There is an old joke among comedians.
FIRST COMEDIAN: “What’s the most important thing in comedy?”
SECOND COMEDIAN: “Wh—”
FIRST COMEDIAN: “TIMING!”
The same thing is true with many things in life, but perhaps none more important than sports betting. Picking up key bits of information – an injury, a coaching change, something that can affect the line – is important, but not if you can’t immediately act on it. In this day and age of cell phones, however, that is made even easier.
A fine example of this came earlier this week in the NFL Week Eleven slate. On Wednesday morning news came out of Cleveland that QB Deshaun Watson was going to be out for the season because of a shoulder injury. The Browns, at that moment, were 3.5-point favorites (after opening at -4.5) in their upcoming battle against their division rival Pittsburgh Steelers.
What do you think happened to the line? By Thursday afternoon, the line had dipped as low as a half-point; by Friday, the line had settled in at -1.5 for the Browns. Sharp bettors, however, probably were on the ball and caught the Steelers and the points (+3.5) in a game that they have every bit of potential of winning.
That is the key to winning bets – being on top of what is happening in the sports world and then being able to act on that information. We’re going to try to give you that same great insight as we take on some picks for the NFL Week Eleven schedule. As always, all advice is offered for entertainment purposes only, but be ensured that a significant amount of thought has gone into each selection (home team in ALL CAPS).
Pittsburgh Steelers v. CLEVELAND BROWNS (-1.5)
I may have been able to get the Steelers at +3.5, but I see absolutely nothing that would sway me off the team even at +1.5. The Browns have chosen to go with a rookie QB in Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who gets his first NFL start against T. J. Watt and the voracious Steeler defense. QB Kenny Pickett has somehow been finding a way to keep this team in games, and Steelers WRs Diontae Johnson and George Pickens are starting to wake up from their early season slumbers. This game has all the earmarks of being a defensive fight, and I’ll take the Steel Curtain over the Brownies.
PICK: Steelers +1.5
Las Vegas Raiders v. MIAMI DOLPHINS (-13.5)
Here’s an instance where the books are TRYING to get people off a horse. When the book opened on this game, Miami was a -9.5-point favorite, and everyone was on that number. As the week continued, the line crept upwards, settling in at its current two-touchdown level. That’s enough for me to get on the Raiders, who have been playing much better under interim head coach Antonio Pierce. They aren’t going to beat the ‘Fins, but the Silver and Black at least have enough pride that they won’t get beat by two touchdowns.
PICK: Raiders +13.5
Philadelphia Eagles v. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (O/U 45.5)
We got a rare gift this NFL Week Eleven. Thursday night’s game between two legitimate playoff contenders in Baltimore and Cincinnati was an excellent game (it was unfortunate that QB Joe Burrow will be out for the rest of the season, however). We get to wrap up the weekend with a rematch between last year’s Super Bowl combatants.
Both teams are playing at a high level right now, with only three losses between each other, which makes the factor that the O/U has swung so much a bit intriguing. When the week started, the O/U was 50.5, but it had fallen to 45.5 by Saturday. Why? Rain is expected in the Kansas City area for Monday night’s game, which could slow down the Eagles’ Jalen Hurts and the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes. I say COULD…I don’t see that slowing either team down all that much – I’m taking the OVER here.
PICK: OVER 45.5