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NFL Week 10 Picks: Bets for Vikings vs Bills, Broncos vs Titans, Chargers vs 49ers

NFL Week 10 Picks: Bets for Vikings vs Bills, Broncos vs Titans, Chargers vs 49ers article feature image
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Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images. Pictured: Denver Broncos.

With Thursday night's game in the books, we've officially crossed the midpoint of the NFL season.

That means it's time to throw out those preseason priors for good. We've got eight or nine games of data on every team, so everyone can finally stop pretending the Rams, Packers and Bucs are Super Bowl contenders and start living in the real world. It means it's time to trust what our eyes see on the field and what the game data tells us.

We're making picks for every game, and we already made calls on most of the games earlier in the week. I'm downgrading Cardinals-Rams to a pass. I still prefer the Rams, but with both starting quarterbacks in question, there's no need to force a play. If anything, the under looks pretty inviting.

We've got three more games to make a call on, and there are plenty more QB injuries to consider. Let's recap our early Bet, Lean and Pass picks now that the lines have shifted and get to our final three decisions.

Bet

  • Seahawks +3 vs Buccaneers & ML +130
  • Steelers +2 vs Saints
  • Dolphins -3.5 vs Browns

Lean

  • Jaguars +9.5 at Chiefs
  • Packers -4.5 vs Cowboys
  • Eagles -10.5 vs Commanders, and Bet Eagles 1H -6.5

Pass

  • Rams -2.5 vs Cardinals
  • Bears -3 vs Lions
  • Giants -4.5 vs Texans
  • Colts +5 at Raiders

Week 11 Lookahead Picks

  • Giants (-3.5) vs Lions
  • Saints-Rams Under 42.5
Note: Odds are the best available for each pick as of writing. Shop for the best real-time lines with our NFL odds page.

Vikings vs.

Bills (-3.5)

We don't have a clear answer yet on Josh Allen, who got in a limited practice on Friday but is questionable with a UCL injury to his right elbow. That could mean a Case Keenum and Stefon Diggs double revenge game, only if "revenge" instead meant the greatest moment of their careers — the Minneapolis Miracle.

Four years ago today, the Minneapolis Miracle shook the world 🤯

(via @NFL, @NFLFilms) pic.twitter.com/LLYACyfhAO

— ESPN (@espn) January 14, 2022

It's not just Allen who is ailing. Buffalo will be without both star safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer, along with two of its top three corners, edge rusher Greg Rousseau and possibly one or two starting linebackers.

Buffalo's defense, which has been slipping some lately, might be more shorthanded than the offense. It is down to 11th in DVOA over the last five games, with a typically elite pass defense closer to league average. The injuries are taking their toll.

Minnesota is nowhere near as good as its 7-1 record, but the Vikings continue to get great luck as they have won six straight games, all by one score. Three of those games came against backup quarterbacks, and the Vikings trailed in the final quarter of four of them.

The Vikings rank 18th in overall DVOA. They're 16th on offense and 19th on defense. This is a remarkably average team. Minnesota also has the third-least variance of any team, which means this is a consistently average team — the Kirk Cousins of football squads. The floor is high, but the ceiling is low.

That's why those Buffalo injuries are so key. A healthy Bills team would blow the Vikings out of the water. The downfield passing game would be especially dangerous against a defense that allows the highest percentage of explosive plays.

What will a Keenum version of this offense look like? That depends on the coaching. Conventional wisdom would suggest a conservative offense, lots of running and keeping things simple. But Keenum's most successful season — as Vikings fans know — came with him aggressively pushing the ball down the field, throwing up 50/50 balls and giving talented receivers like Diggs a chance. That version of Keenum can beat Minnesota.

That's a possibility, but also reveals the underlying truth here — we're billing Buffalo as the underdog, but the Bills are still 3.5-point favorites. That's too much, and it's not clear they should be favored at all.

Minnesota is indeed an average team, but the Bills without all these injured players grade out around 20th best on both offense and defense for me, below the Vikings on both ends. Sean McDermott is 10-10-1 ATS without Allen, and the injuries on this defense could be the real difference-maker.

There's absolutely a version of this game where Keenum and Diggs light it up, but the most likely outcome is either a Vikings win or a close loss. Keenum has only covered three times in his last 13 starts as a favorite (23%), losing six of those games outright. Underdogs between 3 and 10 this season have covered 65% of the time, and they're 27-7 ATS (79%) when the underdog has the same or worse ATS record, as Minnesota does.

If you're a fresh bettor, I lean Vikings +3.5, playing the healthier side on too long a number. I prefer the spread to the ML in case of a close loss.

Since many of you tailed on the app, let's address that. I got a big early position on Minnesota before the Allen news tanked the line, multiple units on Vikings +8.5 and on the +330 ML. If you're in a similar spot, do we hedge or let it ride?

If you've got Minnesota +7 or longer, I think you let it ride. You're effectively getting a free teaser, and there's no good reason not to like a talented, high floor team catching a TD against a banged-up squad.

The ML is another story. At +330, we're getting an implied 23% to win something near a coin-flip game. But the moneyline is all or nothing. You might consider something like 1.55 units on the Bills ML -155. A Buffalo win there covers your Minnesota wager, so you basically have a free roll on the Vikings to win 1.75 units.

Or, you just appreciate the immense CLV and let it ride.

But if Allen plays, all bets are off.

What is QuickSlip?

QuickSlip is an Action Network feature that allows users to automatically pre-load their bet slip at FanDuel Sportsbook.


Broncos vs.

Titans (-3)

Hey look, more QB injuries! Ryan Tannehill is dealing with an ankle injury and is questionable. Russell Wilson is certainly going to play, but it's hard to say how healthy his shoulder is out of the bye week.

Even if Tannehill plays, I'm not sure he'll be super effective. His mobility in the pocket and on bootlegs is key to Tennessee's offense, and Denver's defense has been incredible, though it's notably missing both edge rushers Randy Gregory (injured) and Bradley Chubb (traded) now.

Like Buffalo, Tennessee's QB injury news may be overshadowing just as significant of an injury list on what's been a dominant defense lately. Possible All-Pro Jeffery Simmons is out — that's huge. Bud Dupree and Harold Landry are out too, which means very little pass rush, and Amani Hooker and Zach Cunningham will also be sidelined. Basically the Titans are short half their defensive starters.

Tennessee has been outstanding of late. Derrick Henry looks like he's back, and that could be a problem against a Denver defense that's been elite against the pass but pretty average defending the run. Tennessee has a huge coaching advantage, and it's easy to see a version of this game where Henry runs 25 times for 175 yards, Tannehill hits a couple big throws and the Titans grind out another win.

But again, we find ourselves building an underdog script for the Titans, much like the Bills above, which tells us this line probably isn't priced accurately.

There's one other big reason that should tip us toward Denver. The Broncos are rested after a bye week, while the Titans are just the opposite.

This poor defense just played 91 snaps against the Chiefs on Sunday, and now its depth is compromised. Remember the exhausted Dolphins team that laid an egg after a ton of snaps against the Bills earlier this season? This could be a similar spot for the Titans.

Wilson is 29-14-1 ATS (67%) as an underdog. And before you point out how bad he's been this season, that includes 3-1 ATS this fall as a dog.

I like the Broncos — but I like the under even more. Titans games have gone under 39 in four straight, and Broncos games have gone under in seven of eight.

With struggling offenses and terrific defenses, an under makes sense. If you prefer, you can play just a second half under, where these teams are a combined 13-3 on the season.

What is QuickSlip?

QuickSlip is an Action Network feature that allows users to automatically pre-load their bet slip at FanDuel Sportsbook.


Chargers vs.

49ers (-7.5)

Sunday Night Football pits two teams that don't feel quite as good as public perception. Many have penciled both the Chargers and 49ers into the playoffs, but the loser of this game could be in some trouble.

The Chargers are +165 to miss. They play the Chiefs next week, followed by two tricky road games (Cardinals, Raiders), then the Dolphins and Titans.

This is an important battle, but key fighters are missing. The Chargers just can't get healthy. They'll be without both star receivers, both bookend tackles, plus Joey Bosa and J.C. Jackson. The 49ers will have their Bosa, but are missing the other three defensive linemen, though the offense looks much healthier out of the bye.

San Francisco's offense has looked crisp with Christian McCaffrey, but I still feel underwhelmed. Their only wins over the last eight weeks came against the Rams and Panthers, and this team lost to Chicago, Denver and Atlanta. And while the offense looks good, the once mighty defense has cratered with all the injuries, down to 27th in DVOA over the last five weeks.

Can this shell of a Chargers offense take advantage, though? That remains to be seen, with lackluster blocking and no real receiving threats of note in an offense crippled by OC Joe Lombardi's lackluster play calling. Still, the Chargers always seem to hang around. They've had five one-score losses already, and that gets the cover here.

This line feels a touch inflated, and this is typically a great spot to bet against Kyle Shanahan. He's lost three of five after a bye week and is only 17-27-1 ATS (39%) as a favorite, including 8-15-1 ATS (35%) at home.

I'm not particularly enthusiastic about either team, so I'm tiptoeing in, but I'll play the key number and lean on the Chargers keeping things close.

What is QuickSlip?

QuickSlip is an Action Network feature that allows users to automatically pre-load their bet slip at FanDuel Sportsbook.


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