NFL Football Predictions: Week 10 Opening Line Report and Picks
by Alan Matthews - 11/4/2014
New England's surprising blowout of Denver in Week 9's marquee matchup didn't actually change oddsmakers' minds about too much in terms of NFL futures. For example, the Broncos still remain +350 favorites at Bovada to win the Super Bowl. They just might have to win a game in New England now to get there as the Pats hold the potentially huge tiebreaker. The win did jump the Patriots into the second-favored role to win the Super Bowl at +600. For the AFC title, Denver is +180 and New England +250. The Broncos' loss followed by yet another mammoth game Monday night from Andrew Luck has moved Luck into the +300 favored role for NFL MVP. Peyton Manning is +350 along with Tom Brady, who has skyrocketed on that prop.
Here are a few games and interesting opening WagerWeb Week 10 lines. You can look for previews from me on Thursday's Browns-Bengals, Sunday night's Bears-Packers (barring big/interesting betting news in another matchup) and Monday's Panthers-Eagles. Thus, I won't touch on those here.
Dolphins at Lions (-3, 44): A Super Bowl preview? A few weeks ago I would have laughed, but now it's not out of the realm of possibility and priced at +200000 as the exact matchup at Sportsbook.ag. I thought the Fins might collapse upon themselves when blowing a sure win in Week 6 at home against Green Bay, losing in the final seconds thanks in part to an Aaron Rodgers fake spike play. Instead, Miami has won three straight blowouts against Chicago, Jacksonville and San Diego. The Fins' 37-0 win Sunday over San Diego was arguably one of the five-most impressive wins by any team all year. It had to be sweet for once-embattled Miami coach Joe Philbin after his father had passed away on Friday. The defense has been much, much better in the winning streak, and Ryan Tannehill has seven TD passes and just one pick in that stretch. The Lions bring a three-game winning streak into this one and off a bye. As I mentioned last week, I can't tell if Detroit has been lucky or good in back-to-back incredible comeback wins. Detroit expects to have both Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush on the field for the first time in weeks. Miami is No. 2 against the pass and Detroit No. 5, so this could be a defensive battle. I normally would never think about going "under" a 44 total in a Lions home game. The pick: Detroit (before 3.5) and .... yeah, still "over."
Broncos at Raiders (+11, 49): Here is your biggest spread on the board. Oakland was a huge dog last week, and I recommended taking the points. The Raiders did cover, losing by just six when Seattle appeared to lose focus following a 24-3 lead. I don't see how Denver doesn't come out flat big time here after laying such a big egg against the Patriots. The Broncos are 1-2 on the road this year, and that victory came against the awful New York Jets in a game that could have gone the other way. Manning has been noticeably worse in road games. The Broncos also lost starting linebacker Nate Irving to injury vs. the Patriots, and he's almost surely not going to play. The pick: Take the points.
49ers at Saints (-4.5, 49): Look, I get New Orleans is a different animal at home, but this line still surprises me a bit. I thought it would open around 2.5-3. It did open lower at some sites so apparently is being bet up as New Orleans is taking a sizable early lean. True, the Saints got a few extra days to prepare and did fairly shock me by winning easily in Carolina last Thursday. I didn't see that coming. That was more because Cam Newton was awful. I would have bet the farm on San Francisco and the moneyline last week off a bye and at home against St. Louis, but the Niners lost 13-10 to fall to 4-4. I still say the 49ers did score a TD on that play ruled a fumble at the end of the game. Sure, the Niners were missing star linebacker Patrick Willis for a second straight game, but rookie Chris Borland had 18 tackles, 15 solo, playing in place of Willis. The San Francisco offensive line has allowed 14 sacks combined in back-to-back losses. The pick: Anything over a field goal I'm on 49ers. If they don't play desperate here, I'm off them for good.
Steelers at Jets (+4.5, 45.5): Trap game for Pittsburgh!! The Steelers just completed a three-game homestand by averaging 41.3 points per game in routing Houston, Indianapolis and Baltimore. Three solid-to-good teams. Ben Roethlisberger became the first player in NFL history last week with consecutive games of six touchdown passes. That's all fine and good. The Steelers are only 2-2 on the road and managed only six points in Baltimore, 17 in Jacksonville and 10 in Cleveland. Their defense will be missing Troy Polamalu and Ryan Shazier this week. The Jets showed a little sign of life last week with Michael Vick under center. They managed just 10 points but 365 yards and, most important, no turnovers. The pick: Jets. I'm not calling a win -- although I can see it -- but at least a loss by only a field goal. Early lean on under if weather report stays accurate.
Cowboys vs. Jaguars in London (+5, 44): Many books don't have this line up yet but a few at this number. Obviously this all depends on Tony Romo playing, but I don't think you fly a guy with a bad back all the way to Europe if you don't plan on him starting. Then Romo can rest up on next week's bye. Try to find this early in the week before it possibly jumps up to 7.5, where it did open at some places. The pick: Dallas.
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