NFL Week 10 Lookahead Picks: Bets for Cardinals vs Rams, Lions vs Bears, More
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Sean McVay.
Welcome back to The Lookahead.
While everyone else is still busy betting on this weekend's games, we're getting out ahead of things with a pair of picks for next Sunday. It's all about locking in that sweet closing line value (CLV) and gobbling up easy line value before this week's results move next week's lines.
We've spent nearly a month hanging out on Seattle Island, but with the island heading to Germany next week, it's time to look elsewhere. We continue to lock in important CLV ahead of the games every week, often crossing key numbers. Today, I've got a bonus third Lookahead pick for you, a total I think could be on the rise in a big way.
We've already got your Sunday picks covered, so let's look ahead and get some more CLV for those Week 10 games before the weekend.
Neither of these teams play on Sunday, but for very different reasons.
The Steelers get the week off, which could be huge. This is a team that pivoted to rookie QB Kenny Pickett on the fly, literally mid-game without a real chance to stop and revamp the offense around his talent. It's also a defense that badly needed time to heal. The week off should do wonders for the health of the secondary, and it could mean the return of defending Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt.
The Saints, on the other hand, will be playing on Monday night. New Orleans is a home underdog against a tough Ravens team that just traded for Roquan Smith and adds him and the returning Tyus Bowser to the LB corps, and we saw last Thursday how exhausting it is chasing down Lamar Jackson and this Ravens offense.
Perception of the Saints is flying high right now after a 24-0 drubbing of the Raiders, but that could change in a hurry if the Ravens take care of business as expected. New Orleans is only 3-5 with its other two wins coming in the final minutes, and no one thought much of the Saints before last week's shutout.
Now they're road favorites? I don't buy it.
Pittsburgh's results with Kenny Pickett haven't been pretty, but he hasn't exactly been given a fair shake. Three of Pickett's four starts have come on the road against the Bills, Eagles and Dolphins. Pittsburgh's defense was lit up in these games against the league's best offenses, and never really had a chance. The Steelers won Pickett's one home start against the Bucs, and nearly beat the Jets in his halftime debut, too. That result looks pretty good in hindsight.
The bye week should give Pickett a chance to settle in. Mike Tomlin is 11-4 straight up (SU) out of the bye with five straight wins, and you already know this is a great Rah Rah Tomlin underdog spot.
Tomlin is 39-16-1 ATS (71%) as an underdog from Week 5 forward, and he's nearly untouchable at home. He's 14-2-1 ATS there, covering nine straight and winning the last seven times outright — including that shocker against the Bucs.
From Week 5 forward, Tomlin is 13-4 SU as a home underdog, an obscene record with a rollicking 98% ROI for moneyline bettors.
While Pickett is no sure thing as a rookie starter, it's not like he has stiff competition on the other side.
Andy Dalton is an ugly 9-16 ATS (36%) in primetime games — loser of six straight — so he could struggle Monday night. But hey, if the Saints do poorly, maybe they turn back to Jameis Winston.
Oh wait, Winston is 13-23-3 ATS (36%) in toss-up spreads under a field goal and 8-18-1 ATS (31%) as a favorite. Can I interest you in Taysom Hill? Didn't think so.
If you think the Saints win Monday night, you should probably wait. Even if you like this spot for Pittsburgh, you might get the key number +3 after a Saints win. I think there's a better chance of New Orleans getting trounced by Baltimore though, so I'll grab the line value while it's there.
This is a great spot to back Pickett at home with an extra week of preparation and a healthier Steelers defense against an overvalued Saints team coming off a short week.
THE PICK: Bet Steelers +2.5 & ML +125
The Super Bowl champs haven't exactly seen their season go according to plan. Los Angeles got blown out in the opener, and the Rams have been swept by the 49ers already, en route to a listless 3-4 start.
That slow start is part of why I like this spot for the Rams on the Lookahead. Los Angeles plays the Bucs this Sunday afternoon in a huge spot for both teams, which each presumed Super Bowl contender under .500 and playing for its life. Either the Rams come away from that one with another win over Tampa Bay and get some confidence back, or they lose again and sit at 3-5 with this home game something of a last stand.
Either way, I see this line rising past the key number (-3) — especially if the Cardinals lose to the Seahawks again as we expected on last week's Lookahead.
Sean McVay has owned Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury. McVay is now 7-1 SU, including January's playoff beatdown. Those seven wins have come by an average of 13.3 PPG, each of them by at least a full touchdown, so the Cardinals aren't even getting close. McVay is 6-1-1 ATS against Kingsbury, covering by 6.9 PPG.
And though we typically look to back Kingsbury as a road underdog (15-4-2 ATS), he's only 1-4-1 as an underdog to McVay.
The Rams offense hasn't been great, but the defense is still very good, and this defense has had Murray's number. L.A.'s scheme has Murray locked up. He's scored eight touchdowns in eight Rams games and is averaging only 20 rushing yards per game. If Murray can't get his magic going, the Cards are pretty much sunk.
DeAndre Hopkins hasn't been himself against Jalen Ramsey and the Rams either. He averages only 5.3 catches for 52 yards a game with just one score in four games. If you shut down Murray and Nuk, you shut down the Cardinals offense.
Frankly, Arizona just hasn't been very good. The Cardinals rank 30th in DVOA. They're not good at much of anything in particular other than run defense, and that's mostly useless against a Rams team that can't run the ball anyway.
Trust L.A.'s defense, and trust McVay against Kingsbury in a matchup he's dominated. Bet Rams -3 before we lose the key number.
THE PICK: Bet Rams -3
The Lions and Bears may not be any good, but we should get a fun one with plenty of points.
That's because Detroit and Chicago may actually have the two worst defenses in the league. There's little doubt that the Lions had the worst defense over the first half of the season. Just about any metric backs that up. But the Bears weren't much better and have since traded Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn; Dallas had one of the best offensive games of the season last week against this beleaguered defense.
On the other side of the ball, we should feel pretty good about both offenses.
Chicago's offense is rolling lately, ever since the coaches found out it was legal to call designed runs for Justin Fields. Suddenly, Fields looks like maybe the best QB in his draft class and the Bears have scored 33 and 29 their last two games.
The Lions offense felt like it fell off a cliff after the hot start, but the truth is that Detroit's offense went missing when its top playmakers did. It couldn't score at all in two games without D'Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown, but Detroit has gone over 45.5 in all five of its other games. Even with those two games without the stars, the Lions are 5-2 to the over, best in the NFL.
This total would be the highest of the season for Chicago, but that's because we're still catching up to this new version of the Bears that can actually score, and the one where the defense is shambolic. Chicago games averaged 35.3 PPG the first four weeks, but have since skyrocketed to 48.8 PPG the last four games — and that includes a 12-7 game.
Chicago's offense ranks 12th in DVOA these last two weeks with an unleashed Fields, and Detroit's offense ranks fifth and first in rushing in those five games with mostly healthy weapons. Neither defense can stop the run, and we could get high-scoring affairs this weekend from Lions-Packers and Bears-Dolphins.
I expect this line to rise before kickoff, maybe dramatically. If we get high-scoring Lions and Bears games this weekend, it wouldn't shock me to see this line push toward 50 and buy us huge value. I'll grab the Lions-Bears over 45.5 right now for my two favorite over teams currently on the board.
THE PICK: Bet Over 45.5