Expert NFL Picks for Week 11, Including Jets-Pats, Lions-Giants and Cowboys-Vikings
A trio of handicappers offer their insights on five of this week's best games
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 professional football season. Here are our Week 11 NFL picks.
You’ve got places to go, people to see and possibly some wagers to make, so let’s get right to it with some help from Thomas Gable, the director of race and sportsbook at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, sports betting reporter Josh Appelbaum of VSiN and Odds Assist CEO Dave Rathmanner.
New York Jets (+3.5, O/U -38.5) at New England Patriots
Appelbaum’s Assessment: This line opened with the Patriots listed as high as a 5.5-point home favorite. We’ve seen this number fall all the way down to 3.5 or 3 across the market, signaling respected money grabbing the points with the Jets. Divisional dogs are 30-17 ATS (64%) this season. The Jets also have value as a dog in a super low total game (39.5 to 37.5). If I can get it, I’ll grab the hook and sweat the Jets at +3.5.
Gable’s Guess: With the Bills stubbing their toes two weeks in a row, everyone in the AFC East is suddenly alive to win the division. This game is a rematch from Week 8 when the Patriots went into MetLife and came away with a victory in a close game. You could make the case Zach Wilson had his worst game of the season, which seems to be a common theme against the Patriots as he also had his worst game of last year against them. Bill Belichick seems to have his number. In his career against the Patriots, Wilson has thrown two touchdowns to seven interceptions. Wilson doesn’t need to do a lot offensively in order for this team to win, but it’s tough to overcome when he turns the ball over. The Patriots are also not without their faults. Mac Jones has looked far from comfortable this season and the offensive line has struggled quite a bit as well. It’s going to be an uphill climb for the Patriots to get into the playoffs with their remaining schedule, I’m going to lay the points with New England at home until Wilson and the Jets show they have an answer for the Pats.
Rathmanner’s Reckoning: Both teams come into this game well-rested after bye weeks. The Jets are coming off a huge upset win over the Bills, while the Patriots are winners of four of their last five games. The Patriots have dominated this rivalry in recent years, winning 13 games in a row in the series. The Jets have not won in Foxborough since 2008. None of the six games played at New England during New York’s losing streak to the Patriots have been close and the Pats have an average margin of victory of more than 27 points in those games. The line opened as high as -4.5 and is now down to -3 at some books. Until the Jets prove they can overcome the Patriots’ dominance in this series there is no need to bet against them, especially at such a low number. With the movement down to the key number of -3 at some shops, I am going to take the Patriots.
Our Pick: At -3, will back the Pats to cover. If it stays at 3.5, will hope for turnovers and go with the over.
Detroit Lions (+3, O/U 45) at New York Giants
Appelbaum’s Assessment: This line opened with the Giants listed as a 4-point home favorite. The public sees an easy win and cover with New York laying points at home, yet we’ve seen this line fall from 4 to 3. This indicates some sharp action on the Lions plus the points. However, I prefer the under here. It opened at 45.5 and has fallen to 45. The forecast calls for temperatures in the high 30s with 15-20 MPH winds. The Giants are 7-2 to the under this season. Give me under 45.
Gable’s Guess: The Giants are in second place in the NFC East after taking care of business against the Texans on Sunday. Saquon Barkley carried the ball a career-high 35 times for 152 yards and a touchdown and is currently the favorite to win Comeback Player of the Year. He leads the NFL in rushing with 931 yards. Daniel Jones continues to remain efficient and avoid turning the ball over. That has been the recipe for success for the Giants this season. The Lions come in having won two games in a row. Top pick Aidan Hutchinson is playing well, as is their prior top pick Jeff Okudah at cornerback. The other positive for Detroit has been Amon-Ra St. Brown, who finally looks back at 100% since his injuries a few weeks ago. There is no doubt this offense is dangerous and can put up points when St. Brown is healthy but too many questions remain about the defense as a whole. Look for the Giants to continue to try and pound the ball on the ground. I’m going to lay the points with the G-Men.
Rathmanner’s Reckoning: The Giants have an ideal matchup in this one as running back Saquon Barkley should have himself a big day against a Lion run defense that ranks second-worst in the league and is giving up more than 160 ground yards per game. The Lions are allowing a league-worst 29.3 points per game. The Giants are ninth-best in the league and are allowing just 19.2 points per game. The weather clearly favors the Giants Sunday, with temperatures in the mid-30s and winds of 15-20 MPH with gusts up to 40 MPH. Not ideal conditions for the Lions to operate their eighth-ranked passing offense. This line seems too low. I’m taking the Giants at -3 or better Sunday.
Our Pick: The Giants may be worse than their record, but the Lions are the Lions. Laying the points.
Dallas Cowboys (-1.5, O/U 47.5) at Minnesota Vikings
Appelbaum’s Assessment: This is the fishiest line of the week. The game opened at a pick’em. The public is hammering the Vikings at home, yet the line has moved to Cowboys -1.5 on the road. It looks too good to be true to take the Vikings, who have a better record, are at home and have won seven straight. But the line move to Dallas signals sharp fade-the-trendy-dog money on the contrarian favorite Cowboys. Give me the fishy move that doesn’t make sense. I’m on the Dallas moneyline -120.
Gable’s Guess: The Cowboys looked like they were in complete control against the Packers in Green Bay until their defense suddenly couldn’t stop the run in the second half. Two very costly penalties in overtime led to the favored Cowboys losing outright. The Dallas run defense is certainly perplexing as they have given up 447 yards over the last two games, but have only allowed 100 rushing yards seven times in nine games. Expect the Vikings, who still only have one loss after an improbable comeback victory against the Bills, to feed Dalvin Cook. He comes in averaging five yards per carry and 80.5 yards per game. This team is believing in itself and finding ways to win week after week no matter what. I have the Cowboys power-rated slightly higher than the Vikings, but with the game being in Minnesota, I would make this a pick ‘em. I am going to take the points with the Vikings.
Rathmanner’s Reckoning: The Cowboys have the fourth-best pass defense in the league, so they should have some success limiting Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen in this one. With the Cowboys having one of the worst run defenses, expect the Vikings to control the ball behind Dalvin Cook. The Cowboys lead the league in sacks with 35, which should spell trouble for Kirk Cousins, who is not known for his running ability. The Cowboys have been balanced on offense this year and are not afraid to run the ball with Tony Pollard. They are also likely to get Ezekiel Elliot back this week. I expect to see a lot of running and the clock to keep moving. Playing the under 47.5 in this one.
Our Pick: An upset win + a Thanksgiving game on tap = Minnesota letdown. Laying the points with Dallas.
Cincinnati Bengals (-4, O/U 41) at Pittsburgh Steelers
Appelbaum’s Assessment: This line opened with the Bengals listed as a 5.5-point road favorite. The public is happy to lay the points with the Bengals, yet we’ve seen Cincinnati fall from -5.5 to -4. This indicates smart money grabbing the points with the Steelers at home. Dogs +3.5 or more are 58-31 ATS (65%) this season. Divisional dogs are 64% ATS. Mike Tomlin is 48-26 ATS (65%) in his career. With T.J. Watt healthy and Ja’Marr Chase still on the shelf, I’ll take Steelers +4.
Gable’s Guess: The Bengals are coming off their bye week at 5-4, the mark they were at last season prior to going on their Super Bowl run. The playoff picture in the AFC remains crowded and this is a very important game for the Bengals. While the interior of the offensive line has been better, the edge still needs improvement to give Joe Burrow more time. Their defensive line has been generating pressure off the edge and Trey Hendrickson has established himself as one of the best edge rushers, but the interior of the defensive line has not generated much of a pass rush at all. Even without Ja’Marr Chase for a few weeks, the Bengals have the pieces to contend in the AFC. The Steelers got T.J. Watt back on Sunday and he had four tackles and one hit on the quarterback. You can see how much Watt impacts the game when he is in. Kenny Pickett may have gotten his first win in his fifth career start, but he is missing open receivers and really isn’t seeing the field well. Last week was his first full game without a turnover which is a step in the right direction. The Steelers will have to see how he progresses the rest of the season and then decide if he is the future of the team. In the meantime, I expect this Bengal defense to get to him on Sunday. I don’t like laying this many points on the road in a division game, so I’m going with the under.
Rathmanner’s Reckoning: The Steelers and Bengals meet for the second time this season in a rematch of a game the Bengals should have won but ended up losing in Week 1. Bengals RB Joe Mixon may have a hard time getting things going against the Steelers and their sixth-ranked rushing defense, but they will have to stick with the run given the conditions. The winds will be 20 MPH with gusts up to 40 MPH and temperatures will be in the upper 20s but feel colder. The Bengals will be without Ja’Marr Chase again this week. Between that and the weather, it will be hard for their sixth-ranked passing offense to have a big day. The Steelers score the second-fewest points in the league at 15.4 per game offensively. This one has under 41 written all over it.
Our Pick: Will look to the weather being a major player here and roll with the under.
Kansas City Chiefs (-6, O/U 51) at San Diego Chargers
Appelbaum’s Assessment: The Chiefs opened as a 7-point road favorite. Roughly 70% of bets are backing Kansas City, yet the Chiefs have fallen from -7 to -6. Some shops are even down to 5.5. The Chargers might get star receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams back from injury. Justin Herbert is 4-1 ATS in his career against the Chiefs. Los Angeles also has value as a primetime dog (19-11 ATS, 63% this season) and a divisional dog (64% ATS). I lean Chargers but I like the total more. It opened at 49.5 and has been bet up to 51. I see some points in this one. Give me over 51.
Gable’s Guess: The Chargers got off to a hot start against the Niners on Sunday night, but San Fran’s defense made things very difficult for Justin Herbert as the game went on. The Chargers desperately need Keenan Allen and Mike Williams back. LA’s offense won’t be able to match the firepower of the Chiefs without them. Both players are set to practice this week and could return for this game. Unfortunately, the Chargers lost two more defensive linemen for the remainder of the season on Sunday night The Chiefs smell blood in the water with Buffalo losing their last two games and will look to remain in the driver’s seat for the #1 seed in the AFC. They somehow managed to cover the 9.5-point spread against Jacksonville last week despite losing the turnover battle and losing an onside kick. The Chiefs seemed to have phased Clyde Edwards-Helaire completely out of the offense as he didn’t get any touches against the Jags. Isiah Pacheco seems to now be the main back as he carried the ball 16 times for 82 yards. It’s going to be up to Pacheco to carry the load against the vulnerable Charger run defense. I’m going to be paying attention to how Williams and Allen look. If both are a go for this game, I am going to take the points at home with the Chargers. Otherwise, I would look to play the under.
Rathmanner’s Reckoning: The Chargers seem to be getting healthy at just the right time and there is a good chance they will have their top two WRs back in Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. That will be a good boost for the Chargers against a KC pass defense that has allowed 19 passing touchdowns this season — most in the league. These two teams tend to play close games given how familiar they are with each other. The Chiefs have not beaten the Chargers by more than 6 points since the 2019 season. Playing the Chargers as home underdogs at +6 or better on Sunday night.
Our Pick: There needs to be some points in one of these primetime games, right? Taking the over.
Last Week: 1-4; This Season: 20-28-2
Editor’s note: Betting lines fluctuate throughout the week based on injuries, the weather and other factors. Make sure to double-check the odds before making your own Week 11 NFL picks.
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