Nearly two-thirds of the 2016 NFL season will be complete after Week 11, and it’s becoming clear which teams can actually contend for the Super Bowl. While some teams were highly overrated at the start of the year, others were very much undervalued.
Nine months after the Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl, it looks like two other teams in their division have a chance to make a title run this season. The Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders are both tied for the best record in the AFC, making them significant favorites according to the latest Week 11 betting odds at Las Vegas sportsbooks. Teams like the Tennessee Titans and Washington Redskins are also vying for playoff berths, having exceeded expectations in 2016.
There’s no such thing as a “sure thing” when it comes to gambling, but here are the five best bets for Week 11 of the 2016 NFL season:
Oakland Raiders (-5.5)
Following their latest victory over the Broncos, it can no longer be denied that the Raiders are one of the best teams in the AFC. They’ve got a great chance to improve to 8-2 when they play the Houston Texans in Mexico City, taking on probably the worst first-place team in the NFL.
The Texans have climbed to the top of the AFC South by beating up on a bad division, but they’ve struggled mightily when taking on good teams outside of Houston. In their visits to New England, Minnesota and Denver, the Texans were defeated by at least 18 points each time. Brock Osweiler hasn’t been above average in even one game in 2016, posting a season-high passer rating of 90.7 against the Colts in Week 6. The quarterback will have to play well in order to keep pace with Derek Carr and Oakland, who have scored at least 30 points in four of their last five contests. Even if Carr doesn’t put up MVP-like numbers as he has for most of the season, the Raiders’ No. 4 ranked rushing attack should help Oakland win handily.
Tennessee Titans (+3)
The Indianapolis Colts won in Tennessee earlier this season, and the Titans could get a measure of revenge on Sunday. Despite the betting line and result of their Week 7 matchup, Tennessee is probably the better team.
If the Colts are going to beat the Titans, it’s going to have to be in a shootout. Marcus Mariota is playing like one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks, and he’ll undoubtedly put up big numbers in Indianapolis. The quarterback has posted a passer rating of at least 132.6 in three of the last five games, and he’ll take on a defense that ranks 30th in opponents’ passer rating. The Colts haven’t allowed fewer than 26 points in a game since Week 5, and that spells trouble against a hot Tennessee offense, no matter how well Andrew Luck might play.
Washington Redskins (-2.5)
It’s time to realize that the Green Bay Packers are not a very good football team, though the gambling public doesn’t seem to agree. Washington has proven to be better than Green Bay, making them an easy choice when laying less than a field goal against the Packers.
Green Bay is 0-3 on the road against teams .500 or better, losing to the Vikings, Falcons and Titans. Aaron Rodgers hasn’t played like a top quarterback for an entire year, and the Packers’ offense could struggle against a defense that’s allowing an average of just 19.5 points in the last six games. The Redskins have just one loss in their last seven games, during which time Kirk Cousins has thrown 13 touchdown passes and three interceptions. Washington’s quarterback should have a big day against a defense that’s allowed at least 31 points in three straight games.
Kansas City Chiefs (-7.5)
The Chiefs have sneakily become a top Super Bowl contender, going 7-2 and sitting atop the AFC West. They should win big against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have struggled against elite competition.
Kansas City is almost sure to win, considering they’ve gone 17-2 in their last 19 regular season games and 11-0 in their last 11 games against teams with a losing record, via OddsShark. The Chiefs haven’t lost at home since Week 5 of last year, and they welcome in a team that has lost three games by at least 15 points. Jameis Winston has thrived against bad defenses, but he’s struggled against the likes of Denver and Arizona, and Kansas City’s defense is just about in the same class as those two units. Having thrown for one score and six picks in his only other two contests against top-nine scoring defenses, Winston could steer the Bucs towards another big defeat.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+6.5)
The Detroit Lions might beat the Jaguars on Sunday, but it will probably be a close game throughout. Detroit doesn’t have a single win by more than six points, and that trend should continue in Week 11.
Matthew Stafford has carried the Lions to a 5-4 record with his stellar play, but he hasn’t gotten much support from his teammates. Detroit ranks 23rd in total defense, and they are 27th in rushing yards per game. Jacksonville has lost by five points or fewer in consecutive games against first-place teams, and even if the Jaguars find themselves down by two scores late in the fourth quarter, Blake Bortles has made a living off of putting up big numbers in garbage time. The game-winning score in each of Detroit’s wins has come with less than 90 seconds remaining in regulation, giving reason to believe Sunday’s contest won’t be decided until the final minutes.
Season Record: 27-22-1