Week 11 Football Pick’em Contest Strategy & Advice (2023)

Week 11 of the 2023 NFL season includes a lot of big favorites and some notable emerging teams who are quite popular.

Houston is really popular against Arizona (Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire)

Week 11 features a Houston Texans team that is really popular, and several really large favorites.

In these columns, we explore strategies to maximize your edge in NFL and college football pick’em contests. We also provide some of the rationale behind picks potentially recommended by our premium product.

We plan to periodically update to this post through Sunday of Week 11, so check back for updates. Here’s what’s available now:


Tuesday 11/14

NFL Week 11 Early Value Picks

Here are some early Week 11 value picks in game-winner-based NFL pick’em contests we are seeing as of Tuesday.

Things are bound to change as kickoffs near, but it’s worth keeping an eye on them.

There’s a theme this week, and it’s that a lot of the same faces as last week are back.

Arizona Cardinals (at Houston Texans)

Spread: +4
Win Odds: 40%
Pick Popularity: 8%

The Houston Texans are coming off two exciting wins, and the public is heavily on board now, picking them 92% of the time in the matchup with Arizona. But Houston is only favored by four points, and are facing an Arizona team that now has Kyler Murray back at QB, and who is coming off a win of their own.

There’s significant value on Arizona in weekly contests here with the public all aboard the Texans’ train.

Los Angeles Rams (vs. Seattle Seahawks)

Spread: -1
Win Odds: 51%
Pick Popularity: 24%

Rams QB Matthew Stafford is expected to play after missing Week 9 against Green Bay (and getting a bye week to heal). As a result, this line is at Rams as a slight one-point favorite at home against Seattle. But the public is going with the Seahawks in a big way, at 76% in what looks like a pretty even matchup.

Denver Broncos (vs. Minnesota Vikings)

Spread: -2
Win Odds: 54%
Pick Popularity: 32%

This is a battle of teams that have completely turned their seasons around after rough starts. The Vikings have won five in a row after a 1-4 start, including two wins without Kirk Cousins at QB. Denver has won three in a row (with the last two over the Chiefs and Bills) to get to 4-5.

The Vikings are the public choice here, but it’s actually Denver who is the home favorite, providing value on the Broncos.

Kansas City Chiefs (vs. Philadelphia Eagles)

Spread: -3
Win Odds: 59%
Pick Popularity: 61%

The Chiefs and Eagles give us a Super Bowl showdown to end Week 11. The public popularity is similar to the win odds in this one, with the Chiefs favored by a field goal. In pick’em pools, that’s relative though, as the other four teams favored by between 3 and 4 points this week have an average popularity of 84%. That makes the Chiefs the relative value play from among this tier of options.

Green Bay Packers (vs. LA Chargers)

Spread: +3
Win Odds: 43%
Pick Popularity: 19%

Speaking of teams favored by a field goal, the Chargers are one of those teams far more popular than Kansas City ,at 81% as they face the Packers on the road. Green Bay came up just short against Pittsburgh as a value play, but they are back here, as only about one-in-five entries are picking them, when they have decent win odds for an underdog.

 


Tuesday 11/14

Week 10 Results Summary

Week 10 featured a bunch of close games and swing outcomes late, and also featured some notable upsets. Of the five biggest favorites, three of them lost. Overall, favorites went 8-6 straight up, and 6-7-1 against closing lines.

Game-Winner Pools

In game-winner pools, the public averaged 8.0 wins in Week 10, out of 14 possible games.

Our game winner picks in season-long were below the public, averaging 7.2 wins on average from the “Max Profit” selections. That was a function of both the number of big upsets, and some toss-up type games where we were on the wrong end (Jets and Patriots).

The weekly picks top options, meanwhile, were lower at 5.4 wins, as as the publicly popular close matchups went the public’s way.

Overall 2023 averages: Season-long Max Profit 97.7 wins, Weekly top option 87.4 wins, Public 89.8 wins

Spread Pools

We didn’t see the high public pick extremes in Week 10, and the overall averages are similar between our recommendations and the public. The public was perfectly even at 7.0 wins in 14 games.

Our top model pick was Denver, and that hit, but the Patriots and Packers were other notable spread positions that didn’t work out, both losing in close games late.

Our season-long picks finished with 7.5 wins on average, a little above the public average. The weekly picks were even with the public, averaging 7.0 wins.

Overall 2023 averages: Season-long Max Profit 77.0 wins, Weekly top option 74.4 wins, Public 76.8 wins


Tuesday 11/14

Week 10 News and Stats Rundown

At the bottom this week, we also have a summary of adjusted turnovers (not only turnovers, but safeties, missed kicks, and turnovers on downs). These things can often be more random but high leverage in a given week, so seeing which teams have benefited or struggled the most in these categories can be informative.

Key Injuries in Week 9

  • Atlanta QB Taylor Heinicke got the start, but suffered a hamstring injury and Desmond Ridder came in the game. Atlanta is on a bye this week, so we have two weeks to see who starts for the Falcons.
  • Saints QB Derek Carr left with a shoulder injury and for concussion evaluation, and Jameis Winston played. The Saints also have a bye so we have two weeks to see who plays at QB.

Going Inside the Stats

The public tends to overreact to wins, losses, and scores. But football is a game where a couple of bounces and key plays can swing scoring quite a bit in the moment, but may not be as predictive.

Here are some notes from Week 10:

  • Eleven of the 14 games were decided by one score, and two others (Dallas, San Francisco) were 30+ point blowouts, so there was only one game decided by between 9 and 30 points.
  • Houston won at Cincinnati despite three turnovers, as they rolled up 544 yards of total offense, second-most of the week behind Dallas, and third-most of the year (behind the Miami destruction of Denver).
  • Pittsburgh did it again, winning despite being out-gained for the ninth game in a row to start the season. They did so with a 2-0 turnover edge, as Jordan Love threw a pick in the end zone with just over three minutes to play, and another one on the final play when the Packers got a play off inside the Steelers’ 20-yard line.
  • The Chargers scored a touchdown on five straight possessions … and lost.

Adjusted Turnover Standings, Week 10

Here are the adjusted turnover ranks. Teams at the top have benefited the most, on net, from opponent miscues and fails compared to their own. Teams at the bottom have had a lot of missed opportunities or a lack of mistakes by the opponent. (Safeties are included in turnovers.)

TeamTeam TOTeam TODTeam MFGOpp TOOpp TODOpp MFGNET
PIT741196316
SF622165213
TB931174210
DAL98015738
LAC75114708
SEA1054131048
HOU84112447
NO104517626
CIN86318416
DEN134215736
JAC1672181025
PHI1342111204
KC183013923
NYJ144116153
BAL1544131101
IND158316651
GB1172856-1
DET10921063-2
MIA1382992-3
BUF18531561-4
MIN1344962-4
CLE18531525-4
LV18531272-5
TEN1041630-6
WAS14531150-6
LAR1057844-6
NYG11106865-8
CHI18100965-8
ATL1471850-9
ARI13132962-11
NE17951144-12
CAR11103620-16

 


FYI

Important Notes About Picks We Highlight

Keep in mind three things about picks we highlight in this article:

  1. Optimal pick’em contest strategy balances risk and potential reward.
    Maximizing your odds to win a pick’em pool generally requires exploiting the best opportunities to differentiate your picks from your opponents’ picks. Ideally, you want to fade the public while taking on minimal additional pick risk to do so. For example, taking a betting market favorite being picked by less than 50% of your opponents is usually a great opportunity.
  2. Not all of the picks we highlight are suitable for all pools.
    Don’t be surprised if our Football Pick’em Picks product doesn’t recommend several of the picks we mention in this post for your pool specifically—especially the upset picks. The best pick strategy for you depends on a number of factors such as your pool’s size, rules, and prize structure (a concept that’s covered in part by our article on season vs. weekly prize strategy).
  3. Picks we highlight may no longer look compelling by game day.
    We analyze and write about picks using data (e.g. win odds and pick popularity) current at the time we publish this article, but that data can change before kickoff. For example, a key player being ruled out or a shift in public sentiment about a team can erase the differentiation value that a pick initially offered.

We’ll provide periodic updates in this post if major data changes occur for picks we’ve mentioned, so make sure to check back. However, there’s a much better way to stay on top of changing data trends throughout a week, which all sharp players need to do.

Our Football Pick’em Picks product automatically imports the latest win odds and pick popularity data multiple times per day. You can see the latest information in the Data Grid.

After you generate customized picks for your pool, you can also update those pick recommendations whenever you want via the My Pool Picks screen. The updated picks will incorporate the most recent data we have.


FYI

About Our Pick’em Pool Advice

What makes pick recommendations from our Football Pick’em Picks product different from other sites is that it isn’t generic.

In any given week, the best picks for your football pool depend on a number of variables. Your pool’s size, rules, and prize structure all influence strategy, as do factors like your current place in the standings and how many weeks are left.

So many different scenarios exist that it’s impossible to give pick advice that makes sense for every one. An underrated 6-point underdog could be a great pick in a big weekly prize pool and a terrible pick for a small season-long pool where you’re currently in the money.

Technology to the rescue

As far as we know, we’re the only site that has built algorithms to evaluate all these strategy factors and provide you with customized pick recommendations every week.

The result? Every year, an average of 73% of our subscribers win a prize (season-long or weekly) in a football pick’em contest.

If you want to see all the Week 1 picks we recommend for your football pick’em contest, use our Football Pick’em Picks product.

Why we write this column

At the same time, we know our subscribers like to understand the rationale behind picks our product may recommend, especially when those picks go against the grain. So over the years, we’ve started to write more about the “whys” behind our approach.

This column can also help educate our readers with pick’em pool strategy. We highlight tactics proven to result in more pick’em pool wins over the long term and point out common pitfalls to avoid.

We hope you enjoy reading, and we encourage you to check out more of our football pick’em strategy articles.

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