During the NFL season, Stadium sports betting analyst Nate Jacobson will break down every single point spread using lines as of Thursday morning. Here are his thoughts on the Week 6 slate.
Note: Nate will discuss all of his college football and NFL bets on the Sharp Lessons podcast that drops every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Subscribe on Spotify and Apple for episodes and follow Stadium Bets on Twitter for more sports betting content.
Sides I Like
Packers (-7) over Jets: Last week, I made the case for the Packers as a more than a touchdown favorite against the Giants in London. I thought Green Bay made for a tremendous teaser leg, basically just needing to win the game (at the time, Daniel Jones’ status was also up in the air). The Packers got out to a 17-3 lead, but their offense was held scoreless in the second half and they surprisingly lost the game.
Instead of shying away from a team that burned me last week, I’m going to make a case for them to again be included in teasers — and as a straight bet if this line holds at -7. There’s line value on the Packers, who closed well over a touchdown on a neutral field against the Giants. And now, they’re only laying seven at home against a team that isn’t better than the Giants.
It’s a good time to sell high on the Jets, even though they’re 2-0 with Zach Wilson as their starter. They beat a bad Steelers team and a Dolphins squad that was down to their third-string QB for most of the game. New York’s 40-17 final score against Miami was deceiving, as the score was only 19-17 entering the fourth quarter, with the Dolphins having a chance to take a lead with a field goal attempt that was missed. This is a good spot for the Packers to bounce back against a Jets team that isn’t as good as their 3-2 record indicates.
Colts (-2.5) over Jaguars: The perception of the Colts has been rightfully negative over the first five games, but I believe this is an opportunity to buy low on Indianapolis. The Colts closed as a three-point road favorite against this Jaguars team in Jacksonville just four weeks ago. The Jaguars shut out the Colts 24-0, but Indy was without No. 1 WR Michael Pittman. Being able to get the Colts under a field goal is a solid discount compared to the price in Week 2.
I’m also expecting Indy’s offense to play a lot better with extra time to prepare for this game after last playing on Thursday in Week 5. Matt Ryan and the Colts’ offensive line have struggled, but Ryan is learning a new offense, so this “mini-bye” could be a turning point for that unit. Frank Reich’s teams have started slow in the past before picking it up as the season progressed, so this 2-2-1 start isn’t uncommon in Indianapolis.
I also have major questions about the Jaguars after they lost as touchdown favorites to the Texans. Jacksonville impressed me in their early-season wins over the Colts and Chargers, but they squandered a 14-0 lead to the Eagles and reverted to the “same old Jaguars” last week. At under a field goal, the Colts are a bet for me.
Sides I’m Considering
Saints (+2) over Bengals: Going into the season, the Saints were a team I was looking to buy, while I wanted to bet against the Bengals after their flukey run to the Super Bowl. It’s been an odd start to the season for both 2-3 teams, as the Saints have dealt with injuries to key positions, and the Bengals offense has regressed.
The look-ahead line for this game was a pick’em, but the Bengals took some money after they lost the Sunday night game 19-17 to the Ravens. The Saints won last week but their defense gave up 8.1 yards per play to the Seahawks, so I understand why Cincinnati received some early backing. However, I think this game should be a pick’em, so let’s look toward the Saints as underdogs. It’s wise to wait to bet this game because of all the injury questions surrounding New Orleans, including the health of QB Jameis Winston and their top-three WRs.
Ravens (-5.5) over Giants: I respect what Brian Daboll has already accomplished since becoming the Giants head coach, starting his tenure with a 4-1 record. He has gotten the most out of his players despite a lack of talent at wide receiver and a quarterback in Daniel Jones who has a lot of question marks. But this is still a team I’m looking to fade, and now is a perfect time to do it off their big win against the Packers in London.
The Ravens are a smart bet when they step down in class because they have the ability to win by margin, even on the road. I’d expect Lamar Jackson to have a big game against a Giants team that is getting too much respect and due for a letdown.
Panthers (+10) over Rams: Whenever a professional sports team fires a coach, I always consider betting that team in the first game after the move. Players usually give their best effort because they’d rather prove that the former coach was the issue and not them. With Matt Rhule gone just 38 games into his tenure with Carolina, the Panthers are now an interesting underdog to potentially bet on in this spot.
I plan to be patient and wait to bet on Carolina in light of QB Baker Mayfield’s high-ankle sprain. Mayfield wasn’t playing well, but there’s a drop-off from him to backup PJ Walker. There’s also a chance to get a better number on Carolina closer to game day. Ultimately, I just don’t trust the struggling Rams to cover a big number like this.
Seahawks (+3) over Cardinals: My numbers make the Cardinals a very small favorite, so at +3 I would have to side with the home underdog in the Seahawks. It’s mostly a play against Arizona, who is 2-3 and consistently starts games slow. The Cardinals have failed to score in the first quarter this season, and there seems to be a disconnect between head coach Kliff Kingsbury and QB Kyler Murray. Seattle has played well offensively the last three games, and Arizona’s defense isn’t a step up in class, so it’s reasonable to expect Seattle to continue to move the ball successfully with Geno Smith.
Chiefs (+3) over Bills: The scheduling spot in this game says the Bills are the side. They’re coming off a 38-3 demolition of the Steelers in which they didn’t have to exert much energy in the second half. Buffalo should feel fresh and focused for a game they’ve had circled since the schedule release. Despite being eliminated from the last two playoffs in KC, Buffalo has had regular-season success at Arrowhead.
However, I think all of those situational factors and game results are properly built into this number, and the math tells me the Chiefs are the play at home if you can get +3. Two weeks ago, the Bills were a 3.5-point favorite at the Ravens, so it doesn’t make sense that the Chiefs are only +3 because KC is definitely a couple points better than Baltimore. It’s not my favorite bet of the week because the Chiefs are playing on a short week, but I’ll have a small bet on KC +3 knowing we might not get many opportunities to bet on Patrick Mahomes as a home underdog in his career.
Eagles (-6) over Cowboys: This actually turned out to be an exciting Sunday night matchup as the 5-0 Eagles host the 4-1 Cowboys. Dallas has won and covered all four starts with Cooper Rush filling in for an injured Dak Prescott. It appears Rush will get the nod again for the Cowboys, who have been winning because of their defense and ball-control offense.
Last week, I thought that it might be time to bet against Rush when the Cowboys went to Los Angeles to face the Rams. However, the matchup advantage of Dallas’ pass rush against a pedestrian Rams offensive line kept me off the Rams. Philly has some offensive line injuries to monitor, but if they are healthy they should be able to neutralize Dallas’ defensive front. The Eagles will also benefit from a true home-field advantage in a game of this magnitude.
Broncos (+4.5) over Chargers: The country has seen the Broncos offense three times in primetime (and will again this Monday), and it’s been an extremely disappointing start for the Nathaniel Hackett-Russell Wilson partnership. To make matters worse, Wilson flew to LA following this past Thursday’s game to receive an injection to help with pain in his injured shoulder. That news caused the line for this game to re-open Chargers -6.5 on Sunday night before slightly dropping toward the Denver side.
The Chargers are a team I don’t trust as home favorites, so if the news about Wilson’s shoulder is positive going into this game, I would have at least a small bet on the Broncos at +4.5 or better.
Commanders (-1) at Bears: The Commanders showed some signs of life last week when they outgained the Titans by 144 yards, but ultimately lost in demoralizing fashion to drop to 1-4 on the season. I’m not sure how Ron Rivera’s team will respond on a short week with travel. If either team became a 1.5-point underdog, they could be used in six-point teasers, but I expect the odds to stay pick’em or -1 for either side. I’m staying away from this Thursday matchup.
Buccaneers (-8.5) at Steelers: The number here seems inflated based off the Steelers’ 38-3 loss to the Bills last week in what was Kenny Pickett’s first NFL start. It was a tough spot for the rookie, facing the NFL’s best team on the road, and he should fare better at home in the stadium he played college football in. But will he play well enough for the Steelers to cover? I’d rather not have my money tied up to that question, so I’ll bet on other games on Sunday.
Patriots at Browns (-2.5): It’s hard for me to grasp the Patriots right now because they are down to third-string quarterback Bailey Zappe. While he was a fun quarterback to watch and bet on at Western Kentucky, I didn’t expect him to already be starting games in the NFL. Nonetheless, Zappe did what he was asked to do last week in the Patriots’ 29-0 win over the helpless Lions.
For this game, there’s a chance Mac Jones returns, but if he’s hobbled by an ankle injury, Zappe might not be too much of a downgrade from Jones. New England seems like the sharp side in this one, but the potential quarterback questions have me in no rush to bet this game.
Vikings (-3.5) at Dolphins: I was hoping the Dolphins would win last week with Teddy Bridgewater against the Jets so that I could bet against Miami versus a Vikings team I’m high on. Unfortunately, Bridgewater left last week’s game early after being placed into the NFL’s new concussion protocol and wasn’t able to return in a 40-17 loss.
Rookie Skylar Thompson took over for Bridgewater (who was already replacing an injured Tua Tagovailoa), and the seventh-round pick will be getting the nod again this week. Good luck to the former K-State QB, but I’m passing on this game.
49ers (-5.5) at Falcons: This is Sunday’s game that I have the least interest in betting on. Last week, the 49ers exceeded expectations in a potentially bad scheduling spot with a win and cover at the Panthers just six days after a convincing primetime victory over the Rams.
Instead of traveling back across the country, the 49ers are setting up shop for the week at The Greenbrier in West Virginia. San Francisco has practiced off-site between two east coast road games four times in the past three years and is 4-0 in the second road game. I’m just worried about the injuries that have accumulated for the 49ers, and they also have two big games against the Chiefs and Rams coming up. Additionally, this line is spot on, so I’ll stay away.