Several games in Week 11 of the 2014 NFL season have playoff implications, considering six of the 14 contests feature two teams that have winning records or are in first place. The betting odds at Las Vegas casinos have three teams favored by less than a field goal, and three road teams favored by at least four points.
The favorites were dominant in Week 10, covering 10 of 13 betting lines. Below are picks against the spread for every game in Week 11.
Buffalo Bills (+6) at Miami Dolphins
Six points might be a lot to give the Bills, but the Dolphins should be able to defeat Buffalo. Miami has won four of their last six games, and their two losses in that span came against good teams in the final seconds. Buffalo’s offense has struggled with Kyle Orton at quarterback, scoring 17 points or fewer in three of five games, and with their only offensive outburst being fueled by six Jets’ turnovers. All of Miami’s wins have come by at least 13 points, and Thursday night could be another big win for the Dolphins.
Prediction ATS: Miami
Houston Texans (+3) at Cleveland Browns
The three-point spread indicates that the Browns and Texans are even on a neutral field, but Cleveland has proved to be the much better team in 2014. Houston is 1-5 against teams that have a winning record, and Cleveland is 4-1 against losing teams, of which the Texans are one. Houston hasn’t won a game in their last 11 tries as road underdogs, via Odds Shark, making the Browns the easy pick.
Prediction ATS: Cleveland
Minnesota Vikings (+3) at Chicago Bears
After allowing 106 points in two weeks, the Bears defense should be improved against the Vikings. Teddy Bridgewater is not Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, having thrown three touchdowns and five interceptions in his rookie season. Chicago is due for a win at home, and all of their wins have come by eight points or more.
Prediction ATS: Chicago
Philadelphia Eagles (+6) at Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers is playing as well as any quarterback in the NFL, and that should continue at home against the No.22 pass defense. The Eagles will put up their fair share of points, but it might be difficult for Mark Sanchez to match the potential league MVP.
Prediction ATS: Green Bay
Seattle Seahawks (+1.5) at Kansas City Chiefs
Seattle’s defense is getting healthier, as both Kam Chancellor and Malcolm Smith could be back on the field. Russell Wilson has struggled throwing the ball of late and might not have much success anyway against Kansas City’s No.1 pass defense. The Seahawks’ league-leading rushing attack, however, should be able to play well, and the defending champs could pull off the upset and get a low-scoring victory.
Prediction ATS: Seattle
Atlanta Falcons (+1.5) at Carolina Panthers
Both the Falcons and the Panthers have proved to be bad teams, so the location of the game could be the deciding factor. Atlanta has lost 10 straight games as a road underdog, and Carolina has lost against the spread just once in their last 10 tries as home favorites. Matt Ryan has proved to be much better in the Georgia Dome, where he has a 115.7 passer rating, compared with a 79.2 passer rating on the road.
Prediction ATS: Carolina
Cincinnati Bengals (+7) at New Orleans Saints
Cincinnati’s defense has been very poor since their 3-0 start, allowing no fewer than 23 points in any game. Drew Brees and the Saints have the potential to put up big numbers at home even though they haven’t been as dominant at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome this year. Four of the Saints’ five losses have come in overtime or the final two minutes of regulation, and they could easily have six or seven wins. New Orleans should move back to .500 on Sunday.
Prediction ATS: New Orleans
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+7) at Washington Redskins
The Buccaneers are among the worst teams in the NFL, but they’ve kept most games close, losing five games by six points or fewer. Even with Robert Griffin III back, Washington probably shouldn’t be favored by a touchdown against any team.
Prediction ATS: Tampa Bay
Denver Broncos (-9.5) at St. Louis Rams
Nearly 10 points is a lot to give to a home team, but the Broncos have proved that they can cover just about any betting line. Since Peyton Manning joined the team, only one of Denver’s regular-season wins has been by fewer than seven points. The Broncos have scored at least 31 points and won by a minimum of two touchdowns in their last five victories, and that trend should continue in Week 11.
Prediction ATS: Denver
San Francisco 49ers (-4) at New York Giants
The 49ers have had their struggles, but they are still a playoff contender. The Giants are out of the postseason race, and have been unable to beat good teams. New York is 0-6 against winning teams, losing every game by double digits. They are just 2-11 in their last 13 games as home underdogs, while San Francisco has thrived as road favorites, going 11-2-1 in their last 14 such instances.
Prediction ATS: San Francisco
Oakland Raiders (+10) at San Diego Chargers
San Diego’s three-game losing streak has proved that their hot start was largely a result of their weak schedule, and not because they are an elite team. The Chargers beat the Raiders in Week 6, but only by three points, after getting a touchdown in the final two minutes. Oakland has been one of the league’s worst franchises in recent seasons, but they have covered nine of the last 10 point spreads as double-digit underdogs.
Prediction ATS: Oakland
Detroit Lions (+2) at Arizona Cardinals
Even with Drew Stanton at quarterback, the Cardinals are at least as good as the Lions, giving them a lot of value as just two-point favorites. Both teams have elite defenses, but Arizona has the advantage at home, where they are undefeated. Matthew Stafford’s propensity to make mistakes could cost Detroit against a Cardinals team that is tied for second in forcing turnovers.
Prediction ATS: Arizona
New England Patriots (+3) at Indianapolis Colts
The Colts have struggled against the league’s top teams, while the Patriots are coming off a blowout victory against the Broncos. It won’t be easy for New England to win in Indianapolis, but there is no reason to believe Tom Brady’s hot streak will stop any time soon. The Patriots limited Peyton Manning in Week 9, and they could force Andrew Luck to make enough mistakes to cost Indianapolis the game.
Prediction ATS: New England
Pittsburgh Steelers (-6) at Tennessee Titans
The Steelers failed in a similar situation last week when they lost to the Jets as road favorites. In Week 11, though, Pittsburgh should be much improved. They played uncharacteristically bad football against New York, turning the ball over four times and failing to register one takeaway. Ben Roethlisberger should have a big game against a team that has lost six in a row as home underdogs.
Prediction ATS: Pittsburgh
Season Record: 76-70-1