Week 10 features several relatively close matchups in divisional games where the public is heavily on one team. In fact, there are not one but two games on the schedule where the public is picking the betting underdog the majority of the time. All of this provides some major value opportunities in your NFL pick ’em pools.
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Week 10 NFL Picks Advice: Tips for Pick ’em Pools
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NFL Week 10 features multiple favorites that the public is picking at a lower rate than their chances to win. These types of teams are as close to no-brainer picks as you can get in NFL pick ’em contests since you can take the team that’s expected to win yet still “fade the public” (in relative terms, at least) at the same time.
Minnesota (at Chicago)
The Vikings are actually the road favorite in this one, by 2.5 points, but the public is equally split so far. Minnesota got off to a rough start but have quietly fought their way back with consecutive wins over the Packers and Lions in the NFC North. They look to go three-for-three when they face the Bears, and if they can win against Chicago, they will be right back in the NFC playoff picture with a favorable second-half schedule.
Minnesota’s cold start was a function, in part, of turnovers, when they had 12 through their first six games. But since RB Dalvin Cook came back healthy after a bye week, Minnesota has returned to a pounding running game with play-action, and Kirk Cousins is averaging 8.9 yards per attempt.
Chicago, meanwhile, has lost three in a row after a 5-1 start that was not that impressive (every game was a one-score result). The offense is mediocre, at best, and Nick Foles is averaging 6.1 yards per attempt since taking over as the starter. The public might just look at the records (3-5 for Minnesota, 5-4 for Chicago) and give the Bears too much of a chance here, but the underlying play has the Vikings as the slight favorite.
Los Angeles Rams (vs. Seattle)
Seattle has been a public darling for the past two years, and it has a tendency to win close games. However, the Seahawks have also been suspect on defense this year, and that fact has bitten them in the past few weeks as they have lost two of the past three games. Seattle rank 32nd (dead last) in the NFL in total yards allowed through Week 9.
Our predictive ratings have these two teams right next to each other, and the Rams, coming off a bye and playing at home, are the betting favorite here. Our models give the Rams with a 53 percent of winning, but a whopping 77 percent of the public is taking underdog Seattle.
This is a great opportunity where you can take the slight favorite and gain ground on a big chunk of your pool if it wins.
Unpopular Toss-Up Picks
When a matchup is close to a 50/50 proposition, it often makes sense to pick the less popular team. To win an NFL pick ’em pool, you’re probably going to need some luck in these “coin flip” games, and when you get it, you want to maximize the upside.
Arizona (vs Buffalo)
Another game, another unpopular (slight) favorite. Arizona is playing the Bills at home, and the Cardinals are currently a one-point favorite in one of the closest matchups of the week.
Arizona lost at home to Miami last week in disappointing fashion, failing on two late 4th-and-1 plays (missed conversion, then missed field goal) that swung the outcome. Buffalo is coming off a big home win over Seattle. The public is no doubt impressed with that win considering how highly they value Seattle (see above). About 64 percent of the public is currently picking the Bills in this game.
Our predictive power ratings have Arizona just above Buffalo, even before considering home field. The value here is to stick with the Cardinals and not get too caught up with last week’s results or the Bills’ 7-2 record. Buffalo has only outscored opponents by nine points in total on the year despite already playing the Jets twice.
Indianapolis (at Tennessee)
Sometimes, you have to get right back on the horse that kicked you off, or in this case, the Colt. Indianapolis was one of our value plays last week and came up short against Baltimore. They show up as a value play to consider again because of the extreme popularity shift here. This game is a near toss-up (the Titans are favored by one point), but 89 percent of the public is going with Tennessee in the Thursday Night game.
Indianapolis ranks first in fewest total yards allowed and second in fewest yards per carry allowed (3.3). It will be strength-on-strength when the Colts face Derrick Henry and the Titans, and these teams are much more evenly matched than the public thinks. They also play twice in three weeks in a stretch that could decide the AFC South champion.
If you’re going to make a gamble on a decently sized underdog, you need to make sure that the potential reward if you get it right — that is, how much your odds to win your pool will increase — is big. Take a bunch of extra risk to make a trendy upset pick, and the joke is on you.
The pick below is definitely not appropriate for all pools. If you’re in a smaller, season-long pool, it is probably not worth the risk. However, it should be seriously considered for single-week contests or if you only care about weekly prizes.
LA Chargers (at Miami)
Speaking of keeping the faith, we again present the Chargers. The Chargers should have more than two wins at this point, but they are 1-6 in close games. That includes two overtime losses and, in the past two weeks, two games that were decided on the final play, both going against the Chargers.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins appear to be one of the season’s surprises. They are now 5-3, and rank in the top 10 in the NFL in both points scored and allowed. However, they also rank outside the top 20 in yards gained and yards allowed and have benefited from great turnover margins and missed field goals. For example, Miami opponents have only made 55 percent of field goals this season, including Arizona’s miss to tie the game last week.
The Chargers being only 2-6 and the Dolphins being 5-3 presents a value opportunity against public pickers who don’t recognize how luck has shaped these teams’ records so far. Miami is a 2.5-point favorite with 59-percent win odds, but 84 percent of the public is going with Miami.
In weekly contests and situations where it’s worth taking greater risks, the Chargers present an intriguing option to differentiate your entry.
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The teams mentioned in this post provide some of the best opportunities to differentiate your Week 10 picks from your pool opponents by taking on little or no additional risk. That’s the basic strategy foundation for winning more pick ’em pools and a big reason why an average of 72 percent our subscribers have reported winning a prize in a football pick ’em contest since 2014.
Please note, we are not saying that you should make all of the picks mentioned in this article — the upset picks especially. The best Week 10 picks for your NFL pool depend on a number of strategy factors particular to your pool, including its rules, how many people you’re playing against, the prize structure, and where you currently sit in the standings.
If you want to see the game-by-game Week 10 pick recommendations that will give you the best chance to win your pool, check out our Football Pick ’em Picks. It’s the only product available that customizes picks based on the dynamics of your specific pools.
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