NFL expert Tom Selwyn (@Tom_Selwyn) shares his expert opinion on the best bets available from Sunday's action on Week 10.
Arizona Cardinals @ Kansas City Chiefs | Sunday 11th November 2018 | 18:00 | Sky Sports
It’s tough to find sure things in the NFL, but the closest you can get to one is the Chiefs’ offense. The lowest total they’ve put up this season has been 27! I’ve backed them to lead after every quarter or to score in every quarter a number of times this season and I think this is the right team in the Cardinals and the right location in Kansas City to take the long odds and back them to win every quarter.
The offense I don’t doubt will be upholding their end of the bargain: They are averaging a league best 36.3 points a game as well as topping the TD charts with 41 (5 more than the 2nd place Steelers) and can hurt opposing teams in so many ways – Kareem Hunt, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill.. and the list seems to get bigger each week with them deciding to feature plays to backup RB Spencer Ware last week.
It’s the defence that will need to play well throughout the entire game and I think this is the right spot for them to do so. They having been improving as the season has gone along, especially up front, and will be facing one of the league’s worst offenses in the Cardinals. Arizona is averaging just 13.8 points a game (a difference of 22.5 points to Kansas City if you’re keeping score) and although their offense has become slightly less predictable under new coordinator Byron Leftwich, there just isn’t enough talent to get close to the Chiefs.
Sometimes with these bets you can get taken out by a garbage time score late on in a blowout, but the Cardinals defence is actually a very good unit that’s handicapped by the offense. They’re tied for 7th in sacks and have actually missed less tackles than teams like the Ravens, so I think that they will be able to make just enough plays to keep this from getting ugly too quickly (postponing the inevitable though).
I’m also going to have a little statistical bet on this game that would have banked in 7 of 9 Chiefs games this season and yet is still odds-against; Patrick Mahomes to have 300+ yards passing and Kansas City to win.
Mahomes has been phenomenal this season and hasn’t dipped below 300 yards this season since week 1 and of course the Chiefs have only lost one game this season. Although the aforementioned Cardinals defence actually fares quite well against the pass (giving up just 224.6 yards a game), the only game where they’ve faced an attack that could rival the Chiefs (the Rams in week 2) they gave up 354 yards through the air.
Earlier in the season, I wondered when the Chiefs offense, as it did the season before, would come back to the pack, but they have showed no signs of slowing down and no defences have been able to come close to stopping them. Until this happens – if it does happen – I’ll backing Kansas City’s offense.
Atlanta Falcons @ Cleveland Browns | Sunday 11th November 2018 | 18:00 | Sky Sports
The team that were on the receiving end Kansas City’s offense last week were the Browns. It wasn’t a terrible performance by any means, but I feel that they are going to be fighting an uphill battle again this week as they welcome the Falcons this time around. Last week I wrongly thought that Atlanta would struggle on the road against a tough defence, but they dismantled Washington with ease and look to be making a charge for the playoffs – I’ll be taking Atlanta -5.5 in Cleveland.
What surprised me most last week was how Atlanta dominated in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Attrition did set in for the Redskins along the OL, but the Falcons were routinely winning before that point, collecting 3 sacks and holding Washington to just 79 yards rushing (and that includes a 22 yard scramble from QB Alex Smith).
The Browns OL has not been good this year and that has to worry you if you’re a Cleveland fan, or indeed a Baker Mayfield fan. He has been under constant duress this season, with the OL giving up a league worst 35 sacks so far. With the Falcons having added Bruce Irvin to their squad this week, their pass rush got better and it could be another long day for Mayfield.
With players like Julio Jones and Tevin Coleman on their offense, I fully expect Atlanta to take advantage of an overly aggressive Cleveland defence that looks like it will be a little shorthanded in the secondary. Jones can dominate in just about any defence, but it’s Coleman that could have a monster day as he can do a lot of similar things that Kareem Hunt did for the Chiefs last week.
This does have a little bit of a trap game feel to it, but I was highly impressed with the way the Falcons handled their business last week, especially along the OL and DL. I think they should be able to dispatch the Browns and get above .500.
Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles | Monday 12th November 2018 | 01:25 | Sky Sports
Heading to the Sunday Night Football matchup for my final pick this week that, shockingly, is from the NFC East! No matter how poorly the Cowboys play they will always find their way to prime time. After a loss to the Titans last week (again in prime time), various members of the organisation openly admitted they couldn’t imagine losing to Tennessee. That is some shocking delusion. Dallas have a very good defence, but their offense is poor and they’re a mediocre team that shouldn’t be looking past anyone.
The offense is 26th in the league when it comes to points (averaging 19.2 a game) and will now be facing a tough Philadelphia defence that is only giving up 19.5 points a game (tied for 5th). I’ll be backing Dallas to have Under 18.5 points in this one.
Watching the Cowboys WRs, there just seems to be no consistent separation from defenders (even with the addition of Amari Cooper) and with Dallas struggling to get Ezekiel Elliot going in the run game there’s not much play action to assist this. Given that the Eagles are 2nd against the run this season, giving up 83.8 yards a game on the ground, this doesn’t point to being the game where they get him back on track.
Philadelphia can be vulnerable in the secondary there’s no doubt, but I don’t think that Dallas has the personnel to be able to take advantage of this and they should be held to another low points total.