NFL best bets for Week 11 from Steve Makinen

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NFL Week 11 Best Bets

A 3-0 sweep in the late games this past Sunday put me back over .500 for the Week 11 action in the NFL, with a 4-3 finish overall. This, my NFL Best Bets mark gets pushed to 42-26 (61.8%) for the season, including 8-1 on totals now after the Cowboys-Giants game flew easily over the number. I’d be remiss if I didn’t properly credit the new feature, the weekly VSiN NFL Analytics Reports, because they are essentially guiding my handicapping. I have seven more plays lined up for Sunday on the NFL slate.

NY Giants at Washington

Typically, I am the first NFL bettor to run away from big favorites, and you’ll see in a little bit that I am backing one of the double-digit dogs of this week, but seriously, how could anyone right now think that the Giants are capable of staying in yet another road game. This is their third straight away contest, and it comes after getting outscored 79-23 in the two most recent games. Sure, injuries have taken a toll, but this team’s woes are way more than that right now. I can’t think of a team going into this week with less confidence.

For the record, I studied this the other day and found out that teams playing a third straight road game are 46-79 SU and 56-68-1 ATS (45%) since 2000 (2-5 SU and ATS LY), including 15-32 SU and 20-27 ATS (43%) division games. They are also 1-20 SU and 9-11-1 ATS (45%) as dogs of 7+ since 2010.

At the same time, Washington is showing some nice signs offensively, putting up 77 points in their last three outings. The Commanders are also getting backed by a nice rematch angle here: Teams that lost the prior game to an opponent but now have a record 20% or better outright have gone 40-12 SU and 35-17 ATS (67.3%) in the rematch contest. Tell me this: f Washington gets to 20+ points, which is likely, can the Giants cover any longer?

Lay the 8.5-points (+/- 1) with Washington

Las Vegas at Miami

If you look at the recent history between the Raiders and Dolphins, you will see that none of the last four outings since 2017 were decided by more than a one score margin. All of them, and the prior four as well, went Over the total as the Raiders put up 28.3 PPG. What does that have to do with this week’s game? Well, I don’t think there’s a whole lot of reason for Miami to be such a huge favorite here, especially coming out of a bye week which followed up a very discouraging loss to the Chiefs in Germany.

The bye week angle alone gives us a nice system to play: Play against double-digit favorites coming off their bye week. (Record: 17-7-1 ATS since 2014, 70.8%). This is essentially saying that it is difficult to pick up any rhythm in the off week, and this doesn’t even take into account that the KC loss was the Dolphins’ worst offensive outing of the season.

Now, let’s look at the other sideline, where Las Vegas seems to have some renewed vigor, coming up with back-to-back wins for new coach Antonio Pierce after the change. The Raiders have won back-to-back games and have rediscovered their ground game. Maxx Crosby is also wreaking havoc in opposing backfields and figures to be all over Tua on Sunday. I like the chances for a much tighter game than expected here, especially with a bunch of public money in on Miami.

Take the +13.5 (+/- 1.5) with Las Vegas

Dallas at Carolina

I’ve been having some very good luck, or perhaps it is wisdom, in betting totals with the Cowboys this season. Nothing else considered, when they are at home, I expect them to produce. When on the road, it has been a much bigger question mark. Dallas has scored just 17.3 PPG in its last four road contests, so it wouldn’t be unheard of for head coach Mike McCarthy’s team, and QB Dak Prescott in particular, to come up with a flat effort here.

On top of that, Carolina’s defense has been quite good at home, allowing just 20.3 PPG in four outings. This game also qualifies for one of the more successful DK Betting Splits systems recently regarding totals: The magic mark for a supermajority on the handle for betting Overs was 64% or higher, and this group has performed miserably in 2022 & 2023 with a record of 55-93 (37.2%). As of this writing, 65% of the handle and 77% of the bets were on the Over here. I could easily see a 24-13 type of game here.

Take Under 42.5 in Dallas-Carolina (+/- 1)

Seattle at LA Rams

I had a lot of information on both sides of this game to choose from in the Analytics Report this week, but in the end, my decision on the game came down to one simple thing: Seattle is the better team in 2023.

Yes, I know that the Rams are a far better offense with QB Matt Stafford back in the lineup, but even still, they are 3-6 right now with little to play for, and yet, nearly 65% of the public betting handle at DraftKings is backing them. LA also isn’t known for having a whole lot of home-field advantage, as I discovered in my recent True Home Field study, which indicated the Rams get just 0.6 PPG of HFA.

There is also a nice angle to fade head coach Sean McVay’s team out of a bye week: Play against home underdogs coming out of their bye week. (Record: 38-15 SU and 32-20-1 ATS since 1999, 61.5%). The Seahawks haven’t been clicking lately, as evidenced by their three straight ATS losses, but they are 2-1 outright and still favored in this game. That is a good sign of a team ready to break out with a solid outing.

Take Seattle (-1) to win this one (+/- 1)

NY Jets at Buffalo

This game in Buffalo is a critical one, and betting on it comes down to one question: Do I believe the Bills’ run is over? I’m not completely sold yet, although I’m almost there. This is an absolute must-win, perhaps more important than any game I’ve seen yet this season.

Take a quick look at the upcoming schedule for head coach Sean McDermott’s team and after the Jets, you’ll find Philadelphia, Kansas City, Dallas, the Chargers, and a season finale trip to Miami. That is brutal. We will find out whether or not the Bills have the fortitude to keep going in this one after losing their last five ATS, which, of course, leads to a nice betting angle to back: NFL teams that have lost their last five games ATS but were playing against a team whom they have at least an equal won-lost record with have gone 18-13 SU and 20-11 ATS (64.5%) in their last 31 tries.

Recently, they have shut down the Jets in Orchard Park, as New York has scored just 13 PPG. We also have some nice rematch trends to consider: the Jets on a 4-18 SU and 7-14-1 ATS skid, and Buffalo being 14-4 SU and 11-7 ATS in such contests. I like the Bills’ chances to hold off the Grim Reaper for at least this week.

Lay the 7-points with the Bills (+/- 1)

Minnesota at Denver

It took a little longer than I expected, but we are starting to see some promise from the Broncos and QB Russell Wilson. He and head coach Sean Payton have both been successful in their careers, so it was perplexing to see that combination struggle early. Too much of the blame seemed to go to Wilson, despite the fact that he has produced good numbers this season (18 TDs vs. 4 INTs).  Perhaps more importantly, however, he seems to be finding his playmaking groove with his legs again, and his teammates are getting behind him.

Now, having won three straight games outright and ATS, they’ll be hosting a big Sunday night game against the Vikings. Momentum has proven to be a huge factor in SNF contests of late, with home teams coming off a win on a current 16-3 SU and 13-6 ATS (68.4%) surge. On the other sideline, Minnesota has won back-to-back games in surprising fashion with replacement QB Josh Dobbs under center, but I have to question just how long this story will last, particularly after the Saints halftime adjustments last week held Dobbs & Co. to just three second-half points. I thought Denver could be a playoff team this year.  I still do, perhaps even more now than at the season’s outset.

Let’s go with Denver -2 (+/- 1) in a big SNF tilt

Philadelphia at Kansas City

I was a bit disappointed in my boss Bill Adee in this past Monday’s VSiN newsletter when he misspoke about my MNF winning streak after sitting this past week out. I have actually won FOUR in a row, Bill, and it started with that Week 6 Dallas win in LA! I will go for #5 here, as we have a huge rematch of last year’s Super Bowl game.

In general, when I see these types of games, I find the motivational edge goes to the SB loser, as obviously, they feel they have something to prove. It also helps when this team is also the one catching the points. Both teams are coming out of their bye weeks, and both are coming off key conference playoff-implicating wins. However, there is only one post-bye system and it goes against the Chiefs: Play against home teams coming out of their bye week against non-conference opponents. (Record: 20-17 SU and 23-11-1 ATS since 2015, 67.6%).

There is also a nice MNF angle focusing on the unfamiliarity of hosting a nonconference foe: In MNF games pitting nonconference opponents (AFC vs. NFC), home teams are 22-20 SU but 11-29-2 ATS (27.5%) in the last 42. At this point, I believe the Eagles are the much better-performing team offensively, and that will be the difference in a minor but very satisfying upset for them.

Take Philadelphia +2.5 (+/- 0.5) with a little ML action as well

For more system matches and key trends, check out the Week 11 NFL Analytics Report.