NFL Week 6 Betting Preview & Picks
It’s certainly nice when you don’t have to sweat out a pick and on Thursday night—that was the case in the Eagles-Giants matchup.
I wrote that there was value in the over and after Philly took a 24-6 lead into halftime, the only real concern was whether a dreadful New York team would ruin things in the second half. Fortunately, not even Eli Manning could drag down the scoring and the over 44 (it was bet up to 45.5 by kickoff) hit easily in the Eagles’ 34-13 victory.
With the win last night, I am now 19-6-1 ATS on the season with my NFL plays for 4for4.com. Let’s try to keep it rolling into Sunday…
263 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 264 Atlanta Falcons
- Point Spread: Falcons -3
- O/U: 57
- Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
Atlanta opened as four-point home favorites but the line was bet down to three at most sportsbooks. As for the total, it hit at 57 and that’s where the number currently sits.
As of this writing, 70 percent of the betting tickets and 68 percent of the money wagered are on the Falcons to cover the spread. The majority of betting tickets (58 percent) and money (55 percent) are also on the over.
The Bucs come into this game relatively healthy off their bye. Tight end O.J. Howard (knee) remained limited at practice on Thursday but could play Sunday. Outside of him, cornerback Carlton Davis (groin), tackle Demar Dotson (knee) and defensive tackle Beau Allen (foot) were all limited on Thursday as well.
The Falcons aren’t as fortunate from an injury standpoint. Deion Jones, Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen are all on injured reserve. Stud defensive tackle Grady Jarrett didn’t play a week ago because of an ankle injury and is not practicing this week. Devonta Freeman also suffered a foot injury last week in Pittsburgh and is not practicing either, leaving his status for Sunday in doubt.
The over is 4-1 in the last five meetings between these two teams in Atlanta and the favorite is 10-4-1 against the spread in the last 15 meetings.
My favorite play last week was the Steelers -3 against the visiting Falcons. I couldn’t understand why Pittsburgh was only laying a field goal at home to an Atlanta team coming off back-to-back heartbreaking losses to New Orleans and Cincinnati at home. The Falcons were overrated in Week 3 and Week 4 because of their injuries, but this is a perfect buyback opportunity with Atlanta.
Jameis Winston is starting Sunday for the Bucs and he’s been fantastic over his career against the Falcons, throwing 12 touchdown passes to just two interceptions. That said, Winston hasn’t played in a full game since December of last year and it stands to reason that he’ll need time to shake off the rust. He’s a worthy QB1 in fantasy because this Atlanta defense is horrendous with so many players hurt, but I could see Winston struggling a bit before finding his rhythm.
On the other side, the Falcons took one on the chin last week in Pittsburgh when Matt Ryan was sacked six times and was relegated to throwing check downs to Austin Hooper until the fourth quarter. (Julio Jones didn’t even have a catch in the first three quarters of the game.) But the Bucs can’t create the same pressure as Pittsburgh and Ryan knows this Tampa defense well because his former head coach, Mike Smith, is now the Bucs’ defensive coordinator. Tampa Bay ranks dead-last in pass defense, so good luck trying to slow down Ryan, Jones, Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu. Despite the absence of Freeman, Tevin Coleman is more than capable of handling the starting snaps in Atlanta’s backfield.
It has made sense to fade the Falcons in recent weeks. This time around, I feel this point spread is too low, creating value for anyone willing to take the risk on a 1-4 Atlanta team.
Pick: Falcons -3
261 Pittsburgh Steelers at 262 Cincinnati Bengals
- Point Spread: Bengals -1.5
- O/U: 51.5
- Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
The Bengals opened as three-point home favorites but the line has been bet all the way down to 1.5. The total was also bet down, dropping from 54.5 down to 51.5.
The Steelers are receiving 64 percent of the betting tickets and 77 percent of the money, while 51 percent of the betting tickets are on the over but 67 percent of the money is on the under.
For the Steelers, safety Morgan Burnett (groin) did not practice this week and neither did linebacker L.J. Fort (ankle) or receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (ankle). Center Maurkice Pouncey and Ben Roethlisberger will play.
As for the Bengals, Tyler Eifert is out for the year while fellow tight end Tyler Kroft (foot) is out for Week 6. Receiver John Ross (groin) is questionable and running back Giovani Bernard is expected to miss 2–4 weeks with a sprained MCL.
The Steelers are 3-9 against the spread in their last 12 games and 0-5 ATS in their last five games versus AFC North opponents. The Bengals, meanwhile, are 8-0 against the spread in their last eight games against AFC opponents and have covered the spread in six of their last seven games overall.
I have to amend something first because if you listened to me on 101 ESPN, I was talking about up the Bengals in this matchup on Friday morning. The further I looked at this game, however, the more I fell in love with Pittsburgh.
Let’s go back and look at the Bengals’ wins this season. They trailed by double-digits on the road to the Colts before Indy collapsed. They beat the Ravens at home playing on a short week on TNF Week 2. They beat the Falcons 37-36 in the final seconds in Atlanta. And they erased a 17-0 deficit last week against the Dolphins with 24 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.
Hey, the bottom line is that the Bengals won those games. But they could just as easily be 1-4 if they hadn’t caught some breaks in the fourth quarters of their wins. They’re good, but I don’t think they’re as good as their 4-1 record indicates.
Furthermore, the Steelers are 16-4-2 against the spread in their last 22 games in Cincinnati. Fantasy owners are well aware of Big Ben’s home/road splits but he’s 21-7 against the Bengals over his career. I don’t think his splits are a big deal this weekend, as he’s owned Cincinnati in years past.
Pittsburgh may have figured something out defensively last week, too. The Steelers sacked Matt Ryan six times and held Julio Jones without a catch in the first three quarters. Ryan was basically forced to check the ball down to tight end Austin Hooper in the flat for fear of winding up on his back. The Steelers still have issues defensively but they’re coming off their best performance.
I hate that the line was bet down to 3 but I think the Steelers win anyway.
Pick: Steelers +1.5
275 Kansas City Chiefs at 276 New England Patriots
- Spread: Patriots -3.5
- O/U: 59.5
- Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
The Patriots opened as 3.5-point home favorites and that’s where this line currently sits at most sportsbooks. The total, meanwhile, opened at 57.5 but was bet up two full points to 59.5.
The Chiefs are receiving 54 percent of the betting tickets but 69 percent of the money is on the Patriots to cover. As for the total, 75 percent of the betting tickets and 81 percent of the money is on the over.
The Chiefs are likely to be without safety Eric Berry (heel) for at least another week and Justin Houston is also dealing with a hamstring injury. His status for Sunday night is in question.
As for the Patriots, Chris Hogan (thigh) is trending toward not playing, while Sony Michel (ankle), cornerback Eric Rowe (groin), and defensive tackles Malcolm Brown (knee) and Danny Shelton (elbow) are banged up as well.
The Chiefs have covered the spread in all five games this season while the Patriots are 39-19-2 against the number in their last 60 games overall.
At some point, the bubble will burst and the Chiefs will suffer not only their first loss of the season but also their first failed cover. Honestly, you could have made the case that they would fall in Denver to division rival the Broncos on Monday night two weeks ago, or to Jacksonville and its stout defense last week. Instead, Patrick Mahomes and Co. prospered both times.
I get it: It’s Tom Brady at home on primetime and you only have to lay 3.5 points. But I hate this matchup for New England’s defense. As a whole, they’re slow defensively, which will be a problem on Sunday night when they have to deal with Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt, Sammy Watkins and Kareem Hunt. The Pats simply don’t have the speed to match up with Kansas City’s explosiveness. Mahomes has already carved up defenses better than the one New England will roll out this weekend.
Can the Chiefs defense get a stop? They did in Denver. They did in Pittsburgh. They got multiple stops a week ago versus Jacksonville. I don’t need KC’s defense to be great on Sunday night for the Chiefs to get a win, or a cover for that matter. Just keep producing stops on third down (something the Chiefs have surprisingly excelled at) and let Mahomes and Co. take care of the rest.
Prediction: Chiefs +3.5
ATS Season Records
- Week 1: 5-0
- Week 2: 3-2
- Week 3: 4-1
- Week 4: 3-1-1
- Week 5: 3-2
- Week 6: 1-0
- Overall: 19-6-1
Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images.