Week 11 NFL picks against the spread recap with Jason McIntyre | WHAT DID YOU LEARN?

Things got weird in Week 11. The Falcons showed up again, the Vikings overcame the a seemingly impossible deficit and the 49ers defense somehow scored with no time left on the clock … from all these wild and wacky events, here is my biggest takeaway: Trust the team that shows up week in and week out – consistency makes a bet-on team.

Add that rule to the list: Don’t back double digit favorites, and – as much as this pains me to say – be wary of betting on the Jets. Here’s what else we learned from Week 11:

A Brutal Lesson: A cover can come down to the final play

Thoughts and prayers to anyone who had to settle for a push on +10. The Cardinals were covering for all 60 minutes – they jumped to a 16-0 lead – and then after the clock struck 0:00, literal madness ensued for the Cardinals … and some who were excited to get a cover had to settle for getting their money back.

The game was sloppy, featuring 20 penalties and four turnovers – but somehow the 49ers got the win despite the exorbitant amount of injuries to the offense. The Cardinals, now an NFL-best 8-3 ATS this year, were outgained 442-266, and the yards-per-play difference was 6.7 to 4.3.

The odds might favor the Jets going forward … but they are not a bet-on team

Do you remember last week when I asked you how Dwayne Haskins could be favored over anyone? Well … this game played out just as expected: The Redskins couldn’t run on the Jets top five run defense (20 carries, 54 yards), so Haskins had to beat the Jets through the air (he couldn’t) and New York coasted to a second straight win.

I’m largely off the Jets after the embarrassing effort vs the Patriots, Jaguars and Dolphins that dropped them to 1-7 … but the odds will favor them, as I said way back in the preseason, because the schedule is favorable. The Raiders, Bengals and Dolphins are on the horizon – and the Jets chances of beating those quarterbacks who will be forced to operate without a run game are fairly high.

Consistency is key: Don’t take them if you can’t trust them

I might be the only fool who bet on the Bucs against the Saints twice this season … and was extremely unhappy at halftime, when both games were clearly over. Tampa is now 2-8 against the spread, and Jameis Winston is still masquerading as a quarterback. He was intercepted four times – he leads the NFL in interceptions (18), which also matches a career-high.

It’s totally unfair … but I have to question Bruce Arians here: With Marshon Lattimore out, why wouldn’t you focus the offense around your best receiver, Mike Evans? He only had eight targets – most of which came after the game was already lost. Meanwhile, Arians decided to heavily target tight end Cameron Brate (14 targets) and someone named Scotty Miller, a 6th round pick who had six targets (which is the same number he had in the previous three weeks). With no run game, Winston led them with 23 yards – three of their next four games are on the road … ah, who am I kidding, nobody has any clue which Winston is going to show up each week. I’d advise you to steer clear of them.

 Always follow your own rules – they are there for a reason

This will make sense to any gambler: When Minnesota fell behind 20-0 in the first half, and it became clear there was no chance they were going to cover at home against the lowly Broncos, I turned off the game. Anytime I saw an update, it was rooting against Minnesota … of course, the team I backed.

Miraculously, the Vikings became the first team in five years to overcome a 20-point halftime and win … the previous 99 teams had all lost. But from a gambling perspective, I didn’t want them to win because they weren’t going to cover for me – is that wrong? The Broncos were the right side, the Vikings were clearly the wrong side … and now I’m 0-1 this year backing double digit favorites. I broke a cardinal rule, and it cost me.

An unpredictable team – even if they are hot – is questionable to bet on

Who are these Falcons? If this turnaround happened last month, it arguably would be worthy of an entire Friday Night Lights season … that is, if the greatest sports show in TV history was still on the air. I digress – anyway – the Falcons won last week as 13-point underdogs and then Sunday as 5-point underdogs. Both came on the road, and both came … thanks to their defense?

Last week: Six Drew Brees sacks. This week: Four Kyle Allen interceptions. No stats could have possibly anticipated this kind of blowout. But clearly something happened to Atlanta during the bye week … they’re rejuvenated defensively. All that being said, be careful backing them as favorites next week at home against the turnover machine that is Jameis Winston.