I went 3-4 in a week where I only bet two sides in Washington and the Dolphins, but I’ll take those results since there were only 13 games to choose from. The contest didn’t put up lines for Broncos-Patriots (which ended up being postponed) and Bills-Titans (which was played Tuesday).
As always, I’ll use lines from the Las Vegas SuperContest, a popular football challenge hosted by the Westgate SuperBook. The point spreads for the contest come out Wednesday evening and are locked at those numbers for the rest of the week.
I’m in a contest where I pick seven sides a week using the SuperContest’s lines, so in this weekly breakdown I will unveil my first impressions of the games and point spreads. I hope this can be a guide for people who are in similar NFL pick’ems or looking to bet games.
Note: My picks could change based on information and any news that is not factored into the contest line. I will discuss and finalize these picks on a Periscope show I host called Weekend Warriors. The show will be live for an hour on Sunday at 11 a.m. ET and can be seen on Stadium’s Periscope channel or Stadium’s Twitter. After the show, I will tweet my seven picks for the contest from my Twitter.
Here are my thoughts for Week 6.
Sides I’ll likely use
Cowboys (+2) over Cardinals: My favorite play is the last game of Week 6, as Andy Dalton and the Cowboys are home underdogs against the Cardinals. Before Week 5 games were played, the look-ahead line for this game was Cowboys -3, which I believe was the correct line. After Dak Prescott’s season-ending ankle injury, the line adjusted six points and the Cardinals were a three-point favorite when the line reopened on Sunday evening. Now the line has settled at Cardinals -2, but I still think the Cowboys should be favored in this game. The drop-off between Prescott and Dalton should be no more than three points. Along with the line value, I believe the Cowboys will rally for Prescott and provide a strong effort on Monday. This is also the third straight home game for the Cowboys and third straight road game for the Cardinals, which is significant in a season where the pandemic has altered routine travel plans. I’ll probably lock in the ‘Boys as a contest pick and tease them in a game that they will win outright.
Picks I’m considering
Bears (+1.5) over Panthers: I think this line is right on target. The Bears are a phony 4-1, but could be in a good spot with extra rest after last playing Thursday. It’s a crucial game for them to see if their offense used the time off to get better, as Nick Foles makes his third start for the team. Compared to preseason expectations, the Panthers are one of the biggest overachievers and are on a three-game winning streak. The Bears would really interest me at +3, and I’m going to consider them here because they make a strong teaser leg in a game that has a low total.
Lions (-3) over Jaguars: I’m going to make a case to back the Lions coming off a bye. They were a very popular team leading up to the season, but have disappointed with a 1-3 record. To make matters worse, they had a double-digit lead at one point in all three of their losses this season. While some teams don’t benefit from an early bye week, I think it came at the right time for a banged-up Detroit roster that now has a great opportunity to get their season back on track against the Jaguars, who had several key injuries on defense in last week’s loss to the Texans. If players like Myles Jack, Josh Allen and C.J. Henderson can’t play for Jacksonville, then the Lions’ offense will be in an ideal spot. If you are worried about betting the Lions for the full game, I would recommend a first-half play given their issues with holding on to leads under Matt Patricia.
Washington (+2.5) over Giants: It appears that Kyle Allen will start this game for Washington, so I’m going to consider D.C.’s football team in this spot. The former Panthers quarterback replaced Dwayne Haskins as the starter in Week 5, but Allen then left the game in the first half with an injury, which led to Alex Smith’s improbable return to the field. The quarterback situation is complicated in Washington, but Allen is the best choice, and he would get a favorable matchup against the 0-5 Giants. I’d feel very confident if the line got to Washington +3, so I could use them in six-point teasers where I just need them to keep the game within one possession.
Browns (+3) over Steelers: The market has caught up to the Browns’ success, but I still think there’s some line value in this number. While my own number says the Browns are the play at +3 or better, there are a few Cleveland injuries that are keeping me away from having this in the “sides I’ll likely use” category. Browns QB Baker Mayfield was limited in practice on Wednesday with a rib injury and guard Wyatt Teller is considered week-to-week with a calf injury. The Browns will likely be a contest play and possible bet, but I want to gather more information before locking in.
Ravens (-7.5) over Eagles: My personal number is Ravens -9.5 on the road at the Eagles, so there’s a little bit of line value for me. That being said, this will likely be a side I use in teasers — and possibly a moneyline parlay with the Colts.
Colts (-7.5) over Bengals: Like the Ravens, I also made the Colts a 9.5-point favorite in their game against the Bengals. Maybe I’m discrediting the Bengals too much after they only gained 3.2 yards per play against the Ravens last week, or maybe I’m making a mistake not downgrading the Colts low enough with Philip Rivers playing closer to his age than ever before. But the coaching matchup of Zac Taylor vs. Frank Reich is enough for me to find value in the Colts side as a teaser or moneyline parlay leg.
Buccaneers (PK) over Packers: The Buccaneers were -3 when the look-ahead number opened nine days ago. As for recent on-the-field action, the Packers were on a bye and the Buccaneers lost on Thursday night despite outgaining the Bears by 96 yards. Earlier this week, the Packers got out to as high as a 2.5-point favorite before a line move in favor of the Buccaneers occurred on Wednesday afternoon to bring this game to a pick ’em. I like the Bucs coming off a loss, especially if they can get some key offensive pieces back from injury that they were missing last game.
49ers (+3) over Rams: This line has swung six points from the look-ahead number of 49ers -3. The main driver of the move was the Rams winning convincingly in Washington in their third Eastern Time Zone road game in four weeks. Now they travel to Santa Clara to play on Sunday night against San Francisco, who is 2-3 and needs this game due to a challenging remaining schedule. I personally would prefer if 49ers QB Nick Mullens started this game instead of a hobbled Jimmy Garoppolo, but I’m leaning toward the home underdog regardless of who starts at signal-caller.
Games I’ll likely avoid
Falcons at Vikings (-3.5): My numbers say the 1-4 Vikings should be favored by 4.5 at home against the 0-5 Falcons, but I can’t ignore that this is the Falcons’ first game after the firing of Dan Quinn. I may have made a mistake betting against the Texans in their first game after the team fired Bill O’Brien — which proved that players want to put together a strong effort so they aren’t blamed for their coach being let go — but I’m not going to make that mistake again. That’s why this game is likely a ‘pass’ for me.
Texans at Titans (-3): Without considering the situation, I have the Titans -4 in this game. However, I can’t take the Titans because of the rest advantage for the Texans, with Houston last playing Sunday afternoon and Tennessee just playing Tuesday evening. I believe that factor is built into the current line, so I agree with the number.
Jets at Dolphins (-8.5): I was high on the Dolphins last week and they rewarded me with a 26-point win as 8.5-point underdogs. I don’t see a need to go back to them now that they are in the favorite role.
Broncos at Patriots (-10): This matchup was scheduled for Week 5 and got postponed to this week, which led to a domino effect in the NFL. There’s currently not enough information about this game to have an opinion, but I’m curious to see who starts at quarterback for each team. If there’s a large discrepancy in the Sunday morning market and contest lines for this game, then I might play it for contest purposes out of principle.
Chiefs (-3.5) at Bills: This was supposed to be the Thursday night game and is now the first game of a Monday doubleheader. While both teams are coming off tough losses, I thought this would be a good spot to back the Bills situationally, but that changes with the game being on Monday instead of Thursday.