For the second consecutive week, underdogs were barking loud and clear. After pups went 10-4-1 against the spread in Week 8, they followed by going 9-4 in Week 9 ahead of Monday night’s game. There were outright upsets from the Broncos and Jaguars as double-digit underdogs.
It feels like that time of year in the NFL when good teams have a letdown performance and the below-average teams are desperately trying to salvage their seasons. Perhaps that should be factored into handicaps a bit more over the next few weeks.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-9.5, 51.5) at Washington Football Team
The Raiders and Ravens both failed to cover Sunday, sending teams off of the bye to 3-9 ATS. Both the Buccaneers and Washington are coming off of the bye for this game. Teams coming off a week of rest haven’t been in sync offensively and have failed to cover as a result.
The expectation here is that Tom Brady and the Bucs steamroll Washington. Maybe that ends up being the case, but look at the under on this one. Washington has the worst red-zone success rate in the NFL, scoring in only 10-of-22 attempts. Washington is also one of the league’s worst teams on third down.
The Bucs are better in almost every way, but the lack of polish for teams coming off the bye is concerning for a big spread. Instead, focus on the under and expect both teams to look a bit disjointed. Washington always does anyway. If Tampa Bay does as well, then these teams should struggle to get into the 50s.
Matthew Stafford threw two costly interceptions and evoked flashbacks of the quarterback he was traded for in the Rams’ 28-16 loss to the Tennessee Titans.
Nov. 7, 2021
Carolina Panthers at Arizona Cardinals (-10, 44.5)
Arizona is the big favorite in this is a divisional sandwich game against Carolina. The Panthers are 10-point underdogs in a game with a low-scoring expectation against a Cardinals team that will face the Seahawks in Week 11.
The Seahawks aren’t as daunting with Geno Smith at the helm, but Russell Wilson might be ready to go next week, and that will increase the game’s importance for Arizona. Carolina, which has lost five of its last six, is likely to be an afterthought for the Cardinals this week.
Arizona is clearly the better team, but it is hard to ask a team to repeatedly perform at a high level. This looks like a tricky spot for Arizona where motivation will be in question, especially with a buffer in the standings following the Rams’ loss Sunday.
With Titans star running back Derrick Henry out of the lineup, the Rams appeared to catch a break until the Tennessee defense put on a show.
Nov. 7, 2021
Kansas City Chiefs (-2.5, 51) at Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders’ 23-16 loss Sunday to the New York Giants suggests the team is suffering in the wake of the tragic situation involving Henry Ruggs III. The Raiders were better than the Giants, but their failure to execute in the red zone cost them the game.
Las Vegas played well, all things considered, as quarterback Derek Carr and interim head coach Rich Bisaccia have displayed tremendous leadership through some very challenging circumstances this season. Still, Carr threw a pick-six and the Raiders went 1 for 6 in the red zone, which included a fumble on the Giants’ 13-yard line while trying for a game-tying touchdown on the final drive. They had six yards per play compared to 4.5 for the Giants and almost 160 more total yards.
The Chiefs were unimpressive in beating the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers 13-7. The offense sputtered with just 3.8 yards per play, while the usually porous defense picked up the slack. There’s a very strong case that the Raiders look like the better team right now, especially when playing at home.
Pick: Raiders +2.5
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