Josh Allen, Bills, QB, Denico Autry Colts
Josh Allen, Denico Autry, Buffalo Bills, Indianapolis Colts, Getty Images

Pinpointing the best ATS bets in NFL Week 11

Betting has been a tough business during the 2021 NFL season.

With so many underdogs shining every Sunday, predictability is not something that has been a fixture in 2021.

Still, the betting game is all about remaining rational. The NFL is a week-to-week league, and that translates to betting purposes. Matchups are the name of the game.

More important than what has already happened is what’s about to go down. Analyzing the individual weekly matchup rather than a team’s past often yields better results.

With that in mind, there are five games this week that I believe are smart bets against the spread.

New England Patriots -6.5 @ Atlanta Falcons

It’s a sad reality for Jets fans: the Patriots are back.

Bill Belichick has that defense playing at an elite level and Mac Jones looks like the second coming of Tom Brady.

The Falcons, already lacking Calvin Ridley and possibly Cordarelle Patterson, will have a tough time doing anything on the ground against the Patriots’ multiple fronts.

Kyle Pitts, Atlanta’s best playmaker, will most likely receive bracket coverage from the Patriots. New England will force Matt Ryan and Co. to beat them through the air through Russell Gage or Tajae Sharpe (not the most appealing names, if we are being honest).

On offense, New England will likely have no trouble moving the ball against the league’s 31st-ranked defense (29.2 points per game).

Green Bay Packers -1.0 @ Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings have an uncanny ability to keep games close. Still, in a close game with Aaron Rodgers against Kirk Cousins, I’m taking Rodgers 10 out of 10 times: especially against the Vikings.

Green Bay has owned its division rivals since Matt LaFleur took over.

The Packers are 13-1 against the NFC North since 2019, and they will probably get to 14-1 after Sunday.

Green Bay’s defense, for one, is clicking under new defensive coordinator Joe Barry. The unit allowed only 34 four points combined to the Chiefs, Seahawks, and Cardinals over the last three weeks.

Considering Green Bay’s well-known offensive firepower, I wouldn’t be surprised if this one isn’t close, despite the Vikings’ presence.

If kept close, Green Bay has more in their arsenal to pull out the win than Minnesota. The one-point spread is a no-brainer.

Indianapolis Colts +7.0 @ Buffalo Bills

The seven-point spread in this game is a huge indication of how underrated this Colts’ team is.

Indianapolis has five losses, yes, but they all came against very good teams. Indy lost to the Rams, Seahawks, Titans, and Ravens, all squads who should be fighting for playoff spots down the stretch. Three of those five losses were by fewer than seven points.

The last time the Bills and the Colts met (last season’s playoffs), Buffalo won 27-24 in a very tight matchup. If not for very weird late clock management by the Colts, the game would’ve possibly gone to overtime.

Matchup-wise, Indianapolis’ defense gives Josh Allen fits with their 2-high looks. Offensively, Frank Reich can scheme up easy completions for Carson Wentz after pounding the rock early. The Bills’ defense is good, but the Colts can take them out of their comfort zone by finding success on the ground early.

The Bills might win this one, but it will be by less than a touchdown.

San Francisco 49ers -6.0 @ Jacksonville Jaguars

This one is a no-brainer. The Jaguars have been better as of late, yes, but if San Francisco can build upon their performance against Los Angeles, they are a very dangerous playoff team.

The 49ers’ running game is so diverse that it will be too much for the Jags to handle.

It will be similar to what happened in week five with the Jaguars, when Jacksonville allowed 184 yards on 36 carries to Derrick Henry and the Titans.

San Francisco’s physical dominance that shined on Monday Night against Los Angeles will be on full display this week.

Jacksonville has a solid pass rush, but that doesn’t mean much if the other team can run the football effectively.

Last week, the Jaguars allowed 127 yards on the ground to the Colts, who averaged 4.7 yards per carry. I think the Niners will run for even more.

If San Francisco is able to run the ball and keep Jacksonville’s defense on their heels, this shouldn’t be a close game.

New Orleans Saints +2.0 @ Philadelphia Eagles

Coaches win and lose games in the NFL.

Sean Peyton is a fantastic coach, and I don’t think he’s going to lose two in a row with this team. The Saints’ loss to the Titans was close, showing that New Orleans will still be competitive against good teams despite having Trevor Siemian under center.

Matchup-wise, the Eagles defense is one of the most vanilla in the NFL. Sean Peyton will spot it on film and dial-up some easy schemed completions for Siemian.

On the other side of the ball, New Orleans also matches up well with the Eagles.

The Saints are the best team against the run in the NFL. New Orleans has allowed only 72.9 yards per game, the best mark in the league. The Eagles’ bread and butter is their running game, which has been working wonders in the past few weeks.

Something’s got to give, and I believe it will be the Eagles’ rushing attack.

Once Jalen Hurts gets forced to win the game with his arm, the Saints become heavy favorites.

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