NFL Week 10 Picks Against the Spread: Bears and Trubisky (!) win, Titans upset Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
Breaking down Will Brinson's best bets for Week 10 of the 2019 NFL season
History, kids, tends to repeat itself. That should have been obvious on Thursday night both early and late as the Chargers gagged against the Raiders in a must-win game for both teams. Philip Rivers threw two early picks, one of which was returned for a touchdown despite him being hit low and the flag being picked up. Hunter Henry slipped on the play, so it's not entirely on Rivers there.
The real crime against nature came on the Chargers' final drive. For some reason, I felt like reliving it on a Friday morning, mainly because it annoyed me to no end that Anthony Lynn left that game with two timeouts despite the Raiders going on a 10-play, 75-yard, three-minute drive to take the lead, a monster answer to Rivers leading a potential game-winning drive on the previous possession. Credit Jon Gruden and Derek Carr for winning the game, and the Raiders offensive line for opening up a hole for Josh Jacobs to saunter into the end zone.
But let's not let Lynn and Rivers off the hook. The final Chargers possession was an unmitigated disaster. Rivers was the first quarterback in the last 40 seasons (FORTY YEARS!!) to go 0/7 or worse on a team's final drive of the game, according to Elias.
The timeouts weren't used because the clock wasn't running. But if the plan was to chuck it deep on every play, Lynn should have used the timeouts to slow the clock while the Raiders were marching. Or the Chargers could have simply thrown the ball underneath and hit the timeout button several times to pick up yards and try and get within Michael Badgley's range.
The first throw from Rivers was horribly off target to Keenan Allen on a crosser. Rivers was under a bit of pressure and just threw the ball behind him. FOX oddly went back to look at a replay of Josh Jacobs' touchdown run in between plays, so it's hard to see what else was available without the coaches' film, but there was an opportunity to pick up five or six yards with a good throw to Allen, more if he hits him in stride.
Hunter Henry has to be upset about what happened on the second throw, which is a microcosm of the entire drive. Henry was WIDE open on a crossing route that would have set the Chargers up for, at worst, a short third down conversion attempt.
This is not a case of a defender lurking either as the replay angle showed.
Rivers was staring him down and clearly just didn't want to take anything underneath. This is weird because, again, the Chargers had THREE TIMEOUTS.
The third throw was good coverage by the Raiders but it also featured a terrible throw by Rivers that was nearly intercepted. As Troy Aikman pointed out on the broadcast, a double move deep route by Allen likely resulted in him being in single coverage and open down the field, potentially for a big play.
Fourth and 10 was bailout city, with the Raiders flagged for defensive holding on a pretty questionable case. First and 10 was deja vu for Henry. Again, Rivers kept looking deep despite having three timeouts and a trusty tight end wide open underneath.
The Chargers are on their own 30 at this point. They needed roughly 30 yards to get within Badgley's range in terms of his career high. THEY HAVE THREE TIMEOUTS AND I FEEL LIKE I'M TAKING CRAZY PILLS.
Second and 10 featured Rivers missing Henry downfield, but there was an illegal shift against the Chagers. The Raiders somewhat surprisingly declined it, but that meant it was third and 10. At this point the Chargers DID go to Henry on a crossing route to the left, but Rivers made a bad throw and Henry actually had someone covering him this time.
Fourth down was another deep shot, this time into double coverage, which was intercepted, Rivers' third pick of the night.
I'm not entirely sure who I'm mad at here. We yelled about Rivers on the TNF recap podcast that was posted late Thursday night/early Friday morning (you can go listen to that here). I don't think that drive showed us Rivers is "washed" or anything. He had no protection. He might have been seeing ghosts. And he and his coach and his offensive coordinator did a horrific job of clock and game management.
They kept seeing the two high safeties the Raiders were playing and believed they could get a deep shot to set up the field goal. They didn't need it. Three or four underneath hits to Henry or Allen would have gotten them some YAC and they were able to stop the clock.
At the very least if you're going to run that sort of deep stuff on the two-minute drill, then use your timeouts when Oakland is marching the ball down your throat on the drive prior.
What a disaster. Fortunately if you lost money on the Chargers Thursday night, you can make it all back this weekend with some NFL picks. R.J. White, Pete Prisco and I broke down every game against the spread on Friday's edition of the Pick Six Podcast (subscribe right here and listen in the player below) and I've got my best bets/locks broken down.
There's also a moneyline parlay and our Pick Six Pod parlay below as well. Hit the play button and read while you listen.
Who on earth wants to bet on the Browns this week? No one, according to the Action Network, which shows Cleveland getting 29 percent of the tickets this week. I don't blame the 71 percent of people taking the Bills. They look like the better team so far this year with Cleveland stinking up the joint. The Browns are a mess on offense and are probably the most poorly coached team in football. Sean McDermott could do circles around Freddie Kitchens. But the Browns are a bad matchup here for the Bills. Buffalo has given up six runs of 20+ yards or more, tied for sixth most in the league. Nick Chubb has five of those 20+ yard runs himself this year and has 20 runs of 10+ yards or more. He's a nightmare for a team like Buffalo that can't control explosive runs. He has explosive runs against the 49ers (20th in rush defense DVOA), the Patriots (13th), the Seahawks (22nd) and the Ravens (24th). The Bills are 30th in rush defense DVOA. If Kitchens and Todd Monken don't feed Chubb -- and maybe even Kareem Hunt! -- it's gross negligence. Trying to make Odell Beckham happy in a game that could feature 17 mph winds (I like the under too, btw) is a massive mistake. The Browns can drop a bomb on the Bills if they just stick to the obvious game plan and let Chubb eat.
Cardinals (+4.5) at Buccaneers
Revenge game for Bruce Arians that could end up being a shootout with a pair of terrible pass defenses (Tampa is 26th in pass defense DVOA this year, Arizona is 28th) letting Kyler Murray and Jameis Winston wing the ball around the field all day. I'm a little concerned the Bucs could hang a bunch of points early and I think Chris Godwin will have a monster game, assuming Patrick Peterson shadows Mike Evans. I just think this is a game that could be similar to the Cards playing the Saints last week, where they hang with the Bucs for most of the game and then have a chance to storm through the backdoor late. There are two big differences between New Orleans and Tampa though. One, the Bucs defense is not as good. The Saints are a top-10 defense by DVOA and 12th against the pass, the Bucs are 16th overall and 26th against the pass. They can stop the run, but they are simply not good at stopping the pass. I know Kliff Kingsbury loves to run out of spread formations, but trying to force the run here is not the play. If the Air Raid can't light up a bad pass defense, what are we even doing here? And two, the Bucs are much worse in the red zone, particularly over the last three games, when they're allowing almost 77 percent of trips to turn into a touchdown. New Orleans is allowing 33 percent over the last three weeks, which is why the Cards settled for field goals. If Kingsbury can convert some of his trips into touchdowns instead of field goals, the Cardinals can win this game.
This is almost purely a Sean McVay After the Bye play for me, based entirely on a small sample size in which McVay and the Rams beat up on two bad teams. The Rams were a 10.5-point favorite in Detroit after their Week 12 bye and beat the Lions 30-16 last season. In 2017, the Rams were a 5.5-point favorite in New York after their Week 8 bye and beat the Giants 51-17. The Steelers are a better team than that Lions squad and a MUCH better team than that Giants squad. The Steelers have been much better since they acquired Minkah Fitzpatrick; it looks like that trade is going to work out for them pretty well. But are we overselling this team a little bit right now? The Steelers are only giving up 18.3 points per game over their last three games. But they've also given up more than 300 yards per game in that span to the Chargers (see: above), the Dolphins (yikes) and the Colts (led by Brian Hoyer most of the game). The rushing offense without James Conner just isn't there. Mason Rudolph has been fine, but Jalen Ramsey can limit JuJu Smith-Schuster, which is going to put the onus on James Washington and Diontae Johnson to win in coverage. I'll take my chances on Wade Phillips, especially with the Rams knowing a win here and the Monday night outcome between the 49ers and Seahawks is just gravy.
Kirk Cousins in prime time. It doesn't feel good as someone who is heavily invested in the Vikes this year, but it's the smart move to fade Minnesota in this spot on their second road game against a Cowboys team that has been a good primetime favorite in recent years. They're 6-3 at home in prime time as favorites. The Vikings are 2-4 straight up and against the spread since the start of 2018 in prime time, with one of their SU wins coming at home against the Redskins two weeks ago. One cover was against the Rams on Thursday night in a wild game where they were touchdown dogs. In other words, they don't really keep it close as a short dog in these spots. Cousins looked off enough against the Chiefs that I don't buy into the idea this team can come into Dallas and shut down Dak Prescott/Ezekiel Elliott and light up the Cowboys secondary. Give me the home team here.
Titans (+3.5) vs. Chiefs
VERY IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: Do not actually wager on this at +3.5. You might not be able to, because Patrick Mahomes will likely play in this game and the Chiefs will be closer to 5.5 or 6.5 point favorites. I currently see +6, which means the expectation is Mahomes, who practiced in full, will play this weekend. The problem for the Chiefs, in my opinion, is the Titans are a bad matchup for them. They run the ball a ton and even though Kansas City's been better against the run the last few weeks, giving up just 95 rush yards per games over the last three weeks, I don't think they're necessarily GOOD against the run. I also believe the defense could come back to earth a bit and relax with Mahomes returning. The Titans haven't run the ball really well, but they have gone over 400 yards of total offense twice in the last three weeks. I think Derrick Henry has a breakout style game with a few long runs, I think the Titans get pressure on a gimpy Mahomes and I think they win outright. Get the best possible number obviously.
Bears (-2.5) vs. Lions
Hello there. My name is Will and I am actually betting on Mitchell Trubisky as a favorite. For the second time in three weeks. Help me, please. This game is rancid. The Lions are so obviously the better team here right? I think that's the case and I'm a big Matthew Stafford fan and supporter. He's not getting his due this year. But the Bears are actually a bad matchup in this spot. You can't throw deep on them (just 20 plays of 20 yards or more allowed in the passing game and just three plays of 40 yards or more, both top five in the league defensively) and the Lions need those shot plays to thrive. They have zero running game, averaging 71.5 rush yards per game over their last four contests. Conversely, they have allowed 147 rush yards per game over that same stretch. The Bears have finally figured out that David Montgomery is on their roster and have utilized him in the run game the last two weeks. There is a decent chance weather becomes a factor here, as we're staring down 40 degrees, 10-15mph winds and potential precipitation later in the afternoon. The over/under is 41.5. Stafford was also on the injury report this week. It's just a bad spot for Detroit coming off a brutal loss to the Raiders.
Week 9 best bets ATS record: 3-2, +1u
2019 best bets ATS record: 30-23-2, +7u
Moneyline Parlay of the Week
This is no longer a moneyline underdog parlay of the week, because there are some short favorites I want to include along with most of the teams we have above. You've read the reasons. I think this hits if the Titans can win. They're the long shot obviously.
.5u to win 6.88u
Season record: 0/9, -2.5u
Pick Six Podcast Parlay of the Week
This LOSER needs to come through at some point, right? 0-9 on the season is infuriating. This is the week! The Dolphins shouldn't be getting 10 full points, even if Jacoby Brissett is coming back. They'll backdoor that worst case as they've been frisky. Love this Cleveland under with weather potentially coming and a bunch of rushing attempts coming too. The Cowboys I mentioned above, they'll probably murder it because we all individually loved this one ahead of time. And with Matt Ryan likely back the Falcons and Saints should have some scoring. Atlanta will be better in the red zone than a team like Arizona and get 20 some points here. I'd take the Saints team total over too while we're discussing that game.
Bills/Browns under 39.5
Falcons/Saints over 51.5
Season record: 0/9, -2u
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