Before diving into the nitty-gritty of this week's bets, it is important to establish a few key concepts that will come up repeatedly throughout the season. First and foremost, all bets will be recommended with an accompanying unit amount, typically somewhere between 0.5 and 2.0 units. One unit should equate to approximately one-percent of your allotted bankroll that you use for wagering across various sports. Arguably the most important aspect of being a winning sports bettor is proper bankroll management. By wagering in accordance with the recommended unit amounts-- totaling to a small percentage of your bankroll each week- this will ensure that you are never risking more than you can afford to lose. Additionally, the sports betting market is just that, a market. Markets typically tend towards efficiency, especially when the market price- or betting line in this case- is established by many players risking large sums of money to establish the price. Historically, the most accurate estimate of what the correct price, or most accurate pregame projection of a game, is determined by the closing line of the game. The betting limits for games increase as more information, in the form of wagers, becomes available to bookmakers later in the week. Subsequently, the betting line movements leading up to kickoff ultimately move the betting line into place, settling at the most efficient public indicator of what the price should be at kickoff. Using the closing line, calculating closing line value becomes a fantastic measurement of a sound process in sports betting. Beating the closing line, or betting on a game at a better number than the game closes at, is extremely difficult, but also typically leads to sustainable long-term success.
One hypothetical example of beating the closing line would be betting on the Kansas City Chiefs at -4 on Friday afternoon when the line closes at -5.5. Here, the most efficient number is deemed to be -5.5, leaving the bettor with 1.5 points of closing value. Another hypothetical example, conversely, would be betting on the Carolina Panthers at +7 on Friday afternoon when the line closes at +4 at kickoff. In this example, there would be 3 points of closing line value for the wager on Carolina. As previously stated, consistently registering bets with positive closing line value is a great signal of a bettor who should find success in the future. This season, closing line value (CLV) will be tracked for all recommended wagers, along with the win-loss and profit-loss totals.
- Philadelphia Eagles -3 (-116), LOSS -1.16 units
- Miami Dolphins -3.5 (-106), WIN +1.0 unit
Week Profit: -0.16 units
Total Profit: -5.735 units
Once again, the Beating the Odds betting card featured one complete no-show performance while the other team handled business from start-to-finish. In New York, the Philadelphia Eagles turned in one of the worst performances of the entire NFL season, relative to expectation, in an embarrassing 27-17 loss at the hands of the now 3-7 New York Giants. Philadelphia's offense looked as bad as any in the NFL, as Carson Wentz struggled all afternoon to locate and hit open receivers. Additionally, Daniel Jones gashed the birds both on the ground and through the air in an unexpected display of life from New York's offense. Fortunately, the Miami Dolphins were everything we expected them to be, and more. The Dolphins' offense was efficient both on the ground and through the air against a respectable Chargers defense. On the other side of the football, the Dolphins' impressive and complex defense held Justin Herbert to just 187 yards through the air, the lowest total of his short career. Once again, this weekend, we will try for our first undefeated week this season with a betting card featuring one team we are very familiar with.
MIAMI DOLPHINS (-3.5, -106) @ DENVER BRONCOS
Pick: Miami Dolphins -3.5, risk 1.325 units to win 1.25 unit at FanDuel Sportsbook
In Week 11, we will return to the well that is the undervalued Miami Dolphins when they head to Denver to take on the spiraling Broncos. Backing the improving Dolphins against the 3-6 Broncos at the same price we got last weekend against the Chargers is a gift, even when factoring in the shift of home-field advantage in favor of the Broncos. As noted last weekend, Miami's offense is an improving unit that features a wealth of young talent across a variety of positions. On the outside, the depth of talent featured on the Dolphins' depth chart has largely insulated them from the adverse impacts associated with losing Preston Williams, an underrated second-year pass-catcher, to a leg injury two weeks ago. The likes of DeVante Parker, Mike Gesicki, and Jakeem Grant stepped up last week in Williams' absence, and they should be expected to improve over time as they build chemistry with their rookie signal-caller, Tua Tagovailoa. Opposite Miami's offense, Denver's defense is reeling. The Broncos, whose theoretical strength under Vig Fangio should be their defense, have allowed at least 30 points in each of their last 4 outings. Denver has only turned over their opponents three times across these four games, exemplifying the unit's general inability to get off the field and make life easier on their young and sputtering offense. Overall, with Miami's offense on the field, the Dolphins should hold a significant advantage over the Broncos' defense, providing a sizable cushion for their stout defense to work with on the other side of the football.
Denver's offense this season is one of the youngest in the league at the most important positions. At quarterback, Drew Lock, a second-year player out of Missouri, has yet to show signs of life as a potential franchise quarterback for John Elway's team. Lock is one of the league's biggest risk-takers at the position, as shown by his 7:10 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Additionally, with only seve touchdowns to his name this year, his risk-taking rarely pays off. On the outside, there is hope for a bright future ahead in Denver, with Noah Fant and Jerry Jeudy shining as two of the league's best youngsters at their respective positions. Unfortunately, with Lock distributing the football, their talents are largely rendered useless within this attack. At times, Jeudy, whose uncanny route-running ability leaves him open on the majority of routes, has shown visible frustration with both the volume and quantity of his targets. On Sunday, Lock and the Broncos will have to take on the daunting task of scoring against a stout Miami Dolphins defense. Head coach Brian Flores, who previously served as a linebackers coach for the New England Patriots, has taken one of the league's worst defenses and flipped them into a top-third unit in the NFL this season. Flores' blitz-heavy approach constantly applies pressure on opposing quarterbacks, which also allows for exotic bluffs to confuse young passers like Drew Lock.
Expect Miami's improving offense and diverse defense to dominate over the struggling Broncos. This game projects to be approximately a 6-point game in favor of the Dolphins, which leads us to a 1.325-unit wager on the Dolphins at FanDuel Sportsbook to net 1.25 units in a victory.
ATLANTA FALCONS @ NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (-4)
Pick: New Orleans Saints -4, risk 1.1 units to win 1.0 unit at DraftKings sportsbook
The Atlanta Falcons, after a remarkably unlucky start to the season, have shown signs of life since the firing of Dan Quinn. Unfortunately, this weekend they go up against the New Orleans Saints, who currently rate as the best team in the NFC. A high-profile injury to Drew Brees has altered this line significantly, but the movement is likely an overreaction.
This season, the New Orleans Saints offense has been one of the league's better units. This strength scoring the football is certainly aided by the shrewd decision-making of Drew Brees, one of the league's smartest quarterbacks, but not his arm talent, which is fading as his career wears on. Stepping in for the injured Brees this weekend is Jameis Winston, the record-setting quarterback who infamously recorded a 30-touchdown and 30-interception season a year ago. Winston signed on to the New Orleans Saints' roster this year as a backup to learn for a season behind Brees and aid his mental development as a quarterback. After about half of a season holding a clipboard-- or tablet in his case-- Winston will be called into action this weekend in his first test of what he has learned studying the game alongside one of the league's smartest players. Winston's arm talent and ability to air out the football could potentially unlock hidden chapters of New Orleans' playbook that have been stashed away with Brees at the helm. Overall, in an offense loaded with top-end playmakers like Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas, the change under-center should not serve as much of a hindrance to the Saints' offense. If -- and it is a big if-- Winston proves capable of protecting the football, there is a legitimate chance that New Orleans' offense may show improvement after being forced into this temporary change at quarterback. Additionally, a soft matchup against an historically bad Atlanta Falcons' pass defense should bolster Winston's efficiency through the air.
For Atlanta, their passing attack has been the redeeming quality of their poor 2020 season. Together, Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Calvin Ridley comprise one of the league's premier trios through the air. Unfortunately, Calvin Ridley sustained a foot injury two weeks ago that has his status for this weekend's intradivision clash in doubt. Reportedly, his health is not progressing as quickly as originally expected, and he is expected to miss out once again, leaving Olamide Zaccheaus and Christian Blake to fill in for the young stud pass-catcher. The drop-off from Ridley to his replacements is steep and should allow New Orleans' top-five defense to zero-in on shutting down Julio Jones. Stopping Jones is far easier said than done, and he will likely still produce an impressive stat line on increased volume with Ridley inactive. Still, the efficiency totals for this passing attack without their number-two receiver will suffer drastically. On the ground, Todd Gurley's nose for the end zone has inflated his rushing numbers through nine games, but he ranks 45th in the NFL in yards-per-carry amongst qualified rushers. The Saints' defense is one of the most talent-laden groups in the NFL, with numerous playmakers at all three levels. In total, the pivotal injury to Calvin Ridley, and the associated drop-off in talent when plugging his replacements into the starting lineup, will likely hamstring Atlanta's offense. Against one of the league's top defenses, the Falcons can ill afford to put forth anything less than their best effort if they want to gain even the slightest advantage over their NFC South-leading rivals.
The market appears to have simultaneously overreacted to the injury news on New Orleans' side of the football and underreacted to the injury news on Atlanta's side of the football. This matchup projects to be nearly a 7.5-point game in favor of the Saints. Given the current line of New Orleans -4 at DraftKings Sportsbook, we will have a 1.1-unit wager on the Saints to cover the spread and net 1.0 unit of profit in a victory.
Summary of Picks
- Miami Dolphins -3.5 (-106), risk 1.325 units to win 1.25 units
- New Orleans Saints -4 (-110), risk 1.1 units to win 1.0 unit
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