I’m in a NFL contest where you need to submit five ATS picks each week. Through nine weeks, those picks are 26-24. Picking a single winner can be tough, much less picking five, but it’s a good challenge. It’s worth noting that the lines are set spreads released each Wednesday and selections are submitted Friday night.
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 receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman, while RB Jerick McKinnon and WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling were limited in practice on Thursday. The Chargers could be getting receivers Mike Williams and Kennan Allen back after they returned to practice in limited fashion. Herbert has only 10 total dropbacks this entire season with Allen, Williams and RB Austin Ekeler all on the field. Getting even one of those players back would be huge against a Chiefs secondary that is 25th against the pass.
Linebacker T.J. 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 the last five seasons and 1-0-1 ATS as a home dog this year. Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is still the third-most sacked quarterback in the league with 30 this year, and he has been sacked 12 times the last four games. In his two games without Ja’Marr Chase, Burrow has thrown for 232 and 206 yards — two of his three lowest totals on the season. Though a small sample size, the Pittsburgh defense is allowing 4.5 yards per play with Watt vs. 6 yards per play without him. I’ll take the better defense with an insane pass rush against a vulnerable offensive line every day of the week.
Commanders (-3) vs. Texans
The Washington Commanders continued to impress with a three-point loss to the Minnesota Vikings, holding Kirk Cousins to a 55% completion percentage, and followed that up with a win over the previously undefeated Philadelphia Eagles, holding one of the best rushing attacks in the league to 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 now has to deal with a Washington pass rush that’s improving. This could most certainly be a more competitive matchup, but I’ll trust Washington to get it done.
I’ll just say it: The New York Jets are playing more consistent football right now than the New England Patriots. All the reasons I used to back the Jets in a teaser (when the line was at 3) is why I am backing the Jets at +3.5. You can read all about that here.
Cardinals (+8) vs. 49ers
With this game not until Monday, there are still some questions, so I’m having to play the guessing game a bit. Will we see Kyler Murray or Colt McCoy behind center for Arizona? Is receiver Marquise Brown back in action for Arizona? I would prefer McCoy, who is now 3-1 as a starter with Arizona, including a 31-17 win in San Francisco last year. Having Brown back in the lineup would be huge as he accounted for 485 yards and three scores this season. However, I’m at least confident that having RB James Conner is beneficial. Last year, Conner went off 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’m also thinking that the travel to Mexico City in a prime-time standalone divisional game is an equalizer. The Cardinals at least have a solid top-10 rushing defense, so if you force Jimmy Garoppolo to pass, he can certainly be volatile 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.