are the Buccaneers an elite team who simply don’t match up well against the Saints, or not ready for prime time? The answer, like most times when searching for a hot take, is likely somewhere in the middle, but Tampa Bay also has to find that answer. On the bright side, wide receiver Antonio Brown has another week of offensive reps with Tom Brady, and the hope is left guard Ali Marpet will be available after sitting out last weekend in concussion protocol. Marpet’s absence was notable in a host of ways: Brady went 8-for-20 on passes thrown at least 10 yards and just 2-for-9 for eight yards with an INT when the Saints blitzed. The Buccaneers defense did most of the heavy lifting in their Week 2 win over the Panthers, recording two takeaways and a turnover on downs in the first half the offense turned into 21 points in their 31-17 victory. Carolina gave Kansas City all it could handle last week, but Teddy Bridgewater hasn’t been able to put together a crunch-time drive to get his team over the hump during this four-game losing streak. If Tampa Bay’s offensive line keeps Brady upright — he wasn’t sacked in Week 2 — the Bucs should complete the sweep. Riding TB12 and the Bucs, laying the points.
Gable’s Guess: We opened this with Tampa laying 6.5 and it’s already been bet down. So certainly got some sharp money coming in and taking Carolina with the 6.5. On the offensive side for Tampa, not much went right against New Orleans. At least Brown now has one game under his belt. Receiver Chris Godwin was limited with his broken finger but still caught three passes last week. I’d look for both of them to become much more involved this week and Brown being a little bit more comfortable. Brady threw three interceptions and no TDs on Sunday night. I’d be looking for a bounce-back performance from him. I would be looking to take the Bucs and lay the points.
Appelbaum’s Assessment: The Bucs (4-5 ATS) are coming off an embarrassing 38-3 blowout loss to the Saints on Sunday Night Football, losing straight up as 3-point home favorites. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for Tampa Bay. Meanwhile, the Panthers (5-4 ATS) battled hard in Kansas City last week and covered as 10-point road dogs. It marked the fourth straight loss for Carolina. This line opened with Tampa Bay listed as a 6-point road favorite. Sharp money initially dropped this line down to 4.5, before setting back to 5.5 when Christian McCaffrey was ruled out. Divisional dogs like Carolina are 28-16 ATS (64 percent) this season. Carolina QB Bridgewater is 22-5 ATS (81 percent) as a dog in his career, including 5-2 ATS this season. Give me Carolina and the points in a close division game.
Our Pick: Looks for the Bucs to score and Carolina to match. Go over.
Buffalo Bills (7-2) (+2.5, +110/-131, O/U 56) at Arizona Cardinals (5-3)
A compelling matchup because … these teams did it different ways, but both of them beat the first-place Seattle Seahawks and are the only clubs in the NFL to accomplish that feat this year. The Bills have seven wins but have collectively outscored their opponents by just nine points while the Cardinals, despite only notching five victories, are +54 on the season, best in the NFC.
Altruda’s Angle: The Bills took an enormous step forward in terms of being postseason contenders in beating the NFC West-leading Seahawks last weekend. Josh Allen threw for a career-high-tying 415 yards and three scores while running for a fourth, and more importantly, he took his medicine and didn’t force what wasn’t there — Allen was sacked seven times, but committed no turnovers. The defense forced four turnovers and got off the field when it had to at other times, limiting Seattle to 3-of-12 on third downs. Buffalo has now beaten two of the best the NFC West has to offer, but its lone high-profile road game this year was a 42-16 thumping administered by the Tennessee Titans. The Cardinals are a bonafide playoff team, but if they are to be taken seriously, quarterback Kyler Murray has to value the ball better. He already has thrown for more than 2,000 yards and rushed for more than 500 more, but his 11 turnovers are a problem that could loom large against a Bills team tied for fourth with 14 takeaways. I’ll take a same-game teaser of the Bills +7 and Over 50 given their previous two games versus NFC West teams have totaled 145 points and the Cardinals have had totals of 71 and 65 points in the first two games of this home stand.
Gable’s Guess: Buffalo’s defense was able to slow down the Seahawks offense last week and allow Allen and the offense to jump out to a nice, comfortable lead that they never really had to look back on. The Cardinals’ offense continues to impress — they are sixth in scoring and fourth in yards per play. Obviously the Bills defense will need to muster some of the same aggressiveness they showed against Seattle to slow down Murray. Defensively for the Cardinals, they’ll need to play much better than they did against Miami, who really had no trouble scoring against them. No surprise that this total has already increased as much as it has. Both offenses are looking pretty good coming into this one. I’d be looking at the over in this one.
Appelbaum’s Assessment: The Bills (4-5 ATS) are riding a three-game winning streak and just came off an upset victory over the Seahawks, winning 44-34 as 3-point home dogs. Meanwhile, the Cardinals (5-3 ATS) just saw their three-game winning streak snapped last week as they fell to the Dolphins 34-31, losing straight up as 6-point home favorites. This line opened with Arizona listed as a 1.5-point home favorite. The public says give me the Bills and the points. However, we’ve seen the line rise from Cardinals -1.5 to -2. This signals sharp reverse line movement on the Cardinals, with pros buying low on Arizona and selling high on the trendy dog Bills in a possible letdown spot after a big win. I’ll take the Cardinals at home.
Our Pick: A Cardinals bounce-back or a Buffalo letdown? Lay the points.
Seattle Seahawks (6-2) (+2, +105/-125, O/U 55.5) at Los Angeles Rams (5-3)
A compelling matchup because … If the Rams are able to hand the ‘Hawks their third loss of the season and second in a row, Los Angeles will move into a tie for first place with Seattle (and possibly Arizona). An LA loss would be a big step back in the divisional race and also put the Rams behind the pack in what is turning out to be a top-heavy NFC conference. The Rams haven’t lost a home game this season; Seattle is 2-2 on the road.
Altruda’s Angle: Russell Wilson finally landed on the wrong side of the slim margin of error he had been riding practically all season last week in Buffalo. Yes, Seattle’s defense did him no favors, and it has now allowed the most passing yards after eight games in NFL history, but a team with a defense that porous cannot overcome four turnovers. The Seahawks may again be without their top two running backs Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde, and possibly again be without their top two cornerbacks Shaquill Griffin and Quinton Dunbar. Those absences would definitely cause problems, more on an already-taxed defense chasing Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp all over the field. The Rams have been stewing through their bye week after their worst performance of the season, a 28-17 loss at Miami, and it has been the offense that has been the bigger concern, as the defense has made strides under first-year coordinator Brandon Staley. Look for the Rams to get back to basics offensively, which means establishing the run. That could help keep Wilson off the field and limit the chances for a shootout. The under has delivered in LA’s last five games, and eight touchdowns is a big number to reach. Go under 55.5 points.
Gable’s Guess: Seattle has lost two of their last three. The Rams have won five straight home games and, defensively, they’re playing very well. They’re only allowing 19 points per game, and 291.9 yards per game is what they’re giving up. They’re 6-2-1ATS in their last nine games against division opponents in the NFC West. That’s a good mark. A’Shawn Robinson should be making his season debut for the Rams and that will make an already impressive defensive line even better. I think this Seattle defense is exactly what the doctor ordered for LA QB Jared Goff. He should be able to have a nice game here against a team that really struggles to put up any sort of pass rush. We know Goff does not do well under pressure, so this should be an ideal spot for him to have a big game. With the Seahawks playing shaky as of late, I’m going to be laying the 2 with the Rams.
Appelbaum’s Assessment: The Seahawks (5-3 ATS) lost to the Bills in a shootout last week, falling 44-34 and losing outright as 3-point road favorites. Meanwhile, the Rams (4-4 ATS) got humbled in South Beach, falling to the Dolphins 28-17 and losing straight up as 3.5-point road favorites before their bye. This line opened with Los Angeles listed as a 2-point home favorite. Pros and Joes seem to be united on the Seahawks as a short road dog, as we’ve seen this line tumble down from Seattle +2 to +1.5 at some shops. The Seahawks have value as a divisional dog (29-16 ATS, 64 percent this season) and a short road +6 or less (35-15 ATS, 70 percent). Wilson is 27-13 ATS (68 percent) as a dog in his career. I just can’t pass up Wilson as a dog coming off of a loss. Go Seahawks plus the points.
Our Pick: Just don’t believe in Goff. Take the Seahawks and the points.
Cincinnati Bengals (2-5-1) (+7.5, O/U 47.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers (8-0)
A compelling matchup because … Joe Burrow and the Bengals have only won two games this season, but there’s no doubt Cincinnati is one of the most improved teams in the league even if their record doesn’t reflect it. The Steelers are undefeated, but have been playing to the level of their competition for weeks and may eventually get popped because of it.
Altruda’s Angle: First, realize the spread could fluctuate wildly leading up to kickoff depending on the availability of Ben Roethlisberger, who is on the COVID-19 reserve list and not eligible to do any team activities until the team walkthrough on Saturday at the earliest. Missing reps is not the worst thing in the world for the 38-year-old Roethlisberger, but it may also throw off his rhythm in what has been a superb season to date, with 1,934 yards and 18 TD passes. As a team, Pittsburgh labored through a clunker last weekend in Dallas, scraping out a 24-19 victory as Big Ben had a pair of fourth-quarter scoring tosses. Roethlisberger aside, this game could hinge more on what his Bengals rookie counterpart can and cannot do against the Steelers defense. The No. 1 overall pick had one of his best games of the season leading Cincinnati past Tennessee ahead of its bye week, and Burrow was ably backed by the running tandem of Giovani Bernard and Samaje Perine. The two could again be pressed into duty if Joe Mixon is not fully recovered from a foot injury that has sidelined him the last two games. Burrow, though, had his share of struggles against an elite defense —Baltimore made his life miserable in a 27-3 loss in Week 5, sacking him seven times as Cincinnati finished with 205 total yards. Pittsburgh has the talent and personnel to duplicate such an effort — it leads the NFL with 32 sacks and is tied for the league lead with 11 INTs. While Roethlisberger has made beating Cincinnati a cottage industry — he’s 10-1 in the last 11 meetings — this is a game Pittsburgh is very capable of winning without him. Go under 47.5 points but, again, beware of possible movement even lower in the event Roethlisberger is not cleared to play.
Gable’s Guess: This game is currently off the board due to the COVID-19 news with the Steelers. Roethlisberger has two injured knees, but if he passes the COVID-19 protocols, the Steelers are saying he should be able to go. If Roethlisberger can’t play, Mason Rudolph will start for Pittsburgh. He had a 6-5 record straight up and was 6-5 ATS in the games that he started last year. Prior to their bye week, the Bengals had a very impressive win against the Titans and they are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games and 5-1 ATS in their last six games as an underdog. Certainly a good trend there for the Bengals. Pittsburgh comes in 5-1 ATS in their last six games overall. The big question is going to be where this line gets put back up. I think if you can get 7.5 or better, you can take a look at the Bengals at that number.
Appelbaum’s Assessment: The Bengals (6-1-1 ATS) have the 8th worst record in the NFL but have actually been one of the best teams to bet on in terms of covering the number. Cincinnati is coming off an impressive upset win over the Titans 31-20, winning outright as 7-point home dogs. Pittsburgh (6-2 ATS) just beat Dallas 24-19, although they failed to cover as big 14-point road favorites. This line originally opened with the Steelers listed as 10-point favorites. Smart money jumped on the Bengals early, dropping this line down -7.5. Then the game went off the board when it was announced several Steelers, including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, were placed on the COVID-19 list. I’ll back the Bengals as a road division dog. Cincinnati also enjoys extra rest and time to gameplan as they are coming off a bye. Give me Joey Covers and the hook +7.5.
Our Pick: Doesn’t feel great, but we’ll take the Steelers laying the points.
Last Week: 2-3, Season: 24-21
Editor’s note: Lines fluctuate throughout the week based on injuries, weather reports and other factors. Make sure to double-check odds before betting.
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