It’s Week 10, and we’re officially halfway through the 2002 NFL season. That’s it? Really? It feels like we’ve been through an entire season and then some. I mean, we’ve got an ESPN analyst coaching a team. That doesn’t happen at midseason; that’s an end-of-year thing, right? Isn’t it?
I know at the end of the year, it’s all going to seem like it’s flown by, but I think what’s happening is so much is happening that it feels like we’re going through multiple seasons at one time. Tom Brady & Aaron Rodgers are running full speed into Father TIme’s Wall. Josh McDaniels is continuing to show that he’s not head coach material. The transfer of (expected) power from the West divisions to their Eastern counterparts, the genuine possibility of a sub-.500 division winner, plus the Colts are going from preseason division favorites to being coached by a TV talking head. It’s a lot. And I am here for it. It will be January before we know it. So let’s get in all the drama we can.
Another solid week, as ELO and I both go 3-1-1 against the Vegas numbers. Best bets came in at 2-2.
Last week: My picks, 3 – 1 – 1; Analytics, 3 – 1 -1; Best Bets, 2 – 2
Tennessee at Kansas City – “this line is just too big, and KC isn’t a great cover team in the regular season.”
Jacksonville’s going to test that theory this week.
Buffalo at New York Jets – “I’m not picking the Jets to win by any means, but after laying an egg against New England, I can’t imagine the Buffalo feels like they need to bring their A-game.”
Buffalo did not, in fact, bring their A-game. As a result, this should have been my Money Line upset pick instead of…
Carolina at Cincinnati – “I can’t imagine laying a TD plus on them on a short week coming off the Monday nighter. To that end, the Carolina Money line looks tasty.”
The correct take would have been, “I can’t imagine laying *four* TDs on them…”—just a complete miss.
Las Vegas at Jacksonville – “…two bad teams, take the points.”
Given the league’s amount of parity (i.e., bad football) this year, this needs to graduate from a rule of thumb to a mantra.
Los Angeles Chargers at Atlanta – “LA traveling cross-country for a 1:00 eastern game with no receivers doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.”
The line was a push, and the Best Bet Under hit easily.
Season: My picks, 23 – 32 – 2; Analytics, 26 – 29 – 1; Best Bets, 10 – 11 – 1
Both sides of the ball matter when placing NFL bets, and Club Fantasy covers defense too. Check out You Down with IDP?, every Thursday at 7 PM EST.
NFL Week 10 Lines
(Standard disclaimer – All opinions are my own and may or may not reflect those of this website. “Analytic Lines” are ELO point spreads from fivethirtyeight.com, and “Vegas Lines” are courtesy of thelines.com, current as of the writing of this article. Predicted Line (“PL”) is my early week estimate of where the Vegas line would be set. Chosen games are those with a multiple-point variance between the Vegas and Analytic Lines.)
Game of the Week
Houston at New York Giants – Analytic Line: NYG (-10), Vegas Line: NYG (-4.5), PL: NYG (-6)
We lead off with a 5.5-point variance in the Meadowlands. I’m not sure if this is ELO loving the Giants or hating the Texans, and I certainly wouldn’t lay 10, but we don’t have to, and I agree they should be closer to a touchdown favorite coming off the bye.
Pick: New York Giants (-4.5)
Seattle at Tampa Bay (at Germany) – Analytic Line: TB (+0.5), Vegas Line: TB (-2.5), PL: TB (+1.5)
Vegas has to be leaning on the public-loving Tom Brady in an international spot. Tampa hasn’t shown they deserve to be favorites over a team with a winning record.
Pick: Seattle (+2.5)
Jacksonville at Kansas City – Analytic Line: KC (-12), Vegas Line: KC (-9), PL: KC (-9.5)
I don’t trust Jacksonville to keep this a 10-point game at all, but we’re going to trust the KC’s not-a-good cover team process.
Pick: Jacksonville (-9)
Cleveland at Miami – Analytic Line: MIA (-5.5), Vegas Line: MIA (-3.5), PL: MIA (-5.5)
Miami’s a sneaky home Under team. We’re jamming that bet this week. Fish have a bye next week to look ahead to, and Cleveland’s coming off theirs. I think the Browns keep this one close.
Pick: Cleveland (+3.5); Best Bet: Under (49.5)
New Orleans at Pittsburgh – Analytic Line: PIT (-1), Vegas Line: PIT (+1), PL: PIT (-2)
This week’s split decision line. I’m not sure how New Orleans can get demolished at home on Monday Night (Best Bet fail) and be favored on the road, in the cold, on grass. This line makes so little sense to me that it feels inevitable, but I’ll take the bait.
Pick: Pittsburgh (+1); Best Bet: Pittsburgh Money Line (+100)
Dallas at Green Bay – Analytic Line: GB (+7), Vegas Line: GB (+4), PL: GB (+6.5)
The only thing the Packers have going for them this week is the Aaron Rodgers revenge narrative against Mike McCarthy. Still, given Rodgers’ history in “revenge” games, I’ll happily take Dallas.
Pick: Dallas (-4); Best Bet: Under (44)
Arizona at Los Angeles Rams – Analytic Line: LAR (-0.5), Vegas Line: LAR (-3), PL: LAR (-2.5)
How or why would you bet on this game? Both starting QBs are game-time decisions. Luckily this falls under the two bad teams template. Take the points.
Pick: Arizona (+3); Best Bet: Under (40)
Other Best Bets: Las Vegas (-4)
Seriously, if you can’t whip a team led by Head Coach Jeff Saturday and Quarterback Sam Ehlinger, you’re beyond hope, and it’s time to pack it in. Derek Carr and Davante Adams have to/better be enough to cover this game, Josh McDaniels notwithstanding.