Inside Slant: Week 11

Dave Larkin breaks down some under the radar bets for Week 11 as he tries to get back into the black. 

I don’t claim to be an expert at betting football games.

After all, gambling is, by definition, a bit of a toss-up. If you manage to come out of a season with anywhere around 55% of your bets earning a profit, you can afford to pat yourself on the back. Getting to that point is the hard part, but my aim is to help you do that across a season with some under the radar wagers.

What gambling on football does allow us to do is have a little bit of fun with games we might not normally be interested in. While wagering on the spread and total points is the norm, your best bet might be to eschew these and go with more unconventional options.

Sometimes you just know it’s not your season. After enduring a crushing, soul-destroying loss for my team against the Chiefs on Sunday, the acceptance phase has began to set in. For the purposes of this column, we fight on and spit in the face of the past few weeks.

There are several interesting early lines and possibilities to exploit on the Week 11 slate, so let’s get right to it before I start crying into my beer mug again.

WEEK 10 RECAP

PUSH: Home team total points: Baltimore over 28 points vs. Cleveland @ 10/11

It took a late Joe Flacco touchdown pass that barely escaped the grasp of the Browns cornerback in coverage, but Breshad Perriman’s hands saved the day. The line actually went down to a plum 27 points, which I jumped all over the night of the game. The end result is a personal victory, but not one for my readers – and that stings. Pushes are never fun, ladies and gentlemen.

WIN: Longest successful field goal: C. Santos (Chiefs) at Carolina @ evens

The return to my old strategy of relying on the legs of kickers pays off again! This one seemed likely on paper, what with the Chiefs’ propensity for taking three points and the Panthers’ improved defensive efforts of late. Cairo Santos did not disappointed and nailed all his field goal attempts, including the one that ripped my heart out and stomped on it. But hey, at least we’re in the black on this bet.

LOSS: Total points over 50.5 – Atlanta at Philadelphia @ 10/11

I have to hold my hands up here, although perhaps I should have known the Eagles would show up at home. They have been a much better team – especially defensively – at Lincoln Financial Field, and so it proved against the red-hot Falcons. It is always difficult to forecast which way to go on over/under totals when you have two competing factors like that: Atlanta’s offense versus Philadelphia’s stingy defense.

LOSS: New York Jets (-2) vs. Los Angeles @ 20/21

The news that Bryce Petty would be starting actually did not fill me with as much gloom as perhaps it should have. The Jets would manage without Ryan Fitzpatrick, right? Wrong. And as it turned out, it was a horror show for the home team. To lose to the putrid Rams at home and only score six points is just atrocious. Shame on you Jets, I expected more (money).

WEEK 10 RECORD: 1-2-1
SEASON RECORD: 16-22-2 (0.416)


WEEK 11 PUNTS

Total points under 40.5 – Miami at Los Angeles @ 10/11

After witnessing the Rams barely muster a handful of points during the past three games, I can’t in good conscience recommend the over. The total is a low 40.5, but with how well both defenses have been playing you have to think a slugfest is on tap. Knowing the NFL, of course, we’ll have a 30-27 barnburner decided by a last-second field goal to give the Rams another improbable win. That would be an aberration and I am a trends guy, so I’ll bet the under here and take my chances.

Home team total points over 27.5 – New York Giants @ 10/11

Jump on this before it goes to 28 points and beyond. I can safely say that the Bears have basically checked out on the season – and Jay Cutler is in his final stretch as their quarterback. The Giants are going the opposite direction and have somehow carved out a 6-3 record despite owning a negative points differential. One thing the Giants have is the ability to exploit mismatches on the perimeter; they should have their way with Chicago’s cornerbacks. Unless Eli Manning finds a way to screw it up, expect a dominant New York victory.

Longest successful field goal – Justin Tucker (Baltimore) @ 6/5

The Ravens’ Justin Tucker is one of the rare kickers you don’t need to worry about, a luxury in today’s landscape of misses and botches. You might call him a clutch kicker. The indoor setting of Jerry World should provide the perfect backdrop for a few long attempts from Tucker, who you should have faith in. After all, he has made all 22 of his field goal attempts and all 12 of his extra points this season. Let’s hope I can keep the kicker mojo going here.

Detroit (-6.5) v Jacksonville @ 20/21

I’m sorry, but the Jaguars are not deserving of this kind of respect. They deserve a small round of applause for showing some fight in their last two games coming out of the bye, but they are still a flawed team. The Lions come off a rest week and will be ready to go. They know that they lead the NFC North and their playoff destiny is in their hands. Jump on this before it leaps out to 7 or beyond – and trust me, it will.


Make sure to check back next week for more betting tips ahead of Week 12’s slate of games. Follow me on Twitter @davlar87.