- Six of The MMQB staff's seven best bets in Week 10's slate are backing road teams, including two double-digit underdogs.
We started off November with a 5-2 record on our best bets last week, and now we have the seven plays we like the most in Week 10's action.
New Orleans Saints (-4.5) at Cincinnati Bengals
Before their bye week, the Bengals struggled to keep the Bucs at bay in a narrow win. Now they face New Orleans, one of the hottest, and perhaps the most complete, team in the NFL. Don't bet on Michael Thomas pulling a Joe Horn in the end zone again, but do bet on the high-octane Saints covering the spread. — Jenny Vrentas
Miami Dolphins (+9.5) at Green Bay Packers
You'd go Packers over Dolphins head to head, but 9.5 points is a lot to give Green Bay. Miami's defense appeared to get back on track against the Jets last week. When it's playing well, it's a sturdy defense. The Pack will have to earn their yards. — Andy Benoit
Detroit Lions (+6.5) at Chicago Bears
The Bears have taken full advantage of the most snuggly soft part of their schedule—kudos to them. Not that the Lions are world-beaters, but they have an all-world quarterback and won't be rolling out the clown car of offensive skill-position players the Bills and Jets showed Chicago the past two weeks.
In short, I'm not buying the Bears as "for real" considering Mitchell Trubisky's Bortles-esque scattershot accuracy. And while I am no longer a card-carrying member of the Lions bandwagon since they inexplicably traded Golden Tate in the middle of a potential playoff season, this number is at least a field goal too much.
And if you like trends like Jacob Feldman does: Favorites outscoring opponents by 10-plus points on the season, coming off back-to-back games in which they allowed 14 points or less (thanks Jets and Bills!), are 10-35 against the spread over the past 10 seasons. — Gary Gramling
Seattle Seahawks (+10) at Los Angeles Rams
Seattle has gone from one the NFL's most public teams a couple years ago to one of its least talked about this season. But even with big names from its defense departed, Pete Carroll's squad is still Football Outsiders' fifth-ranked D. The team is 4-2 in its last six, with those two losses coming to an even hotter Chargers team and this week's opponent. Los Angeles came back to win 33-31 on the road in Week 5. As the Rams return from another exhausting game last Sunday in New Orleans, I expect a result much closer to that two-point game than to the 10-point romp Vegas seems to expect. — Jacob Feldman
Carolina Panthers at Pittsburgh Steelers (-4)
The Panthers are getting a ton of national attention, and rightfully so. They’re 6-2, winners of three straight and one game behind the Saints in the NFC South. They’re ranked fifth in Football Outsiders’ DVOA on offense, trailing only the Chiefs, Rams, Chargers and Saints. They are absolutely legit, and that’s not going to change no matter what happens in Pittsburgh on Thursday. Somehow, though, the Steelers seem to be flying under the radar. They’ve won four straight games, knocking off the Falcons at home, and Bengals and Ravens on the road. They’re just a few spots behind the Panthers in offensive DVOA, ranking eighth, and, frankly, have better wins than the Panthers do. What’s more, both of Carolina’s losses this year have come on the road—at Atlanta and Washington. I don’t see the Steelers running away with this one, but I do think they’ll get the offense rolling against the Panthers, and playing at home on a short week is always an advantage. Give me the Steelers by a touchdown. — Michael Beller
Atlanta Falcons (-4) at Cleveland Browns
I’m just not going to stop taking road teams. I’ll put my 7-2 season record on the line with another one and keep doing it all season if I have to.
The Falcons dropped four of their first five games, all against playoff contenders, but have since turned their season around while beating two mediocre teams and then dominating the Redskins. The Browns, meanwhile, are spiraling. They didn’t get any kind of “first game with a new interim coach” bump last week, so there’s no reason to expect that jolt in their second game under Gregg Williams.
Cleveland actually has a better record than Atlanta against the spread this year, but that’s thanks so much to their 3-0 start. At this point in the season, the Falcons are just a much better team, and I expect them to win fairly comfortably, even on the road. — Mitch Goldich
Arizona Cardinals (+16.5) at Kansas City Chiefs
This is simply a great spot. The Cardinals are coming off a bye, and their eighth-ranked defense per Football Outsiders’ DVOA will have had two weeks to come up with a game plan to slow down Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs play the Rams next week in Mexico City, which is essentially being billed as the Super Bowl in the regular season, so it’s easy to envision them slightly overlooking this matchup.
The Cardinals averaged 5.0 yards per play against the 49ers in Byron Leftwich’s first game as interim offensive coordinator after the team fired Mike McCoy. That’s not a great mark, but considering Arizona is averaging 4.3 YPP on the season, that at least shows improvement. And the Chiefs’ defense is always a good remedy to improve a team’s offensive numbers.
Vegas clearly had to inflate the spread to stop people from pounding the Chiefs, but this line is too high. The Chiefs have beaten an opponent by more than 17 points once this entire season. With Kansas City in a suboptimal spot, I’ll bet that number doesn’t rise to two this weekend. — Max Meyer