Week 10 in the NFL is an excellent opportunity for six-point teasers through the three and seven. We will get to the Games of the Week in a moment but to start, the Professor will place four two-unit, six-point teasers: Dallas (-8.5 to -2.5) with Las Vegas (+2.5 to +8.5), as well as an AFC North round-robin of Pittsburgh (-8 to -2) with Cleveland (+1.5 to +7.5), Pittsburgh with Baltimore (-7.5 to -1.5, Thursday Night), and Baltimore with Cleveland.
This “Games of the Week” column will look for an angle for you to bet so you can make the biggest games even more enjoyable. All spreads and totals are provided by DraftKings.
Cleveland Browns at New England Patriots (NE -1.5, Total 45)
Model Projection: New England 23.42 – Cleveland 22.37 (NE -1.05, Total 46.25)
BET: 2 Units, NE -1.5
Cleveland’s offense looked like the group that finished the 2020 season on Sunday; even without running back Nick Chubb, who is now on the COVID list, this unit’s prospects seem as bright as they have at any point in this NFL season. Receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones is a more explosive player than Odell Beckham at this point in their respective careers and adds an over-the-top element that complements Cleveland’s dominant rushing attack.
The matchup between Cleveland’s offensive line and New England’s defensive front will be must-see action for NFL fans who love the big men. New England’s defensive front manhandled Carolina’s injury-depleted offensive line last week but the Browns present a significantly more formidable challenge. Chubb may be unavailable but backup D’Ernest Johnson has shown he can carry the load if needed.
As important of a question is how New England’s offense will fare against a Cleveland defense coming off a standout performance. Safety John Johnson and cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Greg Newsome dominated the back end against Cincinnati while defensive end Myles Garrett pushed his NFL-leading sack total to 12 last week; New England’s talent at the skill positions would appear to put them at a disadvantage in this matchup but offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and quarterback Mac Jones have moved the ball consistently in most games this season.
Bill Belichick and New England’s defensive coaching staff could make life difficult for Mayfield if they get the run game off track; the Browns are teased up to +7.5 with the Ravens and Steelers in separate six-point teasers and I will also put two units on New England at -1.5.
Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers (GB -3.5, Total 49)
Model Projection: Green Bay 27.55 – Seattle 24.86 (GB -2.69, Total 52.41)
BET: 1 Unit, SEA +3.5, 2 Units, Over 49
Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers are on track to play for the Seahawks and Packers this week, which makes the premier quarterback duel in the NFL matchups this weekend.
Receivers D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett will look to resume their torrid early-season paces now that Wilson is back but will have to do so against a Green Bay defense that has impressed in recent weeks. Defensive coordinator, Joe Barry’s impact is evident in Green Bay’s schematic adjustments, on-field communication, and the way that his defenders play fast and trigger to the ball. Barry has most, if not all, of Green Bay’s defenders playing the best football of their NFL careers and could get cornerback Eric Stokes and defensive tackle Kenny Clark back after Stokes injured a knee in warmups and Clark exited with a back injury against Kansas City.
The Green Bay offense struggled without Rodgers last week but could get left tackle David Bakhtiari back along with their quarterback; receiver Davante Adams should be raring to go after a number of missed connections with Jordan Love last week and Seattle’s cornerbacks will be overmatched against him.
Green Bay should get the win but I expect Russell Wilson to come out of the gates guns blazing; I would take Green Bay at -3, but as that’s not the line, I will put one unit on Seattle at +3.5 and two units on the over 49.
Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders (KC -2.5, Total 51.5)
Model Projection: Las Vegas 27.22 – Kansas City 24.48 (LVR -2.74, Total 51.7)
BET: 2 Units, LVR +2.5, 2 Units, Over 51.5
Kansas City looks awful. It has been discussed ad nauseam at this point but quarterback Patrick Mahomes needs to be more patient and take what the defense is giving him; two dropped passes on second-half third downs in the Packers game by Travis Kelce and Mecole Hardman did not help, but there’s no getting around the fact that Mahomes is not playing the efficient football opponent defenses are demanding of him during this NFL season.
The Raiders were not much better this week as they dropped a game to the New York Giants, a brutal loss for a team competing for a playoff spot in the competitive AFC. Las Vegas was the more talented team but made numerous mistakes, including Derek Carr’s two interceptions to safety Xavier McKinney, one of which was returned for a touchdown, and receiver Bryan Edwards’ drop on a potential touchdown that left the Raiders with three points instead of seven on a red-zone trip.
Carr and the Las Vegas offense’s missteps wasted a standout performance from defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and the rest of the defensive line. The story of this week’s game could be whether Ngakoue and fellow edge rusher Maxx Crosby make more plays than Kansas City’s defensive playmakers; it didn’t matter last week, but the potential pick-six that Kansas City safety Tyrann Mathieu let slip through his hands is a play Mathieu needs to make.
The Raiders and Chiefs appear to be on fairly even footing at this juncture; with the Raiders at home, I will put two units on them at +2.5 and two-unit on the over in addition to including them in a six-point teaser at +8.5.
Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers (LAR -3.5, Total 48.5)
Model Projection: Los Angeles Rams 27.04 – San Francisco 21.46 (LAR -5.58, Total 48.5)
BET: 2 units LAR -3.5
The 49ers have obvious talent but when tight end George Kittle and receiver Brandon Aiyuk both lose fumbles without getting a turnover back on defense, as was the case in the first half of Sunday’s loss to Arizona, it’s going to be difficult for them to win football games.
San Francisco has rarely had all of its pieces together on offense and now that Kittle is back on the field and Aiyuk has regained his rookie form, the defensive secondary is down to backups at three of the five starting spots in their nickel package. It’s a season where nothing seems destined to click for San Francisco, which could leave 49ers fans wondering what might have been if they had won the Matthew Stafford sweepstakes this offseason.
Stafford made some poor decisions on interceptions that led to the Rams getting blown out on Sunday Night Football but has exceeded expectations while leading the Rams to a 7-2 start at the midway point of the NFL season. While Stafford has played at a relatively high level there is another gear he can reach, as he showed before his back injury in 2019. It will be interesting to see whether Stafford finds that zone this season; the Rams may need it to catch up to the Cardinals in the NFC West. Stafford’s brilliance in the first half of 2019 is largely forgotten because of his midseason injury and Detroit’s ineptitude around him but it certainly wouldn’t be if he does it for the Rams in the back half of this NFL season.
It’s amazing that the 49ers are in this situation; there has to be some consideration of whether they move forward with head coach Kyle Shannahan if the ship isn’t righted but Shannahan would also be the top candidate on every head coaching search list if the 49ers part ways with him.
Perhaps the 49ers get the upset and forestall that discussion but the Professor is taking the Rams to bounce back; I’ll put two units on the Rams at -3.5.
This article previewed four prominent NFL matchups for the coming week and talked about how to bet them. For more content from The Professor, including the rest of his game previews and his fantasy content, check out The Professor on BeerLife Sports!