NFL Odds & Picks For Week 6: Buccaneers vs. Eagles, Seahawks vs. Steelers Spreads We’ve Already Bet Based On Opening Lines
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Tom Brady.
Five games down, 12 to go as we’ve crossed the quarter mark of the NFL season with some contenders starting to emerge while others looked destined for a long year.
With lines already out, our experts have jumped on some early action to grab the most value before the lines inevitably change closer to the weekend.
NFL Odds & Picks
Buccaneers vs. Eagles
Brandon Anderson: And just like that, the Bucs are rolling again. Tom Brady lit up the Dolphins for five touchdowns, and the MVP campaign is back on. It was a big Sunday for the Eagles too, who got a win over the Panthers to get back into the NFC playoff hunt. Suddenly, we’ve got another interesting looking Thursday night game on our hands again.
The Bucs can hang a huge number on an opponent. They scored 45 against Miami and 48 on Atlanta. That’s why we have such a high total heading into Thursday night.
53.5? Tom Brady might cover that all by himself.
At least that’s what the books know we’ll think. But I’m going the other way.
Thursday games can be ugly on short weeks with teams finding it hard to play at the top of their games, and both of these teams are pretty banged up. Tampa continues to rack up injuries — add Lavonte David to the list — and a short week won’t help. Besides doesn’t it just feel like we get a lot of ugly, lower-than-expected scoring games on Thursday nights?
Action Labs can help with that. I did some digging, and it turns out that, in Thursday night games with a total that opens 53 or higher, the under is 13-4 all time. That’s a 76.5% hit rate to the under, and it’s usually not even close. These games are going under by just over 10 points per game, and there’s a 48% ROI on the unders in these affairs.
The Eagles have had trouble scoring anyway, so between that, the injuries, and the Thursday night trends, I’ll ride with the under. It’s possible this gets bet up with Tom Brady so public, but I’ll risk it and make sure I don’t miss the number going under.
Besides, we just saw this trend hit a few days ago. The Rams–Seahawks game opened at 53.5, just like this one, and finished 10 points under, just like the trend predicted. Let’s see if we can make it two weeks in a row.
Seahawks vs. Steelers
Mike Randle: While I’m aware that 3.5 is a key number when betting any NFL game, I’m laying the points with the Steelers at home in Sunday night primetime.
Pittsburgh’s defense is playing at an elite level and will stifle a Seattle offense that will try to lean run-heavy with backup quarterback Geno Smith under center. The Seahawks rushing attack was severely limited in their 26-17 loss to the Rams, playing the entire game without leading rusher Chris Carson.
Seattle averaged just 3.7 yards per carry against a Rams defense that allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. Backup running back Alex Collins averaged just 3.1 yards per carry on 15 attempts. Carson’s neck injury is a recurring injury, and his status for this Week 6 battle is unknown.
The Pittsburgh run defense is back to full strength with the return of All-Pro linebacker T.J. Watt, and it currently ranks as the seventh-toughest rush defense per Football Outsiders.
On offense, Ben Roethlisberger has started to look like his old self, throwing for 253 yards and two touchdowns against a strong Denver defense. No team has allowed more rushing yards than Seattle, which makes for a golden opportunity for Steelers running back Najee Harris. The rookie rusher tallied a season-high 122 yards on 5.3 yards per carry against the Broncos.
With Smith under center, I don’t see Seattle winning this game on the road on Sunday Night Football. If I don’t see the Seahawks winning, then I’m comfortable laying the 3.5. I would back Pittsburgh up to -4, believing in the Steelers run defense and pass pressure to rattle Smith.