Loading scores...
Columns - Magazine

The Gambling Solution: Week 11

by Jeff Baldwin
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Both Jeremy and Jeff started with a 1,000 unit bankroll as they go head to head all season long.


Jeff went 1-3 with his picks last week as he came through with the Patriots, but came up empty with the Bills, Jets, and under Bears/Packers.   Jeff finished the week at minus 50 units.  Jeremy split his picks as he nailed the Rams and over Lions/Browns, but fell short with the Titans and Bills.  Jeremy finished the week even from a units perspective.  Jeff currently has a 400 unit lead over Jeremy for the season.  Can Jeremy cut into Jeff's lead? Will Jeff bounce back?  Let's get to the picks for Week 11.




Jeff Baldwin

Record: 23-16-1

Units: 1,200


Jeremy Wardwell

Record: 16-24

Units: 800


Falcons at Seahawks (-3) - 35 units
The Falcons travel to Seattle after a solid home win versus the Cowboys 27-7 as their defense pressured QB Dak Prescott all game long.  The Seahawks defeated the Cardinals 22-16, but the victory came at a steep price as they lost CB Richard Sherman for the season with a ruptured Achilles' tendon.  The Seahawks do expect to get FS Earl Thomas back on the field after he sat out for two weeks.  This is a big game for both teams as they don't want to get too far behind their respective division leaders.  The Falcons will most likely be without RB Devonta Freeman after he suffered a concussion last week.  If Freeman does sit, RB Tevin Coleman will take over the primary ball carrying duties.  I expect the Falcons to play well here as they'll look to build off their solid performance against the Cowboys.  QB Matt Ryan should have ample opportunity in the passing game as he faces a depleted Seahawks’ secondary.  WR Julio Jones will need to come up big here if the Falcons expect to come up with the big road win.  The Falcons will most likely find running room tough to come by going up against a dominating Seahawks rush defense.  However, I think Coleman will be serviceable here coming up with the tough yards when needed.  The Falcons’ defense will need to come up with another big effort here as they face the very dangerous QB Russell Wilson.  Similar to last week, the Falcons will need to rush the passer effectively.  They simply can't afford for Wilson to sit back in a clean pocket while picking up chunks of yardage in the passing game.  The Seahawks’ running game is non-existent, so I don't expect that to change in this matchup.  The Falcons have fared recently against the spread versus the Seahawks as they have covered the last two in the series.  In what will be a close, relatively high scoring game, look for the Falcons to come up with a huge road win as they'll get to 6-4 on the season.
Pick: Atlanta Falcons +3

Bengals (+2.5) at Broncos - 30 units
To say the Denver Broncos have struggled recently would be an understatement. They have lost five in a row and allowed 121 points in their last three games, each of which has been against teams leading their respective divisions. A home game against the Bengals is exactly what the doctor ordered to get Denver back on track. The Bengals have lost three of their last four and as stated in this space last week, their wins this year have been underwhelming. Andy Dalton has been unimpressive and while it's not completely his fault, as he isn't surrounded by much talent besides A.J. Green, he still needs to make better decisions to minimize turnovers. Dalton has been intercepted eight times and fumbled four. The Broncos’ defense is better than they have shown recently and will apply heavy pressure to Dalton all game. Dalton has been sacked 25 times on the season and won't have much support from a running attack that will be without Jeremy Hill, leaving the heavy work to Joe Mixon who is averaging 3 YPC. The Broncos will once again start Brock Osweiler in attempt to jump-start their stagnant offense. While the Broncos have a decent matchup in the passing game with Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, they will likely have better luck exploiting Cincinnati’s vulnerable run defense. C.J. Anderson, Jamaal Charles and Devontae Booker have been splitting carries, but the trio should have success here as the Bengals are allowing more than 123 rushing YPG and have given up more than 115 yards in each of the last four games. I'm looking for Denver to come out angry in this one and take it out on the Bengals at home as the defense leads the way. Take Denver giving 2.5. 
Pick: Denver Broncos -2.5

Buccaneers at Dolphins (-1.5) - 35 units
The Buccaneers were short-handed last week against the Jets, but that didn't stop them, as they went on to a 15-10 victory while snapping their five game losing streak.  The Dolphins were pummeled by the Panthers on Monday night 45-21, as they had no answer to slow down the Panthers’ offense.  QB Ryan Fitzpatrick will be behind center for the Buccaneers again as QB Jameis Winston continues to recover from his shoulder injury.  Fitzpatrick and the Buccaneers’ offense will get a huge lift this week as they'll get WR Mike Evans back in the lineup after he missed last week's game due to a suspension.  I liked the effort from the Buccaneers defensively last week as it was apparent this team is still playing hard.  I can't say the same for the Dolphins’ defense which gave up 548 of total yards to the Panthers.  In addition, this Dolphins’ offense under QB Jay Cutler struggles to score points as they are ranked dead last in the league, averaging only 15.2 points/game.  I simply can't trust this team.  Throw in the fact they have a short week to prepare coming off a physical game versus the Panthers and it makes me like the Buccaneers even more.  I think the Buccaneers will get enough out of their running game with RB Doug Martin, but look for WR Mike Evans to make the biggest impact offensively.  Evans will have extra motivation in this matchup after feeling he let his team down with the one game suspension.   As for the Buccaneers defensively, look for them to get pressure on QB Jay Cutler, forcing him into hurried throws.  I can see the Tampa defense getting a pick-six in this matchup.  A strong trend supporting Tampa here as over the last three seasons during Weeks 10-13 the Buccaneers are an incredible 8-1 against the spread.
Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers +1.5
Eagles (-3.5) at Cowboys - 40 units

In their first game without suspended running back Ezekiel Elliott, the Dallas Cowboys fell 27-7 to the Atlanta Falcons last week. The team gained 107 yards on the ground without Elliott but 42 of those were from Dak Prescott who was running for his life much of the game. This week, they face an even more daunting task with the Eagles and their top ranked run defense coming to town. Philly has allowed a team more than 100 yards on the ground just once this season and are allowing just 66 rushing YPG overall. With Alfred Morris and the running game likely to be ineffective, Prescott will need to rely on his arm if they are to move the ball. The Eagles struggled against the pass early in the season but have improved in recent weeks and will be getting a major boost as CB Ronald Darby is expected to return from an ankle injury that has kept him out since Week 1. Darby's return along with injuries to Dallas' offensive line will allow the Eagles to pressure Prescott heavily, limiting the time Dez Bryant and the other Cowboys receivers have to get open. While the Cowboys will be without their most important offensive weapon, they will also be without arguably their most important defensive player as well. LB Sean Lee will miss this game with a hamstring injury which creates an opportunity for Jay Ajayi to have a big game. Ajayi rushed eight times for 77 yards in his Eagles debut and with an extra week to digest the playbook will be even more involved in the game plan against the Cowboys’ vulnerable defense. The Cowboys are in a tough spot in this game as they face the best team in the league missing key players with a short week ahead that could be a distraction. Dallas is 5-4 ATS and a mediocre 2-2 at home while the Eagles are an impressive 7-2 and 3-1 on the road. Look for the Eagles to get the win and cover as they continue to establish their dominance in the division.   
Pick: Philadelphia Eagles -3.5

Raiders vs. Patriots (-7) - 30 units
The Patriots won their fifth straight game as they went into Denver and took care of business, dominating all facets of the game 41-16.  The Raiders were on a bye last week as they look to string back to back wins together.  The Raiders will have their work cut out for them as they'll play the reigning Super Bowl champs in Mexico City.  The Patriots stayed out west after the Broncos game to avoid the extra travel for this upcoming game with the Raiders.  I expect this team to be focused and play great all-around football similar to what we saw in Denver.  I think the Raiders’ defense is in for a long day as I expect QB Tom Brady to carve up this secondary.  The Patriots’ offense will likely be without WR Chris Hogan again as he continues to rest his injured shoulder.  Brady will do what he does best as he'll distribute the ball around effectively to both his receivers and backs.  I'm expecting big games from both TE Rob Gronkowski and WR Brandin Cooks.  With a Vegas team total set at 31.5 points, it's not farfetched to see this team put up another 40-spot on an opponent.  As for the Patriots’ defense, this unit couldn't have started the season off any worse.  However, this group has played better of late as would be expected given the quality of their coaching staff.  The Raiders’ offense clearly has the weapons to keep this game interesting for a while, but I simply don't trust they can put points on the board on a consistent basis.  In the end, I think the Patriots will be simply too much for the Raiders’ defense as they'll struggle finding ways to slow down Brady and this Patriots’ offense.  I took the Patriots last week and I'm backing them yet again as they'll roll to another double-digit victory.
Pick: New England Patriots -7

Falcons (+3) at Seahawks - 30 units
Coming off a 27-7 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, the Atlanta Falcons will travel cross-country to take on the Seahawks in a Monday night encounter. Seattle won their last game 22-16 over the Cardinals and have now won five of their last six. In their victory over the Cardinals, Russell Wilson completed 22 passes for an efficient 238 yards and two touchdowns. He will at the very least match those numbers here against the Falcons’ mediocre secondary. The Falcons are tied for seventh in sacks with 26 and will be able to pressure Wilson often. However his scrambling ability will help him keep plays alive and find Jimmy Graham and Doug Baldwin downfield. On the other side of the ball the Falcons’ offense continues to be inconsistent. Matt Ryan has thrown for more than 300 yards just twice this year, which is a significant departure at from last year's gaudy performances. The running game led by Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman has also struggled at times and will likely be without Freeman as he recovers from a concussion. Without Freeman, Ryan will have to rely even more on Julio Jones who won't have to face Richard Sherman in this one after the Pro Bowl cornerback injured his Achilles and was lost for the year. Even without Sherman, the Seahawks have a talented secondary and will be getting a boost as safety Earl Thomas returns from a hamstring injury. I like Seattle to get the win and cover in this one. As mentioned above, the Falcons’ offense has yet to put it together this year and a road game at night in Seattle is not the best place to fix your problems. The Seahawks will apply heavy pressure to Ryan likely forcing a turnover or two as Seattle gets the win at home. Take Seattle giving three.
Pick: Seattle Seahawks -3

Eagles at Cowboys (Total: 48.5 points) - 20 units
The Cowboys struggled in Atlanta as the loss of LT Tyron Smith proved to be huge, as QB Dak Prescott was pressured all game long.  The Cowboys will need to figure things out quickly with the red hot Eagles coming to town and Smith most likely sitting out again.  The Eagles enter this game off their bye week well-rested and looking to take it to their bitter division rival.  I expect the Cowboys’ offense to play better at home as QB Dak Prescott will need to get the passing game going, knowing they'll need to put points on the board in order to stay with the very explosive Eagles’ offense.  The Cowboys’ defense will be without LB Sean Lee who injured his hamstring against the Falcons.  When Lee isn't in the lineup, this defense struggles slowing down opposing offenses.  I expect that trend to continue on Sunday night.  QB Carson Wentz should have his way with this Cowboys’ defense as he'll spread the ball around like he has done effectively all season.  The Eagles should also get TE Zach Ertz back in the lineup after he missed their last game versus the Broncos with an injured hamstring.  Recent addition RB Jay Ajayi who was acquired via trade, will only see his role increase as the season progresses.  Ajayi made an immediate impact in his first game with the Eagles as he carried the ball eight times for 77 yards and touchdown.  In what will be a high scoring game, look for there to be plenty of offensive fireworks in this contest.
Pick: Over 48.5
Rams at Vikings (Total: 46 points) - 20 units
The Los Angeles Rams and Minnesota Vikings meet up in an NFC matchup in Minnesota for this one. At 33 PPG, the Rams currently are the league's highest-scoring team but will face a challenge here against a Vikings’ defense that is allowing 18 PPG. Look for Todd Gurley to once again be the centerpiece of the Rams’ offense. Although he could struggle rushing the ball, he will see plenty of action catching passes out of the backfield, either as a check down when Jared Goff is under pressure or on designed plays. Despite Minnesota's talented front seven, Goff should have plenty of time to find receivers Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and Sammy Watkins. Goff's protection has been excellent this year as he has only been sacked 13 times. On the other side of the ball, the Vikings will once again start Case Keenum at quarterback. Keenum is coming off a week where he threw for more than 300 yards and four touchdowns against the Redskins. He's developed a solid rapport with receiver Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen and while I'm not expecting a four-touchdown performance again, he should have some success moving the ball through the air. I'm expecting this to be a close back-and-forth game between two talented teams. It certainly won't be a shootout but I do see it going over the posted total of 46. The majority of both teams’ games this year have gone over and this one will as well. Take over 46.
Pick: Over 46

Editor's note: Both Jeremy and Jeff started with 1,000 units as they go head to head all season long.

You can follow Jeff on Twitter @JeffBaldwin4 and Jeremy @jdwardwell5.

Jeff Baldwin
Jeff Baldwin has written Rotoworld's 'Gambling Solution' on Season Pass since 2011. He can be found on Twitter @JeffBaldwin4.