Game Flowbotics: Week 10 Picks Against the Spread
It’s Week 10. You know the drill by now. The Game Flowbotics page linked below compiles and organizes pace and efficiency data from Football Outsiders so we can review NFL matchups holistically and try to find inefficiencies in the betting totals and against the spread. Easier said than done, of course, but I’m having a solid season.
In my last article, I noted my recent predisposition toward picking favorites and expressed concern that I was overweight on favorites across the entire slate. That instinct bore out, as underdogs ruled Week 9. Despite including four favorites among my seven picks, I managed to escape with a winning week. Let’s get into what went wrong.
Last week, I went 4-3 with my picks for a modest gain of 0.77 units. Year to date, my record is 42-34-1 and I’m up 5.12 units overall. Honestly, it felt more like a 4-2 week, considering how I backed off my over bet in the Houston-Miami game once Tua Tagovailoa’s risk of not playing became legitimized. Still, I made the bet and posted it in our Discord, so I’ll own up to it here.
My other misses were Buffalo (-14) and the Rams (-7.5). I won’t dwell on the Bills pick. The result of that game blindsided pretty much everyone, including me. Tennessee upsetting Los Angeles was also pretty surprising, but my analysis in making the pick does deserve some criticism. I leaned too heavily on the absence of Derrick Henry as a key factor without considering other angles. Specifically, I wasn’t really paying attention to how the Titans' defense had been improving steadily since Week 5.
|Week||DVOA Value*||DVOA Rank|
*Note: Higher positive DVOA values are bad for defense. Better defenses have low or negative DVOA values.
It's clear now with hindsight that my impression of Tennessee as a bottom-10 defense was outdated, and I could have been more open to the possibility that they’d continue showing improvement against the Rams. In the first half of their Sunday night game, the Titans’ defense showed us exactly that, so much so that I went to check the line on Mike Vrabel to win Coach of the Year. As a former defensive player who famously played under Bill Belichick, if Vrabel continues to ride strong defensive play and cruises to a division title without Derrick Henry, he’ll have a strong narrative case for the award. But this isn’t a futures article, so let’s get into the Week 10 stats and betting lines.
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