Jeffrey T. Barnes / AP
Published Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023 | 9 a.m.
Updated 3 hours, 38 minutes ago
That’s nothing out of the ordinary for this NFL season. My exotic wagers have been performing much better than my point-spread picks, as I’m far into the black in this column while the pick’em is just vacillating between slightly up and slightly down.
There’s probably not much rhyme or reason to it but I’d like to believe that sports books are offering so many different avenues to bet nowadays that I’m taking advantage of some of the softer spots. There’s nothing soft about point spreads, which are pretty well shaped by the time the pick’em runs on Thursday, but it sure seems like there have been edges to uncover elsewhere this year.
Let’s get to digging some up for Week 10.
Read below to find bets in all seven of Sunday Sweats’ usual categories. Lines are the best currently available at publication time in Las Vegas with the sports book noted. Plays from other betting columns will be linked and tracked here at the bottom of the page. Check back Sunday for an additional prop in the Raiders’ gameday preview that will also be tracked as part of the Sunday Sweats.
Tasty Total (6-3, $544): Green Bay Packers at Pittsburgh Steelers over 38.5 at -114 (Boyd Sports)
$228 to win $200
Unders have dominated all season with these two teams contributing to the trend significantly with 12 of their collective 16 games having not surpassed the total. So why call for that to change now? Several reasons. For one, Green Bay’s offense has trended in the right direction recently — boosting its average nearly .3 yards per play over the last three weeks. Pittsburgh’s defense is stingy, but perhaps a cut below its reputation as one of the very best in the league. Green Bay’s defense, on the other hand, has not lived up to expectations and sits 22nd in the league by the DVOA ratings. Even Pittsburgh’s anemic offense should be able to get on track against a porous Green Bay secondary. Look for a big game from George Pickens — several over bets on the former Georgia star were considered for the prop section — where the Steelers win something like 24-17.
Two (Or Three-Team) Teaser (4-5, -$270): New England Patriots +8 & Buffalo Bills -1.5 at -125 (Caesars/William Hill)
$250 to win $200
I’m unconvinced the Patriots should be an underdog at all to the Colts in Frankfurt, Germany, let alone available at this price to tease beyond a touchdown. They fit perfectly into the standard, Wong teaser zone in what should be a low-scoring game halfway across the world. As for Buffalo, I just can’t quit it. The Bills’ offense is too spectacular for the team to be sitting at 5-4 on the season. They’ve been unlucky and some positive regression should start to swing their way. Denver is no walkover — just ask the Chiefs as it feels bad to bet against the Broncos with the way they cashed big-time for us in that AFC West game two weeks ago — but Buffalo is on another tier. Just basically needing the Bills to win the Monday Night Football game doesn’t feel like too high of an ask.
Moneyline Parlay (3-6, $1,147): New Orleans Saints & Los Angeles Chargers at +303 (Circa Sports)
$100 to win $303
Trying to ladder up with deeper, longer-shot parlays was fun for a while, but last week’s four-teamer didn’t come close so let’s crash back down to the minimum. This is a tried and true formula for the two-teamer — my favorite, um, favorite moneyline price on the slate with my favorite underdog. Circa Sports has the best price in town on the Saints, -150 against the Vikings, and close to the best on the Chargers, +142 against the Lions. Vikings quarterback Josh Dobbs was a great story in last week’s 31-28 upset victory over the Falcons, but on the season as a whole, he hasn’t been efficient or aggressive enough to count on pulling upsets every week. Chargers vs. Lions projects more like a pick’em to me, and getting the home team at a big plus-price is therefore valuable.
Player Prop (10-8, $322): Bijan Robinson over 56.5 rushing yards (SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas)
$220 to win $200
This is mostly a narrative-based bet, but narrative-based bets aren’t always a bad thing. My story is that Atlanta coach Arthur Smith is finally going to break. He’s finally going to give his rookie-sensation running back the type of workload his five-yard-per-carry average merits. The criticism has reached deafening levels this week, and there’s no way Smith hasn’t heard it. Robinson has only 11 carries in each of the last two weeks, and has only gotten more than 14 rushing attempts once all season. This is a perfect spot for that to change beyond just the outcry. Arizona’s rush defense is horrendous, and Atlanta is desperate to bounce back after losing two straight games. There’s no better way for this team to bounce back than to lean on Robinson.
Lookahead Line (3-5, -$460): Los Angeles Rams +3 -115 vs. Seattle Seahawks in Week 11 (Caesars/William Hill)
$230 to win $200
The Rams have already sabotaged this category on two other occasions this season, but sports bettors can’t hold grudges. It may not have worked the first couple times, but the Rams again seem to have advance value going into Week 12 — as long as you think quarterback Matthew Stafford will return from a thumb injury. Considering the Rams are coming off a bye and there were rumblings Stafford may have toughed it out in last week’s loss at the Packers, it’s more likely than not Stafford will be back on the field. These two NFC West rivals already placed once this season, in Week 1 when the Rams pounded the Seahawks 30-13 as 5-point underdogs on the road. With that data point, how are they now commanding a spread only two points lower at SoFi Stadium? Stafford should be able to put the season sweep on the divisional rival.
Future Finding (1-2, $575): Stefon Diggs to lead Sunday and Monday game in receiving yards at 16-to-1 (Caesars/William Hill)
$75 to win $1,200
The Broncos’ defense has improved drastically but still rates in the bottom seven of the league in covering opposing No. 1 receivers per DVOA. They haven’t seen a No. 1 receiver the caliber of Diggs since Week 3 when Tyreek Hill hauled in nine catches for 157 yards. It might sound crazy, but Diggs could go even higher. That’s because the Broncos’ offense is playing better now and should be expected to score in its own right on the Bills. That means Buffalo will have to keep throwing, and when they’re going to the air, Diggs is always the primary option. He’s not getting the acclaim of counterparts like Hill, A.J. Brown and Ja’Marr Chase this year but Diggs is every bit as lethal. He’ll remind everyone of that on Monday Night Football.
Non-football Play (8-1, $2,700): Calgary Flames +120 at Ottawa Senators (BetMGM)
$150 to win $180
It hurts to see the 2023 NASCAR year, which ended as the single most profitable sports season in the history of the weekend betting column, end. At least we went out with a pair of back-to-back winners for $1,800. There are fewer sporting events scheduled for Sundays to bet on in advance now, so I’ll have to pivot at least momentarily to Saturday’s slate. In one of two all-Canadian matchups Sunday on the ice, the Flames look to have the advantage. Calgary’s underlying metrics are stronger than Ottawa’s but its taking a hit in the betting market because it’s playing on back-to-back nights. I’m not sure it matters all that much given the short trip from Toronto — where Calgary lost 5-4 in a shootout Friday — to Ottawa and, most importantly, the fact that the Flames’ better goalie could be in the crease tonight. Jacob Markstrom missed last night’s game with an undisclosed injury or illness that is not considered serious. Even if he doesn’t play, the Flames should have enough to keep third-stringer Dustin Wolf afloat. Ottawa is nursing several injuries and therefore rates clearly below Calgary.
Sunday Sweats year to date: 35-30, $4,798
Weekend betting column year to date: 133-140-3, $13,897
Weekend betting column all-time: 611-645-10, $32,226
Previous pending wagers: Texas to win the College Football Playoff at 30-to-1 ($100 to win $3,000); Tanner Mordecai to win the Heisman Trophy at 200-to-1 ($30 to win $6,000); Atlanta Braves at 5-to-1 to win the National League ($300 to win $1,500; Atlanta Braves at 10-to-1 to win the World Series ($300 to win $3,000); Buffalo Bills at 9-to-1 to win Super Bowl 58 ($300 to win $2,700); LSU to win the College Football Playoff at 20-to-1 ($150 to win $3,000); Philadelphia Eagles to win Super Bowl 58 at 9-to-1 ($300 to win $2,700); Nolan Smith to win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year at 20-to-1 ($100 to win $2,000); Kansas to win 2024 NCAA Tournament at 14-to-1 ($200 to win $2,800); Buffalo Bills at 10-to-1 to win Super Bowl 58 ($100 to win $1,000); Lamar Jackson to win NFL MVP ($150 to win $2,700); Ohio State to win the College Football Playoff at 8-to-1 ($350 to win $2,800); Carson Beck to win the Heisman Trophy at 30-to-1 ($100 to win $3,000) Las Vegas Aces to win WNBA Championship at -115 ($575 to win $500); William Byron to win NASCAR Cup Series championship at +750 ($300 to win $2,250); Edmonton Oilers to win 2024 Stanley Cup Final at 12-to-1 ($250 to win $3,000); Mississippi State under 6.5 wins at -145 ($435 to win $300) Colorado under 3.5 wins at -130 ($260 to win $200); Miami over 7.5 wins at +125 ($200 to win $250); Myles Garrett to win NFL Defensive Player of the Year ($300 to win $2,400); Florida over 5.5 wins at -120 ($240 to win $200); Kentucky over 7 wins at +110 ($200 to win $220); Mississippi State under 6 wins at Even money ($100 to win $100); Oklahoma State over 6 wins at -140 ($280 to win $200); Texas Tech under 7.5 wins at -120 ($240 to win $200); UCF over 7 wins at Even money ($200 to win $200); West Virginia under 5.5 wins at -180 ($360 to win $200); Air Force to win the Mountain West at 5-to-1 ($200 to win $1,000); Colorado under 3.5 wins at -120 ($120 to win $100); Oregon State under 8.5 wins at -135 ($135 to win $100); USC under 10 wins at Even money ($150 to win $150); Washington over 9 wins at -120 ($180 to win $150); Ohio State over 10.5 wins at Even money ($150 to win $150); Penn State under 9.5 wins at +130 ($150 to win $215); Iowa under 8.5 wins at -115 ($230 to win $200); Nebraska under 6.5 wins at -110 ($220 to win $200); Purdue over 4.5 wins at -140 ($210 to win $150); Duke under 6 wins at +125 ($200 to win $250); Miami over 7.5 wins at +116 ($200 to win $232); North Carolina under 8.5 wins at -150 ($300 to win $200); Syracuse over 6 wins at +105 ($200 to win $210); Boise State under 8.5 wins at -130 ($260 to win $200); New Mexico over 3 wins at -130 ($260 to win $200); Fresno State under 8.5 wins at -150 ($300 to win $200); Hawaii over 3.5 wins at -130 ($260 to win $200); Anthony Richardson to win Offensive Rookie of the Year at 9-to-1 ($200 to win $1,800); Zay Flowers to win Offensive Rookie of the Year at 30-to-1 ($65 to win $1,950); Miami Dolphins to not make the playoffs at +105 ($300 to win $315); Cleveland Cavaliers to win Central division at 3-to-1 ($300 to win $900); Derrick Henry to lead the NFL in rushing yards at +850 ($200 to win $1,950); Justin Herbert to lead the NFL in passing yards at +550 ($200 to win $1,100); San Francisco 49ers to win the NFC West at -165 ($660 to win $400); Western Kentucky to win Conference USA at +110 ($500 to win $550); Jacksonville Jaguars to win the AFC South at -190 ($570 to win $300); Tampa Bay Buccaneers NOT to make the playoffs at +120 ($200 to win $240); Boston Celtics to win the NBA in-season tournament at +950 ($200 to win $1,900); Victor Wembanyama to win NBA Rookie of the Year at +125 ($400 to win $500); AJ Brown to win Offensive Player of the Year at 18-to-1 ($100 to win $1,800); Cincinnati Bengals -7 vs. Houston Texans ($220 to win $200)