The year of the 2017 NFL season seems to be never-ending. The good news about week 10 was I actually got one of my favorites right. The problem, though, was I once again failed to be over .500.
After two straight years of being over .500 in NFL handicapping, 2017 is becoming one of those nightmares that never ends. But, there's still time to get hot, so I'll just assume that will happen. Here's the week 11 NFL picks featuring the three best favorites that will cover the spread.
Favorites: 9-20-1 ATS
Overall: 21-37-2 ATS
Detroit (-3) at Chicago
The Lions and Bears own the same record against the spread this season, but they're doing it in different ways. Detroit owns a plus-4.3 margin of victory compared to the spread, while the Bears are negative-0.2 in that same category. Detroit is winning games and the Bears are keeping games closer than the experts believe.
With only having to give up a field goal in this game, I'm going with the team more accustomed to winning.
Detroit is a better team overall than the Bears. Chicago averages just 4.9 yards per play. Detroit averages 5.3 yards per play, with an impressive 6.7 yards per play in the last three games.
Defensively, the Bears are better, but against the pass, which Detroit has shown a surgeon-like prowess in recent weeks, the Bears are giving up 7.5 yards per play in the last three games, up from their season-average of 6.4 yards per play.
On paper, and most importantly, on the field, the Lions own the advantage in this game. The Bears aren't as good as what they showed earlier in the season. Detroit has a quarterback in Matthew Stafford who is showing why he deserved that big contract. Back the Lions. -- Go Chalk with Detroit
Jacksonville (-8) at Cleveland
Last week I lamented my condition of constantly taking Cleveland against the spread. The Browns are the worst team once again against the spread and I generally can't stop taking them.
So naturally, on the week I'm betting against them, they'll likely break my heart again (much like last week when they covered the entire game, and then allowed a 40-yard touchdown reception and threw an interception at the end of the game in the endzone).
As long as my 2017 NFL luck doesn't come into play, this should be an open and shut case. The Jaguars are getting better on offense and the defense is still a legitimate force. Cleveland, meanwhile, is getting worse in defending the pass, and can't do anything consistently on offense.
What does worry me a little is the amount of points I'm having to give up while backing the Jaguars. Jacksonville isn't necessarily the most trustworthy team when it comes to big spreads in their favor. If I forget about the Jags' past, I can't pass this up.
Jacksonville is averaging more than a yard per play more than the Browns in the last three games on offense, and the defense is allowing one less yard per play in the last three games.
This is a mismatch. Forget about the trepidation of giving up that many points with the Jaguars and go against the Browns once again. -- Go Chalk with Jacksonville
Buffalo at Los Angeles Chargers (-4)
Keep an eye on the injury report for this game, but if Philip Rivers plays, this is a no-brainer.
The Bills are in desperation mode. They've switched quarterbacks from Tyrod Taylor to Nathan Peterman, and the defense is not the weapon it was during the first part of the season. Most importantly, the Bills aren't creating turnovers.
Buffalo's defense has been a bend, but not break, defense all year. What helped them to an early 5-2 record this season was being dominant in the takeaway game. In the last two weeks, though, that hasn't happened, and their defense has been manhandled. They've forced one turnover in the last two games. The previous three games, when they went 2-1, they forced 10 turnovers.
You can't depend on turnovers as a way to be a dominant defense. That always evens out in the NFL and that's happening with the Bills. Their desperate attempt at shifting the tide won't work against a Chargers team that is actually pretty good despite its below .500 record. The Chargers can run the ball with success and the defense is actually allowing more than one yard less per play than Buffalo in the last three games.
The Chargers are the better team, so don't fall in love with the Bills' attempt to turn their season around with a rookie quarterback. -- Go Chalk with Los Angeles
Scott Levine is the Associate Editor for the Clinton Herald. During his free time, he blogs about fantasy sports and handicaps games.
Scott Levine can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @ScottLevineCH