NFL best bets for Week 6 from Steve Makinen

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NFL Week 6 Best Bets

Been a solid start to the NFL season with Best Bets, having gone 19-13 ATS to date, with two of those wins being on totals. At a bit under 60% right now, I honestly give a lot of credit to our new Analytics Report. Reading through it each week and comparing my numbers to it gives me a better overall feel for the games I believe. I hope readers are feeling the same way. For NFL week 6, I have seven games on my list…

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Baltimore vs. Tennessee

London England

We head to London for my first best bet of the week and comes on the total in the Baltimore-Tennessee contest. In my opinion, sometimes you have to dig below the surface of some key numbers to gauge their actual value. I did that this week with Tennessee, as I am bewildered by this team right now. I’m not sure whether or not they are the same pesky bunch we’ve been watching in the head coach Mike Vrabel era or not at this point.

The Titans have been solid defensively, particularly against the run, but offensively they’ve been up and down. They have played three games against defenses ranked in the bottom 12 of the league in scoring and have put up 23.3 PPG in those. They have played their other two games against top-five ranked defenses and mustered just 9.0 PPG. Unfortunately, for this week, they take on another top-five defense in Baltimore.

Between the London travel drag and the tough Ravens’ defense, it’s hard to envision Tennessee enjoying much success offensively on Sunday. That said, Baltimore hasn’t been lighting it up either offensively and is a run-oriented club. With the Under in this head-to-head series on a 10-4 run in the last 14 games, I’ll look for another lower-scoring game on a relatively high total all things considered.

PLAY UNDER 42 in Baltimore-Tennessee (anything over 40 works)

Minnesota at Chicago

Just looking at the mental states of these two NFC North rivals right now leads me to question why there would be a road favorite in the contest. In all reality, Minnesota is trending downward.

Since starting the season 10-2 last year, the Vikings are 4-7 SU and 2-8-1 ATS. Their only win this season came against a struggling Carolina team. This past week, Minnesota lost Justin Jefferson to IR, and there have been endless rumors about the franchise looking to possibly move QB Kirk Cousins to a contender. How could this team possibly be in the right mindset to be a road favorite being backed by nearly 70% of the money at DraftKings? There are far better playing favorites to back at this point.

At the same time, Chicago actually has some favorable momentum after winning its first game of the season this past Thursday at Washington. The Bears’ 40 points that game were the most they’ve scored in a single game since 2006, and that actually followed up a 28-point outing versus Denver, a game they blew by all rights. This team seems to be turning a corner right now and should be a feisty dog here because of it.

Take Chicago +3 with a moneyline sprinkle as well

New Orleans at Houston

I look for certain things in road favorites that I choose to back. Foremost is the ability to put up big points, as it makes it tough for an overmatched team to keep up, and often times the games can turn into blowouts.

When a road favorite wins with defense, as the Saints have so far, they seem to always be one play away from losing or getting backdoor covered. I’m not sure at this point that the Saints have earned the position of road favorite over anyone, scoring just 19.2 PPG.

On top of that, Houston is proving to be a very capable team offensively, scoring 23 PPG and developing several key playmakers in the process. As the Texans head into their bye week, they will be backed by a nice system because of the line: Play home underdogs heading into their bye week. (Record: 32-17-2 ATS since 2015). As a franchise, they are also 13-8 SU and 15-6 ATS in pre-bye-week games. If you need more, home teams are 4-1 ATS in previous New Orleans/Houston matchups. Enough reasons for me.

Play Houston +1.5 or anything not as a favorite    

Indianapolis at Jacksonville

I wrote earlier about how I expected the varying momentums for Minnesota and Chicago to play a key role in their game this Sunday. There’s another divisional game where a team is coming home with some nice momentum and facing a team that just incurred some tough injury news. That is in the Indy-Jacksonville contest.

The Jaguars return to the continental states after taking two games in London to ignite their season. After the upset of Buffalo, at 3-2, this is probably where most experts figured this team would be right now, even with the ugly loss to Houston on the ledger. With the emergence of RB Travis Etienne, there are a lot of nice things working for head coach Doug Pederson’s team.

Besides the fact that Jacksonville has won its last seven games ATS hosting Indianapolis, this is the NFL’s first rematch game of the young season, and anyone reading our Analytics Report would have found several nice rematch angles backing Jacksonville here. Among them… Jacksonville is 11-4 SU and 11-3-1 ATS in the last 15 home rematches, and Indianapolis is in a 2-8 ATS skid in revenge mode. The Colts have been better than I expected with QB Anthony Richardson under center, but he is now out, leaving a physical and mental void here to be filled.

PLAY JACKSONVILLE -4 or anything +/- 0.5 points

New England at Las Vegas

Yes, I know the Patriots have been awful lately, and I recognize QB Mac Jones’ winless record SU and ATS as an underdog. However, I can’t help but think that this team has reached rock bottom and it has nowhere to go but up from here. What might help is a dose of good motivation, and that could come from being an underdog to a mediocre team coached by a former offensive coordinator for head coach Bill Belichick. Like Nick Saban, Belichick doesn’t like losing to his former understudies.

I also am a firm believer that extremes don’t tend to carry over in the NFL, and the Patriots qualify for three different extreme stats betting systems this week, as seen on our Analytics Report. My favorite is this: NFL teams that lose on a point spread by 30 points or more in any given game have rebounded nicely the next week when playing as road underdogs of 3 points or more, going 8-18-2 SU but 20-7-1 ATS (74.1%) in their last 28 tries.

Take New England +3, but I’d love 3.5 if I can get it before kickoff

Philadelphia at NY Jets

Not surprisingly, Philadelphia is one of the betting public’s favorite picks for Week 6, playing as a 6.5-point road favorite at the Jets, who of course, the public despises right now. There are 83% of the tickets that have come in on Philly as of this writing, and looking back to a year ago, when the majority handle and number of bets were on road favorites for an ATS wager, these majority groups were just 36-52 ATS (40.9%) and 35-53 ATS (39.8%).

The Jets continue to hang around, despite what looked like would be a devastating injury to QB Aaron Rodgers in the opener. They are 2-3, and an upset win here could do wonders heading into their bye week. Here is a nice system regarding the bye working in the Jets’ favor: Play home underdogs heading into their bye week. (Record: 32-17-2 ATS since 2015). Keep in mind, in the NFL, I typically don’t take underdogs that I feel can’t win a game. I’ll back NY here.

Take NY Jets +6.5 and anything +/- 1 point

Dallas at LA Chargers

I have a lot of good information coming from the Analytics Report suggesting that Dallas is the play on Monday night despite the ugly loss at San Francisco this past week on SNF. First off, the Cowboys are on a 10-1 ATS run when coming off an outright loss, as head coach Mike McCarthy typically has his team motivated after defeats. Second, Dallas is on a 6-2 SU and ATS run on Monday Night Football. Third, in MNF games pitting AFC vs NFC teams, hosts are on a 10-28-2 ATS skid. Fourth, with the Cowboys heading into their bye week afterward, they have won their last four ATS in such situations, and road teams heading into their bye week on Monday Night are 26-13 ATS since 1996.

If that weren’t enough, the Chargers are coming out of their bye week, and home dogs coming out of their bye week are just 17-29-1 ATS since 1999. If that weren’t enough, road teams are 6-1 ATS in the last seven games of the Dallas/LA Chargers head-to-head series. This is an analytics dream come true game it seems. Gotta trust the info.

PLAY DALLAS -2.5 or anything -3 or under

For more system matches and key trends, check out the Week 6 NFL Analytics Report.