NFL Spread & Total Picks: Browns To Cover As Favorites, A Teaser, More Sunday Bets
Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Myles Garrett, Deshaun Watson
NFL Spread & Total Picks
Our NFL betting analyst Raheem Palmer breaks down his four favorite picks for Week 10. He has a 54-44 (55.1%) record on NFL bets he’s tracked in the Action app this season. Click on a pick below to skip ahead to that analysis.
Buccaneers-Panthers Under 50.5
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | More Game Info
The Buccaneers were embarrassed in last week’s 38-3 loss to the Saints, allowing Drew Brees to complete 26-of-32 passes for 222 yards and four touchdowns. Fortunately, the Bucs take step down in class against a Panthers offense that’s just 17th in total play success rate and will be without the services of All Pro running back Christian McCaffrey.
In the three games McCaffrey has played this season, the Panthers have averaged 26 points, finishing 3-0 to the over. Without CMC in the lineup, however, the Panthers have scored just 20.3 points per game and are 5-1 to the under.
The Panthers also play at the third-slowest pace in the league.
Buccaneers games haven’t exactly been flying over the total, either, as it is only 5-4 this season.
With the Bucs looking to make up for the embarrassing performance, they should not only deliver a better defensive performance but also look to establish the run after a game in which they had only five carries for eight (!) yards. With their offense otherwise reeling — ranking just 21st in total success rate, 13th in efficiency and missing left tackle Ali Marpet — we should see a scoring output similar to their first matchup of the season against the Panthers, which ended 31-17.
The market adjusted this total from the opener of 48 to where it sits as of Saturday afternoon (find real-time odds here). My projections make this number 49.5, so I like the under 50.5 and would play it down to 50.
Browns -4 vs. Texans
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | More Game Info
Through the midway point, Kevin Stefanski’s first season as the Browns head coach has been a success. They enter Sunday’s game 5-3 and on pace for their first playoff berth since 2002.
The biggest reason for the turnaround is the fact that the Browns have made a habit of beating inferior competition. Their five victories have come against teams that have a combined record of only 11-21-1 with a point differential of -93: The Bengals (twice), Washington, Cowboys and Colts. And of those five, only the Colts have a winning record (5-3) and positive point differential (+48). With a 2-6 record, a point differential of -46 and their only two wins coming against Jacksonville (twice), the Texans fit right at home on this list of bad teams that the Browns have used as a springboard for what could turn out to be their first playoff appearance in 18 years.
The good news for the Browns is that they got healthy over their bye and should welcome the returns of running back Nick Chubb (MCL) and guard Wyatt Teller (calf).
Through the first four games with Chubb and Teller, the Browns had a rushing success rate of 57% and were first in the NFL with 205 rushing yards per game, 5.0 yards per carry and explosive run percentage with 22% of their carries going for 20 or more yards. Their numbers have plummeted in Chubb’s and Wyatt’s absences as the Browns have averaged just 95.5 yards per game (24th) and 3.9 yards per carry (24th) with a rushing success rate of just 43% (30th) since.
A healthy combination of Chubb and Kareem Hunt with Teller blocking doesn’t bode well for a Texans defense that gives up a league-worst 159 yards rushing per game on 5.1 yards per carry, allowing 53% of runs to be successful as well as the fifth-most explosive runs this season. Chubb also leads the league in explosive runs with six of 20 or more yards despite not playing since Week 4.
The effect of Chubb and Wyatt in the lineup is cumulative as Cleveland’s ability to take the pressure off Baker Mayfield opens up play action, which is a staple of Stefanski’s offense. This helps to sustain drives and keep the defense off the field, giving the Browns more time to rest — something that didn’t happen in their Week 8 loss to the Raiders who dominated time of possession (37:43 vs. 22:17).
On the defensive side of the ball, Myles Garrett returned to practice this week after injuring his knee in Week 8. Unlike the Raiders, the Texans won’t be able to push this Cleveland defensive line around — Houston has one of the worst offensive lines in the league, ranking 29th in adjusted line yards and 32nd in pass protection with an adjusted sack rate of 8.8% (per Football Outsiders).
Overall, this is the perfect get-right spot after a disappointing, weather-aided loss to the Raiders and a bye that allowed the Browns’ stars to get healthy. They’re a playoff team, and proving that starts with winning games like this one against the Texans.
I’m laying the points with Cleveland up to -4.
Broncos +3.5 at Raiders
Kickoff: 4:05 p.m. ET | More Game Info
The Raiders are 30th in defensive efficiency and have just nine sacks this season, 31st in the league. Well, guess what Drew Lock’s Achilles heel is? Yes, it is pressure — he has just a 32 passer rating under pressure this season, but now he faces a Raiders team that struggles to rush the quarterback.
More good news for the Broncos is the big boost they’ll get to the offensive line as guard Graham Glasgow was activated off the COVID-19 reserve list.
If this matchup couldn’t get any more favorable for the Broncos, the Raiders will be without the services of defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, which solidifies that Lock will have time to throw in this matchup. And given the chemistry he’s developed with Jerry Jeudy and Noah Fant, it’s likely we’ll see the scoring outburst from the second halves of their games against the Chargers and Falcons through the full game this Sunday.
On the other side of the ball, the Raiders’ banged up offensive line could suffer another blow as left tackle Kolton Miller is doubtful with an ankle injury and right guard Gabe Jackson is questionable with an illness. This doesn’t bode well for a unit that lacks depth after the losses of right tackle Trent Brown and left guard Richie Incognito.
The Broncos also get cornerbacks A.J Bouye and Bryce Callahan back for this matchup. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan threw for 284 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s matchup against the Broncos, and having their starting corners should make a huge difference this week against the Raiders.
I faded the Raiders last week and they were very lucky to get the win — it’s possible we could see a much different line for this game had Chargers wide receivers Mike Williams or Donald Parham Jr. caught the ball on either of the final two plays against the Raiders. Either way, the market isn’t valuing them properly, so I’m fading them again.
Underdogs continue to be a solid bet this season as they’re 77-57 (57.4%) against the spread. Digging deeper, road underdogs of six or fewer points are 35-15 (70%) ATS this season, according to our Bet Labs database:
With the declining impact of home-field advantage, it’s clear many of these home favorites are being mispriced, and the Raiders are a prime example of that. I grabbed the Broncos at +5 earlier in the week (get alerts as I make picks in the Action app), but I still like them down to +3. I would also recommend sprinkling a small percentage of your wager on the moneyline as well.
6-Point Teaser: Chargers +7.5/Ravens -1
Chargers +1.5 to +7.5 at Dolphins
Kickoff: 4:05 p.m. ET | More Game Info
Did you know the Chargers haven’t lost a game by more than seven points all season?
Say what you want about Anthony Lynn, but despite an inability to win close games, the Chargers have held leads of a touchdown or more over the Buccaneers, Saints and the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs. Justin Herbert continues to play great in his rookie season, and in last week’s game against the Raiders, he threw for 326 yards and two touchdowns and came within two dropped catches from leading a comeback victory.
For the Dolphins, this is a swift role reversal from underdog to favorite for a team that is starting a rookie quarterback and won two games largely on the backs of its defense.
Since Tua Tagovailoa took over as the starter in Week 8, the Dolphins have scored three non-offensive touchdowns. Home favorites with back-to-back non-offensive touchdowns are just 18-33 against the spread over the past 20 seasons. Eventually, the Dolphins will have to completely rely on Tagovailoa for their offense, at which point we should see a step back.
Complicating matters is the fact that the Dolphins lost wide receiver Preston Williams to a foot injury. In addition, the Dolphins placed linebacker Kyle Van Not and defensive tackle Christina Wilkins on the COVID-19 reserve list this week.
Ravens -7 to -1 at Patriots
Kickoff: 8:20 p.m. ET | More Game Info
I typically don’t like to tease road favorites of -6 or -7 down to -1 as it goes against the rules of Stanford Wong teasers as they are typically mispriced, however, this is one situation in which I’m willing to make an exception.
In a season in which home-field advantage doesn’t have an impact, we can get away from teasing the occasional road favorite down when the matchup suits us. And this one does.
A New England run defense that gives up 131.0 yards per game and is 31st in rushing efficiency makes this a favorable matchup for a Baltimore team that hasn’t found its footing offensively. This could be the game in which we see the Ravens pass offense finally come alive as the Patriots defense is 31st in explosive pass play rate.
Lamar Jackson and the Ravens were a nightmare matchup for the Patriots last season when the Patriots had a full roster of defenders, now they’re facing the Ravens after an offseason of COVID-19 opt outs and free agency losses in addition to the injuries they’ve suffered in-season.
With the exception of their game against the Seahawks, who have the worst pass defense in NFL history, this Patriots offense has struggled — they’re just 24th in offensive efficiency (28th in passing and third in rushing), and now they face a Ravens defense that’s fifth in efficiency and is holding teams to a league-low 17.8 points per game.
I’m having a tough time imagining how the Patriots will score against the Ravens.