I’m in an NFL contest where you have to submit five ATS picks each week. Through nine weeks, those picks are 26-24. Picking just one winner can be difficult, much less picking five, but it’s a good challenge. It is worth noting that the lines are fixed spreads that are released every Wednesday and the options are submitted on Friday evenings.
Here are the five ATS picks I like for Week 11 in the NFL.
Chargers (+5.5) vs. Chiefs
Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert is 4-1 ATS against the Chiefs and 2-0 ATS as an underdog this year. Kansas City is likely without injured JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman, while RB Jerick McKinnon and WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling were limited in practice Thursday. The Chargers could get wide receivers Mike Williams and Kennan Allen back after they returned to practice on a limited basis. Herbert only has 10 total drops this season with Allen, Williams and RB Austin Ekeler on the field. Getting even one of those players back would be huge against a Chiefs secondary that is 25th against the pass.
Linebacker TJ Watt is a huge playmaker for the Steelers. Having him on the field elevates this team, which is 9-1-1 ATS as a home underdog over the past five seasons and 1-0-1 ATS as a home underdog this year. Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is still the third most sacked quarterback in the league with 30 this year and has been sacked 12 times over the past four games. In his two games without Ja’Marr Chase, Burrow had 232 and 206 yards — two of his three season-low totals. While it’s a small sample, Pittsburgh’s defense is allowing 4.5 yards per play with Watt versus 6 yards per play without him. I’ll take the best defense over a crazy pass rush against a vulnerable offensive line any day of the week.
Commanders (-3) vs. Texans
The Washington Commanders continued to impress in a three-point loss to the Minnesota Vikings, holding Kirk Cousins to a 55 percent completion rate, and followed that up with a win over the previously undefeated Philadelphia Eagles, having one of the best rushing attacks in the league in 94 total yards. Texans RB Dameon Pierce has rushed for at least 90 yards in five of his last six games, but Houston quarterback Davis Mills must now deal with an improving Washington rush. This could definitely be a more competitive matchup, but I’ll trust Washington to pull it off.
I’ll just say it: The New York Jets are playing more consistent football right now than the New England Patriots. The whole reason I was backing the Jets in a teaser (when the line was at 3) is because I’m backing the Jets at +3.5. You can read all about it here.
Cardinals (+8) vs. 49ers
With this game not until Monday there are still some questions so I have to play the guessing game a bit. Will we see Kyler Murray or Colt McCoy behind center in Arizona? Is wide receiver Marquise Brown back for Arizona? I’d prefer McCoy, who is now 3-1 as a starter with Arizona, including a 31-17 win at San Francisco last year. Getting Brown back in the lineup would be huge as he had 485 yards and three scores this season. However, I am at least confident that having RB James Conner is beneficial. Last year, Conner rushed for 173 yards and three scores against San Francisco. It’s unlikely to happen again, but I’m looking for players who have been here before.
I also think the trip to Mexico City in a stand-alone prime-time divisional game is a draw. The Cardinals have at least a solid top-10 defense, so if you force Jimmy Garoppolo to pass, he can certainly be shaky, as we saw in the 49ers’ 28-14 loss to the Falcons in Week 6 when Jimmy G threw two interceptions . Last week against the Chargers, he didn’t throw a touchdown pass.