Identifying Value and NFL Week 11 Underdogs
A 1-2 ATS result in Week 10 continues our struggles against the leading online sportsbooks. Now 11-18 ATS this season and 88-72 ATS the last 3-plus years on these pages, there have been fewer wins and outright underdog winners. We'll update some season stats into Thanksgiving week and try to bounce back better this week as we evaluate the match-ups, injuries, weather and COVID-19 concerns and impact.
Be sure to check the online sportsbooks special promotions and bonuses each week. William Hill sportsbook has the lines below.
NFL Week 11 Underdog Picks
464 Washington (-1) vs Cincinnati - The Football Team Moneyline -120
472 Las Vegas (+8) vs Kansas City - Raiders Moneyline +305
474 Los Angeles (+4) at Tampa Bay - Rams Moneyline +175
476 Denver (+3.5) vs Miami - Broncos Moneyline +160
Cincinnati at Washington
Like last week's winner on the Rams, we'll take this slight home favorite that's priced like a underdog, and perhaps this gets to pick 'em Sunday with the Bengals taking more than 70% of the spread bets. Washington owns the superior defense in this interconference match-up and Bengals rookie QB Joe Burrow struggled last week against the Steel Curtain as the Bengals were 0-for-13 on third down in defeat. Burrow was also 0-for-13 with four sacks when pressured. Washington’s defense ranks 9th in pressure rate, and has yet to allow 300 passing yards in a game this season. The Red Football Team has been redfaced again the last two weeks in defeat despite out-gaining both the Lions and Giants and gaining more than 400 yards in each contest. Over their last three games, the Football Team's defense has allowed an average of just 288 yards per game while the Bengals have allowed 405 per contest. The Bengals per play inefficiency is an issue, and can't underestimate the effect of coming off a grueling division duel against the Steelers top defense. Season long stats are poor for the Football Team's offense, but they have averaged more that 400 yards over their last three games and outgained each of their last four opponents. That included the Week 7 home win over Dallas, 25-3.
Kansas City at Las Vegas
More injuries and coronavirus concerns for the Raiders (6-3), who handed the Chiefs (8-1) their only loss of the season as 12.5 point underdogs in Week 5. That was one of our few big bright spots this season while also hitting a +550 moneyline. Key to that win and this Week 11 Sunday night contest for the Raiders is its running game with Josh Jacobs and Devontae Booker heading one of the leagues best rushing attacks. The Raiders rushed the ball 35 times for 144 yards in the Week 5 win, and average more than 31 rushing attempts per game. That despite missing massive tackle Trent Brown and shuffling along the offensive line. The Raiders will likely be without defensive end Clelin Ferrell and linebacker Cory Littleton, who was put on the COVID-19 list last week, but other key defenders and players are returning to the lineup and from the COVID-19 list. Running home 'Dog play in this key AFC West contest knowing too that the Chiefs are off a bye and have the AFC's No. 1 offense (409 YPG). Oh, and Chiefs HC Andy Reid is 25-6 SU and 25-10 ATS off a bye in his career. Contrary call on big home 'Dog with the Chiefs taking more than 70% of the spread bets at Sports Insights NFL odds.
Los Angeles at Tampa Bay
Close contest expected along with a projected lower scoring game between two leading NFC playoff contenders, Rams (6-3) and Buccaneers (7-3). Two of the most efficient teams in the league with strong receiving corps. Both defenses also rank top-3 in the league in defensive yards allowed. Concerns for the Rams is the league's most efficient pass blocking tackle Andrew Whitworth is out (knee) for up to eight weeks. Jared Goff has completed only 39% of his passes under pressure this season, and the Bucs are No. 2 in the league in sacks. The Buccaneers defense allows 300 YPG and 4.9 yards per play and the Rams 296 YPG and league-best 4.8 yards per play. But LA has allowed just 252 YPG over their last three contests to lead the league. That includes in the victory over Seattle's top offense as our winner last week. The Rams ground game is among the league leaders and averages 31 rushing attempts per game. That may be neutralized by the Bucs elite run defense, but we still stick with Los Angeles. Rams games have gone 'under' the total in six straight contests, and that's the best play as we also add the Rams as underdog as the defenses rise up on Monday night.
Miami at Denver
Last year's laughingstock is now a playoff contender, and the Dolphins (6-3) are also just a half game behind AFC East leading Buffalo in the division race. Miami has won 5-straight games, but a few of those have been complete flukes, and the Dolphins have actually been out-gained by an average of 150 yards since QB Tua Tagovailoa took over as starter and gone 3-0 SU/ATS. Let's see how he does in Mile High against a capable and desperate Denver defense. The Broncos (3-6) are 16-1 ATS as non-division home underdog when coming off a division game. The Broncos five turnovers were costly last week in a 37-12 beatdown in Vegas, and Denver's defense was run over at the point of attack. Denver QB Drew Lock has been hit or miss, and he suffered bruised ribs in last week's loss and committed four turnovers himself. His status to start remains in question, but we're fine riding the Broncos and QB Brett Rypien should he start. The Broncos are a tough team to support, and a minus-11 turnover margin only adds to their poor profile as a 'bad' team. The sportsbooks are begging you to bet on the Dolphins, and you may wait and get +4 on Denver if QB Lock is ruled out. Bettors keep pounding the fish in anticipation of an easy win with one major online sportsbook reporting more than 90% of the bets and money on Miami. I wouldn't bet on it or rookie QB Tua this week. Broncos plus the points, moneyline and teaser in play.
FairwayJay is a leading national sports handicapper and betting analyst, and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful analysts. Read more great insights from Jay here and follow him on Twitter @FairwayJay.