James Scully returns with a rejuvenated 23-23-4 ATS record (50%) fresh off a 3-3-1 ATS run in Week 10. Read on to find out who he likes in his Week 11 NFL Free Picks for the Sunday games, with the Rams-Chiefs war on Monday night serving as the cherry on top.
*ATS (Against the Spread) / SU (Straight Up)
* PK indicates pick
*home team in caps
Carolina Panthers -4 vs DETROIT LIONS (Sunday 1:00 ET)
Carolina (-4) 10-1 ATS in last 11 games following SU loss and will be motivated to regain some lost luster after an embarrassing performance at Pittsburgh, with Ben Roethlisberger throwing more TDs (5) than interceptions (3) as the secondary couldn’t cover anybody. But Steelers could protect Big Ben and Panthers (who remain a prominent playoff contender with a 6-3 SU record) remain capable of dominating teams with poor offensive line play. That’s big trouble for Matt Stafford, who has been under consistent pressure in recent weeks.
Detroit heading the wrong direction fast, entering on a 0-3 SU/ATS slide, and they’ve been awful against teams with a winning record (3-10 ATS). The offense is stuck in the mud because they can’t protect Stafford, allowing 19 sacks over the last three games, and Detroit still feeling the hangover of trading their best skill player (WR Golden Tate) last month. Teams are scoring nearly 30 points per game during the recent stretch and Carolina has the offense to continue to the trend. Carolina will get back on track with a strong defensive showing that results in a double-digit win.
Week 11 NFL Free Picks – Bet Carolina -4 over Detroit!
Dallas Cowboys +3.0 vs ATLANTA FALCONS (Sunday 1:00 ET)
Atlanta (-3.0) will show up with their best and love seeing the early money come in on the Cowboys; this is the same situation from a week ago when we were against the Falcons, who were facing huge obstacles in the second of back-to-back road games like Dallas. Falcons took all the money at Cleveland last week after posting a dominant underdog win at NFC East leader Washington, but Atlanta the worst road team against AFC competition in the NFL by a wide margin and predictably went to 0-9 ATS. It’s the same old song and dance this week with Dallas, who is the worst team against the NFC South in the NFL by a wide margin at 1-11 ATS, and a regression looms following a surprising underdog win at Philly. Bettors playing the road team this week won’t be able to see past the most recent performance.
Falcons were injury-riddled during 1st-half of season and desperately needed bye week in late October to heal. Atlanta improved on both sides of the ball two weeks ago and the offense remains high-scoring, ranking second by passing yards per game (319). Dallas fortunate to get a road win last week – something had to give because Philadelphia appears incapable of winning at home of late – but Cowboys still much better at home (3-1 SU) than on the road (1-4 SU) this season. Dallas won’t be able to match points in the Mercedes Dome, ranking 24th by scoring (20.1 points per game) and 29th in total offense, and Atlanta still in wildcard contention if they can get this win. Atlanta will take care of business with a comfortable cover!
Week 11 NFL Free Picks – Bet Atlanta -3.0 over Dallas!
Houston Texans -3 vs WASHINGTON REDSKINS (Sunday 1:00 ET)
No team is better than Houston (-3) after a bye week (4-0 ATS last four years) and Texans poised to exploit a weak offensive line and low-scoring Washington offense. Deshawn Watson needed a few games to return to full-speed in his comeback from knee surgery and Houston dropped the first three games this season. They’ve been a different team since September, reeling off six straight wins, and love how they’ve covered three straight since starting 1-5 ATS. Defense a big part of the success – Houston has arguably the top pass rush in the NFL and among the best in rushing (92 yards per game) and scoring (20 points per game) defense – and Watson recording impressive numbers (64.9%, 2,389 yards, 17 TDs, 7 int) in his second year. The offense will put up plenty of points in this match-up.
Washington’s makeshift offensive line made do against anemic Tampa Bay defense last week but has certainly proven to be a liability at times, with Atlanta (38-14) and Indianapolis (21-9) pushing the NFC East leader around in surprising home losses. And while defense remains a strength, the offense has been held to 23 or fewer points in every game since September, failing to reach 20 three times including the last two outings. Redskins not built to come from behind and unrealistic to expect struggling offense to turn things around against fierce Texans’ pass rush. Houston will get out to an early lead and post the four consecutive cover!
Week 11 NFL Free Picks – Bet Houston -3 over Washington!
Oakland Raiders +5.0 vs ARIZONA CARDINALS (Sunday 4:05 ET)
Arizona (-5) takes the “Money Train” role this week and don’t be afraid to hop aboard! Can’t guarantee it will last for the remainder of the season but there’s been a lot of money to be made wagering against the Raiders since their lone SU win in late September (5-0 ATS against the Raiders) — every opponent must be considered an opportunity until Oakland covers a game. No team wants to go winless and once first-year coach Gruden defeated Cleveland, he started focusing on the 2019 Draft, willing to mislead players (‘Amari Cooper isn’t going anywhere’) and anybody else who would listen to the false bravado. Even though management has gone in the tank, players could still try hard but that hasn’t been the case. Instead, one can sense the overwhelming resentment of Gruden and desire to get the heck out of a dumpster fire; does anybody believe Gruden will make the right decisions in the Draft? Oakland’s season has dissolved into an enormous mess and hasn’t hit the bottom yet in my estimation.
Cardinals enter on the upswing, returning from a bye week with a strong showing at Kansas City as 16-point underdogs, trailing by a 20-14 margin with the ball in the 4th quarter, and they’ve covered two straight. Defense has been a strength all season and the offense is finally starting to come around as RB David Johnson exits an improved showing (98 yards rushing) and QB Joel Rosen making good progress as he become more comfortable. Cardinals poised for a break out offensive performance on Sunday, lay the points against the hapless Raiders!
Week 11 NFL Free Picks – Bet Arizona -5.0 over Oakland!
Kansas City Chiefs +3.5 vs LOS ANGELES RAMS (Monday 8:15 ET)
It’s a marquee match-up between once-beaten teams and high-scoring Kansas City certainly isn’t without a chance. But prefer battle-tested Los Angeles Rams (-3.5), who need this game more (to keep pace with New Orleans) than their well-situated rival (Chiefs remain in driver’s seat for home-field advantage with loss). Rams exit a challenging slate against Green Bay, New Orleans and Seattle in recent weeks, games which have toughened them up, and liked the resiliency they displayed rallying from a double-digit deficit at New Orleans, tying the game in 4th-quarter. While came up a little short against the Saints, L.A. no longer has to deal with the pressure of being undefeated and they have a defensive edge in this match-up as well as the offense to trade points with anybody, ranking first in total offense and rushing yards. Rams can get after opposing QBs (26 sacks) and can’t understate how the late decision to move this game from Mexico City to the Coliseum benefits them, providing a real home-field advantage instead of a neutral-site feel at altitude.
Kansas City has been going through the motions against losing teams in recent weeks, posting a 1-2 ATS mark against three offensively-challenged opponents (Denver-Cleveland-Arizona) who stayed competitive into the second half. And since opening the year with dynamic wins over the Chargers and Pittsburgh, K.C. has played only one legitimate foe in eight contests, losing to New England in week 6. Chiefs can easily return to top form in coming weeks, but they don’t appear to be playing their best football presently and that will be the difference as the Rams win going away on Monday night.
Week 11 NFL Free Picks – Bet Los Angeles -3.5 over Kansas City!
James Scully is a professional handicapper who hails from the great state of Ohio. You can follow him on Twitter @JamesScully.