As we head deeper into the second half of the NFL season there is no shortage of surprises. The Colts are the final winless team at 0-9, the Bills are tied for first in their division, and with a win next week the Bengals will be leading the entire AFC. Amidst a league filled with uncertainty and surprises, remaining consistent is my free picks here at The Sports Greek. If you followed every pick as posted you’re 21-15-2 for +9.69 units, if you skipped my underdog plays (+172 to +600 which I’ve made 4) you’re 20-12-2 for +6.69 units. These are results very few NFL betting experts can keep up long term, but this my fourth season posting picks with similar results. My 2011 NFL season home is www.TheSportsGeek.com so make sure you visit here each and every week. With the intro out of the way, let’s now get to my five picks for 2011 NFL Week 10.
Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears
This game falls into several situations I’ve harped on numerous times in previous weekly write ups. Although betting markets are generally efficient, most don’t realize good and well coached teams benefit from the bye week far more than mediocre teams do and there are plenty of stats to show this. I wrote about this last season in my article on the effects of the bye week. The other factor here is that the Bears are coming off a win as a 9-point underdog, and history shows teams who pull off major upsets generally slump the week following. Next add in that the Bears have one less day this week because they played on Monday night, all the areas the line needs to be adjusted for points favorably to the Lions. Personally I think the odds makers got this one right opening the line at Bears -1, with the Bears now a 3 point favorite, the Lions is an easy play. I’ll track my pick at -3 -120 @ BetOnline, but note that my actual bet was placed at Pinnacle Sports (no US players) were I got Lions +3 -109.
New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons
I made this pick based on the underrated overrated scenario. The New Orleans Saints sit at 6-3 on the season. Their first lost came in the season opener against the league’s most dominate team the Green Bay Packers, and the second came in a in a division game on the road. Where the overrated comes from is their third loss where they made the mistake of looking past the pitiful Rams. You see the following week they had a game against the Buccs who already beat them this season and it was important must win division game for tie breaker purposes. This situation happens in the NFL far too often. The Saints however are one of the most talented teams in the league and are a serious postseason threat.
The Falcons on the other hand are different. The betting market is high on them because they recently beat the Lions and then smoked the Colts looking very sharp last week. However, the story is not fully shown on the books cover, when turning the pages to research you’ll see the Lions are a young team that was coming off their first loss in ages, having lost the week prior to the very legitimate and now 7-1 San Francisco 49ers. I myself mentioned in my week 7 write-up that I was interested to see how the Lions would respond. Sure last week the Falcons looked great, but keep in mind they were coming off their bye week and played the now 0-9 Indianapolis Colts. So when looking at the Falcons 5-3 record I see teams and those teams current records that they beat are Eagles (3-5), Seahawks (2-6), Panthers (2-6), Lions (6-2), Colts (0-9). Of course, you can only beat the teams you play, but the Falcons started off high in the preseason power rankings, and haven’t done enough to prove to me that they warrant the attention they receiving. I’m not saying bet the house on it, and perhaps the Falcons are legit, but for now I feel the Saints are worth a normal size bet.
Jaguars @ Colts
Generally winless teams WANT to win. No one rolls over for a draft pick. However, this is a unique situation I’ve never seen during my 16-year betting career. The winless team (now 0-9) is not from a franchise who is desperately seeking the rare taste of victory, this is the Colts who year in and year out have been one of the league’s top teams. Knowing the Jags want to win and not sure the same is true for the Colts, the Jags are easily worth a bet here.
Steelers @ Bengals
Honestly, when the 2011 season started who if anyone could have predicted this Week #10 matchup between Steelers vs Bengals would have the lead for the AFC #1 seed on the line. Gridiron is no doubt America’s game and as much as I’d love to cheer for the underdog here the Steelers remain #1 on my AFC power rankings despite their recent loss. Also, good teams who have heart breaking losses due final second heroics generally come out incredibly strong the following week. Steelers -3 -115 is a strong play this week.
Line Shade Play of the Week
My fifth and final bet this week was made in order to yet again take advantage of the way 5Dimes sets their point spread while also offering industry leading teaser odds. My picks is a 6-point “ties win” teaser @ -105 with my ticket reading Raiders +14 and 49ers +3, but because ties win I’m actually getting Raiders +14.5 and 49ers +3.5, this is mathematically +EV bet.
As always I wish you all the best of luck on your 2011 NFL Picks, and encourage you to visit TheSportsGeek.com each and every week from my free NFL predictions.