• Bet Packers +5 vs Cowboys: Dallas has been susceptible vs run since Week 6, when Cowboys rank 24th in success rate, compared to Green Bay's 10th-ranked rush attack over that same span.
• Green Bay's significant Lambeau advantage isn't accounted for in this line; happily bet the Packers — in desperation mode —at a discount.
• Bet Steelers +2.5 vs Saints: Mike Tomlin is 16-3-3 ATS as a home underdog, and Andy Dalton is 2-6 ATS in Pittsburgh; Steelers defense in line for major boost with the return of reigning Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt.
Last updated: Nov. 9, 6:00 p.m.
Estimated reading time: 5 mins
There's arguably no sport more difficult, nor exciting, to bet on than NFL football. Information is both scarce in utility, and abundant in opinion. Markets are so finely tuned and so heavily wagered that there are few opportunities to gain an edge over the oddsmakers.
Enter a model capable of making ATS picks with long-term success.
A majority of the most profitable NFL bettors use some kind of projection tool to help guide their wagers. Such a tool will be provided to the reader today, and for the rest of the NFL regular season. It is important to note that these projections are not a gospel, but merely a compass toward identifying an edge in a razor-thin market that is betting NFL spreads.
The purpose of this article is to identify model picks which coincide with current trends, and mismatches on the field. The hope is that in deliberately doing so, long term profitability will follow.
NFL Week 10 Best Bets
Bet: Green Bay Packers (+5) vs Dallas Cowboys
Model Line — Cowboys (-3.5)
• Buy-Low Spot: The public opinion of the Green Bay Packers could not be lower, and this game is a welcome opportunity to bet the Packers at a discount. Dallas is no doubt the better team, but the matchup is closer than many realize. Despite the team’s disappointing start, PFF Greenline power rates the Pack as 13th in the NFL, whereas Dallas ranks 4th.
• Home Field Advantage: The Packers have lost four home games since 2017, and QB Aaron Rodgers has an exceptional 5-1 record ATS as a home underdog. Be less than inclined to fade one of the greatest QBs of all time in this spot. Further, the Packers have perhaps the greatest Home Field Advantage in the NFL, and this line fails to properly account for this. I encourage you to check out Robby Greer’s work for a useful visualization of Green Bay’s HFA in relation to NFL average.
• A Path to Victory: The Cowboys' defense has been exceptional (No. 1 rated unit per DVOA), but in recent weeks the unit has been susceptible to the run game. Since Week 6, their run defense ranks 15th in EPA / Play and 24th in Success Rate. The Pack rank 10th in Rushing Success Rate over this same timeframe, and it is reasonable to project Rodgers to elevate his play at home.
Bottom Line: The Packers need to win this game to keep any longshot playoff hopes alive. They've been historically successful at home. There’s a path to victory for Green Bay, and Rodgers should return to form at Lambeau. Be happy to bet the Packers at a discount.
Bet: Los Angeles Chargers (+7) @ San Francisco 49ers
Model Line — 49ers (-3)
• Market Overcorrection: After adoring Los Angeles prior to the season, bettors have been quick to jump ship in the midst of an uneven start. The Chargers' injury report has been perpetually concerning, but they've managed to keep their head above water in a crowded AFC. Conversely, still lacking a signature victory on the season, the 49ers' current resume should prohibit them from being favored to such a degree.
• Trend Play: The 49ers are among the most popular home fades in the NFL. Since 2017, HC Kyle Shanahan’s first season with the team, San Francisco is an astounding 8-17-1 ATS as a home favorite. Additionally, Los Angeles QB Justin Herbert is 7-3 ATS as a road underdog, and a perfect 3-0 ATS as a dog of greater than 6 points.
• Bottom Line: The allure of the 49ers' potential is obvious, but the team has not yet reached such lofty expectations. Further, San Francisco has historically underperformed in this spot, and the Chargers are a perfect 4-0 ATS on the road. Seven points is a gift.
Bet: Pittsburgh Steelers (+2.5) vs New Orleans Saints
Model Line — Steelers (-2)
• No Saints Love: Excluding their Week 4 match in London, the Saints are 0-3 ATS on the road. Their opponents in these contests? The Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, and Arizona Cardinals. Further, none of the Saints' victories are particularly impressive, and they have lost at home to teams which the Steelers have beaten.
• Slew of Trends: Expected starting QB Andy Dalton is 0-4-1 ATS in his past five road starts, with a career ATS record of 2-6 in Pittsburgh. Saints HC Dennis Allen is 0-3 ATS in his career as a road favorite. Pittsburgh HC Mike Tomlin is 16-3-3 ATS as a home underdog.
• The Return of Watt: T.J. Watt, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, is expected to return for Pittsburgh, as are a slew of players in their defensive backfield. The Steelers' defense has been less than stellar this season, but this was not the case last time we saw Watt on the field in Week 1.
• Bottom Line: Be less than inclined to back the Saints this week. New Orleans enters this game with a rest disadvantage, and off the heels of a deflating home loss, whereas the Steelers are well rested and near full strength. Adoration for the Saints is unwarranted, and it is far more likely they spiral into irrelevance than rebound in Pittsburgh.
Tommy's ATS picks went 3-0 in Week 9, improving to 17-18 on the season (-2.80 units).
How PFF contributor Tommy Jurgens' Projections Work:
A myriad of both objective, and subjective ratings are employed in a logistic regression model to determine the likelihood that each team will win the game outright. By this determined win-probability, a spread is assigned to each game and compared to the consensus line.
This model has successfully identified the outright victor at a near 67% rate, and has chosen the ATS winner at an efficiency greater than 53% since 2006.
One can find all of the projected picks for Week 10 here.