Already through five weeks of NFL play, we have seen things we rarely see through the course of a regular season.
We have had the lighting up of Scorigami, the web site who updates us every time there is a score that has never happened before in league history. We have had a game in primetime played without a touchdown being scored (last Thursday with Indy and Denver), and no one would be shocked if we had another one this week with Washington and Chicago.
Forty-six quarterbacks have thrown at least four passes this fall, and the new concussion protocol could see that number shoot up into the 60s before January comes. The same goes for rushers, as 102 players have at least nine carries, and 60 have at least 100 yards on the ground thus far.
The Green Bay Packers defeated Tom Brady and Tampa Bay, 14-12, and then lost two weeks later to Daniel Jones and the New York Giants, 27-22. Meanwhile, the big favorite in the AFC South, the Indianapolis Colts were supposed to be an offensive juggernaut this season and steamroll through the division. Yet, they opened the season with a tie at Houston and were shutout in Week 2 in Jacksonville (then handed Kansas City its only loss of the season to date).
Makes a lot of sense, huh? Most likely, we ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.
Meanwhile, we have fought through for a 17-8 start with our best bets and a .633 winning percentage with over/under totals. Can we continue our success there and remain on our recent trend of winning our non-best bet games, as well?
Any comments, questions, gratitude or hate mail is welcome at [email protected]. (We’ll even read them on the air on Friday’s Dattitude Podcast, which can be found on all major podcast platforms.)
NOTES: All spreads, money lines and over/under totals (as of Wednesday) are provided by Caesars Sportsbook. We started the season with a mythical bankroll with $1,000. Our totals for the past week and the season are at the bottom of this column.
THE WEEK 6 BEST BETS
HOME TEAM in CAPS
Bye weeks: Detroit, Houston, Las Vegas, Tennessee.
NOTE: All times Central
1 / Teaser, NEW ORLEANS +7.5 over Cincinnati and KANSAS CITY +8.5 over Buffalo
WHEN: Saints-Bengals on Sunday at 1 p.m.; Chiefs-Bills on Sunday at 4:25 p.m. THE BET: $36 to win $30.
Teaser explanation: At most books, a bettor can parlay two teams in a “teaser” and get 6 points of cushion for each bet. However, it costs -120 to play and – like a parlay – both legs must hit to cash the ticket.
This might be the teaser of the year with both the Saints and Chiefs getting more than a touchdown at home.
I get why even most experts think the Bills are the best team in the NFL and why they are favored to win Super Bowl LVII. However, I don’t understand this line at all on the road against the second-best team in the league (of which there also is little debate).
I nearly took Kansas City at +2.5 as one of my best bets, before I realized the better value for them is at +8.5 paired with another home team I think also should be favored.
This is the first time in more than two years in which starters are playing in which the Chiefs are an underdog, and there’s a good reason for it. Going through this gauntlet of a schedule which already has been one of the toughest in the league to date, Kansas City has made it through at 4-1.
We all know the recent history of this series, including that incredible AFC championship game last January. Since I don’t subscribe the “revenge” factor in NFL games, the Bills have to prove to me they’re good enough to win this one while KC is playing at a top level – and not like October 2021 when the Chiefs dropped to 2-3.
In Saints-Bengals, the analysis leads me tells me the New Orleans defense should have a decent day against a Cincinnati offensive line that is reeling. The fact Jameis Winston looks like he will make his return should be a boost to the Saints offense, as well.
The key, obviously, will be how much pressure is put on Joe Burrow, and the number to watch is four. If the Saints get four sacks Sunday, they’ll win. If they don’t, this pick will get burned. And with New Orleans’ season on the potential brink, it would be a surprise to see them get blown out in the Dome.
SCORE PREDICTION: Chiefs (+2.5) 27, Bills 25. (Under 54.)
SCORE PREDICTION: Saints (+1.5) 23, Bengals 19. (Under 43.)
2 / Carolina +10 over LA RAMS
WHEN: Sunday at 4:05 p.m. THE BET: $22 to win $20.
When this was Panthers +11 earlier in the week and even +10.5 on Wednesday afternoon, this was my top play of the week.
First and foremost, a bettor need not have seen much of Carolina this season to know they have played terribly, and even in their one victory (against the Saints) there were plenty of forces of luck that played a role to keep them from being 0-5. That being said, for anyone who has paid attention over the past several years, when a team makes a change at head coach during the season, it seems to focus that squad in the ensuing week.
In this case, the Panthers aren’t nearly as bad as their scores indicate. Their defense has been hit or miss, but they are coming off a 2021 campaign in which they were the second-best unit in the NFL. And their offense? Well, there’s no excusing the play of Baker Mayfield, but he isn’t in there this week, and PJ Walker has to be an improvement, right?
Second, and nearly just as important as any other point made thus far, who in the world are the Los Angeles Rams to be laying double digits to anybody? They’re lucky to be 2-3 and the three games they lost – to the Bills, 49ers and Cowboys – weren’t close.
They’ll win, but it won’t be pretty. No way I play this in a knockout pool unless I have several picks remaining or I am in a refresh league that starts over this week.
SCORE PREDICTION: Rams 22, Panthers 19. (Under 41.)
3 / San Francisco at ATLANTA under 44.5
WHEN: Sunday at 1 p.m. THE BET: $22 to win $20.
So far it has been the season of the under, which is why our record for totals has been unsustainably good. (How’s that for selling the pick?)
An initial look had me wanting to take the Falcons with San Fran playing their second straight game across the country. However, it seems as if the 49ers have been immune to such problems, as they proved last year in winning their opening two games at Detroit (41-33) and Philadelphia (17-11), and then taking their first two in the playoffs at Dallas (23-17) and Green Bay (13-10).
Rather, it seems their second of two games is lower scoring, and we expect that to be the case here. Also, Atlanta struggled in their first game without Cordarrelle Patterson last week.
Lastly, if I buy the early hype and bet on the Falcons against a team like this, I probably should have someone come over and delete all the apps off my phone that have anything to do with money.
SCORE PREDICTION: 49ers (-5.5) 23, Falcons 13.
4 / New England (+118) money line over CLEVELAND
WHEN: Sunday at 1 p.m. THE BET: $20 to win $23.60.
One thing we know about Bill Belichick – besides the fact he has more rings than he can fit in a jewelry box – is that he knows defense. Specifically, he knows how to defense a one-dimensional team better than just about anyone else. And it’s clear Cleveland can’t do much on offense but run the football and occasionally find Amari Cooper.
Another thing you might not know is Belichick loves to beat up on his former employer, having won seven of the past nine straight up and eight of nine against the spread vs. the Browns.
The Patriots, who may or may not have Mac Jones back this week (if they get Jones back, we’ll put even more on this one), have covered four in a row and won the last two games by a combined score of 72-20. The Browns have averaged 16.3 points per game against New England in the Belichick era, and it is going to take more than that to win this one.
SCORE PREDICTION: Patriots (+2.5) 22, Browns 17. (Under 43.5.)
5 / PITTSBURGH +8 over Tampa Bay
WHEN: Sunday at 1 p.m. THE BET: $11 to win $10.
Watching the Steelers get blasted last week by the Buffalo Bills was painful for anyone who respects Mike Tomlin as I do. That being said, we predicted it and it couldn’t have been that big of a surprise to even the most casual fan.
Now what would be a major surprise is for Tomlin to get his keister kicked like that a second straight week.
We won’t mislead you – it has happened before – but it’s rare. What’s even more rare is losing five consecutive games, as the Steelers have not had it happen to them since Tomlin was in his third season, and that was 13 years ago.
In other words, although we don’t do a whole lot of “feel” picks in this column, but instead look for the best value, we see plenty of value, too. Tampa Bay is not playing very well right now, and we’re certain Pittsburgh will play their best game of the season against a team that is only laying eight points because their quarterback is named Tom Brady.
SCORE PREDICTION: Buccaneers 26, Steelers 23. (Over 44.5.)
TOP KNOCKOUT PICKS
1 / San Francisco; 2 / Green Bay; 3 / Tampa Bay; 4 / LA Rams; 5 / LA Chargers. (Last week: Buffalo, Tampa Bay and New Orleans advanced; Green Bay was knocked out.)
OTHER PICKS (No bets for the following)
Thursday at 8:20 p.m.
Washington (pick) 9, CHICAGO 6: You thought last Thursday night was a snoozer? This one could be worse. Who in the heck makes these primetime lineups, anyway? Could we possibly get two straight Thursday games without a touchdown?
Since you’re only betting this one if you’re completely bored or if you’re an absolute true degenerate, we don’t feel the need to explain ourselves much further. (Under 38.)
Sunday at noon
GREEN BAY (-7) 37, NY Jets 17: One thing about Aaron Rodgers is when he’s ticked off, he generally takes it out on his opponent. Especially when it is a bad opponent.
And, really, who in the world thinks Green Bay could lose to New York teams in back-to-back weeks? If I were to make a sixth best bet, this would have been it. (Over 45.5.)
Minnesota (-3.5) 24, MIAMI 20: As I type this, it is uncertain who will play quarterback for the Dolphins, and that unquestionably affects this pick. With Teddy Bridgewater in, I might want to lean the other way, but that is tough to forecast on early Thursday morning.
In other words, this will be a no play for me, no matter who is in there. I simply don’t trust Kirk Cousins on the road enough to bet him. At least not this week. (Under 45.5.)
NY GIANTS (+6) 28, Baltimore 23: I’m really not certain what it’s going to take for bettors, linesmakers and Drunk Joes to give this Giants team the credit it deserves.
Even if I am proven wrong this week and the Ravens win going away, no one can tell me this line is even close to where it belongs, as it says Baltimore would be about a 10-point favorite against the G-Men at home. Ridiculous. Instead, it could be one of the top value plays on the board. I can’t make it a best bet, however, because Daniel Jones isn’t 100 percent and their long trip back from London might have an effect. (Over 45.)
INDIANAPOLIS (-2) 19, Jacksonville 13: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me like a dozen times, and call me an idiot. OK, I am an idiot.
I preach constantly about trends and not going against them, which is what led us to taking the Texans to defeat the Jaguars straight up last week even though Jacksonville has had plenty of success as of late in this series. And even though the Colts made me look foolish just four weeks ago in a shutout loss to Jax, I am not willing to believe even though the Colts likely will once again be without Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines.
I swear if I lose this one, I won’t take Indy in the first meeting of these two in 2023. Or maybe I will forget I said that. Who knows? (Under 41.5.)
Sunday at 4:05 p.m.
Arizona 27, SEATTLE (+3) 26: Seattle stinks. Arizona kinda stinks, too. So let’s split the difference and take the Cardinals to win and Seahawks to cover. In other words, I am not playing this any kind of way, and I’m only making a pick because I promised my boss I would write about every game. (Over 50.5. Don’t mess with this either, because Aunt Mabel bet four fruitcakes and a couple of Mason jars full of fig preserves on the over, too.)
Sunday at 8:20 p.m.
PHILADELPHIA (-6) 26, Dallas 17: This one is tough. I want to take Dallas because I haven’t given them the credit they have deserved the past few weeks. Meanwhile, the Eagles have done so much better than I expected to this point, I feel like I have dissed them, as well.
In the end, I look at who the Cowboys’ defense has been successful against throughout this four-game winning streak, and it has been against pocket passers they have been able to pressure. Meanwhile, Micah Parsons is banged up a bit, and if he isn’t 100 percent, I think Jalen Hurts can have a decent night. (Over 42.)
Monday at 8:15 p.m.
LA CHARGERS 24, Denver (+4.5) 20: The sharps know something I don’t know, and I smell a rat. This line opened up at -5.5, but keeps going down despite the Chargers getting healthy, while something clearly is wrong with Russell Wilson? Oh, and the general betting public is all over LA. Makes sense. … Not.
Yeah, I ain’t falling for it. This very well could be an instance of the line going back up to -5.5 before game time, and LA wins by 5 to split the difference. Either way, I probably will join the people who know what they are doing, hold my nose, cross my fingers and put a few bucks on Denver, but it won’t be for much. (Over 45.5.)
HOW WE DOIN’?
Note: TIES ARE NOT COUNTED IN MY RECORD, which could result in a different total of games in the “straight up” and “against the spread” categories, as well as with totals.
AGAINST THE SPREAD
Week 5 best bets: 3-2 (+$2 plus $10 for bonus pick). Season best bets: 17-8 (.680; $1,075.50 balance – started with $1,000 prior to Week 1). Week 5 all picks against the spread: 10-5. Season all picks ATS: 39-39 (.500)
STRAIGHT UP (no spread)
Week 5: 9-7. Season: 41-38 (.520).
Week 5: 10-6. Season: 50-29 (.633).
(click on week to view)
Week 5: 3-2 best bets (+$2); 10-5 ATS; 9-7 straight up; 10-6 over/unders
Week 4: 4-1 best bets (+$37); 9-6 ATS; 9-7 straight up; 10-6 over/unders
Week 3: 3-2 best bets (-$5); 5-11 ATS; 8-8 straight up; 8-7 over/unders
Week 2: 4-1 best bets (+$57); 7-9 ATS; 9-7 straight up; 12-4 over/unders
Week 1: 3-2 best bets (-$15); 8-8 ATS; 6-9 straight up; 10-6 over/unders
Gambling problem? Call 877-8-HOPENY or text HOPENY (467369).
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