Week 11 Tips
November 16, 2012
By Kevin Rogers
Following a slew of underdog covers through the first half of the season, favorites are starting to cash the last few weeks. Road favorites have improved to 24-27 ATS on the season, while posting a 7-4 ATS mark the last two weeks. Five teams are laying points on the highway in Week 11, including Baltimore on Sunday night at Pittsburgh. We'll take a look at the four 'chalk' squads playing during the day, starting with Green Bay in a divisional showdown.
Packers (-3 ½, 52) at Lions - 1:00 PM EST
Detroit is struggling to stay in the Wild Card race, just one season after making the playoffs. The Lions attempt to reach the .500 mark with a victory over the Packers, coming off a road favorite loss at Minnesota last week. The defeat snapped a four-game ATS hot streak for Jim Schwartz's club, as the Lions look to beat Green Bay for just the second time in the last 11 matchups.
Green Bay is fresh off a bye week, while going for its fifth consecutive victory after beating its last four opponents by at least nine points. The Packers' offense is picking things up recently by cashing the 'over' in five of the last six contests, as Green Bay has topped the 27-point mark five times in this stretch. Mike McCarthy's team has covered just one of three times as a road favorite, but beat the Rams in Week 7 as four-point 'chalk,' 30-20.
Detroit is listed as a home underdog for the first time this season, as the Lions have cashed just once in three contests at Ford Field. In last Sunday's setback at Minnesota, the Lions racked up 329 yards through the air, but never got within a touchdown in a 34-24 loss. Detroit has beaten just one team that currently sits above .500 (Seattle), while both losses to upper-tier NFC teams (Chicago and San Francisco) have come on the highway.
Buccaneers (-1 ½, 48 ½) at Panthers - 1:00 PM EST
Carolina was predicted to make moves inside the NFC South this season, while the jury was out on Tampa Bay. Following a slow start, the Bucs overcame several close losses to put together a three-game winning streak and forge a 5-4 record. Meanwhile, the Panthers can't seem to get any momentum going, while suffering five losses of six points or less.
The latest disappointment for Carolina came in a 36-14 home rout at the hands of red-hot Denver, the second loss at Bank of America Stadium of at least three touchdowns. The Panthers have scored 14 points or less five times this season, including a 10-point effort in a season-opening loss at Tampa Bay as short road favorites. Carolina limited Tampa Bay to 258 yards in that loss, but the Panthers rushed for just 10 yards on 13 carries.
Tampa Bay's offense has blown up recently, scoring 34 points or more in four of the previous five contests. The Bucs continue to make backers happy, owning a 7-2 ATS record, while cashing the 'over' in six straight games. Most of Tampa Bay's success came early in the underdog role, but the Bucs have compiled a 2-1 ATS record as a favorite.
Bengals (-3 ½, 43 ½) at Chiefs - 1:00 PM EST
Kansas City is likely not going to be favored the rest of the season, but managed a cover as a 12 ½-point underdog at Pittsburgh on Monday night. The Chiefs actually took the lead for the first time all season at Heinz Field, but couldn't hold onto a 10-0 advantage to suffer their sixth straight defeat. The Bengals finally found the win column after four straight losses, as Cincinnati put together its most complete effort of the season.
Marvin Lewis' team avoided an 0-3 homestand after defeats to the Steelers and Broncos by dominating the Giants, 31-13 as 3 ½-point 'dogs. Andy Dalton finished a yard shy of 200, but tossed four touchdowns to pick up Cincinnati's first cover at Paul Brown Stadium this season. The Bengals are 0-2 on the road inside the AFC North, but Cincinnati has won both games outside its division against Washington and Jacksonville.
There are not many positives when it comes to the Chiefs, as Kansas City's offense has failed to bust the 16-point mark in each of its last five games (all losses). Two of Kansas City's three covers this season came against AFC North opponents, including a 9-6 defeat to Baltimore as six-point home 'dogs. The Chiefs have won two of the last three home meetings with the Bengals, but Cincinnati claimed the last two matchups in 2008 and 2009.
Saints (-4 ½, 54 ½) at Raiders - 4:05 PM EST
Oakland returns to the Black Hole after getting a black hole blown through them at Baltimore, 55-20 last Sunday. The Raiders have given up a whopping 97 points the last two weeks as they face a Saints' club that is averaging nearly 28 points per game. New Orleans scores plenty of points, but it also allows points at the same frantic rate.
The Saints were the first team to solve the Falcons, handing Atlanta its first defeat of the season last Sunday, 31-27 as one-point underdogs. New Orleans still has an outside shot at returning to the postseason, while searching for its first three-game winning streak of the season. Joe Vitt's club is just 6-10 ATS the last 16 opportunities as a road favorite, including a 1-1 ATS mark this season.
The Raiders will be without running back Darren McFadden (ankle), while going for just their second home cover in five tries. Oakland failed to cash in three chances as a home favorite, but won outright in its lone instance when receiving points at O.Co Coliseum against Pittsburgh in Week 3. Dennis Allen's team hasn't seen a total above 50 all season, as the Raiders finished 'under' the total last time they saw a number in this range (vs. New England last September).
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.
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