Pinpointing the best ATS bets in NFL Week 11
The eleventh week of the 2021 NFL season was no different than the ones before it: the underdogs made a lot of noise.
No underdog was louder than the Houston Texans, who beat the top-seeded Tennessee Titans on the road.
Another interesting upset was sponsored by the Indianapolis Colts.
As predicted in last week’s article, Frank Reich’s squad gave the Buffalo Bills a tough one and beat Buffalo 41-15 at Highmark Stadium.
Buffalo is just one of those teams that won’t lose two games in a row easily, a factor that figures into this week’s picks.
Alongside the Bills are the Lions, who I believe will snag their first win of the season on Thanksgiving.
With unpredictability in mind, let’s get into this week’s five best bets.
Detroit Lions +3.0 vs. Chicago Bears
Call me crazy for betting on the Lions, but I believe this is the week.
The Bears are a mess right now, with plenty of rumors regarding head coach Matt Nagy’s future. Despite Andy Dalton not being a bad quarterback, no Justin Fields means no second-reaction ability in the Bears’ offense, which Chicago will miss.
Besides Fields’ absence, Chicago will be without three key players in Allen Robinson, Khalil Mack, and Akiem Hicks.
Detroit, on the other hand, is getting players back.
Jared Goff is set to return after missing last week’s game against Cleveland and is a big upgrade over backup Tim Boyle.
Last week, Detroit allowed only 13 points to the Cleveland Browns, an offense that’s much better than Chicago’s. Former Jet Aaron Glenn has that defense playing good football lately. If Goff can stay away from turning the ball over, the Lions will snag their first win of the season.
I predict a fun Thanksgiving in Motor City this year.
Buffalo Bills -5.5 @ New Orleans Saints
I said last week that Sean Peyton wouldn’t lose two in a row with this team, but after seeing how poorly the Saints played against the Eagles, I’m saying New Orleans is going to lose three in a sequence.
Despite the game happening in the tough Superdome atmosphere, the matchups aren’t good for the Saints.
Trevor Siemian will have a tough time against Buffalo’s top-notch secondary. Alvin Kamara, who would be the team’s go-to guy, isn’t in line to play Thursday, appearing on the injury report as a non-participant in practice for two straight days. There’s nothing that threatens the Bills’ defense, to be honest.
On the other side of the ball, the Saints’ run defense is great – ranking third in the league.
But the Bills have no interest in running the football anyway.
Buffalo is a perimetral attack, and New Orleans’ defensive rankings suffer a drop-off against the pass. The Saints are only the 22nd-ranked defense in the passing yards per game category.
On top of all that, it’s hard to see Buffalo dropping two in a row – especially after how badly they lost to the Colts. Buffalo is 3-0 coming off of losses this season, winning each game by at least 15 points. New York Jets fans saw what an angry Bills team looks like in Week 10.
Most of the game’s matchups favor Buffalo. That’s the bottom line. It’s going to be hard for the Saints to put up points and it’s going to be hard for New Orleans to stop the Bills’ aerial attack.
Philadelphia Eagles -3.5 @ New York Giants
It’s a burn-it-down season for the New York Football Giants, as Joe Judge recently fired offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.
Despite reports that Freddie Kitchens would call plays, Joe Judge didn’t deny the possibility of stepping up into the role for the first time in his career.
It feels like things will only go down from here for the Giants, while the Eagles, on the other hand, are heating up.
Head coach Nick Sirianni is finally coaching to the Eagles’ offensive strength – running the football at will. The Eagles are now the second-best rushing offense in the NFL at 153.4 rush yards per game.
Despite the Giants having a solid interior defensive line led by ex-Jet Leonard Williams, the team lacks a competent edge rush. That’s a good sign for the Eagles, who like to attack the edges with quarterback Jalen Hurts on the ground and through play-action passes.
I view this game as the beginning of the end for the Joe Judge era. After firing Garrett, a loss at home with a poor performance by the Giants’ offense would generate a lot of buzz in the media. I can already hear the boo-birds at Metlife.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers -3.0 at Indianapolis Colts
While I’m one of the Colts’ biggest fans, it’s hard to pick them against the Bucs.
I don’t see a more talented team in the NFL than Tampa Bay right now, and Tom Brady loves to get hot around December.
The Colts’ strength, the offensive line, is fantastic. They are arguably the best unit in the NFL right now with how they are pushing that running game.
But the Bucs’ defensive line is a matchup nightmare.
Ndamukong Suh, Vita Vea, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Shaquil Barrett are as good as they come. They are the main reason the Buccaneers are the No. 1 ranked defense in the NFL against the run (79.8 yards per game).
Vea is a name to watch leading up to this game. He was carted off the field in Week 10 with an MCL injury and missed Tampa Bay’s Week 11 game but “should be good to go” for the Colts this week, according to head coach Bruce Arians.
If Vea plays, the Bucs become even bigger favorites. His ability to blow up a run game will hurt the Colts, who need a big day from Jonathan Taylor to have any chance of winning.
I would wait to see Vea’s injury news before making an aggressive bet on this game.
For Brady and Co., I believe they will have no problem moving the ball against the Colts’ zone-heavy defense (17th-ranked vs. pass).
Also, if Indy insists on showing two high safeties at the snap, Brady will gladly check into a Leonard Fournette run (who is playing well behind a good OL), as we all saw on Monday Night Football.
This is the time to get hot for Tampa, and I believe they already got started against New York last Monday.
LA Chargers -2.5 @ Denver Broncos
Betting on the Chargers against the Broncos this week is a consequence of what I saw from Justin Herbert against the Steelers on Monday Night Football.
The Chargers’ second-year quarterback played lights out on primetime, showing impressive calmness despite the tough circumstances late in the game.
Denver, coming off a bye, is a well-coached but limited team.
Teddy Bridgewater’s offense has a very definite ceiling: mediocrity.
Ranked 19th in passing yards per game, Denver’s attack can’t take advantage of the great playmakers at its disposal. Bridgewater and Co. will struggle to move the ball against the talented Chargers secondary, led by Chris Harris Jr., Asante Samuel Jr., and Derwin James.
The Chargers are now the fifth-ranked pass defense in the league, allowing only 209.9 passing yards per game.
Offensively, Los Angeles has the tools to move the ball against Vic Fangio’s savvy man-match scheme.
Herbert plays like a veteran, and having guys like Keelan Allen and Jared Cook over the middle will do wonders against Denver.
The Chargers also deploy what you can call a balanced offense. They rank sixth in pass yards per game (280.4) and 12th in rush yards per game (106.1).
It’s a game in which nothing is on Denver’s side despite the home-field advantage.
If Herbert can cool things down early in the game, Los Angeles should win.