NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions: Patriots To Cover vs. Cowboys, Plus Unders In Chiefs-WFT & Bengals-Lions
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: Patriots TE Hunter Henry, WR Kendrick Bourne
NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions
|Chiefs vs. WFT Under 54.5|
|Bengals vs. Lions Under 46.5
Action’s Director of Predictive Analytics, Sean Koerner, reveals the biggest edges based on his NFL Power Ratings. He has a 422-320-5 (56%) all-time record on NFL bets he’s tracked in the Action App, where you can follow all of his picks.
The over has gone 4-1 for each of these teams. Therefore, it’s no surprise to see 61% of the action on the over for this matchup (see more public betting data). But the market has been inflated, so I see value in taking the under.
Three of the most dynamic skill players in this game — Tyreek Hill (quad), Antonio Gibson (shin) and Terry McLaurin (hamstring) — are all dealing with injuries. If they are all playing at less than 100%, the scoring environment will be much lower.
McLaurin’s injury is the most noteworthy because it occurred during Friday’s practice, and injuries that pop up later in the week are much more concerning for a player’s availability and usually come with more uncertainty.
The Football Team will need to put up points to keep Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense in attack mode for all four quarters. Not only is Washington dealing with injuries to their two start players Gibson and McLaurin, but they are dealing with injuries to two key offensive linemen as well: All-pro right guard Brandon Scherff and second-rounder Sam Cosmi (ranked seventh of 77 tackles in PFF grade) are out for this week.
One of the biggest disappointments of 2021 has been the Football Team’s defense. Despite being one of the best defenses (on paper), they currently rank 19th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA. There haven’t been any notable injuries that have caused them to be mediocre, and (on paper) this should still be an above-average defense.
Based on my expected sacks metric (that only looks at pressures), the Football Team has the most expected sacks (12.3) despite ranking 24th (in actual sacks) with 9. We should see this defense bounce back starting this week, another reason why I think the scoring environment will be lower than 54.5.
I would bet this down to 53.5 points.
The Bengals have profiled as a team that favors a lower-scoring environment. They run the ball at the sixth-highest rate on early downs while their defense ranks seventh in DVOA.
The Lions offense should continue to struggle this week as they are still missing their two most valuable offensive lineman in Taylor Decker and Frank Ragnow. Tight end T.J. Hockenson is their biggest passing game threat, but he’s struggled to play through a knee injury over the past few weeks. In addition, Jared Goff rarely pushes the ball downfield — his 6.8 aDot ranks six lowest at QB — even when the Lions are in a trailing game script.
I’m projecting this closer to 44.5 as both teams play into a lower-scoring environment. Forty-seven is a crucial number for totals, so I may wait to see if this gets there. I would bet this down to 46.
Despite receiving 78% of the action, the Cowboys spread has dropped from -4 to -3.5, indicating that sharp action is coming in on New England, which makes me confident in my Cowboys -3 projection for this matchup. There is no more valuable number in the NFL than getting +3.5.
The matchup itself is a fascinating one.
The Cowboys offense ranks fourth in DVOA and has looked as good as ever during their four-win streak. However, they face arguably the best defensive-minded coach of all time this week in Bill Belichick, who could create a game plan that slows them down.
After nearly taking down Tom Brady and the Bucs on Sunday Night Football in Week 4, the Patriots squeaked by the Texans with a 25-22 win. After last week’s performance, the market has soured on the Patriots, but we need to remember that they were missing four out of their five offensive linemen last week. Now Isaiah Wynn and Mike Onwenu both return from the COVID list this week, which is huge.
The most likely outcome of this game is that the Cowboys win by three points (which would still be a cover), but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Patriots keep this close and pull off the upset.