Sometimes, bettors just have to largely disregard a week of results because of the parity-driven nature of the NFL. That’s exactly what happened in Week 9.
Underdogs absolutely dominated the week, posting a 10-4 record against the spread and seeing the Jaguars, Broncos and Colt McCoy-led Cardinals post outright upset wins, among others.
If you watched these results and wanted to tear your hair out, that’s understandable. A good chunk of gamblers were probably in the same boat. Sure, you can say that most weeks with the coin-flip nature of most NFL games and spreads, but last week was just a complete aberration.
MORE: Full list of odds for NFL Week 10
So, here’s the biggest piece of advice going into Week 10. Don’t overreact. Last week’s games were odd, to say the least, but any single-game result in the NFL shouldn’t have that much of an impact on the next week’s odds, spreads and point totals. And Week 9 has caused some serious line movement of which savvy bettors can take advantage in Week 10.
For example, the Cowboys were expected to be double-digit favorites against the Falcons. After their loss to the Broncos, they’re now favored by nine. You can feel free to snap that up, as they should bounce back after a bad loss. Simply put, don’t be afraid to trust good teams coming off bad games; that said, it is fair to question which teams are actually good and which might be overrated (we’re looking at you, Kansas City).
As always, keep an eye on injuries, as they can have an impact on the lines in each game. The Cardinals-Panthers line is one to watch this week, as Arizona’s QB situation is unclear. If Kyler Murray plays, they’ll be a double-digit favorite over the P.J. Walker-led Panthers. If it’s Colt McCoy, that line could drop into the high single-digits.
Here’s a look at Sporting News’ best bets for Week 10 of the 2021 NFL season, including picks against the spread, moneyline bets, over/under wagers and some player props.
JUMP TO: Spreads | Moneylines | Over/under | Player props
NFL best bets Week 10
(All odds are courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook.)
Raiders (+2.5) vs. Chiefs
OK seriously, what is wrong with the Chiefs? They just managed to win for the third time in their last four games, but my goodness did they look bad doing it.
The Chiefs scored just 13 points against the Packers despite the fact Green Bay was without its two best cornerbacks, Jaire Alexander and Eric Stokes. The team racked up 237 yards, averaged 3.8 yards per play and saw Patrick Mahomes average a minuscule 4.5 yards per passing attempt.
Mahomes hasn’t looked good for weeks now. He hasn’t looked confident throwing the ball and hasn’t been able to make the big, splash plays for which the Chiefs have become known under his watch. He should snap out of it eventually, but until he does, he and the Chiefs need to be faded.
You may not believe this, but fading the Chiefs has actually been easy money over the last two seasons. No joke. The Chiefs have the second-worst record against the spread both this season and since the start of the 2020 season. They have a total ATS record of 10-18 (a 35.7 cover percentage) and a 2-7 record (22.2 cover percentage) in 2021. That’s just terrible.
It was one thing to trust the Chiefs when their defense was playing poorly and offense was succeeding. Trusting them when each unit has its share of problems? That doesn’t sound like something you should do.
And yes, the Chiefs’ defense still isn’t good. I know you’re probably thinking, wait a minute — the Chiefs have actually played good defensively lately, so they’ve turned the corner, right? And sure, they’ve allowed an average of 16 points in their last four games (3-1 record).
That said, have you looked at the quarterbacks they’ve played? That may make you change your mind about the Chiefs’ defense.
Derek Carr is better than the three quarterbacks on that list that the Chiefs beat, so he and the Raiders should have a good chance to produce in this game. Getting them as three-point underdogs would be more favorable, but the Raiders match up well with the Chiefs and will have a raucous, home-field advantage in Vegas for a prime-time clash with their long-time rival.
It won’t be easy for the Chiefs to play at The Death Star. As such, this could be an upset. Feel free to take the points.
Saints (+3) at Titans
I know that betting against the Titans hasn’t been a winning strategy this year. They have a 7-2 record against the spread and have pulled off upset wins over the Bills, Chiefs, Colts and Rams in four consecutive weeks.
Even still, fading them looks like the right move in Week 10. Why?
First of all, this figures to be a tough matchup for the Titans’ offense. The Saints have the league’s No. 1 run defense and are allowing just 73.8 rushing yards per game. If the Saints can render the Titans largely one-dimensional, that could make Ryan Tannehill have to carry the team to victory, and that’s not exactly a recipe for success.
Second — and more importantly — the Titans’ big win over the Rams was a bit of a mirage. I can already hear Titans fans getting mad about that statement, so let me clarify.
It wasn’t a total fluke; the Titans’ defense played extremely well and did a great job of pressuring Matthew Stafford. They sacked him five times after he had been sacked just eight times all season long entering the game. They also forced a couple of key turnovers and made Sean McVay’s game plan look foolish.
However, it’s worth noting that the Titans’ offense didn’t do much at all against the Rams. They generated just 194 total yards and 3.5 yards per play. Comparatively, the Rams had 347 yards and averaged 4.7 yards per play.
So, how did the Titans win? They got 14 points off turnovers. Stafford gifted them the ball, via an interception, on the 3-yard line for a one-play scoring drive. Immediately following that, Stafford tossed an interception that was returned for a touchdown.
Without those lucky turnovers, the game is much closer. The Titans still probably win and definitely cover against the Rams, but the point is they may need their defense to generate big plays to prop up their lackluster offense on Sunday. They just lacked a certain punch with Derrick Henry out of commission.
Trevor Siemian and the Saints could turn the ball over, but the Titans may have trouble pressuring them. New Orleans has allowed just 1.6 sacks per game this season, tied for the fifth-fewest in the NFL. So, if Siemian has time in the pocket, he should avoid interceptions as he has during his first game and a half with the Saints.
Don’t sleep on the Saints. They might not win this one outright, but they have the personnel needed to give the Titans trouble. They’re also coming off a loss to a divisional rival, so they’ll be motivated to bounce back and keep this game against the Titans close.
NFL POWER RANKINGS: Titans rise after impressive win over Rams
Steelers (-9) vs. Lions
Betting the Steelers as more than a touchdown favorite may seem a bit risky. Their five wins this season have come by eight or fewer points, after all.
That said, the Lions are the weakest competition that the Steelers have faced to date, and Pittsburgh’s strengths match up very well with Detroit’s weaknesses.
The Lions have one of the worst run defenses in the NFL. They are allowing an average of 134.5 yards per game, which is good for the fourth-most in the NFL. They are also one of two teams that has allowed 16 TDs to RBs this season. The other is the Jets.
The Steelers’ offense runs through Najee Harris, and the talented rookie back is averaging 23.8 touches and 103.8 scrimmage yards per game. He should be able to find the end-zone against this defense which should give Pittsburgh good scoring potential. He’ll also set up some play action throws, so that’s an advantage to the Steelers’ offense.
Defensively, the Steelers should have an advantage as well. The Lions have struggled against strong pass rushes and have allowed Jared Goff to be sacked 23 times in eight games. Pittsburgh just managed to rattle the hyper-mobile Justin Fields and sack him three times. Goff may have better protection, but his lacking mobility could lead to a big day for the Steelers.
The Steelers’ defense has allowed just 19 points per game during their four-game winning streak, too, while the Lions have averaged just 16.8 points per game this season and 14.4 points per game since Week 2. So, Pittsburgh’s offense should only need to rack up about 24 points to cover here — if all goes well on defense.
Maybe the Lions will have a little extra juice coming out of their bye week, but their team is just so light on talent. It’s hard to imagine them finding success against a good defense, so rolling with Pittsburgh here is a fine move.
WEEK 10 PPR RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker
Best NFL moneyline bets Week 10
Philadelphia Eagles moneyline (+128) at Broncos
Be honest: did you really think that the Broncos were going to beat the Cowboys last week? I mean, the Cowboys were 10-point favorites in that game and the Broncos had just traded their best defensive player and were dealing with significant injuries at the linebacker position.
But somehow, the Broncos earned a 30-16 victory. They led 30-0 at one point and gave the few that bet the Denver moneyline an easy win.
Remember though, it’s important for bettors not to overreact to results in any given week. The NFL is full of parity, and that’s why you see wacky results like the Broncos crushing the Cowboys or the Jaguars winning outright as a 15.5-point underdog.
The Broncos are still a middling team — at best. They have a nice-looking 5-4 record, but it’s important to look at the teams they’ve beaten. Aside from the Cowboys, they have wins over the Giants, Jaguars, Jets and Washington. Those four teams have a combined record of 9-24, so it’s not like the Broncos have any impressive wins save for that Dallas game.
I know the Eagles don’t look great on paper. They have a 3-6 record, after all. That said, they’ve played just three teams with losing records, and they have won two of those games. Their schedule has proven tough but in an easier matchup against a Broncos team that they are pretty even with, they should have a good chance to win.
The Eagles have started to find their identity as a run-oriented offense. The Broncos have struggled against run-heavy teams and have a 1-4 record this season when they allow more than 86 rushing yards. Philadelphia has racked up at least 100 yards in all but two of its games this season, so the team should be able to run well in this one.
Many gamblers are going to be on the Broncos in this one after their big win over the Cowboys. Take the road less traveled and roll with the Eagles. They match up well with Denver and should have a chance to win.
WEEK 10 STANDARD RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker
Best NFL over/under bets Week 10
Rams at 49ers: UNDER 48.5 (-105)
I know what you’re thinking. Yes, we just witnessed the Colt McCoy-led Cardinals put a beatdown on San Francisco’s defense. Yes, Matthew Stafford has had a great season so far save for last week’s game against the Titans. Yes, he will bounce back eventually.
But is this the spot in which he’ll do it? That’s a tough ask considering that he’s nursing a couple of injuries.
Stafford entered last week’s game against the Titans with a back injury and didn’t quite look himself in that contest. Then, he suffered an ankle injury late in the game, as he twisted it fading back to pass and avoid a sack.
These injuries aren’t serious enough to keep Stafford out of action. But are they serious enough to affect his performance? They did against the Titans. He wasn’t as comfortable in the pocket and took five sacks after taking eight all season before that game. Some of that was on the Tennessee defense, but Stafford definitely played a role in it. He might again if he is limited in practice throughout the week.
Also, before we completely bury Kyle Shanahan and his 32-40 record, it’s worth noting that the 49ers have won four straight games against the Rams. In those four games, the teams are averaging a combined 43.8 points per game and the under would hit at a 3-1 rate.
Granted, Robert Saleh is gone for the 49ers. And Stafford is a big upgrade over Jared Goff. So, that trend may not mean much. But hey, this figures to be a close, hard-fought divisional game and the 49ers have the pass rushers needed to pressure Stafford. As long as he’s banged-up, going with the under here seems like the right move.
Dolphins point total vs. Ravens: OVER 19 (-122)
Hera me out on this one. The idea of betting on an offense missing Tua Tagovailoa, Will Fuller and DeVante Parker might be enough to make you hurl, but believe it or not, they’re a viable option this week.
Why? Because of the short week.
The Ravens and Dolphins are playing on “Thursday Night Football” in Week 10, and while the Ravens are, rightfully, heavily favored, there’s a chance they could fade as the game goes along.
Baltimore just played an overtime game against the Vikings. They ran a whopping 89 offensive plays in that contest on offense and 52 on defense. They played nearly a full 10 extra minutes of game time in their win. That is going to tire them out, especially since they have less time to rest and recover.
We saw this happen last week with the Colts against the Jets. The Colts came into Week 9’s “TNF” game after an overtime loss against the Titans. They came out strong in the early stages of the game and built up a 42-10 lead.
However, in the final 10 minutes of the game, the Jets moved the ball at will and upped their point total to 30. They nearly got another TD at the end, too, so they nearly ended the game with four straight TD drives.
So, what’s the point? Well, the Ravens might follow a similar plan to the Colts. Come out early running on adrenaline, rack up a lot of points against a weak Dolphins defense and then take their foot off the gas late. If that happens, the Dolphins should have a chance to hit the over in garbage time at the very least.
The Dolphins have scored just 28 combined points in the last two weeks against the Texans and Bills, but this is a much better spot for them. They may have to eclipse this point total in ugly fashion, but it’s certainly something they can do if the Ravens are wiped out in the second half.
WEEK 10 NFL PICKS: Against the spread | Straight up
Best NFL player prop bets Week 10
Player props will be added throughout the week leading up to games.
Lamar Jackson rushing yards: OVER 64.5 (-114)
The Dolphins don’t have a good run defense, and the Ravens are one of the most run-heavy teams in the league. Baltimore runs on 46.25 percent of their plays, good for the sixth-most in the NFL, so they seem likely to ride their running game in this contest.
Jackson has attempted at least seven runs in every game this season. In all but one of the Ravens’ eight games, he has posted at least 58 rushing yards, and he is averaging 75 rushing yards per game. This seems like a good spot for him to have another big game, especially while the team uses a committee approach in their backfield with Devonta Freeman and Le’Veon Bell leading the charge.
The Dolphins have faced mobile quarterbacks a few times this year: Josh Allen twice and Tyrod Taylor once. They haven’t allowed a ton of rushing yards to these passers, but both QBs were productive against them.
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For those keeping track, that’s an average of about 7.1 yards per attempt. If the Dolphins continue to average that and Jackson gets the 12 carries he has been getting per game this season, he could come close to 100 yards. This number seems a bit low, so feel free to take the over here.