Tuley’s Takes: NFL Week 6

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Week 6 picks from a "dog or pass" point of view"

The rollercoaster of the football season rolls along here in the Tuley’s Takes home office as we enter NFL Week 6 and College Football Week 7 (Week 8 if you count CFB Week 0).

After going 3-0-1 ATS with our patented “dog-or-pass” college football plays on Saturday, we went 2-3-1 ATS with our posted Best Bets here in the NFL with wins on the Saints +1 and Steelers +4 early Sunday but losing later on the Rams +4.5, Vikings +4.5 and Cowboys +3.5.

The push was on the Texans +2, though we thought they were going to pull off the minor upset over the Falcons before losing on a last-second field goal to push in a 21-19 loss.

For our record-keeping purposes here, we’re still a respectable 14-11-1 ATS (56%) through five weeks. In the major Vegas handicapping contests, our @ViewFromVegas entry is a similar 14-11 in the Circa Sports Million, but we’re a game and a half better in the Westgate SuperContest at 15-9-1 (60%) thanks to a couple of better lines for our top plays.

In our teaser portfolio, we split our 2-team, 6-point teasers with a win on Texans +8/Saints +7 but losing on Cardinals +9/Jets +7.5.

Without further ado, let’s get to the Week 6 card. I’ve been doing a lot of teasing lately, and it looks like a lot more this weekend.

For newcomers to this column (*waves to the newbies*), I’m a “dog-or-pass bettor,” and my breakdown of each game will usually be from that point of view as we try to determine if the dog is getting enough points to make them a play – or if I recommend passing on the game, which is a very valid and valuable betting decision when trying to come out ahead against the books!

Even if I don’t have an official Best Bet, I’ll still at least give my recommended “pool play strategy” for those who are in contests where you have to pick every game.

Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs (-10.5)

Regular readers know it’s hard for me to pass on a double-digit NFL underdog, especially with the added motivation of a nationally televised prime-time game. But even though we usually love fading the Chiefs (though it didn’t work Sunday vs. the Vikings), we can’t pull the trigger with the Broncos, even though their offense opened up a little against the Chiefs.

The fact is they gave up 31 points to the Jets’ offense and are giving up an NFL-worst 36.2 points per game. Can’t trust them to contain Patrick Mahomes & Co. enough to stay within the number.

Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Chiefs 100% in all my rare SU and ATS contests that use the Thursday night game).

Baltimore Ravens (-4) vs. Tennessee Titans

London, England

We have a London game for the third week in a row. Since I usually stay up late on Saturday nights, I’m not liking these 6:30 a.m. PT kickoffs as much as I used to. But I’m getting up early for this one as I’m on the underdog Titans.

Except for their 28-3 rout of the Browns in Week 2, I haven’t been too impressed with the Ravens, and I’m willing to fade them as the Titans can contain the Baltimore running game. I usually trust Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel in the underdog role (covered in the loss at Saints in Week 1, upset Chargers in Week 2 and Bengals in Week 4).

Best Bet: Titans +4 (pool play: Titans 67/33 in ATS contests with Ravens barely 55/45 in SU pools).

Washington Commanders at Atlanta Falcons (-2.5)

Like most NFL teams, the Commanders’ week-to-week performances can be an enigma. They took the Eagles to OT in Week 4 and then got blown out by the Bears 40-20 last Thursday. They get 10 days of rest here (wow, I could use a break like that at this time of year), and this is as good a time as any to discuss our teaser portfolio for the week.

I’m not sure I’ll take the Commanders +2.5, but I love teasing them up over a touchdown to +8.5. We’ll pair them in the early games with two home dogs in the Bears +9 vs. the Vikings and Texans +7.5 vs. the Saints (more of those games in a bit). Let’s also take them with the Chargers +8.5 on Monday night.

Best Bet: 2-team, 6-point teasers with Commanders +8.5/Bears +9 and Commanders +8.5/Texans +7.5 (pool play: Commanders 55/45 in ATS contest, but Falcons still 55/45 in SU pools).

Minnesota Vikings (-2.5/3) at Chicago Bears

The advance line on this game last week was Vikings -4.5, but then they lost 27-20 to the Chiefs while the Bears had the aforementioned 40-20 rout of the Commanders. The Bears get a mini-hibernation with the 10-day rest from last Thursday, and they should be able to carry the momentum from that victory (maybe there was something in the motivation to win one for the late Dick Butkus) against a Minnesota team that is also now without WR Justin Jefferson.

Best Bet: 2-team, 6-point teaser with Bears +9/Commanders +8.5…and maybe Bears +9/Texans +7.5 as well (pool play: Bears 55/45 in ATS contests but flip to Vikings 55/45 in SU pools).

San Francisco 49ers (-7) at Cleveland Browns

On Sunday night, we pretty much regretted fading the 49ers right away as they jumped out to a 14-0 lead on the Cowboys and never looked back in their 42-10 rout. My first instinct this week was to take the Browns as 7-point home dogs (the advance line was only 49ers -3 last week, so it appears overinflated), but we’re not willing to go against the 49ers right now with the way they’re playing on both sides of the ball. This line was down to 6.5 as a lot of bettors like to take teams off a bye, but it was back to 7 early Wednesday afternoon. I’ll still pass (and would be more inclined to include in 6-point teasers with the 49ers -1).

Best Bet: Pass (pool play: 49ers 55/45 in ATS contests and closer to 90/10 in SU pools).

Seattle Seahawks at Cincinnati Bengals (-2.5/3)

I almost included the Seahawks in that teaser portfolio, but I ended up deciding to pass as it really did seem like the Bengals turned a corner after their slow start, pulling away to beat the Cardinals 34-20 on Sunday. We’re still holding onto our Bengals’ futures to win the NFC North (they’re 2-3 and just one game behind the 3-2 Ravens and Steelers). I wouldn’t try to talk anyone out of teasing the Seahawks up over a TD, but I like the other options better.

Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Bengals 55/45 in ATS contests and 65/35 in SU pools).

 

New Orleans Saints (-1.5) at Houston Texans

More teasing. We’ve been on the Texans several times this season, and they’ve rewarded us by being more competitive than most other bettors expected. Meanwhile, the Saints came through for us big-time with their 34-0 rout at the Patriots last Sunday. So, I’m not going to call for the Texans to pull the outright upset here and just need them to stay within one touchdown.

Best Bet: 2-team, 6-point teaser with Texans +7.5/Commanders +8.5…and maybe Texans +7.5/Bears +9 (pool play: Texans 55/45 in ATS contests but Saints 55/45 in SU pools).

Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars (-4)

OK, we’re finally back to a game where we feel we’re getting enough points to make a straight play against the spread. This team is for the AFC North lead as both teams are 3-2. The Colts are coming off a 23-16 win vs. the Titans while the Jaguars upset the Bills 25-20 in London. However, we see this as a letdown spot with the Jaguars having to play without a bye after two weeks overseas (an unprecedented spot as no team ever played back-to-back games in London before). In addition, like last week when we expected improvement from the Saints’ offense with Alvin Kamara playing his second game, we see a similar spike for the Colts’ offense with Jonathon Taylor playing his second game. 

Best Bet: Colts +4 (pool play: Colts 65/45 in ATS contest and Jaguars only 55/45 in SU pools as we’ll go with Colts to win outright on nearly half of our contests).

Carolina Panthers at Miami Dolphins (-13.5)

Here we have our second double-digit dog of the weekend, and I’m passing again. The Panthers are on pace to have the No. 1 pick again (though they would have to send it to the Bears to acquire the No. 1 pick this year). I know more than most people that ugly dogs like this cover double-digits more often than not, but I still can’t see the Panthers’ offense keeping up with the Dolphins.

Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Panthers 55/45 in ATS contests on principle, but Dolphins at least 90/10 in SU pools).

Detroit Lions (-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

This is a battle of division leaders as the Lions (4-1) have a two-game lead in the NFC North while the Buccaneers (3-1) are a half-game ahead of the Saints and Falcons in the NFC South. The discrepancy is due to the Bucs’ bye week. The last time we saw them, they were rolling the Saints 26-9. The Lions are threatening to break out of the “perennial dogs usually have a hard time covering when put in the favorite’s role” category, but we’ll still fade them in this spot. We’ll like it more if the line continues to steam to 3.5 as more people are jumping on the Lions’ bandwagon.

Best Bet: Buccaneers +3, though hoping for +3.5 on the betting board and in contests (pool play: Buccaneers 60/40 in ATS contests – higher at +3.5 – but Lions still 55/45 in SU pools).

New England Patriots at Las Vegas Raiders (-3)

Las Vegas coach Josh McDaniels continues to get blasted (with good reason) for his in-game decisions even though the Raiders got back in the win column on Monday night. It’s tempting to fade him/them with New England having the coaching advantage, but Bill Belichick no longer has the horse, and there wasn’t anything good to take away from their 34-0 loss to the Saints.

Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Raiders 55/45 in ATS contests and 70/30 in SU pools).

Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams (-7)

Both these teams have been pleasant surprises at times this year even though the Cardinals ended up not covering for us last Sunday. They also lost RB James Conner, but the Cardinals are still way better than their 1-4 record and are no longer regarded as the worst team in the league. The Rams have only won one game by more than this spread (Week 1 at the Seahawks), so we don’t see why the Rams are favored by a full touchdown.

Best Bet: Cardinals +7 (pool play: Cardinals 65/35 in ATS contests, though Rams 67/33 in SU pools).

Philadelphia Eagles (-7) at New York Jets

This will be one of the most popular 6-point teasers of Week 5 as tons of bettors will take the Eagles down to -1. Even though the Jets got back in the win column with their 31-21 win in Denver, I’m not willing to back them as home dogs here. So, I guess put me down unofficially for a chalky 2-team, 6-point teaser with the Eagles -1 along with the 49ers -1 earlier on Sunday’s card.

Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Eagles 55/45 in ATS contests and at least 80/20 in SU pools).

New York Giants at Buffalo Bills (-14)

I finally have a double-digit underdog I can make a case for in the Sunday night game. Granted, the Giants haven’t been very competitive and are the type of ugly team it takes to get in the double-digit role, but they usually cover. Besides, this is more of a bet against the Bills, who are having to play without a bye after their London trip (and it wasn’t as successful a trip as the Jaguars had), so there is even more of a chance for them to have a letdown. I won’t be betting the Giants on the moneyline here, but the Bills should be looking to just get out of this with a victory and not care about the margin (perfect recipe for a double-digit dog cover).

Best Bet: Giants +14 (pool play: Giants 67/33 in ATS contests, though Bills at least 90/10 in SU pools).

Dallas Cowboys (-2.5) at Los Angeles Chargers

You know we only bet the Chargers in the underdog role, but this is a tough spot in the Monday nighter even though they’re coming off a bye and Austin Ekeler is expected back in the lineup. We consider the Cowboys’ 42-10 loss at the 49ers to be an outlier and expect them to bounce back here. However, we will tease the Chargers up over a TD as mentioned before. Hopefully, we have some live teasers to this game, but if not, we’ll probably go with the Chargers +8.5/Over 45 in a shootout.

Best Bet: Pass, except teasers with Chargers +8.5 (pool play: Chargers 55/45 in ATS contests but Cowboys 55/45 in SU pools).