NFL Picks Week 6: Late Slate Best Bets for Panthers vs Rams, Cardinals vs Seahawks, Bills vs Chiefs
Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: Geno Smith.
NFL Odds & Picks
Derek Farnsworth: The Rams have not looked sharp this season. The offensive line hasn't held up, Allen Robinson might as well be running routes on the sideline and the defense hasn't been nearly as good as it was last season.
However, they are afforded the opportunity of a get-right home spot against the Panthers, who parted ways with head coach Matt Rhule after last week's game and are expected to be without Baker Mayfield for this one
Honestly, I'm not sure P.J. Walker is a downgrade from Mayfield at this point, but a backup quarterback playing on the road against the defending Super Bowl champs is unlikely to bode well.
I see this as a good spot for the Rams offense to get going, as the Panthers have one of the worst pass rushes in the NFL.
Cody Goggin: The story of the Rams season has been how much they have struggled on offense, notably quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Stafford uncharacteristically ranks 28th in EPA per play this season. The Rams are 30th in dropback EPA and 27th in rushing EPA. Most of the issue seemingly has stemmed from the offensive line, which ranks 24th in pass block win rate and 21st in run block win rate.
The good news for the Rams is they play an offense that has been even worse and is missing their quarterback.
P.J. Walker will get the start this weekend as Carolina will be without Baker Mayfield. This will also be the first game of the post-Matt Rhule era as he was fired after the loss to San Francisco.
Carolina has the worst passing offense in the league; it ranks 32nd in both dropback success rate and dropback EPA by a wide margin. Having a backup quarterback step into this situation with an interim head coach against the defending Super Bowl champions on the road is likely not going to end well.
These two defenses have both had much more success. The Rams rank third in run stop win rate and the Panthers are just behind them in fourth. Los Angeles also ranks fifth in pass block win rate while Carolina is 24th. These two teams also rank eighth and ninth in defensive success rate, with the Rams just edging out the Panthers.
The total is already low at 41.5, but my model’s number is 37. I expect this to be a very uninteresting game and would bet this down to 37.5.
Brandon Anderson: We bet the Seahawks last week and had a fourth quarter lead before coming up short by a two-point conversion, but I’m going back to the well again.
The Seahawks offense is good, I swear! It might be great!
The Seahawks lead the league in offensive DVOA and passing DVOA, ahead of the Ravens, Bills and Chiefs. Seattle has the NFL’s most lethal passing attack, and Geno Smith continues to put up incredible numbers that are closer to Josh Allen and Pat Mahomes than all the rest of the NFL mortals.
Seattle blocks well, runs the ball, hits DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett deep, and schemes Geno into position to succeed. At some point, we have to accept that this is real. Five games feels like that point, especially since Arizona’s awful secondary means its defense isn’t much better than Seattle’s.
Honestly, I’m not really sure what Arizona is better at other than run defense. Seattle has the better WRs and O-line, the better coaches and special teams, and the metrics say they have the significantly better QB right now.
Kyler Murray ranks 28th in EPA + CPOE without turnovers, near the bottom of the league; Geno Smith ranks second. Seattle leads the league in explosive pass play percentage; Arizona’s defense allows the second most such plays.
Both defenses stink, but only one team is ready to take advantage and that’s Seattle. The trends love this spot for the Seahawks too:
- Kliff Kingsbury as a favorite: 8-14 ATS (36%)
- Kingsbury as a division favorite: 1-3 ATS (25%)
- Pete Carroll as an underdog: 43-28-3 ATS (61%)
- Carroll as a division underdog: 17-10 ATS (63%)
- Geno Smith as an underdog: 15-10-2 ATS (60%)
- Pete Carroll after a loss: 43-25-4 ATS (63%)
The books and public are sleeping on Seattle. I think this line is way off. I’ll play Seattle +2.5 and I’ll grab the moneyline too.
John LanFranca: Pretty straightforward that I like the over in a game featuring the team with the top offense in DVOA according to Football Outsiders and the 31st ranked defense.
Geno Smith is playing excellent football right now any way you slice it. The best passer rating and highest completion percentage in the NFL cannot be ignored.
The Cardinals defense is 27th against the pass and is allowing 7.1 yards per attempt. The Seahawks defense is even worse against the pass; no team is even close to matching its ineptness in yards per play passing defense at an astounding 8.6 yards given up per attempt.
We are getting a couple extra points of value this week, as the Cardinals defense capitalized on some Eagles offensive line injuries last Sunday, which in turn disappointed bettors who were on the over.
In a game Arizona really needs to win, expect Kyler Murray to run the ball even more. All signs point to another shootout involving this entertaining Seahawks squad.
Simon Hunter: Long gone is the respect for the 12th man.
I was shocked to see Seattle's No. 1 scoring offense be a home divisional dog. Are the Cardinals really worthy of all that respect?
Maybe the Seahawks defense is that bad — they've graded in the bottom three of points given up and yards. We’ve seen them lose three games this year because the defense gave up late touchdowns.
But this Cardinals offense doesn't resemble the 2021 team that put up points last year. They start slow and they aren’t pushing the ball down the field.
The Seahawks, on the other hand, have gotten out to fast starts in four of their five games and also have a huge coaching advantage. First quarter, first half are both bets I love against the Cardinals, who are 0-5 against the spread.
Brandon Anderson: If you’re looking for a prop, bet Allen’s rushing yards over.
I’ve noticed that the Bills tend to save Allen’s legs for the big games, unleashing their MVP on designed runs and scrambles when it matters most.
In 11 games against non-playoff teams last year, Allen averaged 5.7 runs for 38 yards. In eight games against playoff teams, that leapt to 9.5 carries for 59 yards.
Against the Rams, Dolphins and Ravens this year, Allen has averaged 9.7 carries for 58 yards, right at that playoff average.
Last week, Allen’s rushing yards prop was at 40.5 yards. He’s gone over that in 9-of-11 (82%) games against playoff teams since the start of last season.
Jessica Gridiron: The Bills and Chiefs are the two best teams in the NFL. Offensively they rank No. 1 and No. 2 (respectively) in nearly every advanced metric outside of running the ball — EPA, success rate and DVOA all prove their prowess and elite status.
The only thing preventing the Bills from being an absolute juggernaut is their inability to run the ball. Buffalo ranks 30th in offensive rush DVOA and 28th in EPA. But even with the poor running attack, they still are the No. 1 overall team in DVOA.
The Buffalo defense ranks No. 2 overall — only behind San Francisco — and it can stop both the run (3rd in DVOA) and the pass (6th). Add their elite defense to a passing attack that ranks No. 1 in EPA and No. 2 in success rate, and you have arguably the best team in the entire league.
The Chiefs are no slouch either. They rank in the top two — with the Bills — regarding passing efficiency and boast a top-10 rushing attack via EPA.
The only concern for Kansas City is its defense. The Chiefs enter with the 17th overall defense regarding EPA and 15th via DVOA. This poor ranking comes from their secondary, which is allowing the ninth highest success rate overall on defense and the 12th highest through the air. The Kansas City secondary ranks 19th in both defensive EPA and DVOA.
The final outcome will likely come down to who can stop the other team the most. When considering all possible outcomes, I will gladly trust the team with the No. 2 defense and back the Bills.