Last week I introduced my new favorite teams to follow, the Pesky Teams. You know them, they’re scrappy, maybe not great record-wise, but keep games close. They went 4-3 ATS last week. Nothing remarkable there.
As for me (follow me on Twitter @griffybets) I went 10-8 on the day. Ended two units up off big player-prop success. I’d love to break down props now, but my book doesn’t post odds until Sunday morning. That’s what Twitter’s for, so join me over there.
Week 10 is upon us, and I want my weekly blogs to be a resource for you all, with an inevitable sprinkle of opinion. Let’s look at the underdogs covering well, the contenders, and any other games of interest.
Dogs Gotta Eat
Back to those underdog teams. The Dolphins +4, Panthers +10, and Giants +2.5 all covered, and Miami and New York won. A reminder on the group doing well against the spread as underdogs:
AFC Pesky Teams
Dolphins (5-2 ATS as underdog)
Broncos (5-3 ATS as underdog)
Chargers (3-1 ATS as underdog)
Bengals (5-2 ATS as underdog)
NFC Pesky Teams
Vikings (4-1 ATS as underdog)
Giants (6-2 ATS as underdog)
Bears (5-3 ATS as underdog)
Panthers (5-2 ATS as underdog)
Miami and Cincy are actually tied for the best ATS record in the NFL, at 6-2. The Dolphins are close to graduating from this group, as they’ve won four straight and taken down back-to-back strong NFC teams in the Cardinals and Rams.
The Bears and Broncos are on thin ice in this category, and a loss against the spread will drop them from the list until further notice. I have no doubt this GriffyBets proclamation will make its way to each team’s locker room.
Pesky Team’s Week 10 Slate
Eagles at Giants (+3.5)
Buccaneers at Panthers (+6)
Broncos (+4) at Raiders
Chargers (+2) at Dolphins – Double Pesky Alert!!
Bengals (+7) at Steelers
Vikings at Bears (+3) – DPA!!
My picks: Broncos +4, Vikings -3, Chargers +2
I want to take the Bengals, but seven points just isn’t enough against the undefeated Steelers. Pittsburgh looked flat in their game against Dallas last week, which I think will actually benefit them this week against a division rival. A wake up call, if you will.
The Giants have played well for being just 2-7. It’s not a secret to anyone who knows me or has been following me, but I’m an Eagle fan. I can’t take the Giants here partly for that reason, but also because this Eagles team is getting serious reinforcements back this week, and has an extra week of rest after the bye. Miles Sanders is set to join Fulgham, Reagor, and Goedert as this young core gets their first action together.
The offensive line is back to the same formation they had in Week 1 and should offer Wentz time. Now, whether Wentz can figure out his turnovers is another story. I cringe just thinking about it.
I’m not convinced the Raiders are for real. Even after the brutal Chargers +1 loss I took against them last week, I’m betting against them again. Drew Lock has put up pretty remarkable fourth quarter numbers this year. If he can just remember there are three quarters prior, we may be on to something.
Picking the Vikings to cover goes against the mantra of this section, but Minnesota is 5-3 ATS overall, and have been red-hot the last two weeks off the back of Dalvin Cook (478 total yards, six touchdowns). Yes, the Bears held Derrick Henry to 68 yards last week, but two weeks ago they let Alvin Kamara rack up 163 total yards. Cook is much more in the mold of Kamara, and should have similar success.
The Vikings have won three out of their last five games. Their two losses during this stretch? A 1-point loss to the Seahawks and a 1-point loss to the Titans. Pretty impressive streak here that I’ll ride for another week.
I’m taking the Chargers again. I love the Dolphins, but man LA has to get over this hump of one-score losses eventually. I love the storyline of Herbert vs. Tua as the two top picks go at it. Herbert’s ability to connect on deep passes has opened up the ground game (no matter who’s getting the ball) and the Dolphins come in as the fourth-worst run defense, according to Football Outsiders.
A reminder on how I’ve bucketed out the best teams in the NFL this year:
|AFC Tier 1||NFC Tier 1|
|Steelers (8-0) Chiefs (8-1)||Seahawks (6-2)|
|AFC Tier 2||NFC Tier 2|
|Bills (7-2) Ravens (6-2) Titans (6-2)||Packers (6-2) Bucs (6-3) *DemotedSaints (6-2) *PromotedCardinals (5-3)|
Big week for the AFC, as all contenders picked up another win, including a massive statement game from Buffalo that really exposed how vulnerable Seattle is through the air.
NFC has become a mess. I’ve upgraded the Saints to this group after the demolition job they put on that Tampa defense. No team here is without its flaws, as both Seattle and Green Bay can be exposed when their defense is on the field.
Contenders Week 10 Games
Jaguars at Packers (-13)
Bills at Cardinals (-2)
Seahawks (+2) at Rams
49ers at Saints (-9)
Ravens (-7) at Patriots
The Bucs and Steelers also play, which I highlight above. My general rule is to avoid betting on games between contenders and pesky teams if possible. I didn’t listen to my own advice last week, and took the Cardinals to cover the -4 against the Dolphins. Narrator: he lost
My picks: Packers -13, Seahawks +2, Ravens -7
Aaron Rodgers has had a remarkable season, and I’m not hearing much about it. Through eight games, he’s thrown 24 touchdowns to just two interceptions, and since Davante Adams has returned to the lineup, the pair have been rolling.
Now, this passing attack gets Jacksonville’s 32nd ranked pass defense. The Jaguars should be able to get some points with James Robinson going against this suspect run-defense, but if Green Bay can go up big early, that would eliminate the advantage from the gameflow.
The Rams are favored as the “home” team (no fans) and because they’re coming off a bye. Add in the passing weapons they have against a Seahawks team exposed by Josh Allen last week, and the spread makes sense.
Still, I know the Seahawks are the best team in the NFC – and I’ll take Russ over Goff 11 times out of 10. I expect Seattle to bounce back and take control of the NFC West in this one.
The Ravens have a very clear identity: lose/don’t cover against good teams and destroy bad teams. I think the Pats have shown they’re a bad team this year. Squeaking by the winless Jets isn’t going to move the needle for me, and playing on short rest, I’ll take Baltimore.
Bills-Cardinals is going to be a great game. Both teams have been my darlings all year, as I’ve fully bought in to Allen and Kyler as two keys in what is a bright future for the quarterback position. I’m going to watch this as a football fan, and with the highest over/under of the weekend, get my hands on some props.
For thoughts on props, make sure to follow me on Twitter @griffybets. That will do it for this week. Best of luck this weekend, and make sure you get a second TV to stream the Masters on Sunday.