Even ugly dogs find people who feed them…
In today’s Betting Life newsletter presented by LG Channels:
- Divisional Road Dogs: Ugly, but maybe cuddly?
- Player Props! CMC ATD… again…
- A Group Chat Parlay: +560, burn your MONEY!
- Last-Minute Bets: We got you covered.
- Sunday Night Football: Thunder on the under.
- It’s 11/19: Take it away, Matthew Freedman…
Today, we have five divisional matchups that feature road underdogs (as of Sat. 11/18, 2:00 pm ET).
- Steelers +1 to +2 at Browns
- Bears +7.5 to +8 at Lions
- Giants +8.5 to +9.5 at Commanders
- Titans +6.5 to +7 at Jaguars
- Jets +7 to +7.5 at Bills
I highlighted Lions-Bears and Commanders-Giants in the Thursday Betting Life Newsletter, so I won’t cover them here, but I will provide thoughts on the other three games… right after a quick analysis of divisional road underdogs.
🐶 Divisional Road Underdogs
Since 2003, road underdogs have been profitable — especially in division (regular-season numbers only, per the Action Network database).
- Road Underdogs: 1,718-1,597-95 ATS (0.9% ROI)
- Divisional Road Underdogs: 644-557-35 ATS (4.3% ROI)
Why have divisional matchups been friendly to road dogs?
- Home-Field Advantage: In division, home-field value is diminished.
- Familiarity: The knowledge of divisional opponents results in tighter games.
So divisional road dogs should draw our attention — but a note of caution: This trend’s profitability has declined as the season progresses.
- Week 1: 40-27-2 ATS (16.1% ROI)
- Weeks 1-4: 139-102-8 ATS (12.3% ROI)
- Weeks 1-10: 312-235-17 ATS (10.9% ROI)
- Weeks 11-18: 264-266-11 ATS (-3.0% ROI)
In the second half of the season, the edge for divisional road dogs has eroded.
Early in the year, power ratings are compressed. Teams are healthy, organized, and motivated. But by the second half, many of the bad teams are “experimenting,” making QB switches, firing coaches, and descending into chaos.
To this point, I’ve sometimes talked about liking a team because it’s a divisional road dog. But moving forward you’ll likely hear that less.
⛏️ Steelers +1 to +2 at Browns
Before Browns QB Deshaun Watson (shoulder, IR) was ruled out, I opened a position on the Steelers at +4.5 and logged it in our 100% FREE Fantasy Life Bet Tracker.
And I like the Steelers even more now: I have Watson as +4.2 points better than rookie QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson — but the market hasn’t moved that much.
Plus, the situational spot favors the Steelers. HC Mike Tomlin as a divisional underdog is 23-8-2 ATS (40.3% ROI).
Compare that to Browns HC Kevin Stefanski (and fill-in HC Mike Priefer), who as a divisional favorite is 2-8 ATS (-61.0% ROI).
Against Stefanski (and Priefer, who had a great 48-37 playoff win against Tomlin in the 2020-21 postseason), Tomlin is 6-2 ATS (41.7% ROI).
I like the Steelers on the moneyline and in teasers.
⚔️ Titans +6.5 to +7 at Jaguars
I have a bet on Titans +7.
Titans HC Mike Vrabel is 25-14-1 ATS (22.6% ROI) as a dog of at least a field goal, whereas Jaguars HC Doug Pederson is 20-27 ATS (-16.3% ROI) as a favorite of three-plus points.
The Jaguars have struggled offensively this year, ranking No. 23 in EPA (-0.075, per RBs Don’t Matter).
For a team that doesn’t pile on points, -7 is a big number in division — especially given that the Jaguars have one of the league’s worst home-field advantages.
✈️ Jets +7 to +7.5 at Bills
I highlighted this game in my Week 11 best bets piece.
Even with their recent underperformance, the Bills are No. 3 (+6.3) in the Massey-Peabody Power Ratings. The Jets are No. 26 (-3.41).
I’m fine betting Bills -7 or teasing at -7.5.
For everything you need for Week 11 — including our inactives page, which will update shortly after 11:30 am ET with all of the relevant status updates — you can get to your destination with a mere click of a button.
See our suite of tools to get you ready for today’s slate below:
- My Projection: -261.4
- Cutoff: -245
Sure, McCaffrey didn’t score a TD last week, but a lot of that was due to incredibly bad luck. The 49ers scored 34 points — and yet McCaffrey didn’t find the endzone. How?
The 49ers didn’t run a play inside the 10-yard until there was only 5:17 left in the game. And even then the 49ers gave McCaffrey four opportunities (two carries, two targets).
Framed differently: McCaffrey had 100% of the team’s opportunities within the 10-yard line last week.
That’s the kind of usage that results in TDs far more often than not.
In his 23 games with the 49ers, he has scored 26 TDs. In all but four of his 49ers games has he hit paydirt (82.6%). He leads the league with 38 redzone carries and also has nine targets inside the 20-yard line.
At -195, McCaffrey has a 66.1% implied probability of scoring a TD this week, and I have his true odds of scoring projected at 72.3%.
- My Projection: 55.7
- Cutoff: 51.5
The Lions are home favorites of more than a TD, so they could have a run-heavy game script.
Despite sharing work with rookie RB Jahmyr Gibbs, Montgomery leads the league with 83.5 rushing yards per game.
Montgomery exited Week 6 early after just 18 snaps (26%), but in his five other games he has had at least 12 carries and 67 yards rushing.
Plus… this is a #RevengeGame for Montgomery against the Bears, who let him walk in free agency this offseason. Does that matter? Probably not. But it doesn’t hurt.
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Why: Because they are going to get you ready to dominate your fantasy matchups before kick-off including:
- Look who's back! Finally some good news!!
- A New OC in Buffalo...what does that mean for Allen, Diggs and the rest of the Bills stars?
- Ian's Bold Prediction!
Welcome to Week 11 of Bets from the Group Chat, where I (Geoff Ulrich) elicit information from my Fantasy Life colleagues about their bets.
After another winner, we are rolling. Since we started five weeks ago we are now 3-2 on the group three-way parlays. Overall, the singular plays from the parlay section are 12-3.
This week we’re back and have another parlay AND ladder bets for Week 11.
🐦 Freedman Likes: Cardinals +6.0 (-110, BetMGM)
- Play to: -120
The Cardinals have drifted to +6.0 (opened at +4.0) and look like solid targets at this number. Houston is 0-3 ATS as a favorite and their defense is No. 21 in EPA, making it potentially difficult for them to cover a large spread.
🏹 LaMarca Likes: Chiefs -2.5 (-115, BetMGM)
- Play to: -120
This one feels straightforward. The Chiefs… off a bye. In LaMarca’s own words:
“When Patrick Mahomes is favored by less than three points, you take it. He's 15-4-1 ATS as an underdog or favorite of less than three for his career (including playoffs)... Add in a bye week for Andy Reid and this is tough to pass up.”
- Play to: 19.5 (-110)
- Aggregate projection: 27.0 receiving yards
The Dolphins have been weaker at guarding against the middle of the field all season, allowing the 11th most receiving yards against this year.
Mayer saw 88% of the snaps last week and got five targets. I don’t see any reason he can’t sail over this number for us in Week 11.
- Cardinals +6.0 (-110)
- Chiefs -2.5 (-115)
- Michael Mayer over 18.5 receiving yards (-117)
📈 Week 11 Ladder Play: Jahmyr Gibbs, RB - Lions (BetMGM)
- Over 23.5 rec yards (-133) - play to 24.5 (-115)
- Gibbs SGP: over 49.5 rec yards / anytime TD (+475) - play to +450
The Bears have allowed the most receiving yards against opposing RBs. Not only do they give up yards, but there have been multiple talented receiving RBs already who have torched Chicago's linebackers for big games (Ekeler 7-45-1, Jones 2-86-1, Gibson 4-64).
Gibbs maintained a big role with Montgomery back last week (64% route rate, 5 targets, 34 yards receiving) and should be used a ton in this spot. I like playing the same game parlay angle and taking Gibbs in SGP for 50+ yards and a TD this week as a way to cash in on the upside if the big game occurs.
🔙 Thursday Night Football Redux: Two birds, one tweet.
📊 Taking a look at the smart kid’s homework. Where sharps are betting for Week 11.
🏈 College football: $240M feels like a lot of money for an accounting error.
🐎 The two hottest teams in football? Everything you need to bet on a surprisingly good SNF game.
📺 Last minute bets, anyone? We’ve got you covered before kickoff.
🤔 Who you should root for in any given game. Maybe the best thing Germany has produced since the VW Beetle.
🥧 “You don’t score, until you score.” Touchdown bets for Week 11.
🔟 Pro tips for being a more profitable sports bettor. Simple but effective.
Before the main course on Monday Night Football, we’ve got a sneaky-good contest between the Vikings and Broncos on Sunday night. Matt LaMarca offers up his best bets for Sunday Night Football.
Believe it or not, these are the two “hottest” teams in the league right now. The Vikings have the longest winning streak in football at five games, while the Broncos are second at three. The Broncos are listed as -2.5 home favorites, while the total sits at 42.5 points.
I’m going right back to the under well on Sunday night. Even with an over on Thursday Night Football, primetime unders are still an insane 25-8 for the season and 150-92-3 since 2019-20.
Both of these squads have also been hitting unders at a high rate for most of the season. The Vikings are 7-3 to the under this season, while the Broncos are 5-4.
The Broncos’ improved defense has helped of late, but so has their play style. They’ve had a dropback over expected (DBOE) of -2.0% or lower in four straight games, including three games above -7.0%. They’ve also averaged -0.22 plays per minute over expected (PPMOE) for the year, so they’re playing slow in addition to being run-heavy.
With the Vikings reportedly unlikely to get Justin Jefferson back this week, another low-scoring affair seems in order.
Wilson has turned back the clocks in recent weeks. He may not be quite as nimble as he was in his youth, but he’s used his legs far more often over the past few games. He’s had a designed run rate of at least nine percent in back-to-back games, and he’s had a scramble rate of at least 10% in four of his past five.
Add it all up, and Wilson has 17 total carries in his past two contests.
The Broncos have won both of those games against good opponents, so I doubt they’re going to change things up much vs. the Vikings. Minnesota has also been a good matchup for rushing volume this season, with opposing QBs averaging more than seven carries per game.
- Broncos ML
- Under 42.5
- T.J. Hockenson Anytime TD
- T.J. Hockenson 60+ receiving yards
I’m starting my SGP with the under, and I’m also going to back the Broncos on the moneyline. I think that combination makes sense. If the Broncos are going to win this game, they’re going to need to continue to play strong defense. During their three-game winning streak, the Broncos and their opponents have combined for 38.3 points. When they lost five of six games to start the year, the average scoring was 54.8 points per game.
After that, I’m going to roll with a Hockenson anytime touchdown and at least 60 receiving yards. He’s had 27 total targets in two games with Josh Dobbs at QB, and with Jefferson likely out, he should remain the focal point of the passing attack. The Broncos have also been an elite matchup for tight ends this season, allowing the most fantasy points per game to the position.