Most people don’t know this, but Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David are big sports bettors…
In today’s Betting Life Newsletter presented by BetMGM:
- The NFL’s Top Teams: Who’s real? Who’s fake?
- Adjusted Scores: Packers beat Chargers 22-22.
- Early Lines: Dollar, dollar Bills, y’all.
- Tommy DeVito: NFL QB???
- MNF: Super Bowl rematch!
- It’s 11/20: Take it away, Matthew Freedman…
Entering Week 11, seven teams in the Massey-Peabody Power Ratings had ratings of more than a couple points.
- Ravens: +8.6
- 49ers: +8.29
- Bills: +6.3
- Chiefs: +6.18
- Cowboys: +5.79
- Dolphins: +5.5
- Eagles: +5.27
The Chiefs and Eagles play tonight in an anticipated Super Bowl rematch, so here are my takeaway thoughts on how the five other teams played this past week.
💪 Ravens (8-3)
- Beat Bengals 34-20
- Covered -4
- Point Differential: +127
The Ravens had some help in Week 11, as Bengals QB Joe Burrow (wrist, IR) left the game shortly before halftime with a season-ending injury — but it’s not as if the Ravens needed the assist: They impressed with 6.8 yards per play on offense, and on defense they have proven themselves throughout the season, ranking No. 2 in EPA (-0.133, per RBs Don’t Matter).
I don’t have them as the top team in the league — not with Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes healthy and possessing the best defense of his career — but the Ravens are very much in the running for the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
⛏️ 49ers (7-3)
- Beat Buccaneers 27-14
- Did Not Cover -13.5
- Point Differential: +122
Entering Week 11, QB Brock Purdy was No. 1 in AY/A (9.6), composite EPA + CPOE (0.199), and QBR (76.4, per ESPN) — and then he passed for 333 yards and three TDs in a blowout win.
Those are MVP-caliber numbers.
In the team’s seven full games with WR Deebo Samuel, the 49ers are 7-0 — 5-2 ATS (36.6% ROI, per Action Network) — and have won all but one by 13-plus points.
As long as Purdy has his full complement of playmakers, the 49ers are championship contenders.
🦬 Bills (6-5)
- Beat Jets 32-6
- Covered -8.5
- Point Differential: +104
The Bills were one of my Week 11 best bets.
QB Josh Allen throws INTs, but he’s not the problem: The offense entered Week 11 as a top-four unit.
And then the Bills put up 32 points against a tough Jets defense.
The problem with the Bills is their defense, but I expect it to improve as the season progresses — and defense matters less than offense anyway.
🤠 Cowboys (7-3)
- Beat Panthers 33-10
- Covered -11.5
- Point Differential: +127
The Cowboys didn’t overwhelm in Week 11: They averaged only 4.6 yards per play. And still they dominated.
Against outclassed teams, the Cowboys pile it on. As favorites they’re 7-1 ATS (66.8% ROI), and in their seven wins they’ve had a margin of at least 13 points in every game but one.
Their losses against the 49ers (42-10) and Eagles (28-23) suggest that the Cowboys might struggle against the league’s top teams — but they themselves look like a top team in almost every game.
🐬 Dolphins (7-3)
- Beat Raiders 20-13
- Did Not Cover -14
- Point Differential: +67
The Dolphins feel like the AFC version of the Cowboys: As favorites, they’re 5-1 ATS (58.8% ROI). All of their wins but one have been by seven-plus points.
But they’ve lost against the top teams they’ve played: Bills (48-20), Eagles (31-17), and Chiefs (21-14).
And their win against the Raiders was uninspiring.
I’m not writing them off, but the Dolphins might look better than they are.
Kevin Cole is the proprietor of Unexpected Points (a sports analytics newsletter), and each week he reviews every game and provides his “adjusted scores” based on the underlying production data. Here is one excerpt from his advanced game reviews for Week 11.
The adjusted scores quantify team play quality, with emphasis on stable metrics (success rate) and downplaying higher variance events (turnovers, special teams, penalties, fumble luck, etc.).
📊 Adjusted Scores Table
- “Pass”: Pass rate over expectation (based on the context of each play and historical averages)
- “Success”: Success rate on offense, a key metric in adjusted score vs. actual score
- “H & A”: Home or away team
🦁 Lions vs. Bears
- Final Score: 31-26
- Adjusted Score: 28-23
Surprisingly close game in Justin Fields’ return, with a handful of Lions’ turnovers (four versus one for the Bears) stalling out largely successful drives.
Even with three interceptions (-14 EPA), the Lions offense hit near the 70th percentile in efficiency, slightly better than the Bears. The most impactful play of the game was a Craig Reynolds kick-return fumble, setting up the Bears at the Lions 40 yard-line, converted to a touchdown three plays later.
The Lions were able to dig themselves out of a hole and ultimately win the game with a late touchdown. David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs totaled 112 rushing yards and two touchdowns but only got 20 carries.
Fields brought a lot of what made him a surprisingly efficient quarterback last season: rushing value (+2.4 EPA, 104 yards), few mistakes (only two sacks and no turnovers) and lots of downfield throws (10.9-yard aDOT).
It’s somewhat impressive that Jared Goff could still have slightly positive efficiency, despite three bad interceptions. This was supposed to be easier for the Lions at home, but they’ll take the W either way. At 8-2 and a relatively easy schedule remaining (GB, @ NO, @ CHI, DEN, @ MIN, @ DAL, MIN), it isn’t out of the question that the Lions find their way to the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
🧀 Packers vs. Chargers
- Final Score: 23-20
- Adjusted Score: 22-22
This one looked more like a draw than a Packers victory by the adjusted numbers, with the Packers benefiting from some fumble recovery luck (three fumbles, none lost). It was another instance for the Chargers with Justin Herbert playing well but teammates (and coaching) letting him down.
Austin Ekeler was optically good running the ball (64 yards on 10 carries), but had the impactful play of the game with a 2nd & 2 fumble at the Packers 2 yard-line, and Joshua Kelley’s optically poor 13 yards on six carries cost the Chargers 2.5 expected points.
Good efficiency from both quarterbacks and Jordan Love has been decent in recent weeks after a fast start, even if the Packers hadn’t been able to win those games. I don’t know if he’s the long-term answer, but Love is currently in the top half of starters in per-play efficiency.
🏈 The Rivalry of This Era Yet No Bad Blood
SOOOO many storylines, you need to calm down...
Its really hard to know where to start... a rematch of last year's Big Game... podcast hosts squaring off against each other... parents meeting for the first time... oh, and let's not forget that these are two of the most talented teams in the NFL and among the betting favorites to make it back to the Big Game this year!
Despite all of those exciting storylines, you can still make this game more exciting with an incredible offer from BetMGM!
How do I get started? It's simple:
- Sign up for a new BetMGM account
- Make your initial deposit
- Place your first bet
Check out Geoff Ulrich’s favorite MNF bets later in the newsletter!
Bucks -9.0 at Wizards (-110; FanDuel)
The Bucks started the season slow, which was to be expected after making a massive lineup change in the offseason. However, they’ve rattled off four consecutive wins, and they’re second in Net Rating over that time frame (+15.3 points per 100 possessions).
Meanwhile, the Wizards are in a clear rebuilding season, and they’re 27th in Net Rating over the same time frame. This number is only going up, so I’d recommend getting on board early.
Finding early betting value — and grabbing as much closing line value (CLV) as possible — is one of the easiest ways to become a better bettor. Matt LaMarca dives into a few bets to consider attacking early in the week.
💰 Bills (+3.5) at Eagles
- Current Line: Bills +3.5 (-115; FanDuel)
- Lookahead Line: Bills +2.5
- Target Range: Bills +3.5 or better
Will Week 11 go down as the week the Bills got their mojo back? To quote Austin Powers: “Yeah, baby!”
There’s nothing ultimately that impressive about beating the Jets. However, it’s no secret that the Jets have had Josh Allen’s number over the years. They forced him into four turnovers in Week 1, and they limited him to less than 4.6 adjusted yards per attempt in two games last year.
Under new offensive coordinator Joe Brady, Allen was able to finally vanquish Gang Green. He racked up 275 yards and three touchdowns through the air, and he added another 15 yards on the ground. He did throw his usual interception – he has a pick in nine of 11 games this season – but it came at the end of the second half on a desperation heave toward the end zone.
Ultimately, this was one of the best games we’ve seen from Allen this season, and he was already playing at an MVP-caliber level. He entered Week 11 second in EPA + CPOE composite and fourth in QBR, so his game is peaking at the right time.
The Bills will face a brutal schedule over the next three weeks, starting with a matchup vs. the Eagles in Week 12. However, they’re catching Philly at an ideal time. The Eagles will be on short rest after playing on Monday night, and they could be a bit hungover after a Super Bowl rematch vs. the Chiefs.
The Bills are listed as 3.5-point road underdogs, which feels a bit disrespectful. The Massey-Peabody Power Ratings have the Bills as more than a full point better than the Eagles on a neutral field, so getting more than a field goal here is a gift.
I don’t expect the 3.5s to hang around for long, so I’m grabbing this now before this line dips to 3.0. It’s already down to three at some locations, so the stragglers could quickly follow suit.
🐦 Cardinals (+1.0) vs. Rams
- Current Line: Cardinals +1.0 (-110; Caesars)
- Opening Line: Cardinals +2.5
- Target Range: Cardinals pick’em or better
The Cardinals managed to hang on for the slimmest of covers in Week 11, making them a perfect 2-0 ATS with Kyler Murray at quarterback.
Now, they get to take on a significantly banged-up Rams squad in Week 12. Cooper Kupp exited the game with an ankle injury, while Matthew Stafford was shaken up after a massive hit on an interception.
Stafford was able to stick it out because he’s a tough guy, but he wasn’t particularly efficient from that point on. The Rams did manage to squeak out a one-point win after Seattle missed a field goal attempt with the clock ticking down, but it was far from an impressive performance.
There isn’t a ton of value in line moves around zero, but I firmly expect the Cardinals to close as favorites in this spot. You could certainly lock in the Cardinals as one-point underdogs, but the better move might be +100 on the moneyline. They’re already up to -116 on FanDuel, so you could save a nice bit of juice by the time kickoff rolls around.
⛔ Kickers are people too… except when they’re not. If you were banking on this team’s kicker to bail you out, you’re still waiting.
🔥 +38.5u in the last 30 days and guess what? It’s all free.
🏴☠️ Antonio Pierce isn’t just a player’s coach, he’s a bettor’s dream. This one bettor might be thanking him more than others.
🤢 “To the left, to the left…” Don’t strain your neck checking out how terrible this team has been on offense in 2023.
🚽 Speaking of terrible, how bad is the Commanders defense? After failing this Giants litmus test it’s possible that the limit does not exist.
🤌 Tommy DeVito… potentially better than your team’s starting QB. TDs aren’t everything but DeVito has delivered better than some.
🐴 The Broncos are good now? It’s a Cinderella story, but they may not be turning into a pumpkin anytime soon with these stats.
💰 Looking for more Monday Night Football bets? We’ve got you covered.
Monday Night Football features the Broncos at Bills, and Geoff Ulrich is here to highlight some of his favorite bets for the game…
Enroll your wife or partner in a Monday night book club and send your kids to the grandparents. The game of the year is upon us.
We know these teams well. Philadelphia is a lethal offense that can run and pass the ball explosively, but their defense is a Jekyll and Hyde unit (19th in yards per play against).
The Chiefs have been more methodical this season than in years past. They still rank 6th in offensive DVOA but have been carried by a defense that is 5th in yards per play against.
So who takes down this Super Bowl rematch and what are the best angles for betting? We have you covered for bets and more below.
- Play to: +110
The Chiefs have been terrific defensively this season but AJ Brown and Jalen Hurts have managed to move the ball against everyone. Hurts comes in ranked fourth in EPA+CPOE composite among all QBs.
This is also a spot where I expect the Eagles ground game to get going again. The Chiefs allowed plenty of explosive run plays to Miami in their close win overseas and Philadelphia’s healthy offensive line can replicate a lot of that success with a combo of D’Andre Swift and Kenneth Gainwell.
Bottom line. The Eagles are 22-2 SU in their last 24 regular season games where Jalen Hurts has started and we are now getting +125 on the ML to bet them for a straight-up win? I’ll take anything at +110 to back Philly to do what they do best – win another regular season game.
🦅 Prop: Kenneth Gainwell Over 14.5 RuYds (-117, Unibet)
- Bet To: Over 15.5 (-115)
- Fantasy Life Projection: 18.5
It looked like Gainwell may be headed to a near-complete benching a couple of weeks ago but the lack of production from D’Andre Swift of late does make this somewhat of a bounceback spot. Over the last three games, Swift has averaged just 3.3 yards per attempt while Gainwell had a couple explosive runs last week, and saw his snaps tick up slightly.
We have Gainwell sitting around 18.5 rushing yards in our aggregate projections on site giving us a decent enough edge to attack, against a KC rush defense who is just 15th in yards per rush against.
- Play to: +400
I mentioned McKinnon in the weekly TD article on Fantasy Life.
The thesis is pretty simple. The Chiefs like to save McKinnon for big games late in the season and lean on him around the goal line against tough rush defenses.
“Between Week’s 11-18 last year McKinnon scored an incredible 9 TDs, with 8 of those TDs coming as a receiver. The Eagles rush defense is one of the best in the league (2 rushing TDs allowed to RBs this year) and with the Chiefs coming off a bye week it wouldn’t shock me if Andy Reid dialed up some passing plays for McKinnon in the red zone.”