Big Five Picks for NFL Week 10

So how do you follow up a 4-1 week during Week 8? Do the opposite by going 1-4 the following week. We are right where we were 2 weeks ago ... 2 games below .500. Overall our record is 21-23-1. With just 8 weeks left for the regular season, we have to get our act together ASAP.

In all fairness, two of our selections that missed could have gone either way. The Colts were on the Pittsburgh 25 yard line with a little over a minute left in the game when they lined up for what should have been a game winning field goal to put them up 27-26 and at the very least give us a push. Instead, Adam Vinatieri, who has nailed so many clutch fields goals in his career, missed wide left and the Steelers won by 2 points. The other selection where we felt we were robbed was the Lions. Detroit had the ball on the Raiders 1 yard line with just 3 seconds left in the game. Sadly the lack of a run game for the Lions meant they opted to pass instead of pound the rock into the end zone. No OT and yet another loss for us.

We were off with the Jets and should have known better than to select a team in the "Toilet Bowl" of the year. The Patriots were the other team we did not prognosticate correctly. Yes, the Ravens were finally the first decent team the Patriots faced this season but for the Patriots to give up 37 points when they had allowed just 61 points in the previous 8 games (an average of 7.63 points per game) was a complete shocker. The only team we were correct with covering was Dallas and, even then, it wasn't looking too good for us late in the game with just a 16-15 lead late in the 3rd quarter. Good thing the Cowboys have several playmakers who can finish off an opponent.

For this week, we will try something different. We will disclose our selections for all games using both our regression and probability models. We will then let you, the reader, decide which teams represent the best return on investment. Let's begin with the regression analysis. Super Content spread is right next to the team and predicted point differential is in parentheses.

Detroit Lions +2.5 (-1.95)
Baltimore Ravens -10 (-22.25)
Buffalo Bills +3 (+0.05)
Kansas City Chiefs -4 (-14.59)
New Orleans Saints -13 (-16.50)
New York Giants -2.5 (-8.17)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers -4.5 (-5.67)
Indianapolis Colts -10.5 (-24.65)
Carolina Panthers +5 (+4.28)
Los Angeles Rams -3.5 (-5.61)
Minnesota Vikings +3 (+1.56)
San Francisco 49ers -6 (-9.94)

Of these 12 games, the regression model likes 8 favors and 4 dogs. The largest delta between the Super Contest spread and our predicted differential belong to Baltimore and Indianapolis which kind of makes sense given that they are both playing weak teams. Expect both of them to win by at least 20 points. Kansas City is another good selection, especially since Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes might return and the true point spread has moved 2 points in favor of KC. The Chiefs should take care of business in Tennessee with a 2 TD victory.

What about the probability model? It is usually a good idea to utilize at least two alogorithms and if both agree on the same team, we start seeing $$$! The percent chance of the team covering is displayed for all 12 remaining games for Week 10.

Detroit Lions 63.12%
Baltimore Ravens 62.64%
Buffalo Bills 57.05%
Kansas City Chiefs 63.65%
New Orleans Saints 57.02%
New York Giants 46.73%
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 57.96%
Indianapolis Colts 61.37%
Carolina Panthers 55.25%
Los Angeles Rams 52.25%
Minnesota Vikings 52.41%
San Francisco 49ers 48.60%

There are 4 teams with better than 60% chance of covering the spread and interestingly our regression model agrees with those 4 teams. In fact, three of those teams have a delta of more than 10 points between the actual point spread and the predicted point differential. Our model also agrees that the Detroit Lions will not just cover as an underdog but outright beat the Chicago Bears by 1.95 points. Overall, the probability model prefers an even split of favors and dogs.

If we have to choose a 5th team, it would be Tampa Bay. Risky since the Bucs have been very unpredictable. There only two wins were on the road against teams with winning records. They almost beat Tennessee but faltered at the end. They also lost a very close game to the New York Giants. In all fairness, the Bucs schedule has been tough. They faced Carolina a 2nd time only to lose to them at home and also played three Super Bowl contenders in the 49ers, Seahawks, and Saints. Those are arguably the three best teams in the NFC with a combined record of 22-3. Now the Bucs get a soft opponent at home. Cross country travel for a West Coast team is never easy, especially if it's an early game. Arizona cannot play defense (well of course nor can Tampa Bay) but where Arizona struggles is where Tampa Bay excels: the passing game. Arizona pass defense based on DVOA from Football Outsiders is 5th worst. The Arizona offensive line is also 5th worst with allowed adjust sack rate. It is no wonder that Cardinals QB Kyler Murray has been running for his life with 29 sacks. He is on pace to being sacked at least 50 times which is not what a franchise wants for its rookie QB who was chosen #1 overall in the NFL draft. Even though the Bucs pass defense is its Achilles heel, it should not be exposed as badly as it was last week in the Pacific Northwest since they will most likely be able to apply some pressure on Murray who has one of the worst offensive lines. As for what Tampa Bay can do on offense, just look at the game logs for Bucs WRs Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. No WR tandem in the NFL is playing as well as those two. Each of them are on pace for over 100 receptions, more than 1500 receiving yards, and at least a dozen TDs. No way Arizona shuts down both of those WRs.

What about the other 4 teams? We love Baltimore. Yes, giving up 10 points is never easy. However, the Ravens beat arguably the best defense in the NFL by 17 points and did so by running the ball extremely well. In fact, the Ravens rank #1 in the NFL in rush offense averaging an insane 204.9 rushing yards per game. Guess which team allows the most rushing yards per game? Cincinnati! The Bengals are allowing 177.6 rushing yards per game so don't just put your money on Baltimore to demolish the Bengals but strongly consider Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram for your fantasy lineups.

We also love the Colts. We are well aware that Miami has proven to be more resilient with Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB. However, the Dolphins have had the luxury pof playing 5 of its 8 games so far at home. In each of their 3 road losses, the Dolphins margin of defeat was by at least 10 points. It will be loud at Lucas Oil Stadium and Colts RB Marlon Mack should have a field day against the 2nd worst run defense in the league.

As for the Chiefs, consider these two outcomes. Chiefs beat Denver in Denver 30-6 and Mahomes was knocked out of the game. The Titans were shut out the week before in Denver to the tune of 16-0. We know that the transitive property usually does not hold up in the NFL since anything can happen on any given Sunday but the Titans are at best a mediocre team. The Chiefs are still a playoff contender without Mahomes and a Super Bowl quality team with him. Just giving up 4 points is not much and now the line has moved to 6 points. This is the best value in the Super Contest for Week 10.

Lastly, it is usually a good idea to have at least one dog. Detroit has not treated us well so far this season. We were wrong about them in Week 1 when Arizona almost pulled off the upset in OT and we were wrong about them again last week in Oakland. Also, it is never easy predicting outcomes in divisional matches. Still, the Bears have lost 4 in a row and they are favored? There is a good chance some big changes are coming to the Windy City if the Bears don't turn this ship around any time soon.

OK, there you have it! Lions, Ravens, Chiefs, Bucs, and Colts. We will hold off on providing betting strategy but these are 5 teams we are most confident will cover. Of course you also have the rest of our selections. Good luck to you and let's hope the football gods are kinder to us this weekend.