With the New England Patriots off of a loss, bettors are cutting in line at the windows to get action on Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.
Supposedly, the wiseguys are doing the opposite and waiting to take a fat number on Philadelphia. The Patriots-Eagles showdown is likely to be Sunday’s biggest decision for the sportsbooks, with the public on the favorite and the pros on the underdog. It’s a familiar theme.
However, this game is a little different than the Patriots-Ravens matchup in Baltimore two weeks ago. Without a doubt, that was a squares-versus-sharps duel with the sharp side being the home underdog. I was on the Ravens in that game, but I’m not feeling it with Philadelphia and there are not as many sharp bettors on the ‘dog this time.
This is not the spot to fade Belichick and Brady. Off of a loss since 2000, the Patriots are 28-4 against the spread on the road as favorites of fewer than seven points or as underdogs. Professional handicapper Scott Kellen, who’s a VSiN contributor, said his numbers favor New England by 6.8 points in this game following its bye week.
Belichick’s defense is slightly overrated based on the weak quarterbacks it faced in the season’s first half, but Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is without two major playmakers — wideouts DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery — and might be unable to take advantage.
With the line inflating from 3½ to 4½, there will be plenty of sharp play on Philadelphia, but I’ll go with the Patriots at -4, a number still available at a few Las Vegas books.
Four more picks for Week 11:
* Falcons (plus-4) over PANTHERS:
While it was stunning to see the Falcons emerge with a 26-9 win in New Orleans a week ago, it was not a surprise to me to see Atlanta compete as a hungry ‘dog. The Falcons’ season win total was 8½, so they were the league’s biggest underachievers at 1-7 at the midway point. Atlanta had the edge on New Orleans in first downs (24 to 18), total yards (317 to 310) and rushing yards (143 to 52) and sacked Drew Brees six times. Matt Ryan returned from injury and ran an efficient offense. Was it a fluke? The worst way to bet the NFL is to overreact to last week’s results. This play is not an overreaction; it’s more about the Falcons being better than they showed through eight games. With Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey slowed by a foot injury, and with Atlanta winning six of the past seven meetings between these NFC South teams, there are reasons to believe in the underdog.
* Jets (plus-2.5) over REDSKINS:
A group of pros bet Washington to move this line from 1½. This game is the perfect example of why betting is beneficial to the NFL. There’s no reason to watch this hideous matchup unless you have a bet on it. A 1-7 team with a one-point win at Miami is the favorite and there’s something wrong about that. Washington is starting rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who has thrown four interceptions with no touchdown passes in limited action. The Redskins need to run the ball effectively to protect Haskins from getting exposed, but the Jets actually have the league’s No. 2 rushing defense (81.9 ypg). It’s time for Sam Darnold to step up and beat a rookie QB for the second week in a row.
* Texans (plus-4.5) over RAVENS:
Lamar Jackson is running and throwing his way into the MVP race with Russell Wilson. But let’s not count out Deshaun Watson, who’s at his best on the road. Since the beginning of the 2018 season, the Texans are 8-5 SU and 7-4-2 ATS away from home with only two losses by more than four points. Houston is 6-2 ATS in its past eight as a ‘dog and 8-2-1 in its past 11 away. It’s also worth noting Baltimore is 2-8-1 ATS in its past 11 home games. Trends are not everything, but the betting patterns are established with these teams — the Texans are among the league’s best road teams and the Ravens are among the league’s worst home teams, especially when laying points.
* Chargers (plus-4) over Chiefs:
The Kansas City defense has serious problems, and so does rubber-armed Philip Rivers. But this Monday night game is in Mexico City, so it’s Rivers getting points away from home. Rivers is 22-6-1 ATS as a road ‘dog of four points or more. I’m not crazy about this play, but Rivers is off of an awful performance in Oakland and could bounce back to trade shots with Patrick Mahomes. As is often the case, the Chargers will probably come up short, yet hopefully cover the number.
Last week: 3-1-1 against the spread