Week 10 picks from a "dog or pass" point of view"
After completing Week 9 of the 18-week NFL season in the Tuley’s Take home office, we’re onto the second half with the Week 10 card this weekend.
First of all, the professional highlight of Week 9 for yours truly, Dave Tuley, was appearing on Brent Musburger’s Countdown to Kickoff on VSiN on Sunday from 12:30 p.m. ET/9:30 a.m. PT to 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT as Uncle Brent kept me on for a second segment like Johnny Carson. We had a fun time and hopefully will get to do a reprise performance later in the season or playoffs.
As for this column, we went 3-4 ATS with our posted “Best Bets” with wins on the Vikings +5, Commanders +3.5 and Bears +7.5, but losses on the Cardinals +8, Rams +3.5, Cowboys +3 and Jets +3 dropped us to 22-24 ATS on the season after a hot start.
However, we actually came out ahead on our own betting overall as we swept all our top 2-team, 6-point teaser combos, starting with the Titans +8.5 at the Steelers on Thursday Night Football along with the Dolphins +7.5 vs. the Chiefs in Germany, Buccaneers +8.5 at the Texans and Bills +8 at the Bengals on Sunday Night Football.
But let’s get to this weekend’s 14-game card with four teams on their byes (Chiefs, Rams, Dolphins and Eagles). For newcomers to this column, I’m a “dog-or-pass bettor.” My breakdown of each game will usually be from that point of view as we try to determine if the dog is getting enough points to make them a play – or if I recommend passing on the game, which is a very valid and valuable betting decision when trying to come out ahead against the books! Even if I don’t have an official Best Bet, I’ll still give my recommended “pool play strategy” for those in contests where you have to pick every game.
Chicago coach Matt Eberflus has been flip-flopping more than a politician this week, saying QB Justin Fields is doubtful and will not play on Thursday Night Football, then saying he wants to give you another day before ruling him out to “We’ll see where it goes … we have a little time left.” The line was Bears -4 when I started this column Wednesday morning and dipped to 3.5 as the deadline approached later in the afternoon, a market indicator that Fields is probably not playing. Regardless, we’re not interested in backing the Panthers with the line this short after they failed to keep their momentum with their 15-13 upset of the Texans in Week 8 with their 27-13 home loss vs. the Colts after a lot of people were starting to jump on the bandwagon.
Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Bears in all my rare SU and ATS contests that use the Thursday night game).
We’re fully aware that the international games are here to stay, but I’m still happy this is the last one of the season. The Colts (4-5) and Patriots (2-7) have mostly been disappointments this season, and this is pretty much a virtual coin-flip. However, that doesn’t mean we’re sleeping in Sunday morning and passing on the game. Instead, we’re kicking off our 2-team, 6-point teaser portfolio and hoping to see it return dividends like last week as we’ll move the line 6 points in our favor with the Patriots up through the key numbers of 3 and 7 to +7.5. Our top recommended 2-teamer is with the Vikings +8.5 vs. the Saints and also considering the Cardinals +7.5 vs. the Falcons (after the Titans moved out of the “teaser zone” Wednesday afternoon).
Best Bet: 2-team, 6-point teaser with Patriots +7.5/Vikings +8.5, plus others (pool play: Patriots 55/45 in ATS contests but Colts 60/40 in SU pools).
The Ravens (7-2) are 4-0 and 3-1 ATS in their last four games and hold a 1.5-game lead on the Browns (5-3) in the AFC North. They’ll be a popular favorite here based on recent form; however, don’t forget that the non-cover was a 31-24 win two weeks ago at the Cardinals, a team the Browns then thoroughly dominated 27-0 last Sunday. Also in the Browns’ favor, even though it was against Arizona, Cleveland QB Deshaun Watson had a successful return from his hip injury with two TD passes – and he also missed these two rivals’ first meeting in Week 4.
Best Bet: Browns +6 (pool play: Browns 60/40 in ATS contests, though Ravens still 67/33 in SU pools).
The Bengals (5-3) have bounced back from their slow start to get back in the playoff hunt and will be in even better shape if they win and the Browns upset the Ravens. So, you would think this line would be rising, but instead, it was Bengals -8.5 on the advanced line last week and now is down to 7, with some books dipping below a full TD at -6.5. That’s because Houston rookie QB CJ Stroud continues to impress, and the Texans continue to overachieve. I wish I had grabbed the Texans at +7.5 or better, but they’re still a live dog as long as we still get +7 (we’ll see what the Circa Sports Million and Westgate SuperContest offer with their contest lines).
Best Bet: Texans +7 (pool play: Texans 65/35 in ATS contests, though Bengals still 67/33 in SU pools).
I would lean toward the Jaguars if this line was +3.5 or higher, but I think the number is too short here to take the home dog. We’ll see how healthy the 49ers are coming out of their bye week, so that’s another reason not to fade one of the league’s most complete teams.
Best Bet: Pass (pool play: 49ers 55/45 in ATS contests – higher at -2.5 – and 70/30 in SU pools).
I had a losing Week 9, at least in ATS plays and my major contests, but at least we were right in backing the Vikings against the Falcons despite the move to backup Jaren Hall. We’re not willing to back Hall/Vikings again with an ATS play, but I certainly feel they can keep this a one-score game (which has been their tendency anyway) against the Saints. If you missed including the Colts-Patriots game in Germany, I would use with the Cardinals +7.5.
Best Bet: 2-team, 6-point teasers using Vikings +8.5 (pool play: Vikings 55/45 in ATS contests, but Saints 60/40 in SU pools).
There seem to be a few teams I can’t quite get a handle on every year, and these are two of those teams this year. The Packers are coming off their bye, while the Steelers had a mini-bye after beating the Titans 20-16 last Thursday. Coin-flip game for me, but I lean toward the Steelers if I had to make a pick.
Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Steelers 55/45 in ATS contests and 65/35 in SU pools).
Here’s another coin-flip game. In my original rough draft of this column on Wednesday morning, I included the Titans +7 in my teaser portfolio as we didn’t want to take the Titans +1 with rookie Will Levis but we were willing to take them in teasers. However, by the time my afternoon deadline rolled along, the majority of Las Vegas books were at pick ’em, with Circa Sports flipping to Titans -1. If they were to get to Titans -1.5, I would probably flip myself to using the Buccaneers +7.5 in teasers.
Best Bet: Pass for now (pool play: Titans 55/45 in all my SU and ATS contests).
As alluded to above, I’ve already bought some 2-team, 6-point teasers with the Cardinals +7.5. We’re still waiting to see if Kyler Murray will be returning to the Arizona lineup (which should cause even that short spread of +1.5 to disappear), but even though Clayton Tune and the Cards looked pitiful in their 27-0 loss at the Browns this past Sunday, we wouldn’t buy off the teaser as the Falcons haven’t upgraded much with Taylor Heinicke replacing Desmond Ridder and usually play close one-score games regardless.
Best Bet: 2-team, 6-point teasers with the Cardinals +7.5 (pool play: Falcons 55/45 in pretty much all SU and ATS contests).
VSiN programming note: I’m probably going on Matt Youmans’ show on Friday night, and it’s a huge favorite that we’ll include this game and one of us will say, “For the longest time, you had to fade the Chargers as favorites, but back them as underdogs.” And the other will agree just like we do on the McRib at McDonald’s (order double BBQ sauce…yum-yum!) and many other fast-food issues. I’ve also done great with the Lions as dogs the last few years, but I’m still willing to fade them as chalk. Besides, the Chargers look improved with their 27-6 rout of the Jets on Monday night.
Best Bet: Chargers +3 (pool play: Chargers 60/40 in ATS contests – lower if only offered +2.5 – but Lions 60/40 in SU pools).
Regular readers/followers know we’ve long loved NFL double-digit underdogs. However, they’re not as much of an automatic play as they used to be. Having said that (homage to Larry David/Jerry Seinfeld), I can’t resist taking the Giants here – as ugly as they’ve played and now throwing Tommy DeVito to the wolves – with this line getting well over two TDs. This is a “hold-your-nose” game, but we’ve cashed on so many of these through the years that we can’t pass.
Best Bet: Giants +16.5 (pool play: Giants 65/35 in ATS contests, but Cowboys at least 90/10 in SU pools).
Sam Howell and the Commanders came through for us in their 20-17 win at the Patriots as 3- to 3.5-point road dogs. This is a farther trip, but we expect them to at least stick around and give the Seahawks a game. Seattle does have the benefit of returning home after getting routed 37-3 in Baltimore and the Seahawks should be able to bounce back from that, but we still see this coming down to a field goal and worthy of taking the points.
Best Bet: Commanders +6.5 (pool play: Commanders 65/35 in ATS contests, but Seahawks still 67/33 in SU pools).
When this game was announced, it was hoped that it would be Aaron Rodgers in Las Vegas against a potentially decent Raiders team; instead, it’s Zach Wilson vs. the first team to fire its coach. Oops. The advanced line was Jets -2.5 before the Raiders routed the Giants 30-6, and the Jets were routed 27-6 by the Chargers and was dropped to a 1-point spread. The Raiders played better for interim head coach Antonio Pierce (we predicted that and were glad we weren’t suckered into teasing the Giants), so we’d consider adding them to our teaser portfolio if this line is inches higher.
Best Bet: Pass for now (pool play: Jets 55/45 in all SU and ATS contests).
As we’ve written several times, as impressive as the Bills can look sometimes (they did win three straight games earlier this season by four TDs or more), they tend to let teams stick around, and we expect that to happen here. The last time we saw the Broncos before their bye week, they upset the Chiefs 24-9 as 7-point home dogs, and it didn’t look like a fluke. That was in Denver, of course, but still, we think this line is too much disrespect from the market (and took much respect for the Bills).
Best Bet: Broncos +7.5 (pool play: Broncos 65/35 in ATS contests, but Bills still 70/30 in SU pools).