Week 10 of the 2016 NFL season offers what might be the best slate of games this year so far. After Thursday night’s unappealing matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns, some of the league’s best teams will go head-to-head on Sunday.
Because the schedule features a few games with two top teams, some legitimate Super Bowl contenders are underdogs in Week 10. The defending champion Denver Broncos are getting nearly a field goal, according to the latest Las Vegas betting odds. The Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks, who have the NFC’s best records, are also road underdogs.
There’s no such thing as a “sure thing” when it comes to gambling, but here are the five best bets for Week 10 of the 2016 NFL season:
Houston Texans (-1.5)
Three mediocre teams are fighting for first place in the AFC South, and the Jacksonville Jaguars are the only members of the division that have no chance to reach the playoffs. They could have trouble winning at home against the Texans, who currently sit atop the NFL’s worst division.
Houston has defeated all of the mediocre competition on their schedule, and their only losses have come to the first-place Patriots and Vikings, as well the defending champs. Despite Brock Osweiler’s struggles, the Texans have been able to win with the league’s No. 1 pass defense, and Blake Bortles should be in for another long day. Jacksonville's quarterback has been terrible in 2016, only posting a passer rating of better than 85.4 against the Colts’ 31st ranked pass defense and when he padded his stats in a blowout against Tennessee. The Texans defeated the Jaguars by double-digits twice last year, and that streak might be extended to three games on Sunday.
New Orleans Saints (-2.5)
The Denver Broncos have gone 6-3 behind an elite defense, but the unit that helped them win Super Bowl 50 hasn’t been enough for the defending champs to defeat high-scoring teams this season. The Saints’ high-powered offense should help them defeat the Broncos in New Orleans.
After starting the season with a three-game losing streak, the Saints have won four of their last five games. The Broncos have lost three of their last five games, suffering defeats at the hands of the Falcons, Chargers and Raiders, all of whom rank in the top five in points scored. New Orleans is second only to Atlanta in scoring, and they should be able to move the ball against a banged-up Denver defense. Cornerback Aqib Talib is likely to sit, and defensive end Derek Wolfe is expected to miss a few weeks with an elbow fracture. Quarterback Trevor Siemian hasn’t been able to keep up with the likes of Matt Ryan and Derek Carr, and the same will likely happen when he goes up against Drew Brees.
San Diego Chargers (-4)
The Chargers and Dolphins share the same record, but San Diego is clearly the better team. Philip Rivers and Co. seem to have gotten their act together after a few brutal losses to start the season, and they might win this one handily.
San Diego has three wins at home by at least eight points, and their only home loss came when they blew a 13-point lead with less than half of the fourth quarter remaining. That isn’t likely to happen against the Dolphins, who are 0-3 on the road and haven’t played outside of Miami since September. Miami’s three-game winning streak has been led by running back Jay Ajayi, while San Diego has the league’s No. 5 run defense. The Chargers haven’t allowed any running back to total more than 64 yards on the ground since Week 3, and the Dolphins won’t be able to keep up with a team that’s averaging 34 points per game at home.
Dallas Cowboys (+2.5)
Dallas has been the NFL’s best team behind only New England in 2016, and it’s hard to pass up the opportunity to grab nearly three points. The Cowboys’ visit to Pittsburgh should be a tight game that has a good chance to end with another Dallas upset.
Pittsburgh has the talent to be one of the league’s top offenses, but they've had trouble moving the ball in the past few weeks with a banged-up Ben Roethlisberger. Perhaps the quarterback will be able to take advantage of some injuries in the Dallas secondary, but the Cowboys’ defense has been terrific all season, allowing 23 points or fewer each week. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott continue to be a top quarterback-running back tandem, and they should put up decent numbers against a defense that's allowed at least three touchdowns in three straight games.
Seattle Seahawks (+7.5)
There’s no arguing that the New England Patriots are the best team in the NFL, and they should win at home against Seattle. But the Seahawks have a good chance to remain within a touchdown in what might be the best regular-season game of 2016.
Seattle’s offensive line struggles have prevented them from running away with a top seed in the NFC like Dallas appears to be doing, but New England presents them with a favorable matchup. The Patriots have virtually no pass rush with just 13 sacks, and Russell Wilson is one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks when he has time to throw. Tom Brady’s current 133.9 passer rating isn’t sustainable, and the Seahawks have a top pass defense that will likely be getting back safety Kam Chancellor from injury. It’s nearly impossible to blow out Seattle, who hasn’t lost by more than 10 points since 2011, and Sunday night’s game could come down to the wire.
Season Record: 24-20-1