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The NFL enters Week 11 with only the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Rams on a bye, which means 30 teams will be in action playing 15 games. The last few weeks have been big wins for sportsbooks, and the lines are only getting more accurate as this season’s sample size grows larger. I spoke to PointsBet Sportsbook analyst Michael Korn to preview the lines for Week 11 and see the betting splits for the spread and total in each game.
|Team||Open||Current||Bet Count %||Handle %||Open||Current||Bet Count %||Handle %|
|New England Patriots||-6.5||-6.5||78||85||47||47.5||52|
|New Orleans Saints||63||44||43||61|
|San Francisco 49ers||-7||-6||82||79||46||45||57|
|Washington Football Team||43||43||63|
|New York Jets||45||45||56|
|Green Bay Packers||-2.5||-2.5||75||67||49||49||54|
|Las Vegas Raiders||49||49.5|
|Kansas City Chiefs||-2.5||-2.5||54||56||56|
|Los Angeles Chargers||-4.5||-6||75||81||47||47||81||86|
|New York Giants||52||71||50||49.5||52|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-11||-10.5||50||49.5||73|
Week 11 of NFL action kicks off on Thursday night with the New England Patriots visiting the Atlanta Falcons. The spread opened at -6.5 and briefly touched -7 before dropping back down. With heavy support for the Patriots, the line could move back up to -7.
"This should go back and forth between 6.5 and 7, more likely in the direction of 7," Korn said. "I don't think it will move through the 7 to 7.5 unless an injury or something big happens."
The NFL average for points scored is 23.2 through 10 weeks this season, which would be the third-highest league-wide scoring average in NFL history according to Pro Football Reference. Despite the high scoring, there are seven games with Totals under 46 this week. Games with smaller Totals hit the Under more often this season, with the score going Under in 55.2% of games where the Total closed at 46 or lower.
The lower Totals could be beneficial for the underdogs in these games, since they went 90-64-1 ATS (58.44%) in games where the Total closed at 46 or lower since the start of last season. This applied more to close games than blowouts, since underdogs of a touchdown or fewer went 73-48 ATS in this situation while double-digit underdogs only went 7-8-1 ATS (46.67%). This week, the Saints, Jets, Football Team, Jaguars and Bears are dogs playing in games with low Totals and spreads under a touchdown. I'm least-confident in the Jets among those dogs, only partially due to my natural mistrust as a long-suffering Jets fan. The Jets are an outlier in the low-Total/small-spread trend, and backing the Jets in this situation would yield a 2-7 record for -5.18 units, over double the losses incurred by any other team over the last two years.
The Jets will host the Dolphins as three-point underdogs at PointsBet Sportsbook. New York announced that veteran quarterback Joe Flacco will get the start this week, while Tua Tagovailoa is expected to start for Miami. Even with the quarterback news, Korn expects the line to stick at -3.
"Tua playing may have impacted the juice going up to -128, but I think this is one where we hold steady and close on the 3 because it would be such a big move either way," Korn said.
There are three double-digit favorites this week, and two of those big favorites lost outright last week. The Cleveland Browns got blown out by the New England Patriots and are favored by 10 against a Lions team coming off their first non-loss of the season, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the biggest favorites of the week after a surprising defeat to the Washington Football Team in Week 10. The Browns allowed New England's offense to earn the second-highest EPA per drive of any team this season according to The Athletic, while Tampa Bay suffered its worst single-game offensive DVOA of the season, so linemakers are showing confidence in both teams to rebound with big wins this week. Recent history shows more reason to be skeptical, since double-digit favorites coming off a Money Line loss in the previous week went only 5-8-2 ATS (38.46%), although teams in that situation did win 14 of the 15 games outright.
Three games on the early afternoon slate feature totals under 44, which is a key number for Totals bettors. Games with a total of 44 or less went 16-14-1 to the Under so far this season. The Browns-Lions game moved through that number from 44.5 to 43.5 with 91% of the handle favoring the under. Korn thinks the over will garner more support by kickoff with the updated line.
"I think these splits could even out later in the week since a lot of that money could have been on the 44.5," Korn said. "44 is like the 3 of Totals in terms of key numbers. The score was exactly 44 in 4.1% of games, the most common over the last five years.”
The game in Philadelphia is seeing strong two-way action, with 61% of bets on the Over but 78% of the handle on the Under, and the line moved down from 44 to 43.
"That's going to be a sharp under play for sure," Korn said. "It was already on the way down from the opener."
The Saints-Eagles game is tied for the lowest total of the week, along with the Carolina Panthers hosting former coach Ron Rivera and the Washington Football Team. The Panthers-Football Team Total held steady at 43 despite 68% of the handle on the Under, but Korn thinks the number is more likely to go down than it is to increase to 43.5. Carolina's spread opened at -2.5 at some shops, but PointsBet Sportsbook started with an opener of -3 and moved up to -3.5. Even with more than two-thirds of the action on Carolina, PointsBet Sportsbook will be less reliant on Washington to cover than many other sportsbooks.
"Panthers support is probably higher at places that opened at -2.5, we would have even more Panthers bettors if we opened the spread there," Korn said.
I considered backing the Over for the Packers-Vikings matchup at first glance, with Aaron Rodgers facing a mediocre Vikings secondary and Kirk Cousins playing well this season, but I'm staying off the Total for this game. Green Bay's defense has played like one of the best units in the league in recent weeks and the Total went Under in eight of the team's first 10 games. I see more value in the Packers -2.5, since Green Bay is a league-best 9-1 ATS this season and has covered in every game since a loss to open the season. The public is supporting Green Bay early this week, so I’m interested to see where the final splits end up.
The late afternoon Week 11 games include three exciting matchups. Cincinnati’s spread hasn’t moved from -1 despite heavy support for the Bengals, while the Cardinals stayed at -2.5 for an NFC West battle with the Seahawks.
Seattle got Russell Wilson back from a finger injury last week but failed to score a single point in a loss to Green Bay. Wilson put up the worst Pro Football Focus grade of his career last week, and the Seahawks fell into a tie for the second-worst record in the NFC. Seattle's odds to win the NFC West were as low as +160 preseason but now the Seahawks are +6000 in PointsBet Sportsbook's divisional odds. The Cardinals were listed as odds-on favorites to win the division since Week 7, but their odds are now at -225 as heavy NFC West favorites.
Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray missed the last two games and is listed as questionable for Week 11. Murray is among the top MVP candidates this season but saw his odds drop from +550 to +1400 over the last two weeks due to injury. Arizona's star passer is now tied with Patrick Mahomes for seventh in the MVP odds race. The offense performed well even without Murray and top receiver DeAndre Hopkins in Week 9, but they struggled in a blowout loss to Carolina last week. With Murray’s status uncertain, the line is tentatively set at Cardinals -2.5 at PointsBet Sportsbook.
“From a trading risk perspective, that’s one we’re not excited about because whenever that news comes out we’ll have to adjust to that,” Korn said. “The 2.5 is basically accounting for the uncertainty and assumes he’s 50/50 to play. It puts us in the spot where we can quickly move up the line if he does play but still takes into consideration that he might be out.”
The final late afternoon game also hasn’t moved from the opening spread, as the Chiefs sit as -2.5 home favorites against the Dallas Cowboys. Kansas City entered the season as overwhelming favorites in the division, but the odds slowly dropped until reaching plus-money for the first time after a primetime loss to the Bills in Week 5. Since then, the Chiefs were overtaken by the Chargers as AFC West favorites and the odds reached a high of +240 before going back down to -110 after last week’s win.
This game features two of the most heavily-backed public teams, and early bettors are split on this matchup, with Dallas getting the majority of bets but the Chiefs receiving over half of the money.
“These are pretty evenly matched teams, this line means it’s basically a pick-em on a neutral field,” Korn said. “The public sees the Cowboys as a good team and wants to take them with the points, especially since the Chiefs struggled until recently.”
The primetime slate features two of the most interesting games of Week 11, starting with Sunday Night Football between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Los Angeles Chargers. The line opened at Chargers -4.5 and jumped to -6 before going off the board Tuesday afternoon due to Pittsburgh’s potential absences. Star defenders T.J. Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick are both in danger of missing Week 11, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger‘s status is uncertain after he was placed on the COVID reserve list prior to last week’s game. The original line factored in the possibility of Roethlisberger sitting, so I don’t expect the updated spread to go much higher than -7.
“We were already leaning towards him not playing and the move to -6 is us being more confident that he won't play before taking it off the board,” Korn said. “Fitzpatrick and Watt have some impact but not as big of a deal as the quarterback. It’s mostly about getting out in front of what the public will take and acting proactively by being in the shoes of our bettors.”
Week 11 will conclude on Monday night with a game between the New York Giants and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The spread opened at -11 and jumped up to -11.5 but dropped down to -10.5 on Wednesday morning. Korn noted that sharp money may be in New York’s favor and that could explain the interesting line movements.