NFL Week 11 Best Bets & Betting Picks: Cowboys Bounce Back Vs. Minnesota

Week 11 of the NFL season is here, and I’m covering all of my favorite bets for the week in this article. You can check out our site for all of your NFL betting needs including matchup previews, player props, and more. In addition, you can find further analysis on our YouTube channel. Let’s get to work.

NFL YTD: 93-67.5 (57.9%)

Philadelphia Eagles at Indianapolis Colts

“Want the truth? I feel like sh*t. It’s not a good feeling. But you do what you can do to win the game.”

Fletcher Cox was certainly feeling the effects of a 70-snap outing on Monday night, and the entire Eagles defense was on the field for a whopping 83 snaps as the Commanders dominated with 40 minutes of possession.

A short-week turnaround and a road game off that outing won’t be easy, nor will be facing a suddenly reinvigorated Colts team. The public outcry against Jeff Saturday was certainly compelling, but he delivered a win in his first outing as head coach.

Most importantly, the offensive line put together perhaps its best performance of the season. They allowed just four total pressures against the Raiders and helped Jonathan Taylor generate 3.8 yards per carry before contact.

Taylor is coming off his best game of the season against the Raiders with 22 carries for 147 yards and a score. For the first time in a while, he looked like the elite running back that won the rushing title last season.

I expect that rejuvenated effort to continue into this game. The Eagles’ run defense is absolutely bleeding, particularly without rookie Jordan Davis who is injured. They rank 28th in DVOA and 32nd in success rate against the run.

Philly signed Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh this week to shore up the run defense, but they are 34 and 35 years old and haven’t played all season. This defensive line will still be overmatched.

That rejuvenated run game will help Matt Ryan complete easier passes, particularly in the slot to Parris Campbell. In a breakout year, Campbell is averaging 68 yards per game in his last three starts with Ryan, and the Eagles are currently without slot corner Avonte Maddox.

The Commanders laid the blueprint defensively for how to beat the Eagles last week as they ran zone at a 75% rate and held Jalen Hurts to 175 passing yards. The Colts can follow suit as they run zone at a 78.3% rate, the 12th-highest in the league per PFF.

A.J. Brown has been significantly less effective against zone defense this year. His PFF grade is fifth against man and 30th against zone among receivers with 10+ snaps against both types of coverage. Brown is also not at 100% health after picking up an ankle injury on Monday.

The Eagles also just lost Dallas Goedert, one of their most effective receivers against zone. DeVonta Smith has been very effective against zone defenses this year, as we saw on Monday, but overall the Eagles’ offenses will be somewhat limited.

Finally, the Eagles are due for some negative regression, particularly in the turnover department. Even after losing the turnover battle on Monday, they lead the league with a +13 turnover differential. The next-best team is the Vikings at +8. The Colts can frustrate Hurts with their zone coverage and force him into interceptions like the one here.

The Colts simply match up very well with the Eagles, and you’re capturing plenty of key numbers by getting them +7 at home. The betting public will rush to bet the Eagles in a hopeful bounceback, but this sets up as a brutal spot for Philadelphia to win with margin.

Best Bet: Colts +6 or better and sprinkle ML

Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings

You might have seen the line for this game and been surprised. After all, the Vikings are 8-1 and coming off a win over the Bills while the Cowboys are 6-3, sit in third place in their division, and are coming off a loss to the Packers who the Vikings beat by 16 points earlier in the year. What gives?

As is always the case in handicapping NFL games, a further look past these teams’ records is needed. That Minnesota win over Buffalo was the second-luckiest by postgame win expectancy since 2014 as the Bills had a 99.3% chance of winning.

The Justin Jefferson catch – you know the one I’m talking about – was easily the best play of the season thus far. However, it was 4th and 18 past the two-minute warning, and Jefferson was closely covered. Relying on that type of play every week is the definition of unsustainability.

The Vikings now have eight wins, seven of which have been by one score, and that simply isn’t a sustainable model. No team has been 8-1 with a lower point differential since 2000 than the Vikings’ +35 differential.

Defensively, the Vikings rank 19th in overall DVOA, which isn’t horrible, but let’s take a look at the teams they’ve played so far:

  • Bills with Josh Allen nursing an elbow injury
  • Commanders with their backup Taylor Heinicke
  • Cardinals with 3 of 5 offensive line starters out
  • Dolphins with their backups Skylar Thompson and Teddy Bridgewater
  • Bears before they began using designed runs with Justin Fields

In addition, they’ve faced Andy Dalton and Jared Goff. Despite all of that, they are allowing the second-highest yards per pass attempt (7.9) and fifth-most yards per play overall (5.9).

Minnesota has been especially bad defensively on early downs as they rank 29th in early down success rate. The Cowboys rank eighth in early downs EPA, and that’s with Cooper Rush for a big chunk of the season. Since Dak Prescott returned, they rank second in early downs EPA.

The injuries have piled up for the Minnesota defense as top cornerback Cameron Dantzler remains out, making this a delightful matchup for CeeDee Lamb, while Dalvin Tomlinson, Everson Griffen, and Za’Darius Smith are nursing injuries along the defensive line.

Looking at the Minnesota offense, they are obviously excellent. Justin Jefferson is perhaps the best wide receiver in the NFL, and his downfield role has expanded as a result of the addition of dynamic tight end T.J. Hockenson via trade.

However, they are coming off a dreadful first half performance where they ranked dead last in EPA/play on early downs for the week. That led to their need to have an absurd comeback, and they won’t be able to survive like that moving forward.

They will also have problems with Dallas’s elite pass rush. Kirk Cousins ranks just 20th in passer rating under pressure, and he’s due for negative regression in the turnover department as he has seven turnover-worthy plays to just three interceptions when he’s under pressure.

Christian Darrisaw has been ruled in for this game despite the concussion he suffered last week, and that’s massive as he’s perhaps the best offensive tackle in the NFL right now. However, the interior of the Vikings’ offensive line has been a sieve, and that’s problematic when Micah Parsons demands extra attention on the edge.

The Vikings will be able to run the ball as Dalvin Cook has been far more dynamic lately. The Cowboys are allowing 1.64 yards before contact per run, which ranks 27th in the NFL, and they are coming off back to back games of allowing 200+ rushing yards for the first time in franchise history.

However, the Vikings were able to run the ball last week, and they still got stuck in bad positions due to their inconsistency on early downs. That will be a recipe for a disaster this week against Parsons and this Dallas pass rush.

The Cowboys are ranked fourth in DVOA and have 7.7 estimated wins while the Vikings are ranked 17th and have 4.5 estimated wins. Excellent coaching and execution have pulled Minnesota through many close games this year, but Dallas has been the better team over the course of the year, and they are deserving favorites in this game.

Best Bet: Cowboys -2.5 or better

Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers

While betting on the basis of trends is risky business at times, one thing is certain – Mike Tomlin owns the Cincinnati Bengals. Even with the Bengals’ 2-0 sweep last year, the Steelers have won 12 of their last 15 against their divisional rival.

Tomlin is also elite in the underdog role. In his last 21 games as a home underdog, he’s gone 15-3-3 ATS per Action. The trends are also strong in favor of home divisional dogs in general, particularly in a game with a low total like this one.

The Steelers are undervalued in the market right now due to having played the most difficult schedule by DVOA in the league to date. Last week was the first time all year that they hadn’t faced a team ranked inside the top 13 by DVOA, and they came away with a ten-point home win as an underdog.

Due to that difficult schedule, the Steelers defense had been highly underrated, but they’re now at their healthiest point of the season. Reigning DPOY T.J. Watt returned to the lineup last week and Minkah Fitzpatrick is somehow back in the lineup after getting an appendectomy just a week ago.

With those two active, the Steelers’ defense becomes the best unit on the field in this game, particularly with the elite coaching duo of Tomlin and Brian Flores. Pittsburgh held Cincinnati to 20 points on opening day, and while the five turnovers they forced likely aren’t repeatable, Watt will wreak havoc against this overmatched offensive line.

Joe Burrow’s season has largely been dependent on the type of coverage his opponent has run as he’s been far better against teams that don’t run a majority of two-high defense. The Steelers will run a ton of that coverage this week, and that will create problems.

With Ja’Marr Chase out for another week, the passing game will be more limited, and the onus will be on Joe Mixon to pick things up on the ground. However, Pittsburgh has drastically improved its run defense from last year and now ranks top seven in DVOA, success rate allowed, and YPC allowed.

The Steelers held Mixon to just 3 yards per attempt in Week 1. Much of their defensive turnaround against the run has been thanks to Devin Bush’s significant improvement as he’s only missed one tackle all season in the middle of the defense.

The Bengals are coming off their bye week, which is a point in their favor, but teams coming off the bye week are just 7-9 ATS this year. While that’s a relatively small sample size, there’s no clear indication that it matters one way or the other.

What does matter is that the Bengals are getting D.J. Reader back this week, their elite run stopper. Without Reader, Cincinnati had allowed 150+ rushing yards in three of their last five games, so his return is monumental.

However, the season-ending injury to cornerback Chidobe Awuzie is massive, particularly with Eli Apple and Cam Taylor-Britt being among PFF’s worst-graded corners in the league this year. Combined with a defensive line that ranks just 16th in pressure rate, this pass defense is highly vulnerable.

Kenny Pickett has rarely amazed in his rookie season, but he’s overcome difficult circumstances. After coming in at halftime against the Jets, who have one of the best defenses in the NFL, three of his first four starts were on the road against the Bills, Eagles, and Dolphins.

Finally at home and facing a weak Saints defense last week, Pickett played well with a 60% completion rate and two big-time throws to no turnover-worthy plays. The Steelers’ path to winning this game isn’t through an offensive explosion, but Pickett’s ability to keep the chains moving and avoid turnovers is massive.

The Bengals simply aren’t the same offense without Ja’Marr Chase, and this is a brutal matchup for them against a rapidly improving Pittsburgh defense. Despite this being a borderline must-win game for Cincinnati to keep their AFC North hopes alive, I like Pittsburgh to win this outright, and I’ll happily take the 4.5 points.

Best Bet: Steelers +3.5 or better and ML

Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers

When the Chargers traveled to play the Chiefs earlier this season, Kansas City was a 4.5-point home favorite. They wound up winning that game by 3, but the Chargers arguably could have and perhaps should have won that game.

The line for this week’s matchup opened up with the Chiefs as 7-point road favorites. If we use 1.5 points as a conservative baseline for homefield advantage, that split would indicate that the Chiefs are 5.5 points better than the Chargers now than they were in Week 2.

The Chargers have had several injuries, so there’s some logic to a downgrade in their power rating and an upgrade for the Chiefs. However, Mike Williams and Keenan Allen are trending towards playing, and that would be massive for Justin Herbert whose offensive weapons have been lacking without them.

Justin Herbert is 4-1 ATS against the Chiefs in his career and 2-3 straight up. Those three losses came by three points twice and six points once in overtime. It’s been close every time these teams have played, regardless of the injury situations.

The Chiefs rank first in offensive DVOA, EPA, and points per game. However, those numbers are rather skewed thanks to two games against the Cardinals and 49ers where those NFC West teams were both missing a handful of crucial starters on defense.

Of course, the Chargers are also missing key players, but they rank 12th in pass defense DVOA on the season despite facing the seventh-most difficult schedule of opposing offenses. They’ve largely held up despite the injuries.

The Chargers’ biggest defensive weakness is against the run where they rank bottom five in DVOA, yards per carry, and success rate allowed. However, they would be thrilled if the Chiefs employed a run-heavy approach with their underwhelming three-man backfield and kept the ball out of Patrick Mahomes’s hands.

Mahomes is having an MVP-caliber season, but the supporting cast is much worse than last year. Of course, there’s the loss of Tyreek Hill, which is further compounded in this game by the expected absences of both JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman.

Kadarius Toney, despite just joining the team a couple of weeks ago, might be their WR1 for this game alongside Travis Kelce, who has one of the more difficult matchups possible against the elite safety Derwin James.

In addition, Kansas City’s offensive line simply hasn’t been the same as they rank below average in pressure allowed and adjusted line yards. Mahomes has been able to overcome that, but it reduces his margin for error in everything he does.

The Chiefs’ defense has also been fairly pedestrian. Despite facing the seventh-easiest schedule to date, they rank below average in DVOA against the run and pass. Particularly damning is their rank of 25th in early down EPA allowed as they’ve had to rely on third down stops.

Kansas City ranks 8th in pressure rate, but they’ve had to blitz at the eighth-highest rate to produce that result, and Herbert is averaging more yards per attempt against the blitz this season despite all of the injuries around him.

A bulk of the Chiefs’ pressure comes from elite three-tech tackle Chris Jones – he leads the team with 37 total pressures. While the Chargers’ offensive tackle situation is iffy, Corey Linsley is healthy and one of the best centers in the league. He can help mitigate Jones’s impact.

Justin Herbert is 9-5 ATS as an underdog in his career and 7-1 ATS as a dog of 3+ points per Bet Labs. Even last week, in hostile territory with minimal offensive help and his opponent coming off a bye week, he secured a cover.

The Chiefs simply haven’t been the same machine this year as we’re used to seeing, and with their injuries, getting over a field goal on the Chargers at home is rich. Let’s bet on Herbert holding up his end of the bargain.

I played this game at Chargers +7 and +6 once I heard more positive news on the injury front, but I’d truly play it all the way down to 3.5. You should also put some money on the ML in this spot at 2-1 value. This is shaping up to be an exciting Sunday night.

Best Bet: Chargers +3.5 or better and ML

I've been a huge sports fan for as long as I can remember and I've always loved writing. In 2020, I joined the Lineups team, and I've been producing written and video content on football and basketball ever since. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. My goal is to tell enthralling stories and provide meaningful insight on the sports I write about while helping you cash some bets along the way.

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