NFL Week 10 Best Bets: Back the Tennessee Titans to beat the Buccaneers outright

2T49M4G Tennessee Titans quarterback Will Levis (8) throws a pass against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

• Take the Tennessee Titans over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Titans have an ideal offensive matchup against a struggling Bucs secondary.

• Lay the points with the Seattle Seahawks against the Washington Commanders: Seattle has a significant schematic advantage and should bounce back after a big loss.

• Back Tank Dell to rack up the yards: Dell and the Texans have a great matchup against a weak Bengals defense.

• Get $150 in bonus bets: New FanDuel customers who bet $5 or more receive $150 in bonus bets if their team wins, plus a profit boost token every day. Join FanDuel today!

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

Week 10 of the NFL season is upon us. In this article, we’ll identify a quarterback and an offense ready to explode in an ideal matchup. We will also buy low on a team that has played a brutal schedule over the last couple of weeks and is in a perfect bounce-back spot. Let’s get into it.

Tennessee Titans @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5, 39)

Last week, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense was absolutely shredded by C.J. Stroud, who racked up 470 yards, five touchdowns and 39 total points.

Stroud found tons of success by bombarding the middle of the field, amassing 18 total expected points added (EPA) on those throws. The Bucs have struggled to defend the heart of the field all year and allow the eighth-most EPA per pass on throws to that area.

Although the sample size is relatively small, Titans QB Will Levis is similar to Stroud in the way he thrives attacking the middle of the field. Levis has generated the seventh-most EPA per pass to that area and should be able to expose this defense's biggest weakness, just as Stroud was able to.

Note: This graph includes games played by Ryan Tannehill, but the Titans offense has had similar tendencies in the passing game with Levis at QB.

Stroud and Levis also have similar splits when it comes to throwing from clean pockets and when under pressure. This is generally true for all quarterbacks, but the difference in production when pressured is more extreme for these rookies than the league average.

Last week, Stroud had clean pocket after clean pocket and was able to torch a Bucs defense that generates pressure at the league's fourth-lowest rate. Levis should thrive while enjoying the same sort of environment on Sunday.

If the matchup wasn’t already perfect enough for Levis, Tampa Bay also plays zone coverage at the eighth-highest rate in the NFL and allows the most EPA per dropback when they do. Levis has had extreme man/zone splits early in his career and has really struggled against man, but he is thriving against zone, which he will see a lot of here.

The Buccaneers have one of the best run defenses in the NFL, which may seem like an obstacle for a run-heavy Titans offense. However, I think the Titans' inability to run the ball will just push them to throw more and boost their overall offensive efficiency.

On the other side of the ball, I am happy to fade a Bucs offense that has benefited from some extreme positive variance on late downs this season. Tampa Bay has the third-greatest difference between their EPA+ on early downs and late downs. They have struggled to move the ball on first and second downs but have been bailed out by big plays on third and fourth down.

As we’ve discussed many times in this weekly article, they will struggle to score when their late-down conversion rate comes back down to earth, as they aren't producing the successful early-down plays that are more predictive of an offense’s ability to move the ball.  

The exact opposite can be said of the Titans' defense, which has limited successful plays on early downs but has been killed by late-down conversions.

While this defense is by no means a great unit, they are better than their EPA numbers suggest because of their extreme underperformance on late downs. In fact, they are 16th in success rate allowed, indicating they are much closer to league average than they are being given credit for.

Best Bet: Tennessee Titans +120 (to +100)

Levis and this Titans offense are in an absolute smash spot against a Bucs defense that will get exposed for the second straight week. We also get to fade one of the league’s luckiest offenses and buy one of the least fortunate defenses. Back Tennessee to win this game outright.

Washington Commanders @ Seattle Seahawks (-6, 44.5)

Seattle was blown out last week in Baltimore and struggled to get anything going on either side of the ball. Geno Smith and this Seahawks offense has been very poor these past two weeks in their matchups against the Ravens and Browns. However, there is a very simple explanation for this underperformance.

Throughout his career, Geno has struggled to beat man coverage. This season, he has the sixth-worst EPA per dropback against man coverage. He has been far better against zone coverage, where he ranks 10th in EPA per dropback. The Browns and Ravens play man coverage at top-three rates in the NFL, making them perfectly suited to shut down the Seahawks passing game.

The same can’t be said for a Commanders defense that plays man at an above-average rate but is far less effective at executing it. Geno and the Seahawks' aerial attack should be able to get back on track in a much more favorable matchup than they’ve had the last couple of weeks.

Interestingly, Sam Howell has the exact opposite split. The young Commanders QB has played very well against man coverage but has been unable to produce against zone coverage. Unfortunately for Howell, the Seahawks play zone at the third-highest rate in the league and hold opponents to a negative EPA per dropback when doing so.

Geno will have a solid schematic matchup against this Commanders secondary, while Howell will be forced to beat zone coverage if Washington is going to score in this game, which is something I don’t think he can do at this point in his career.

Seattle’s defense has also graded out as an above-average pass-rush unit and should be able to get to Howell, who has consistently folded under pressure this season.

Best Bet: Seahawks -6 (to -6.5)

I’m buying the Seahawks to bounce back as they take a significant step down in competition, especially in terms of the defense they’ll be facing. Back Geno and company to get right at anything under a touchdown.

Player Prop Best Bet: WR Tank DellHouston Texans — over 56.5 receiving yards

As we talked about before, the Texans offense went off last week. Dell exploded for 144 yards and two touchdowns in what was the best game of his young career. This week, the Texans will be without two starting receivers in Robert Woods and Nico Collins, which should funnel even more targets to Dell.

The rookie wideout will also benefit from a great matchup against a Bengals secondary that has allowed the eighth-most EPA per dropback to opposing offenses. All three of Cincinnati’s cornerbacks have graded out below the league’s top 60 and do not have the talent to deal with Dell, who has graded out as a top-30 receiver.

The one thing Cincinnati has been able to do to limit passing offenses is rush the passer, as they have a top-10 pass-rush win rate through nine weeks. However, they will be without edge defender Sam Hubbard this week, which should affect their ability to bother C.J. Stroud, who will have the clean pockets that he thrives out of often.

In a game with the second-highest total of Week 10, all signs point to this Texans passing offense being able to move the ball. As the No. 1 option, Dell should receive enough usage to clear this total.

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