NFL Week 11: Best spread bets, including a letdown spot for Commanders in Houston

Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Commanders quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) throws as Green Bay Packers linebacker Quay Walker (7) pressures during the first half at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Bet Titans +3.5 at Packers: Comfortable spot for Titans, who grade out as the better team in Net EPA / Play, Total DVOA, and PFF’s Power Rankings.

• Bet the Patriots -3 vs Jets now: And expect the line to move New England's direction prior to kickoff. 

• In 3 games against the Patriots, Jets QB Zach Wilson has a 2:7 TD-INT ratio and 50.5 passer rating.

Last updated: Nov. 16, 2:30p.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. 

Week 11 Best Bets

Green Bay Packers vs Tennessee Titans (+3.5)

Model Line — Packers -2.5

• Bad matchup: The Packers rushed for 207 yards a week ago, and their success on the ground was crucial to their upset over the Dallas Cowboys. Similar efficiency, however, cannot be expected versus Tennessee. The Titans' defense comfortably ranks first in Rush DVOA, and it is possible that All-Pro DT Jeffery Simmons returns to the field on Thursday night. This is not a favorable opponent for Green Bay — see here to be reminded of the Packers’ struggles versus the second-rated defense in Rush DVOA. 

• Better Team: The Titans grade out as a better team in Net EPA / Play, Total DVOA, and PFF’s Power Rankings. The advantage Green Bay has playing at Lambeau Field should not be understated, but the Packers' season-long woes should not be forgotten. This is a fair number to back Tennessee, and the Packers' Week 10 victory was likely the result of a favorable matchup

• Bottom Line: This is a comfortable spot for the Titans. Look for the team to establish the run with All-Pro Derrick Henry, and to stymie Green Bay's ground efforts. If the Titans can keep Green Bay off schedule, this will be a frustrating game for Rodgers and Co. 

• A Note Regarding the Spread: Most books have the Packers -3 priced at -120, and such a price usually indicates a line shift back to Green Bay -3.5 as likely to occur. If your sportsbook is not currently offering Tennessee +3.5, I suggest patience.  

Houston Texans (+3.5) vs Washington Commanders

Model Line — Commanders (-2.5)

• Letdown spot: Covering in five straight, including beating the perceived best team in football on primetime, Washington now travels to face the worst team in the NFL on a short week. This is the definition of a letdown spot, and my numbers support the notion that Washington is being overvalued.

• Buy low on Texans: In Week 10, they failed to cover the spread versus the Giants, but the Texans were somewhat unfortunate not to do so. They trumped New York in yards-per-play and total yards, but the Texans lost because they were inefficient in the game’s most critical scenarios (third downs, redzone, turnover differential). These numbers tend to regress to the mean, and it is worth noting the Texans’ early down Offensive EPA / Play ranks seventh in the NFL over the past two weeks.

• Bottom line: This line is inflated because of Washington’s victory on “Monday Night Football,” and the Texans have recently found a rhythm on offense that hasn't garnered notoriety. Further, Houston may well be the worst team in football, but that does not mean we can blindly fade the Texans against the spread. This is an ideal spot to back Houston at home, regardless of who starts at QB for Washington

New England Patriots (-3) vs New York Jets

Model Line — Patriots (-3)

• Math doesn’t add up: In Week 8, the Pats were favored by three over the Jets in New York. Nothing about this matchup has changed, but the line has been influenced heavily by the Jets’ Week 9 victory over the Bills. While the model may not see explicit value in New England, it is blind to the fact that this line has not adjusted to the Patriots’ HFA. Bet the Patriots now, and expect the line to move their direction prior to kickoff.

• Belichick’s history: New England HC Bill Belichick has a history of dismantling young quarterbacks, and Jets’ second-year QB Zach Wilson has a reputation for his skittish play. Further, in three career games versus the Patriots, Wilson has a passer rating of 50.5, and a TD:INT ratio of 2:7. Further, although perhaps less significant, the Patriots have won thirteen straight versus the Jets. Be less than inclined to back New York in this spot at a premium price.

• Bottom line: Zach Wilson cannot be trusted in this spot, and the line has suspiciously not adjusted to the matchup being in Foxborough. Belichick and the Patriots have had the Jets number, and this is a welcome spot to fade the Jets amid their newfound public adoration. 

Tommy's ATS picks went 3-0 in Week 10, improving his season record to 20-18 (+.2 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 11 here


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