Expert NFL Picks for Week 10 Including Saints-Titans, Seahawks-Packers and Chiefs-Raiders
Kevin Rogers of VegasInsider, 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, Kevin Rogers, a veteran handicapper for VegasInsider.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 Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson both returning for their respective teams for a showdown in Green Bay and the Patriots hosting the Browns in New England in a game that could have big implications for playoff seeding down the line.
You’ve got places to go, people to see and possibly some wagers to make, so let’s get to it.
Cleveland Browns (+1.5, O/U 45) at New England Patriots
A compelling matchup because … though he won’t be on the field for either team in Week 10, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will be a big talking point in this game, as both of these teams could use more production in the passing game. Perhaps one of them will get it here, as the running back corps for both Cleveland and New England, while talented, are banged up. The Patriots have only won once in five home games this season but could separate themselves from the middle of the pack in the AFC, which includes the Browns, with a second win at Gillette Stadium.
Appelbaum’s Assessment: The Browns (5-4 SU, 5-4 ATS) have won two of their last three games and just crushed the Bengals 41-16 last week, winning outright as 2-point road dogs. The Patriots (5-4 SU, 5-4 ATS) just waxed the Panthers 24-6, easily covering as 3.5-point road favorites. This line opened with New England listed as a 3-point home favorite. Respected money has poured in on the Browns, dropping Cleveland from +3 to +1.5 Some New England buyback hit the market, driving the line back up to 2.5. Conference dogs +7 or less are 45-23 ATS (66%). Dogs off a blowout win of 20-points or more are 6-2 ATS this season and 17-8 ATS (68%) over the past two seasons. I like the Browns in a teaser (+2.5 to +8.5) which takes you through the two most important key numbers of 3 and 7.
Gable’s Guess: In early wagering, this was the most-bet game on our board. The Patriots are rounding into form. They sit in the seventh seed right now in the AFC going into a pivotal game. OBJ grabbed all the headlines, but it was Nick Chubb who was the main performer for the Browns in Week 9 as he rushed for 137 yards and two TDs. Baker Mayfield was okay, not spectacular. We still haven’t seen Mayfield play at an elite level this season. I don’t believe the Browns defense is going to have as easy of a time as it did against the Bengals. The Patriots’ offensive line has been playing really well. There are COVID-19 issues within the Browns organization, including Chubb testing positive. If he can’t play, it’s going to be a big blow to the Cleveland running game. The Patriots are looking pretty good lately. I’m going to take them as the short favorite here.
Rogers’s Recommendation: A huge game for tiebreaker purposes in the AFC playoffs takes place at Gillette Stadium on Sunday. Cleveland routed Cincinnati last Sunday from start to finish to bounce back from a rough week involving the release of Beckham. Now the Patriots are playing with some momentum with three consecutive wins and victories in four of their past five games. New England has suffered some heart-wrenching home losses to Dallas, Miami and Tampa Bay, but the Patriots should be ready to pick up a fourth straight win against an up-and-down Cleveland squad. Best bet: New England -2.5.
Our Pick: The Patriots have won, and covered, in three straight games. It’s a short line. Lay the points.
New Orleans Saints (+3, O/U 44.5) at Tennessee Titans
A compelling matchup because … there isn’t a hotter team than the Titans, who had a statement win on national TV with a beatdown of the heavily favored Rams in L.A. on Sunday Night Football. The Saints have been a solid road team this season with a record of 3-1, the same mark Tennessee has at home on the season. Similar in that they both boast offenses built around stud running backs, the Titans and Saints also both have strong defenses that can create turnovers and pressure the opposing quarterback. The Titans lead the AFC in scoring with 255 points.
Appelbaum’s Assessment: The Saints (5-3 SU, 4-4 ATS) are coming off a disappointing 27-25 loss to the Falcons, losing outright as 6.5-point home favorites. The Titans (7-2 SU, 7-2 ATS) just shocked the Rams 28-16, winning outright as 7-point road dogs. This line opened with Tennessee listed as a 3-point home favorite. The public is rushing to the window to lay the points with the Titans, yet this line hasn’t budged an inch. This indicates a sharp line freeze on the Saints. Road dogs are 51-30 ATS (63%) this season and short road dogs +3 or less are 15-5 ATS (75%). This feels like a great buy-low spot on New Orleans and a sell-high spot on Tennessee. I’ll take the Saints at the key number of +3.
Gable’s Guess: I’m certainly assuming Trevor Siemian is going to be the starter at quarterback for the Saints against the Titans. You can’t really blame him for the loss against Atlanta. There were a lot of dropped passes and a lot of penalties that put them in third and long. The skill positions, outside of Alvin Kamara, are struggling for the Saints. And meanwhile, The Titans gutted out that win in LA and scored 21 points in the first half. They did what they had to do to hold on to win that game and it was really their defensive effort that was quite impressive. They put pressure on Matthew Stafford all game the week after they became the first team to hold Colts running back Jonathan Taylor under 100 rushing yards. Since their pressure was so good, they didn’t really have to blitz, which improved their coverage downfield. Their offense wasn’t great without Henry, though, and they only managed 194 yards total. We knew it was going to take some time to adjust offensively without Henry because he’s such a big piece of that offense. The New Orleans defense is not going to make it easy on them this week. I think we have two defenses here that are playing very well, so I’m going to take the under.
Rogers’s Recommendation: Tennessee has won five consecutive games, including four in a row in the underdog role. Titans rolled the Rams last week, the third heavyweight they have beaten over the past month (the Chiefs and Bills the others). New Orleans has fared well in the underdog role this season with outright victories over New England and Tampa Bay and the Saints are coming off a last-second loss to Atlanta last week. This is a good opportunity to jump off Tennessee and back New Orleans as an underdog. Best Bet: New Orleans +3.
Our Pick: Until Tennessee provides a reason not to, we’re backing ’em. Lay the points with the Titans.
Seattle Seahawks (+3, O/U 49.5) at Green Bay Packers
A compelling matchup because … what could have been a matchup of starting quarterbacks Geno Smith and Jordan Love will thankfully now be Russell Wilson taking on Aaron Rodgers with the latter two quarterbacks set to return to lead their teams. The Packers and Seahawks have played some memorable games over the years and this one should be no different as Seattle will be desperate for a win coming off their bye week. With a victory, the Packers will stretch their record at home to 4-0 on the season.
Appelbaum’s Assessment: The Seahawks (3-5 SU, 5-3 ATS) are coming off a 31-7 win over the Jags, easily covering as 4-point home favorites. The Packers (7-2 SU, 8-1 ATS) just fell to the Chiefs 13-7 without Rodgers, but Love was able to help the Packers cover as 7-point road dogs. This line opened with Green Bay listed as a 5-point home favorite. We’ve seen this line fall from 5 to 3 signaling some respected money grabbing the Seahawks plus the points. One big reason for the move toward Seattle: Wilson was cleared to return from his finger injury. As of now, Rodgers’s status remains up in the air in terms of whether or not he will be cleared from COVID-19 protocols. The Seahawks have a rest advantage as they are coming off a bye with the Packers having played on Sunday. Short road dogs +6 or less 33-14 ATS (70%) this season. Conference dogs +7 or less are 56-34 ATS (62%). Seattle also has value as a dog off a blowout win of 20+ points. These teams are 6-2 ATS this season and 17-8 ATS (68%) over the past two seasons. I’ll take the Seahawks plus the points.
Gable’s Guess: The Packers are cruising for the division but every game matters for playoff seeding for them. The division’s probably a lost cause for the Seahawks at this point, but they need to string together something to try to make a playoff push. This game’s spread and total are going to be greatly affected by the availability of Wilson and Rodgers. We know Wilson had the pin removed from his finger and the other good news for the Seahawks is there’s a chance running back Chris Carson could return from his neck injury. Both Wilson and Rodgers are worth about 7 points to the number for their respective teams. This game is going to come down to which defense you trust more. I don’t trust Seattle’s defense enough to say they’re going to win this game outright, but I am going to take the points here with Seattle, especially getting the hook.
Rogers’s Recommendation: Wilson has missed the last three games with a finger injury, but Seattle has found a way to cover in each of those contests with Smith starting at quarterback. Green Bay has covered eight straight games since losing the opener, but the last two covers came as an underdog. Seattle has been competitive without Wilson and there’s no reason they can’t hang at Lambeau. Best Bet: Seattle +3.
Our Pick: Consensus is rare and perhaps karma is real. We’ll take the Seahawks with the points.
Minnesota Vikings (+3, O/U 53) at LA Chargers
A compelling matchup because … the Vikings have lost their last two games by seven combined points and now bring a 1-3 record on the road to take on a Chargers team that is a mediocre 2-2 at home on the season. Both teams have played the AFC North-leading Ravens in recent weeks — the Chargers got destroyed, whereas the Vikings took Baltimore to overtime before losing. Despite being two games above .500, L.A. has a point differential of -2 while Minnesota is +3 but two games below. 500 on the season.
Appelbaum’s Assessment: The Vikings (3-5 SU, 4-4 ATS) just fell to the Ravens 34-31, although Minnesota managed to cover as 7-point road dogs. Meanwhile, the Chargers (5-3 SU, 5-3 ATS) just took down the Eagles 27-24, covering as 1-point road favorites. This line opened with Los Angeles listed as a 3-point home favorite. At one point this line dipped to 2.5 and came back up to 3. This signals some sharp reverse line movement on the Vikings plus the points. Mike Zimmer is 3-1 ATS this season following a loss and 33-16 ATS (67%) in his career with Minnesota. Clay Martin, the lead ref, has historically favored road teams (33-18 ATS, 65%). There are some COVID-19 concerns with Minnesota, so I’ll wait it out and see if I can get Vikings +3.5.
Gable’s Guess: The Vikings suffered another heartbreaking loss on Sunday to the Ravens. The calls to get rid of head coach Mike Zimmer are getting louder, and one thing to look at is Minnesota’s poor performance in the last two minutes of the first half. They’ve allowed 45 points in those final two minutes of the first half this season. Conversely, if they have the ball in those final minutes, they fail to execute. This ultimately leads them to cough up big leads in games and lose them. I think a Charger win here could be the end of Zimmer in Minnesota. Justin Herbert is coming off a strong performance against the Eagles. While it was nice to see, I think it was also somewhat expected for Herbert to have a good game against Philadelphia. The Vikings should be able to run the ball successfully as L.A. really hasn’t shown any improvement in stopping the run. It should be a close game. I wonder if Zimmer’s going to manage the game correctly and I don’t feel there’s much of a home-field advantage for the Chargers. I’m going to take the over here. I could see this game getting into the high 50s.
Rogers’s Recommendation: This is one of the more difficult games on the board this week. Minnesota’s loss to Baltimore was the fifth game this season that was decided on the final play for the Vikings. Los Angeles is back at home after holding off Philadelphia on a last-second field goal. The Chargers have lost two home games this season by three points apiece. Minnesota looks attractive as an underdog, but that team is too tough to trust. I’ll lay the short number with the Chargers. Best Bet: L.A. Chargers -3.
Our Pick: We don’t believe in either team and both teams are yet to score 200 this year. Siding with the under.
Kansas City Chiefs (-2.5, O/U 51.5) at Las Vegas Raiders
A compelling matchup because … this is the first game the Raiders have played in Las Vegas since cutting ties with 2020 first-round picks Henry Ruggs and Damon Arnette for off-field concerns, the former of whom will likely end up in prison. The Chiefs have not looked like themselves for much of the season and need to start stacking victories over inferior competition if they want to make a run at one of the top seeds in the AFC. A win at home for the Raiders over the longtime lords of their division and Patrick Mahomes would be a great way to take some of the focus off of an incredibly messy start to the month in Las Vegas.
Appelbaum’s Assessment: The Chiefs (5-4 SU, 2-7 ATS) have won two straight and three of their last four, most recently failing to cover as 7-point home favorites against Green Bay. The Raiders (5-3 SU, 4-4 ATS) just fell to the Giants 23-16, losing outright as 3-point road favorites, snapping a two-game win streak for Vegas. This line opened with the Chiefs listed as a 3-point road favorite. The public is happy to lay the points with Kansas City, yet we’ve seen this line fall from 3 to 2.5. This signals some sharp reverse line movement targeting the Raiders at the key number of +3. Conference dogs +7 or less are 45-23 ATS (66%) this season. Primetime dogs are 19-8 ATS (70%). The Raiders also have value as a contrarian divisional dog in a heavily bet game. The Chiefs are just 9-16 ATS (36%) since winning the Super Bowl. I’ll take the points with the Raiders.
Gable’s Guess: The Raiders made some costly mistakes in that loss to the Giants. The Chiefs didn’t cover once again as a home favorite against the Packers. Now they’re road favorites in Las Vegas. The Chiefs’ defense has quietly been playing better for a few weeks now, but their offense is definitely broken. Turnovers continue to be an issue for this team. Mahomes is struggling with staying conservative and taking what opposing defenses are giving him. They aren’t letting Tyreek Hill beat them downfield. Defenses are giving up short underneath passes, which Mahomes really seems to despise. He needs to learn to adapt to that. The Raiders have dealt with a lot of adversity over the last few weeks. That can be a tough thing to handicap when it comes to determining how those issues are going to affect play. They added DeSean Jackson as a deep threat to make up for the loss of Ruggs. Jackson isn’t what he used to be and is often injured, but he should at least contribute. I like the Raiders to win this game outright as a dog, but I’ll take them with the points.
Rogers’s Recommendation: Kansas City has been awful against the spread this season at 2-7, but both the covers came on the road. The Chiefs struggled in two games against the Raiders last season, as Kansas City lost at home to Las Vegas then rallied late for a four-point win at Allegiant Stadium. Kansas City was a touchdown favorite or higher in both matchups last season, but now are laying less than a field goal on Sunday night. The Raiders are coming off an ugly road loss to the Giants, snapping a two-game winning streak. Underdogs have covered eight straight Sunday night games, but this is the week that streak ends. Best Bet: Kansas City -2.5.
Our Pick: The Raiders have surprised all season and something is wrong with Mahomes. Vegas plus the points.
Last Week: 2-3; Season: 23-21-1
Editor’s note: Betting 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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