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December 14, 2018

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Vegas pick’em: NFL Week 11 winners against the spread

Jason Garrett

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett during an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, in Philadelphia,.

Week 11: Chiefs at Rams

Which side would you take in Chiefs at Rams? (Poll consensus year to date: 8-2)
Chiefs plus-3.5 — 65%
Rams minus-3.5 — 35%

This poll is closed, see Full Results »

Note: This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Someone ship Jason Garrett a life preserver — not as a symbol of his much-scrutinized job security but as a token for the way his team rescued Talking Points last week.

Gamblers often refer to the weekly Sunday Night Football contest as the “get-even game.” It was more than that for the blog last week — it was a get-anything game.

Talking Points’ fortunes were sinking, having lost an unofficial-record six straight plays going into Garrett’s Dallas Cowboys taking on the Philadelphia Eagles as closing 7.5-point underdogs. The blog got a bad number earlier in the week with Dallas plus-7, but it didn’t matter. The Cowboys prevailed with an outright 27-20 victory.

That helped lead Talking Points to a strong 10-4 against the spread overall on Week 10, though it was the third straight slate where the leans were primarily what kept the blog afloat. Similarly, the total record picking every game on the year now stands at a profitable 79-61-3 but the immediate concern rests with trying to resuscitate the plays back into a winning record.

Read below for picks on every Week 11 game, separated into three confidence categories. Lines are the best currently available in Las Vegas on the chosen side.

Plays (14-16-1)

Seattle Seahawks minus-2.5 vs. Green Bay Packers This line seems to be accounting for one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, while simultaneously neglecting another. Backing Green Bay with Aaron Rodgers always requires a tax but the price shouldn’t be this steep against a game counterpart in Russell Wilson, who also gets the advantage of one of the best home fields in the NFL. Wilson has thrown for 7.96 yards per attempt this year with a QBR of 58.5; Rodgers has thrown for 7.72 yards per attempt with a QBR of 52.9.

Atlanta Falcons minus-3 vs. Dallas Cowboys Atlanta was as high as minus-4.5 on look-ahead lines last week, meaning this looks like a stark overreaction to its 28-16 loss to Cleveland as 6-point favorites coupled with Dallas’ 27-20 win at Philadelphia as 7.5-point underdogs. The Falcons have a major matchup edge with Matt Ryan and their arsenal of receivers, as the Cowboys rate 27th in the league in pass defense by Football Outsiders’ DVOA.

Detroit Lions plus-4 vs. Carolina Panthers It might be time to re-evaluate the Panthers, which barely have a positive point differential on the year after last week’s 52-21 embarrassment at Pittsburgh. They shouldn’t lay this many points on the road to almost any team. It’s arguable, if not likely, that Detroit’s three-game straight-up and against-the-spread skid has all come against teams better than Carolina — Seattle, Minnesota and Chicago.

Chicago Bears minus-2.5 vs. Minnesota Vikings Tend to prefer minimizing the influence of prior-season performance at this point of the year, and prior-season performance is the only thing keeping this spread deflated. Minnesota was expected to be better than Chicago this season, but in actuality, nothing could be further from the truth. The Bears have been more efficient on both sides of the ball, and have a point differential that’s nearly six times better.

Leans (27-14-3)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers plus-2 at New York Giants Sure, it’s funny that the Buccaneers managed only a field goal after racking up 501 yards last week in a 16-3 loss to the Redskins. But it’s also a fluke. The Buccaneers aren’t going to go 0-for-5 in red zone efficiency and post a minus-4 turnover margin again. They’ll likely turn this into a shootout, and it’s uncertain if the Giants can keep up on a short week coming off of a Monday Night Football game 3,000 miles away.

Denver Broncos plus-7 at Los Angeles Chargers The Broncos were already one of the most undervalued teams in the league — they would have gone four straight without a point-spread loss if kicker Brandon McManus could just make one of two field goals — and should now come back healthier out of a bye. For all of coach Vance Joseph’s faults, and there are many, he’s only lost by more than a touchdown in one of nine career AFC West divisional games.

Houston Texans minus-2.5 at Washington Redskins Washington’s injury-obliterated offensive line may not have ended up killing its chances against Tampa Bay, but Houston is another beast all together. The Texans are coming off of a bye, and J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney can wreak havoc where the Redskins can least afford it.

Guesses (38-31-4)

Los Angeles Rams minus-3 vs. Kansas City Chiefs It’s a little curious that this line jumped as little as a half-point with the switch from the neutral-site Azteca Stadium in Mexico City to Los Angeles’ home Coliseum — though the minus-3 is juiced at minus-120 at Wynn and Treasure Island. This is probably just a game to stay away from and enjoy, but the lack of movement puts the only potential value on the Rams.

Philadelphia Eagles plus-9 at New Orleans Saints Extremely difficult to bet against the Saints right now, but at some point, their point spreads are going to become inflated beyond reason. That could be here against the defending Super Bowl champions, as the number was only minus-6.5 a week ago.

Indianapolis Colts minus-1 vs. Tennessee Titans Although it’s appeared to rectify them in lopsided wins and covers the last two weeks, don’t forget that significant offensive issues have plagued the Titans for much of the year. It’s typically not wise to buy on teams at their market height. Coasts Casinos dealing a line 1.5 points below the consensus — even though 1 to 2.5 points are not important numbers for football betting — makes picking the Colts easier.

Oakland Raiders plus-5 at Arizona Cardinals Thanks to the Bills’ offensive breakout last week, these teams are now rated as the two worst in the league by DVOA. There should probably never be a line of more than a field goal in a game between the two worst teams in the league.

Pittsburgh Steelers minus-5.5 at Jacksonville Jaguars Need at least a touchdown to entertain picking against the streaking Steelers, which have now won and covered in five straight by at least seven points. Jacksonville is 0-5 straight-up, 0-4-1 against the spread over the same span.

Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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