NFL Picks Week 11: Expert’s Best Bets for Sunday
Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images. Pictured: Dorian Thompson-Robinson.
NFL Picks Week 11
Below are my favorite bets against the spread and on a total for Sunday. For more NFL Week 11 picks, check out my player props.
Specific betting recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NFL Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.
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Steelers vs. Browns
This ranks as the top game in Week 11 for our NFL Luck Rankings, with a luck rank differential of 20 and a luck gap of 42%. This mainly has to do with the Steelers continuing to be the luckiest team of the season. They're now 6-0 in one-score games and have trailed by an average of 31 minutes per game this season. The average record of the other seven teams that have trailed by 30+ minutes per game is 2.7-6.9, which is one way to illustrate how fortunate the Steelers are to be 6-3 right now.
A whopping 80%+ of the action is on Pittsburgh, which means the public is on board with the Steelers 6-3 start.
Yes, it doesn’t feel great betting on Dorian Thompson-Robinson after his Week 4 start against the Ravens when he threw for just 121 yards and three interceptions. However, that was against one of the best defenses in the league and he didn’t have all week to prep as the starter.
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In my rookie notes I compared DTR to Josh Dobbs (I’m sure you’ve heard of him by now) even before the Browns drafted him. DTR was great in the preseason, even outplaying Dobbs, which prompted the Browns to trade him away.
I’m guessing Thompson-Robinson isn’t as good as his preseason or as bad as his Week 4 performance. Somewhere in the middle will be more than enough for the Browns.
We have to consider that DTR isn’t exactly trying to replace Jalen Hurts here. Deshaun Watson hasn’t played well for the Browns, ranking 30th in adjusted net yards per attempt, 24th in QB rating, and 18th in EPA/play. DTR is definitely a downgrade (I project it as about 2-3 points against the spread), but this is a spot where I think the Browns can still win with him under center. He has a ton of rushing upside and I think the Browns tap into that with a full week of prep for him.
We also have one of the biggest mismatches possible in the trenches with Myles Garrett likely lining up across from Steelers left tackle Dan Moore. I expect Garrett to cause a lot of havoc going up against Moore, who has given up a pressure on 6.4% of his pass block snaps, which is the seventh-highest rate among offensive tackles.
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Bears vs. Lions
This grades as the best Luck Rankings “under” of the week with a rating of -6.2.
A big part of that is due to both defenses ranking in the bottom three in red zone touchdown percentage allowed, with the Lions at 69% in 30th and the Bears' 72% in 31st. I expect both defenses to regress closer to the league average of 54% going forward, which would lower the scoring environment for their games, especially considering neither defense is that bad.
In fact, the Lions defense ranks ninth in DVOA and linebacker Alex Anzalone has been playing at a very high level since Week 4. He could be key in slowing down Justin Fields, who might be a bit rusty in his first game since Week 6 due to a thumb injury.
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The Bears defense is underrated and it was several weeks ago I pointed out that their run defense was pretty stout, with LB T.J. Edwards being a huge part of that. They recently acquired Montez Sweat, which is going to help their pass rush a ton, as well. Chicago has the second-lowest pressure rate on the season, but Sweat was able to generate seven pressures last week. His presence will help take pressure off their secondary and make this run defense even better.
Obviously, the Lions offense is going to be tough to slow down, but that’s why the total is so high. I like the idea of investing in two pretty good defenses that are both due for positive regression in terms of holding teams to FGs (or turnovers) once they get into the red zone
The cherry on top: Scott Novak is the referee for this game, and games he's officiated since the start of the 2020 season are 35-21 to the under, and they're 6-3 this season.