Las Vegas – We have hit the part of the NFL season where the sportsbook linemakers have enough data to be able to identify the real teams from the frauds. In Week 6 of the season, Vegas is predicting several lopsided games as the cream of the crop is rising fast and the pretenders are fading from contention.
There are seven games in the Westgate SuperContest that have lines of -6.5 or higher. In fact, for the first time this season, there are 4 games with double-digit lines for players to navigate. In a year where road team underdogs have gone 28-19-1 and home team underdogs have gone 17-10-1, I would predict that the five consensus picks will feature a bunch of teams taking the all the points being offered.
However, I’m going in a different direction this week.
Texans -9.5 vs. Browns
Right off the top, I’m not afraid to tell you that I’m rolling with the points against one of the worst teams in the NFL. The Browns were double-digit road dogs two times last year and lost them by an average of 17 points. Since 2012, the Browns are 0-10 SU and 4-6 ATS when getting 10 or more points from the sportsbooks. Houston hasn’t been this big of a favorite in an NFL game since being -10.5 against Jacksonville in 2013. However, this isn’t your dad’s Texans team, with QB Deshaun Watson leading this offense. The Texans are 3-2 ATS this season, and over his last three games (vs. the Patriots, Titans, and Chiefs), Watson has thrown for 11 touchdowns to just two interceptions. I’m well aware of the danger presented by Browns No. 1 pick Myles Garrett, but I expect the Texans to put up big numbers against a defense that is giving up nearly 25 points per game this season.
Lions +5 at Saints
Here’s a game where I’m going to ignore the data that screams a New Orleans victory. The Saints are 5-0 SU coming off a bye, and they get one of their best weapons in WR Willie Snead back off suspension. However, Lions head coach Jim Caldwell has been beating Saints head coach Sean Payton ever since the Saints beat the Caldwell-led Colts in the Super Bowl. The last three meetings have all ended in Detroit victories, including last year’s 28-13 win. The Lions looked awful last week at home against the Panthers, but I don’t think they are as bad as they played. Detroit has already won twice this season the road and should have defeated the Falcons at home. It’s not hard to make an argument for them to be 4-1. I don’t like the Saints this year at all. I’m taking the points and taking the Lions here.
Jags -2.5 vs. Rams
Let’s call this game payback for Los Angeles choking last week at home against the Seahawks. The Rams got pushed around by their big brothers, and I think the bloom is off their rose right now after a great start to the season. This week, LA has to try and stop the best young running back in the NFL in Leonard Fournette. The fourth pick in last spring’s draft is off to a monster start to his career, rushing for over 450 yards and five touchdowns. Just as impressive is Fournette’s ability to catch the ball out of the backfield where he has 13 receptions and one touchdown already. The Rams are giving up over 130 yards on the ground per game, which is bad news versus Jacksonville. The early start time and traveling across the country also works against the Rams here. I like the Jags and the points.
Cardinals +2.5 vs. Bucs
Arizona is 0-5 against the spread this season, but I think the perfect fix to that record is playing against this Tampa team who hasn’t been good against the number either (1-3 ATS). The Bucs are giving up a ridiculous 309 passing yards per game this season, including 303 yards last week to Tom Brady at home. The Cardinals traded for RB Adrian Peterson this week, but I don’t expect a lot of production out of him this week. Even if Arizona wants to run, I don’t think they would get much because the Bucs are giving up less than 89 yards per game on the ground. However, as long as Arizona keeps the defense honest, I expect a lot of big plays available for QB Carson Palmer down field. The Cardinals are 17-7-1 in their last 25 home games, and I like them plus the points.
Chiefs -4.5 vs. Steelers
There isn’t a hotter team in the NFL overall or against the number right now than the 5-0 (in both categories) Kansas City Chiefs. This game was circled as one of the best of the early season schedule, but something is really wrong with the Steelers. QB Ben Roethlisberger threw five interceptions last week in a loss to Jacksonville and then questioned his ability after the game. Pittsburgh has not seen the production from their skill players that we expected this season, and they will face a defense that flies around at home. The Steelers’ defense has been good this year, but their offense keeps putting them in bad positions. Kansas City is 14-3 SU at home over their last 17 games and 4-1 ATS in their last five home games against Pittsburgh. I’m taking the Chiefs to stay undefeated and cover.
At the time we published this article, Team Beatrix Kiddo (12-11-2) was still formulating their picks for Week 6 but they should bounce back after a down week.
For our leader, Team Bet The Process (15-9-1) will roll with the Vikings +3 against the Packers even with QB Sam Bradford and WR Stefon Diggs being scratched. They will also take the Redskins -10 at home against San Francisco, the Rams +2.5 against the Jags, the Cardinals getting +2.5 at home vs. Tampa and the Giants, who are +11.5 underdogs, at Denver.
Our hottest team is our computer algorithm, Team Sports Action. After a 5-0 week, Sports Action returns to take the Texans -9.5 at home versus the Browns, Atlanta -11.5 to crush the Dolphins, Detroit -5 at New Orleans, Jacksonville -2.5 to beat the Rams and Kansas City -4.5 at home to cover against Pittsburgh.
Remember to listen to the Fade or Follow Podcast with Vegas Matty of www.footballcontest.com and myself every Saturday night or Sunday morning on Sports Action or iTunes as we break down the five consensus picks of the SuperContest each week!
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