BEST GAME - Dallas at Kansas City (-2)
Dallas 7-2 SU, 8-1 ATS
Kansas City 6-4 SU, 3-7 ATS
With 8 covers in 9 games, it appears that sports books are still playing catchup with the Cowboys, who are the No. 1 cover team in the NFL. Maybe their loss at home to the Broncos planted some seeds of doubt, but this past Sunday’s disemboweling of the Falcons means that Jerry Jones will arrive in Missouri this coming Sunday with a huge smile on his face. Any why not? The Boys have all but wrapped up the otherwise lethargic NFC East, and the rest of the schedule includes only one legitimate test (Arizona on Jan. 2). Likewise, the Chiefs seem to be – finally – getting their own house in order. With the rest of the AFC West in a fade pattern, KC has taken full advantage. Narrow wins over the Giants and Packers kept the slow-starting Chiefs on life support, and the offense put the pedal to the metal this past Sunday in a convincing 27-point victory over division rival Las Vegas. With both offenses rolling, bettors no doubt will be pounding the Over here – even though the number (54) is the highest on the board for Week 11.
WORST GAME – Detroit at Cleveland (-10)
Detroit 0-8-1SU, 5-4 ATS
Cleveland 5-5 SU, 5-5 ATS
The Browns lost by 31 in New England last Sunday, and the ugliness spilled over in the locker room when several Cleveland players blamed the coaching staff for not making adjustments when the Patriots took control of the game. If losing to the red-hot Patriots got them cranky, imagine what a loss to home to Detroit would do. Cleveland’s season of mediocrity has also raised questions about whether Baker Mayfield is the QB going forward. As for the Lions, the heat is off to an extent in that last week’s tie with Pittsburgh means they can’t go 0-17 and beat their own NFL-worst 0-16 record set 13 years ago.
BIGGEST SPREAD -- New York Giants at Tampa Bay (-11.5)
New York 3-6 SU, 5-4 ATS
Tampa Bay 6-3 SU, 3-6 ATS
Two losses in row? Tom Brady? Yikes. Well, it happened last November, too, when the Bucs dropped back-to-backs to the Rams and Chiefs. Brady and TB responded with a four-game win streak to end the season, then ran the table on the way to winning the Super Bowl. It could happen again, especially as the Bucs enter the soft underbelly of their schedule, with most of the remaining games dotted with mediocre opponents with no legit chance to make deep playoff runs (Dec. 12 Buffalo being the exception). Still, Tampa Bay’s loss to Washington this past Sunday was a cautionary tale in the Any Given Sunday league. Brady put TB in an early hole with two interceptions, and this time there was no late magic. The Bucs – who BTW have been a poor cover team this season, still should win the NFC South – but they’ll have to work for it.
SMALLEST SPREAD -- Cincinnati at Las Vegas (-1)
Cincinnati 5-4 SU, 4-5 ATS
Las Vegas 5-4 SU, 4-5 ATS
Not the best of weeks for the Raiders. First, former coach Jon Gruden went after the league and commissioner in court, then the team was not competitive at home against the Chiefs. Gruden may have gone on offense, but the LV offense was stagnant against a sketchy Chiefs D – and that has to raise lots of red flags. The O-Line bears much of the blame for an offense that has produced only 30 points total in the last two games. When you net only 50 yards on the ground against one of the worst defenses in the league, you need to re-assess. Cincinnati no doubt used tis bye week to do some soul-searching of its own after consecutive losses to the Jets and Browns.
SMALLEST TOTAL -- Washington at Carolina (43.5)
Washington 3-6 SU, 2-7 ATS
Carolina 5-5 SU, 5-5 ATS
Cam Newton is back. Are the Panthers? Maybe. At least they’re not dead and buried, despite a nightmarish 0-4 October and a stinking loss to the Patriots a week ago. Their three-touchdown win over the best-record-in-the-league-at-the-time Cardinals opened up a playoff avenue for Carolina, who were no doubt energized by Newton’s return. Newton didn’t start, but finished off a few drives by relieving starter P.J. Walker in the red zone, and there will be pressure to start him against the WFT.