Quarterbacks play the most important role on the football field, and that’s been proven even more so in 2015 with the number of injuries that have been suffered by starting NFL signal callers. With a few starting quarterbacks likely to miss games in Week 11, betting lines have seen notable changes.
With Andrew Luck set to miss Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons, the Indianapolis Colts have gone from four to six-point underdogs, according to vegasinsider.com. Other point spreads have been affected even more because of injuries to quarterbacks.
There’s no such thing as a “sure thing” when it comes to betting, but here are the three surest bets for Week 11 of the 2015 NFL season.
Dallas Cowboys (PK)
Since Tony Romo broke his collarbone in Week 2, the Cowboys are the only team without a win in the last two months. But the quarterback is set to finally return on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, and Dallas is poised to get their third win of the season.
The Cowboys have come extremely close to earning tight wins, but their lack of a quality quarterback has kept them out of the win column. In two of their last three losses, Dallas has been defeated by five total points, even though the team didn’t score one touchdown. In Week 7, the Cowboys would have likely beaten the New York Giants if they had a quality quarterback, but Matt Cassel was picked off three times.
Dallas went 2-0 with Romo as the starter, and he makes them the best team in the NFC East. The Dolphins have been inconsistent this season, losing four times by at least 13 points and suffering a 27-point defeat in one of their two games at Sun Life Stadium. The Cowboys have won their last 10 regular-season road games with Romo at quarterback, and that streak will be extended on Sunday.
New York Jets (-2.5)
The Jets have lost three of their last four games, but they are still better than most teams in the AFC. That includes the Houston Texans, who should come back to earth after upsetting the Cincinnati Bengals.
Houston returns home, where they beat the Tennessee Titans last. The Texans have three wins in their last four contests, but they’ve lost at home to a few mediocre teams. The Kansas City Chiefs and Indianapolis Colts, led by Matt Hasselbeck, both went into Houston and got seven-point victories. New York should be able to do the same, having beaten up on the bad teams on their schedule.
Brian Hoyer hasn’t been ruled out, but it looks like T.J. Yates will start at quarterback. Yates had a touchdown drive that propelled the Texans to victory on Monday, but he hasn’t started a game since 2011 for a reason. Yates has a 71.9 career passer rating, and the Jets’ pass defense should bounce back against Houston.
Denver Broncos (+1)
Two weeks ago, the Broncos were considered a top Super Bowl contender, and now they are getting points against a team with a losing record. Denver might not be a major threat to the New England Patriots in the AFC, but they are still one of the conference’s best teams, and they can beat the Bears in Chicago, with or without Peyton Manning.
If this game had been played in Week 10, the Broncos would have been favored by a field goal. Replacing Manning with Brock Osweiler has forced oddsmakers to make the Bears favorites, but Denver has gone 7-2 with one of the NFL’s worst quarterbacks. Denver started the season with seven straight wins, even as Manning played poorly. It’s unknown what Osweiler will give Denver, but he likely can’t play much worse than Manning, and the Broncos can win if he takes care of the ball. The Broncos’ defense was one of the best the NFL has seen in recent years over the first eight weeks, and they should play well in Chicago.
The Bears are certainly playing well, but they’ve had a few bad performances in the last month. Chicago is one of just two teams that’s lost to the Detroit Lions, and they blew a game they had in hand to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 8.
Season Record: 16-11