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Thread: Best Bets On Week 6 NFL Games

  1. #1 Best Bets On Week 6 NFL Games 
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    Best bets on Week 6 NFL games

    Warren Sapp & Preston Johnson
    ESPN PLUS ($ MATERIAL)


    It's Week 6 of the NFL season, and handicappers Warren Sharp and Preston Johnson have you covered with comprehensive betting previews for all of Sunday's games (except the late game, which will be featured in a separate file).


    Note: All odds courtesy of the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook as of Thursday evening.

    Los Angeles Chargers at Cleveland Browns (PK)

    Total: 45
    PickCenter public consensus pick: 63 percent picked Los Angeles

    Johnson: Over the past two weeks against the Browns, I saw the majority of bettors laying -3 with the Raiders and -3 with the Ravens. I wrote about potential value actually being on Cleveland in both cases, with a rookie quarterback in Baker Mayfield, whom defenses didn't have much film on. My numbers were slightly lower anyway, and had either line reached +3.5, I would have been placing bets on the Browns. Well, after a miracle in Oakland, the Raiders forced an overtime and won the game with a field goal, but Cleveland got its own overtime magic this Sunday with a 12-9 win over Baltimore.


    My number in this game is <offer style="box-sizing: border-box;">Chargers -0.9, so I won't be backing the Browns. But I don't think they will be a bet-against team for long. They lead the NFL in takeaways (three per game) and are currently fourth against the pass. Mayfield obviously has a long way to go before he will be leading this team to a Super Bowl, but from what we have seen to this point, Mayfield and the defense will put the team in positions to win.

    </offer>

    Pick: Pass


    Sharp: Last week the Browns faced the Ravens defense, which ranks No. 2 on third downs and No. 4 in the red zone and overall. This week they take on a Chargers defense that ranks No. 29 on third downs and is below average in most other categories. The Browns offense is surprisingly good running the football, ranking No. 13 despite playing the 10th-most difficult schedule.


    On the other side, the Chargers offense is clicking but has not faced a team with a defense anywhere close to Cleveland's No. 2 unit. The past two weeks they played the 49ers (21st) and Raiders (29th). If the Browns can lean on the run game to be productive, they have enough elsewhere to win this game at home.


    Pick: Browns PK


    Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings (-10)

    Total: 43
    PickCenter public consensus pick:64 percent picked Minnesota

    Johnson: A popular narrative this week will probably be about how the Vikings won't lay another egg against an inferior opponent at home (a la Buffalo in Week 3). I agree, and my projection for the game makes Minnesota a -10.7 favorite. There isn't a big enough discrepancy to actually back the Vikings, though, unless this reached -9.5.


    The Cardinals sure aren't a team worth buying after their road win in San Francisco this past week. I wrote about that game in detail here (link Week 6 column). In summary, Arizona won 28-18 despite being outgained by the 49ers 447 yards to 220 thanks to five San Francisco turnovers, another turnover on downs and a missed field goal. Josh Rosen threw for 170 yards on 10-of-25 passing against a depleted 49ers defense. It's Vikings or pass at the current number, but I'll need -9.5 before I make a wager.


    Pick: Pass


    Sharp: While this would have been crazy to think in the offseason, the Vikings' No. 26-ranked defense will be the easiest one that Arizona's offense has faced this season. The Cardinals passing offense has had a tough season thus far, but has faced the most difficult schedule in the league. Arizona walked right into four top-10 pass defenses to start the season, and thus ranks poorly, but with Josh Rosen this team's passing offense has improved.


    The Vikings will have to deal with a very tough Cardinals defense, which continues to fight hard every week. The Cardinals should be able to limit the very bad Vikings run game, but expect Kirk Cousins to have success at home in a lower-scoring game.


    Lean: Cardinals +10.5


    Chicago Bears (-3.5) at Miami Dolphins

    Total: 41.5
    PickCenter public consensus pick:65 percent picked Chicago

    Johnson: The Bears opened as a two-point favorite in Miami and are currently -3 everywhere in the market. My raw number in this game is Bears -0.8. The bye week for Chicago is one that needs to be accounted for though, so I think the opener at -2 is spot on. It is interesting seeing how quickly market reactions including one team in a game can change just two weeks later.


    The Dolphins were only +6.5 in New England in Week 4, implying that the Patriots would be roughly a 2.5-point favorite if the game was in Miami. The Bears are -3 in Miami in Week 6. Now, that Patriots -6.5 line against the Dolphins was too extreme and we bet against it. But this might be pushing too far the other direction after the Dolphins blew a 17-0 halftime lead in Cincinnati.


    I haven't jumped in to bet Miami yet. My buy point on this game will be at +3.5 or better if Laremy Tunsil and Cameron Wake are cleared to play.



    Pick:
    Pass


    Sharp: Coming off a bye hasn't been great for offenses, and with the Bears looking all-world against the NFL's worst pass defense at home before the bye, temper expectations for this offense in Miami. The Dolphins have a top-five overall defense and are more than capable of putting Mitchell Trubisky in bad spots.


    On the other side of the ball, Chicago's defense is every bit as good as it's been billed, and the Dolphins are down multiple starters offensively. The Bears have allowed just one run of over 15 yards this season, and should limit the productivity of Adam Gase's offense on the ground. And the NFL's No. 1 pass rush should be a shock to the Dolphins system, as they played teams that rank No. 31, 29 and 19 in pass rush the past three weeks.


    Pick: Pass


    Carolina Panthers at Washington Redskins (-1)

    Total: 44.5
    PickCenter public consensus pick: 70 percent picked Carolina

    Johnson: I'm not sure what to make of Washington's showing Monday night against the Saints. I understand that Drew Brees broke the all-time passing record that night, and that Washington was coming off of a bye (and looked like it hadn't played in two weeks), but none of those excuses come into play in the second half when they were blitzed again by New Orleans from the get-go.


    The Redskins actually moved from +6.5 to +6 at most sportsbooks before kickoff Monday. Early this week it appears they are taking money again after opening +1 Sunday afternoon and currently laying -1 against Carolina. I have this lined exactly at pick 'em, so I don't anticipate getting involved in the game, but I am intrigued to see how Washington responds, and I think we will learn a lot about where they are at as a team moving forward.


    Pick: Pass


    Sharp: Off of a bye, the Panthers offense showed up to defeat the Giants, but their defense wasn't fully engaged. The Redskins were even worse, as both sides of the ball looked terrible on Monday night. Instead of practicing on Wednesday, the Redskins said they needed "rest" and just did a walk-through. The most obvious matchup edge for the Redskins attack will be their explosive run offense, which can attack the 30th-ranked explosive run defense of Carolina.


    The Redskins run defense started off the season well, but played two teams (Cardinals and Colts) that can't run the ball. The Panthers are the best run offense the Redskins have faced this season. The Saints didn't even need to target Alvin Kamara in the pass game on Monday night as there were WRs running wide open all night in Washington's secondary. Carolina's passing attack won't see that same level of success.


    Pick: Pass


    Indianapolis Colts at New York Jets(-2.5)

    Total: 45.5
    PickCenter public consensus pick: 61 percent picked Indianapolis

    Johnson: The Colts opened +3.5 or +3 against the Jets in Week 6. The number is now +2.5 at the majority of shops, and, despite early-week limits being quite a bit less than sportsbooks will allow later in the week, this is still a pretty significant move. My personal projection for the game is New York -1.3, so for those that were able to snag Indianapolis at +3.5 or +3 already, I definitely think you are holding a bet with positive expected value.


    In the end, I'm not too surprised with the opening line after the Jets took it to the Broncos this past Sunday and the Colts fell behind early in New England in the Thursday night game. The slight overreaction, however, isn't worth betting at this point unless a +3 on the Colts side were to pop back up in the market. Keep an eye on it. In the meantime, I opened a position with Colts +8.5 in a six-point, two-team teaser with the Titans at +8.5.


    Pick: Colts +8.5 in a teaser, buy at +3 straight.


    Sharp: After facing many teams that prefer to run the ball in recent weeks, the Jets defense will now tangle with the No. 1 pass-heavy offense in the league. The Colts are passing the ball, albeit somewhat inefficiently, all over the yard, and the Jets have played the NFL's second-easiest schedule of pass offenses. Unfortunately, the Colts will be without both Jack Doyle and T.Y. Hilton, which definitely hurts this passing attack.


    The Colts defense has been more impressive than most expected entering the season, but is dealing with a number of injuries. The Jets faced a pocket of three extremely tough pass defenses in the Browns, Jaguars and Dolphins in consecutive weeks. They lost all three games to those top-five pass defenses, but to teams outside the top 15, the Jets registered wins of 48-17 and 34-16.


    Lean: Jets -2.5


    Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals (-1.5)

    Total: 51.5
    PickCenter public consensus pick:61 percent picked Pittsburgh

    Johnson: I'm torn about what to do in this game. A few weeks back I made a bet on the Bengals to win the AFC North at +225. This is a massive swing game for that wager. Cincinnati already has the current tiebreaker with Baltimore (beat them in Week 2), and a win over Pittsburgh would ultimately put them at least two games ahead of anybody else in the division.


    Unfortunately this line is off quite a bit from my personal number. I make the Steelers -1.0 in this game, and they are currently getting 2.5 points. For the first time this season, it looked like Pittsburgh put things together in its 41-17 victory over the Falcons this Sunday. I typically would be looking to back the Steelers at +2.5 when I make them the favorite, but getting +225 on the division in a massive swing game is a lot more value at this point overall.


    I won't be betting the game individually, but if you were leaning to the Steelers side independently from any division future bet, there definitely is an edge there.


    Lean: Steelers +2.5


    Sharp: The Steelers have successfully put up points in bunches against the three weak pass defenses they faced this year (41 vs. Atlanta, 47 vs. Kansas City and 30 vs. Tampa Bay) but struggled against the quality pass defenses of the Browns and Ravens. With the Bengals bringing a below-average pass defense, the Steelers should have success, but don't be shocked to see them attempt to exploit Cincinnati's run defense. The Bengals have played three of the NFL's worst rushing offenses in their first five games.


    The Steelers defensive metrics have improved since the first two weeks of the season, and they are now a respectable 16th in defensive efficiency. Cincinnati's offense is as good as its 4-1 record indicates, and this is a team that ranks fifth on third downs, sixth in the red zone and is a top-five explosive passing offense.


    Lean: Steelers +2.5


    Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons (-3)

    Total: 57
    PickCenter public consensus pick: 69 percent picked Atlanta

    Johnson: There isn't much to this bet for me. The Falcons at -3 is a sizable edge worth grabbing, as my number is Atlanta -6.6. The Falcons have scored over 31 points per game against the Buccaneers since defensive coordinator Mike Smith took over for Tampa Bay in 2016. Scoring shouldn't be a problem for Atlanta.


    Do I think the defense can hold Tampa Bay to less than four touchdowns in a game that essentially is do-or-die for the Falcons' playoff hopes? Despite their rough start and injuries on the defensive side of the ball, my projections say yes.


    Pick: Falcons -3


    Sharp: Part of the reason Tampa Bay's performance tailed off over their past few games was the strength of the opposing defensive lines. The Bucs beat the two teams with defensive pressure units ranking outside the top 10, but lost their past two games to teams with pass pressure rates inside the top 10. The Falcons rank No. 27 in pass pressure rate, and will be the easiest defense the Buccaneers will face this year. And after playing three run defenses inside the top six so far this year, facing the Atlanta run defense could allow Jameis Winston to get some support from Ronald Jones on the ground.


    The Falcons likewise should enjoy coming back home to face the worst pass defense in the NFL after playing the Steelers last week (No. 14 pass defense). Matt Ryan should bounce back in a big way at home, where the Falcons have scored 31-plus points in all home games so far this season.


    Pick: Pass


    Seattle Seahawks (-2.5) vs. Oakland Raiders

    At London, England
    Total: 48.5
    PickCenter public consensus pick: 54 percent picked Seattle

    Johnson: This is the first NFL game in London of the 2018 season. Historically I haven't attempted to bet many of these games because I feel like there are multiple extra variables that are tough to account for compared to a typical game. The line is a little high at the current -3, but I don't anticipate looking at backing the Raiders unless we saw a +4 at some point this weekend.


    We actually bet against Oakland in Week 5, and the Raiders never really gave us a worry. The Seahawks, on the other hand, almost upset the darling Los Angeles Rams at home. This may be why the number is slightly inflated, but it is ultimately a pass for me. The total when it opened at 47 was probably the best bet in this game. My projection is 49.7, but at 48.5 a good portion of that value is gone. If this came back down for whatever reason, consider 47 or better the buy point on the over.


    Pick: Pass


    Sharp: After a strong performance against the Rams, the Seahawks should be able to duplicate success on the ground against a Raiders team that ranks No. 24 against the run. That edge should be large, but the other edge should be felt more directly by Russell Wilson and that is the Raiders lack of a pass rush. Oakland ranks No. 31 despite facing an easy schedule of offensive lines. That should help Seattle's terrible offensive line which has faced the second-hardest schedule of pass rushes to start the year.


    Oakland's offense wasn't as bad as it looked last week against the Raiders, but this is still a team that in in transition and there clearly is a familiarity process that is ongoing between Jon Gruden and Derek Carr. Seattle has been very good against the pass but hasn't been tested, playing the No 1 easiest schedule of pass offenses overall.


    Pick: Pass


    Buffalo Bills at Houston Texans(-10)

    Total: 41
    PickCenter public consensus pick: 72 percent picked Buffalo

    Johnson: I make the Texans -8.7 in this home matchup against the Bills. I'm not sure how many more times this season we will be able to congratulate Buffalo for winning a football game, so this is my official shout out to them and their fans for a nice 13-12 win over the Titans this past Sunday. The only other time the Bills won a game this year, they followed it up with a 22-0 road loss in Green Bay. I expect they will be able to get on the board this time around in Houston, but I am a little wary of backing them this week against a Texans squad that I still believe has a lot of upside.


    If I were to make a bet in this game at the current market numbers, it would be on the under 41. My projection is 39.8, but I would most likely need 42 or better before I considered making a wager.


    Pick: Pass


    Sharp: Buffalo is the second-most run heavy team in the NFL. That strategy has seen some success against teams with below-average run defenses, like the Vikings and Titans. But against the No. 4 run defense of the Ravens, the Bills were blown out. And now Buffalo must face the No. 2 run defense of the Texans on the road. The Texans also have the No. 5 pass rush unit, the most difficult one the Bills have faced this year.


    The Bills pass defense has been quite good against a number of decent passing offenses, but the only pass offense that was more explosive than the Texans was the Chargers, resulting in a 31-20 loss that was more of a blowout than the final score indicated. Expect some big gains from Deshaun Watson through the air, and enough trips into the red zone for the Texans to put up enough points. But this number seems a touch high for a Texans team that hasn't won by more than three all year.


    Pick: Pass


    Los Angeles Rams (-7) at Denver Broncos

    Total: 51.5
    PickCenter public consensus pick: 64 percent picked Los Angeles

    Johnson: The Rams finally looked human this past week in Seattle. To be fair, the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field are one of the toughest tests in the NFL, and although Los Angeles didn't cover, the Rams still found a way to earn a victory late and improve to 5-0. Now they have to travel to Denver in altitude to play the Broncos in Week 6. That is about as tough of a back-to-back that exists in the league. I think the spread is close to a fair number at either -7 or the -6.5 that are available, but I have more interest in the total. This opened at 53 and has since been bet down to 52 or 51.5 across the market. I am in no rush to jump in yet in case the number keeps trickling down, but my projection at 54.3 shows an edge to the over.


    As much as we like to think of the Broncos as an elite defensive team, they simply aren't anymore. They currently are allowing 6.2 yards per play to their opponents (ranks 28th in the NFL) and 30th against the run. The Rams themselves rank 22nd defensively in the NFL and 29th against the run. However, they also have the best offense by quite a big margin (7.4 yards per play; Tampa Bay at 7.0 and the L.A. Chargers at 6.6 round out the top three). If the Rams come out flat at all after their road win in Seattle and fall behind early, I especially think these teams could start trading scores.


    Pick: Lean over 52, waiting for 51 or better for full bet


    Sharp: The Broncos need to right the ship after three consecutive losses. A road loss to the Ravens and a home loss to the Chiefs isn't out of the ordinary, but the manner in which they lost to the Jets was quite embarrassing. The bad news is the Rams come into town as the NFL's best team. The good news is the Broncos have the NFL's best rushing offense and the Rams' run defense ranks fifth-worst despite playing the second-easiest schedule of opposing rushing offenses.


    The key for the Rams will be the health of their receivers. Last week they lost both Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp to concussions. While both have been practicing, concussions are fickle things and we need to see what the Friday injury report holds for these two. Needless to say, the Rams should have edges in the air and on the ground.


    The Broncos were able to stymie Kansas City's passing offense in Week 4 by forcing Mahomes into tough throws, but the Rams are more of a well-oiled machine as a unit, rather than relying and requiring excellence from the QB to be productive.


    Pick: Pass


    Jacksonville Jaguars (-3) at Dallas Cowboys

    Total: 40.5
    PickCenter public consensus pick: 62 percent picked Jacksonville

    Johnson: The Cowboys' 24th-ranked offense hosts the Jaguars in Week 6. My numbers point to a small edge for Dallas at +3, but I'm worried for a passing game that ranks 29th ahead of only the Colts, Cardinals and Bills. The Jaguars are still my top-rated pass defense in the NFL and we know how stubborn Dallas is at times with its run game. Even if the Cowboys choose to run the ball regularly, it bodes well for a bet I have made on the under 40.5 that offers value in the matchup. I actually bet under 41 -- which is available at other outlets -- but at 40.5 or even 40 it is still a sizable edge worth betting.


    Dallas still fields the fourth-ranked defense in the league and gets a Jaguars team that just turned it over five times in Kansas City. I imagine the Jaguars will play this one more conservatively and rely on game control and defense themselves.


    Pick: Under 40.5


    Sharp: All the negativity in the world has been heaped on the lap of Jason Garrett and the Cowboys for botching the game in Houston and refusing to play more aggressively in overtime. Unfortunately, they face a Jaguars team that ranks No. 7 against the run, which is the main objective of Dallas' offense. More will be on Dak Prescott's plate, and the Cowboys will need to get production out of several new faces on the offense, particularly TE Geoff Swain, who was Dallas' most reliable non-RB target last week.


    Jacksonville struggled due to poor playcalling last week. The run game was clicking, but offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett kept calling for Blake Bortles passes. The Jaguars offensive line is dealing with a cluster of injuries. After losing Cam Robinson for the season, they are without Robinson's replacement at LT, Josh Wells, and three other linemen are on the injury report. That's not ideal when facing the toughest pass-rushing unit the Jags have faced this year (Cowboys rank fourth).


    Lean: Cowboys +3


    Baltimore Ravens (-2.5) at Tennessee Titans

    Total: 41
    PickCenter public consensus pick: 67 percent picked Tennessee

    Johnson: The Titans are the second leg of a two-team, six-point teaser that I bet this week with the Colts. I wasn't buying the Baltimore love in Cleveland last week, and this is another game in which I think the Ravens are being overvalued. I make the Titans +0.6 in the game, and at +3 or better I would be betting Tennessee straight as well.


    I elected to use Tennessee in a teaser this week and will be adding more if the lines reaches +3 (-110) by Sunday.


    Pick: Titans +8.5 in a teaser, buy at +3 straight


    Sharp: The Titans are a team that has been tough to peg. They somehow beat the Jaguars on the road with Blaine Gabbert starting and then manage to lose to the Bills. Without much of a passing game, they rally from a 17-3 deficit to beat the Eagles. And now they host the Ravens, a team that was on a roll before running into the Browns last week. The Titans have used a top-10 pass rush to help limit opposing offenses in the deep passing game, and rank as the NFL's best defense against explosive passes, which could mean less from John Brownthis game.


    The Ravens defense is a legitimate top-five unit and has been stellar, holding four of its five opponents to 14 or fewer points, a truly phenomenal mark in today's NFL. Unfortunately for Tennessee, this has been par for the course, as the Titans have done nothing but play top-10 defenses this year. Look for Marcus Mariota to use his legs in key situations to do enough to keep this one close.



    Lean: Titans +2.5
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    No opinion on this material guys, just posting for others to read...
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  3. #3  
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    H.Man.....thank you again for the write ups and thought's.........BOL buddy........indy
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