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February 2, 2023

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Vegas pick’em: NFL Week 10 winners against the spread

Falcons fumble

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Ta’Quon Graham (95) fumbles the ball ahead of Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022, in Atlanta.

Last week’s NFL slate provided a great example of how essential it is for bettors to shop for the best price — especially around the key number of 3.

Three Week 9 games bounced on and off of a 3-point spread throughout the week and all of them ultimately ended with the favorite winning by exactly three points. The pick’em was able to navigate the trio — the Chargers’ 20-17 win at the Falcons, the Vikings’ 20-17 win at the Commanders and the Buccaneers’ 16-13 win over the Rams — fairly well with a 1-0-2 record but things could have gone differently if the bets were placed at a different time.

I capitalized on the Buccaneers being available at -2.5 midweek before they closed -3 ahead of their late victory over the Rams. It may have turned out being a good bet, but it was also fortuitous timing as much as anything.

Getting the push with Vikings -3 might have been an even better from a process standpoint considering they were -3.5 for part of the week. The half-point from 3 to 3.5 is the most important in football betting, so it’s worth trying to avoid the latter at all costs if you ever think the former will be available.

Pushing on the Chargers -3 was the worst bet of the three. Los Angeles closed -2.5 so using it as a top-confidence play at -3 was a bad decision. Slightly in my defense, the number started moving towards the Falcons only after injury setbacks — notably to top receiver Keenan Allen — hampered the Chargers as the week went on.

But that still leaves room for improvement, which is why it’s worth evaluating bets even after the outcome is decided. Similar to how players on the field watch film and try to learn from their mistakes, bettors should always be looking back on their plays and seeing where they went right or wrong.

Read on for picks on every Week 10 game. Picks are separated into three confidence categories and listed in rough order of confidence. Lines are the best currently available in Las Vegas on the chosen side. The overall record now stands at 70-61-4 after going 6-6-2 overall last week.

Plays (18-18-4)

Denver Broncos +3 at Tennessee Titans The Broncos are in a better situation (coming off a bye), rate better by most advanced measures (including expected points added per play and Football Outsiders’ DVOA ratings) and may face an overmatched backup quarterback (with no confirmation the Titans’ Ryan Tannehill will return). They might be favored by the time this game comes off the board.  

Los Angeles Chargers +7 at San Francisco 49ers There’s a lot of hype on the new-look 49ers with Christian McCaffrey, and it’s bubbling over into the betting market by putting an ultra-premium price on backing them. This was a pick’em coming into the season and 7 points is too big of an adjustment because, even though Los Angeles has been underwhelming, so too has San Francisco.    

Detroit Lions +3 at Chicago Bears Detroit has now shown the ability to field both an explosive offense (early in the season) and a bend-but-don’t-break defense (recently). If the Lions can just put of those together at the same time, then there’s still some hope they can be the feisty team many expected coming into the year.

Green Bay Packers +5.5 vs. Dallas Cowboys Despite adding to what’s currently a five-game losing streak, Green Bay has shown some progress the last three weeks but has been undone by untimely turnovers and mistakes. The Packers’ injury report is extension, but this still feels a couple points high for a game at Lambeau Field.   

Leans (24-29)

Houston Texans +5 at New York Giants Despite their 6-2 straight-up record, the Giants have been outgained on a per-play basis in every game except one. They may look a lot better than the Texans (1-6-1) on the surface, but both teams’ underlying numbers are similar.

Washington Commanders +11 at Philadelphia Eagles A divisional game should never have this large of a spread unless the opponent is one of the absolute worst sides in the league. Washington isn’t going to make the playoffs or anything but it’s not quite a bottom feeder either.

Las Vegas Raiders -6 vs. Indianapolis Colts This line hasn’t budged since the Colts fired Frank Reich, one of the better coaches in the NFL, and hired .500 high school coach Jeff Saturday who promoted first-time playcaller Parks Frazier to offensive coordinator. All of that reshuffling must be worth at least a point.

Cleveland Browns +4 at Miami Dolphins These teams are almost dead-even in terms of EPA (expected points added) per play. But the Browns, which are coming off a bye, have seen their pass defense trending in the right direction for the past couple games and could slow what’s admittedly been an impression and explosive Dolphins’ offense.

Guesses (28-14)

Carolina Panthers +3 vs. Atlanta Falcons Carolina is pretty clearly the worst team in the NFL and liable to get blown out in any game, but only two weeks ago it outplayed and should have beaten Atlanta in a 37-34 loss as 4.5-point road underdogs. A 1.5-point adjustment on the line from that performance and home-field advantage is too short.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers -2.5 vs. Seattle Seahawks in Munich There’s no disputing Seattle has been better than Tampa Bay in virtually every area this season — especially recently — but I’m still suspicious of the Seahawks. The talent level of the Buccaneers’ roster is much larger overall, and they have a not-insignificant travel advantage here in being much closer to the neutral-site game in Germany.

Pittsburgh Steelers +2.5 vs. New Orleans Saints This is a fair line but the situational spot favors Pittsburgh. The Saints are coming off a Monday Night Football appearance — a listless 27-13 loss to the Ravens as 1-point underdogs — while the Steelers were on a bye and expect the return of a few injured players including star edge rusher T.J. Watt.

Jacksonville Jaguars +9.5 at Kansas City Chiefs This line might be ever-so-slightly too high. Jacksonville’s pass defense should get torched by Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes, but its offense is coming around enough that perhaps it won’t be totally left behind in a potential shootout.

Arizona Cardinals +1.5 at Los Angeles Rams What looked like a golden get-right spot for the Rams flipped drastically Wednesday afternoon when coach Sean McVay announced quarterback Matthew Stafford was in the concussion protocol. Backup John Wolford represents a big drop-off, especially behind the Rams’ struggling offensive line.   

Buffalo Bills -3.5 vs. Minnesota Vikings It’s impossible to have a strong conviction on this game without more information on Bills quarterback Josh Allen’s UCL injury, but in moving the Bills down from as high as a 9-point favorite, the market clearly believes he isn’t playing. I wouldn’t be so sure yet, and even if he’s out, the Bills still have the NFL’s best roster elsewhere.  

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

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