A little more than half of the NFL season has passed, and the top teams in football have all taken turns losing lately.
The New England Patriots looked like the clear Super Bowl favorite, and then the Baltimore Ravens beat them. The New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers each lost at home in Week 10. Just when a team looks like it could separate itself, we’re reminded that the NFL is really competitive.
So what does the Super Bowl race look like in the eyes of the oddsmakers at BetMGM? It’s not a big surprise that as of Friday, the Patriots are still the clear favorite at MGM:
All other teams are more than 30-to-1. The Ravens and Packers have moved way up since the beginning of the season. The biggest fall among preseason darlings belongs to the Los Angeles Rams, who started the season as one of the top three favorites, but are now 40-to-1 after starting the season 5-4.
There are certainly some interesting value picks in that group (the Eagles were my preseason Super Bowl pick, have plenty of top-end talent and suddenly find themselves with a reasonable path to an NFC East title ... hmmm), which speaks to how wide open the NFL playoffs could be this season.
Then again, maybe it’s all just setting up for another Patriots championship.
Here are the picks for Week 11, using BetMGM odds as of Friday afternoon:
Cowboys (-6.5) over Lions: This line jumped three points with news Matthew Stafford is out. That line move doesn’t seem like enough. The Cowboys can’t afford to drop another game at the start of their brutal stretch of tough opponents. The Lions are perhaps the worst team Dallas will face until Week 17, and the Lions aren’t that bad.
Buccaneers (+5.5) over Saints: I have no idea how to explain what we saw from the Saints last week. I think it’s a random misstep and New Orleans is still a quality team. Still, that was one troubling performance against a bad Falcons team. Even if the Saints bounce back, the Buccaneers can score and that always keeps the backdoor cover open.
Panthers (-4.5) over Falcons: Perhaps the Falcons turned a corner last week and are going to have a good second half. I’m going to have to see it a second time before buying in.
Jaguars (+2.5) over Colts: Jacoby Brissett is back for the Colts, but T.Y. Hilton is not. The Colts have yet to win a game that Hilton misses due to injury. He makes a huge difference in the offense.
Vikings (-10) over Broncos: This is a possible letdown spot for the Vikings after a big win over the Cowboys. But I still am not a Brandon Allen believer, especially on the road against a good defense.
Jets (+2.5) over Redskins: The Jets are a mess. We all know that. We also know the Redskins are worse. Not sure why they’d be favored.
Bills (-6.5) over Dolphins: It’s impressive how the Dolphins have turned things around. They’ve gone from the worst team we’ve seen in a while to being competitive for the past month or so. However, this is still not a good team, and the Bills won’t be overlooking anyone after a loss to the Browns last week.
Texans (+4) over Ravens: Are we a little too excited about the Ravens? Perhaps. It wouldn’t surprise me if we came out of this game wondering if Deshaun Watson needs more MVP love. Lamar Jackson is really good, but so is Watson. This will be a fun game.
49ers (-10) over Cardinals: The game in Arizona wasn’t quite as close as the final made it seem. It was a short week and the 49ers were still in control until giving up a long touchdown late. Now they’re angry coming off their first loss of the season.
Eagles (+3.5) over Patriots: It wouldn’t surprise me if the Patriots reestablish themselves as the best team in football with a dominant road win. But the Eagles have a lot of talent. I keep expecting they’re going to make a big run. Maybe it starts on Sunday.
Raiders (-11.5) over Bengals: I always want to take double-digit underdogs in the NFL. But I can’t take the Bengals.
Bears (+6.5) over Rams: These two teams are like the meme of the two Spidermans pointing at each other. Former NFL coach of the year and hailed offensive genius leading a punchless offense, a young highly drafted quarterback who has taken a huge step back, and teams that were 2018 division champs in danger of missing the playoffs? Could be talking about either team, really. I’ll take the points because I don’t trust either team right now.
Chiefs (-3.5) over Chargers: The Chargers haven’t given me much reason to pick them. The Chiefs weren’t terrible against the Titans last week. Patrick Mahomes was great. If not for a fumble returned for a touchdown and two botched field goals in the final couple minutes, it seems this line would be much higher.
Last week: 5-7-1
Season to date: 72-75-2
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