If Week 6 taught us anything or reaffirmed anything it is that the NFL is a week to week league. Say that 5 times to yourself like a mantra, “The NFL is a Week to Week League” last week we saw 2 double digit underdogs, Miami and the Giants, win games straight up. The Jets and 49ers just missed making it 4 big dogs winning straight up. We saw undefeated KC lose their first game at home to the Steelers who were blown out at home the previous week by the Jags. Like I said the NFL is a week to week league.
It’s the 20th anniversary of The Firm. Crazy.
Week 6: 3-2
Game 1: Bal @ Min Under 39.5
Bet% Over 41% Under 59%
Betting unders on games where the total is under 40 seems very tough to pull the trigger on and for me I usually stay off those games but I went back and looked at totals that closed 40.5 and lower this season and unders went 9-6 in those 15 games.
I’m not sure there is an offense that looks more anaemic than the Ravens do, they are 26th in DVOA on offense, 31st in passer rating, 31st in yards per pass attempt and 31st in explosive plays. Last week the Ravens scored 24 but 14 of them came from special teams TDs. Week 5 was their best offensive game vs the Raiders who are 28th in defense and even in that game they needed a defensive TD.
The Vikings offense has been much better this season but playing against a defense as good as the Ravens minus their best 2 players on offense with Stefan Diggs and Dalvin Cook out are going to have a difficult time generating explosive plays vs the #5 DVOA defense. Case Keenum has been a very serviceable starter for the Vikings with a passer rating of 93.1 but none of the defenses they have faced have been as good as the Ravens defense they will face this week.
Both these quarterbacks will be over-matched in this game and neither can count on a consistent run game which does bring up the likelihood of turnovers and both these defenses have been able to turn those turnovers into TDs. With such a low total any defensive score will probably cost us this bet.
Game 2: Cin +5.5 @ Pit
Bet% Cin 55% Pit 45%
The Bengals have been coming on the last 3 weeks since moving Bill Lazor to OC and coming off of a bye this is a huge game for them to get back into the division race with the Steelers. The Bengals defense has been one of the best performing units in the league so far, 3rd in DVOA on defense 7th vs run and pass, even though I don’t think they will finish as a top 5 defense this is a very good unit that has played the Steelers tougher than almost any other team. The Bengals last year were particularly good at defending Antonio Brown holding him to 58 and 39 yards and if they can slow him down again this week then they can not only stay in this game but win straight up
Pittsburgh won a huge game in KC last week but I’m not sure that win cured all that ails the Steelers. The Steelers won their biggest game of the year last week in a game where the offense looked the best they have all year but then comes the news that Martavious Bryant asked for a trade out of Pittsburgh. The Steelers defense is 4th in DVOA so we have 2 of the top 5 defenses in this game which makes me think we will see a close low scoring game, with Bengals getting an extra week to prepare.
Game 3: Ten @ Cle +6
Bet% Ten 69% Cle 31%
I know. I know. How can we keep doing this? Last week was gross, everyone was on the Browns and that line dropped from +10 to +7.5 and then the game started and by the end of 1st Q every Browns better knew it was over. If you are reading this and don’t want any of your hard earned money on this team I totally get it but I’m taking one more shot.
The Browns are the Browns, we can’t count on much but the one thing they have done well this year is defend the run, they are 3rd in DVOA and giving up just 3 yards per attempt which is tied for first in the league. The Titans are a run 1st offense, the run on 45.8% of plays 8th highest, last year was even higher at 47.2% so we know that is what they want to do especially with Mariota not 100%. Not only is Mariota not 100% but DeMarco Murray is also having hamstring issues and for our sake I would rather have him playing in this game and taking snaps from Derek Henry.
The schedule also offers the Browns an advantage here. The Titans are on a short week after playing on MNF and have a bye next week so you have to wonder if some of the guys that are banged up are looking forward to next week and resting their injuries. For Cleveland this is their 2nd of 3 straight home games and Kizer gets a shot at redemption after his 1 game benching. All that being said we know that a 3 interception game from Kizer or Greg Williams pass defense giving up jailbreak wide open TDs isn’t out of the question so as good as a spot as this is, it is the Browns and I certainly don’t feel great betting them.
Game 4: Sea @ NYG Under 40
Bet% Over 36% Under 64%
Another super low total and again this feels like on that as long as we don’t see and defensive or special teams TDs we should cash pretty easily. Seattle is coming off of a bye and goes across country to play a Giants defense that had one of their best games of the year on SNF vs the Broncos last week. Wilson and the Seattle offense have been notoriously slow starters especially on the road and coming off of a bye I think we will see that again here. Seattle is averaging 29 PPG at home but just 17.3 on the road his season in a small sample but last year the split looked the same with 28.1 at home and 16.3 on the road. To make matters worse Seattle will face a very strong Giants D line without starter Luke Joeckel who say what you will about him was a real NFL lineman and on this team that makes him important.
The Giants managed to win as 13 point underdogs and 23 points but the defense really won the game scoring a TD and getting 3 turnovers to set the offense up. The Giants did have a big running game last week but after seeing Seattle take Gurley out of the game 2 weeks ago vs the Rams I can’t see the Giants having a repeat performance here. Life without Odell Beckham is not going to be pretty and I am not sure there will be a worse matchup for the Giants all year than a rested Seattle defense this week. This feels like a game that is more likely to stay under 30 than have both teams get in the 20’s as long as we don’t see Eli throwing pick 6’s.
Game 5: Den -1 @ LAC
Bet% Den 69% SD 31%
I’m not thrilled to be on such a public side but this feels like too much line value to pass up on the Broncos because this isn’t really a home game for the Chargers. I would expect the Broncos to have as many if not more fans at this game than the Chargers and because it is such a short trip travel won’t be an issue.
The Chargers have won 2 straight games after starting the year with 4 heartbreaking losses but those wins came at the expense of the 0-5 Giants and the Raiders in a game that was Derek Carr’s 2st game back after the back injury. Chargers are also having injury issues with Keenan Allen missing practice al week and Melvin Gordon was also just a limited participant on Friday.
The Broncos were minus 3 in turnovers last week which cost them an embarrassing loss vs the Giants and I expect they will try to exploit the Chargers 28th ranked run defense and protect Trevor Simien who was banged up last week especially with Emmanuel Sanders out this week. The Broncos have been running the ball very efficiently 14th in DVOA averaging 4.2 yards per rush attempt.
The Denver run defense is still the #1 defense by DVOA despite a terrible game last week that saw Orleans Darkwa rush for 117 yards on just 21 carries, I expect a big bounce back this week from that unit. The Chargers are averaging just 3.5 yards per rush att which is 25th and 30th in DVOA I expect the Broncos defense to dominate the run the game and with one of the best secondary’s in the league should be able to limit the Chargers pass game.
Game 6: Jax @ Ind Under 21 1st Half
Bet%: Over 53% Under 47% (Full game)
I liked the Jags here if Fournett played but without his big play ability I’m less bullish on taking Jags -3 on the road. I was on the Jags 1st half under last week and got burned by 2 ST TDs by the Rams and a 75 yards TD by Fournett but will comeback with it here.
I think the Jags will keep the same game plan with Ivory as long as they can, so the start of the game will be run dominated but obviously there is less of a threat of explosive plays from Ivory than the rookie. The Jags #1 pass defense should be able to limit Jacoby Brissett and I think early on the Colts will try to protect their QB by running Gore and Mack against the Jags 31st ranked run defense. The Colts run offense is 28th in efficiency so I don’t think it will lead to a lot of points but he clock should keep moving.
Games Still Under Consideration for Sunday
Jax -3 @ Ind
Bet% Jax 65% Ind 35%
I love this spot for the Jags and the only thing I’m waiting on is to make sure Leonard Fournett is playing. The Jags lost last week to the Rams in a game that saw the Rams score 2 TDs on special teams, but that 5th ranked pass offense of the Rams was held to 124 yards. Jacoby Brisett has only faced 1 top 10 pass defense the Seahawks and it was a disaster. The way to attack the Jags is through the run but the colts have the 28th ranked run defense so they are not likely to stick with it and that means the Jags pass defense should get plenty of opportunities to turn the Colts over.
Dal @ SF +6.5
Bet% Dal 66% SF 34%
Last week was a terrible spot for the 49ers, they were playing their 3rd straight road game and had come off of 2 straight OT losses which is why I passed on taking them +13 at Was and even though they were thoroughly outplayed most of the game they came back and had a chance to win. CJ Bethard came in for Hoyer and was this eek named the starter going forward. I have no idea what to expect from Bethard but I do know that Hoyer was not the answer so we will see.
The Cowboys are coming off of a bye but have had to deal with another week of the Ezikiel Elliott drama. Elliott will play this week but you have to wonder how they come off of the bye vs a team they know they should beat. If this goes to 7 I will definitely play the 49ers but at 6.5 I will wait and see if anything sways me on Sunday.