Freedman’s NFL Week 6 Trends & Early Bets: Get-Right Spot for Vikings vs. Struggling Falcons

Credit:

Hannah Foslien/Getty Images. Pictured: Kirk Cousins calls a play at the line of scrimmage.

Minus the Monday & Tuesday Night Football games, Week 5 is in the books … the sportsbooks! (As long as I am writing this piece, I will recycle that joke, because I care about the environment.)

Let’s take a look at some applicable trends for the early Week 6 spreads.

Although I am not a trends bettor, I find that trends help me identify spots I should consider further when analyzing games. Using our Bet Labs database, I have uncovered some intriguing NFL trends for four games this week.

All lines are from our NFL Odds page.

Early Week 6 NFL Picks

Click on a pick to skip to that analysis.

Pick
Bet Now
Vikings vs. Falcons
DraftKings
Washington +3.5 vs. Giants
DraftKings
Packers -1.5 at Buccaneers
William Hill
Rams -3 at 49ers
FanDuel

Vikings (-3.5) vs. Falcons

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: FOX

With a 1-4 record, the Vikings are last in the NFC North and dangerously at risk of falling out of the NFC wildcard race altogether.

But this is a get-right spot for them.

Since head coach Mike Zimmer joined the team in 2014, the Vikings are 63-37-1 against the spread (ATS) in the regular season, good for an A-graded 22.2% return on investment (ROI).

And as you might expect with an ATS record that good, Zimmer has exhibited all sorts of regular-season edges throughout his tenure.

  • At home: 30-16-1 ATS | 30.8% ROI
  • As favorite: 36-20-1 | 24.9% ROI
  • Outside of division: 45-18-1 | 38.2% ROI

These trends make sense within the context of who Zimmer is as a coach and what kind of team the Vikings have been under him.

Zimmer is a focused, no-nonsense, risk-adverse, process-oriented, defense-directed “manager” (for lack of a better word), and the Vikings have historically been a disciplined team that doesn’t often make big mistakes.

They don’t waste the natural advantage they have at home. They don’t play down to the level of their underdog opponents. They don’t present a known and easy challenge to teams that aren’t familiar with them.

This week, the Vikings are in a “solar eclipse” spot with all of Zimmer’s historical edges lining up.

As non-divisional home favorites, the Vikings are 19-4-1 ATS (59% ROI).

As for the 0-5 Falcons, they just fired head coach Dan Quinn.

Although he’s no longer with the organization, this is still very much Quinn’s team, and in his five-plus years with the Falcons, opponents were 48-37 ATS (9.9% ROI) — and 42-27 ATS (18.3% ROI) if we remove the Kyle Shanahan-spurred 2016 season.

For old time’s sake, I’m treating this (unofficially) as the last game of the Quinn era — and that means I’m pretty much betting against the Falcons no matter what.

  • Action: Vikings -3.5 (-110) at DraftKings
  • Limit: -6 (-110)

[Bet now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Washington +3.5 vs. Giants

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: FOX

The Footballers intrigue me this week for a couple of reasons.

First, I’ve noticed that road underdogs tend to outperform when they play within their division.

  • Divisional Road Dogs: 543-476-33 ATS | 3.9% ROI
  • Non-Divisional Road Dogs: 907-888-56 ATS | -1.3% ROI

A 3.8% ROI might not seem like much, but over a sample this large it’s significant. And we can dig further into this sample to discover more value.

I have this theory: Early in the year, when divisional opponents tend to face each other for the first time, road dogs have an undeniable edge relative to the market. Later in the year, when division rivals are more familiar with each other and their markets are more efficient, road dogs are disadvantaged when they meet for the rematch.

At least that’s my theory, and it’s borne out by the regular-season numbers.

  • Divisional Road Dogs (Sep. – Nov.): 357-282-23 ATS | 8.8% ROI
  • Divisional Road Dogs (Dec. – Jan.): 186-194-10 ATS | -4.6% ROI

In the middle of October, the Football Team is in the sweet spot of this trend.

On top of that, regular-season visitors are an astounding 48-32-2 ATS (17.1% ROI) against the Giants since they moved into MetLife Stadium in 2010.

In a season in which home-field advantage is minimal, the Giants might actually have a home-field deficit if the past is any indication.

  • Action: Football Team +3.5 (-110) at DraftKings
  • Limit: +1 (-110)

[Bet now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Packers -1.5 at Buccaneers

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: FOX

The 4-0 Packers are very much in the running for the No. 1 seed in the NFC, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers has returned to MVP form with 1,214 yards and 13 touchdowns passing (and no interceptions) with a 70.5% completion rate.

Rodgers trails only Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson with his 10.6 adjusted yards per attempt.

Angry Aaron is officially a thing.

And so is Rodgers off a bye.

For his career, Rodgers is an A-graded 113-78-5 ATS (15.7% ROI), so he already has an edge every time he steps on the field.

And since his first season as a starter in 2008, Rodgers is the NFL’s most profitable quarterback with an extra week of rest in the regular season, going 8-2-1 ATS (50.2% ROI).

For the year, the Packers are a league-best 4-0 ATS (97.5% ROI), and the Buccaneers have struggled with their transition to new quarterback Tom Brady.

  • Action: Packers -1.5 (-110) at William Hill
  • Limit: -3 (-110)

[Bet now at William Hill. NJ only.]

Rams -3 at 49ers

Kickoff: 8:20 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: NBC

I like this spot a lot for the Rams.

The 49ers are dealing with a whole host of injuries to defensive players.

  • EDGEs Nick Bosa (knee, IR), Dee Ford (back, IR) & Ziggy Ansah (arm, IR)
  • DT Solomon Thomas (knee, IR)
  • CBs Richard Sherman (calf, IR), K’Waun Williams (knee/hip, IR), Emmanuel Moseley (concussion) & Dontae Johnson (groin)

For those keeping track, that’s six starters and two key backups. All of them missed Week 5, and many of them are already out for Week 6. As for the rest, they’re uncertain.

And 49ers HC Kyle Shanahan benched starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle) for the second half of Week 5, apparently in order to “protect” him as he recovers from his injury.

There’s no guarantee that Garoppolo will start in Week 6, and opponents are 15-11 (13.3% ROI) against Shanahan’s 49ers without Garoppolo.

Additionally, Shanahan has magnificently underperformed at Levi’s Stadium. Visitors are 17-9-1 ATS (26.2% ROI) against Shanahan’s 49ers in the regular season.

Rams head coach Sean McVay is 11-6-1 ATS (25.9% ROI) against divisional opponents.

  • Action: Rams -3 (-105) at FanDuel
  • Limit: -5.5 (-110)

[Bet now at FanDuel and get a $1,000 risk-free bet.]


Matthew Freedman is 656-529-27 (55.4%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.

He’s the Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs. He has a dog and sometimes a British accent. In Rosemount, Minnesota, he’s known only as The Labyrinthian.

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