NFL Picks Against the Spread Week 6: Predictions for Every Game
Week 5 NFL bettors were reminded on Sunday that it's best to throw out all previous results and start handicapping anew each week.
Case in point—Seattle picked up a 36-25 win over the New York Giants as 10-point road underdogs after scoring just 17 combined points in their first two efforts away from home against San Francisco and Pittsburgh.
With that being said, let's take an early look at the upcoming week from a betting perspective.
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons
It's very difficult to predict the line, no less the outcome in this game due to Atlanta currently hosting the Green Bay Packers.
Carolina has reeled off four consecutive victories against the number, with its only failure coming in a 28-21 season-opening loss as 6.5-point road underdogs in Arizona.
Granted, the defeat doesn't look very good now, but it was quarterback Cam Newton's first career start and the team was coming off a terrible season.
Atlanta has a lot of offensive weapons and many experts have discounted them early due to a mediocre 2-2 start.
Let's just say this, oddsmakers sent out the Green Bay Packers as 10.5-point road favorites against the Carolina Panthers in Week 2.
The Falcons know this is an important division game and have the Detroit Lions on deck.
Handicapper Line: Atlanta Falcons (-8)
San Francisco 49ers at Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions will be coming off a Monday Night Football contest against the Chicago Bears, while this will also be the middle game of a three-game homestand.
San Francisco is 4-1 on the year and coming in with a ton of confidence after picking up a 48-3 home win as 2.5-point favorites over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The 49ers offense is starting to gain some traction under first-year head coach Jim Harbaugh, winning the statistical battle by a 418-272 margin Sunday.
Absolutely no look ahead situation for either side, but Detroit will be coming off a short week. And everyone must remember, this young roster has gone through some emotional wars already in 2011.
Handicapper Line: Detroit Lions (-3.5)
Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals are one of the worst favorites in the NFL but picked up a 30-20 victory in laying a point Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
It's important to note that the franchise failed in its first opportunity as a home favorite during the Andy Dalton era in Week 3, dropping a 13-8 contest to the San Francisco 49ers.
That's not a bad loss considering the 49ers are 4-1 on the season against some solid opponents.
Indianapolis allowed the Kansas City Chiefs to score 21 unanswered points, which resulted in a 28-24 loss as one-point home favorites, ending any chances of making the playoffs with an 0-5 record.
The only real question in this game is: Will a team that is used to making postseason runs give up on a lost season?
When you answer that—you have your play.
Handicapper Line: Cincinnati Bengals (-7)
Las Vegas Line: Cincinnati Bengals (-7)
Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick keeps throwing it to the other team, while the defense isn't making enough plays.
The 2011 NFL "Dream Team" is 1-4 and pointing fingers.
I can't imagine the Washington Redskins not being ready to deliver the knockout blow, especially off a bye week and looking to gain revenge from a 59-28 loss to the Eagles as 3.5-point home underdogs last year.
Before going all-in, the Redskins are 2-0 ATS against the division but were underdogs in both of those games.
Handicapper Line: Washington Redskins (-1.5)
Las Vegas Line: Washington Redskins (-1)
Pick: Washington Redskins (-1)
St. Louis Rams at Green Bay Packers
It's gut check time for the St. Louis Rams coming off a bye week, and that's the only reason the oddsmakers will not go crazy with this line.
St. Louis is 0-4 ATS during the 2011 campaign and was made a 9.5-point underdog two times last year.
A lot of what this line is going to be based on is Green Bay's result in Atlanta tonight, as the team comes home for this contest before heading back on the road to face Minnesota and San Diego.
I still think Las Vegas has some respect for the Rams and may try to score a major win financially in this game.
The Rams are desperate and dangerous in this type of game.
Handicapper Line: Green Bay Packers (-9)
Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers have been one of the more difficult teams to figure out through five weeks, getting back on track with a 38-17 win over the Tennessee Titans as three-point home favorites.
Let's just say that the oddsmakers had no choice but to lay a double-digit line in this game, as Jacksonville has been terrible offensively and has a rookie quarterback.
With that being said, Pittsburgh has only shown the ability to crank it up following a loss this year and falls into a lull in the schedule starting this week.
It's likely that the team is looking dead ahead to a revenge game against the New England Patriots at home on Oct. 30.
Handicapper Line: Pittsburgh Steelers (-11.5)
Las Vegas Line: Pittsburgh Steelers (-13.5)
Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars (+13.5)
Buffalo Bills at New York Giants
The 2010 version of New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning showed up and it resulted in a humiliating 36-25 loss to the Seattle Seahawks as 10-point home favorites.
It's certainly not all of his fault, seeing as that the defense allowed 424 yards.
Bettors are going to examine both team's performances against the Philadelphia Eagles, which will not offer much of an edge from a handicapping perspective.
It may simply come down to which quarterback doesn't make mistakes.
The clear advantage lands squarely on the road team.
Problem is, I've got a line way too close to Vegas to make a play.
Handicapper Line: New York Giants (-3.5)
Las Vegas Line: New York Giants (-3)
Cleveland Browns at Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders are coming off one of the more emotional victories in franchise history, and that's exactly why I can't wait to play the Cleveland Browns.
Bettors need to look at this week's boxscore and realize that the Raiders were out-gained by a 473-278 margin by the Houston Texans in a 25-20 win as 4.5-point road underdogs.
Cleveland is coming off a bye week at an even 2-2 record, which is a great motivational factor in practice this week in trying to move above .500.
What's the Raiders' record? 3-2.
Handicapper Line: Oakland Raiders (-6)
Las Vegas Line: Oakland Raiders (-7)
Pick: Cleveland Browns (+7)
Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens are 8-1 ATS when coming off a bye week, while the Houston Texans are 1-6-1 ATS when facing an opponent that's rested.
Last year's meeting resulted in a 34-28 win for the Ravens as three-point road favorites, which was shocking due to being out-gained by a 378-190 margin in total yards.
The Texas dominated the Raiders statistically without the services of wide receiver Andre Johnson, falling 25-20 as 4.5-point home favorites.
No real strong opinion due to my odds landing squarely on the number, but the early line movement puts us on the favorite.
Handicapper Line: Baltimore Ravens (-5.5)
Las Vegas Line: Baltimore Ravens (-5.5)
Pick: Baltimore Ravens (-5.5)
New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay didn't want any part of traveling to the Bay Area after picking up a Monday Night Football win over the Indianapolis Colts in Week 4.
The result—San Francisco 48, Tampa Bay 3
Bettors are going to quickly land on the Saints due to their high-powered offense and 31-6 win over Tampa Bay as 5.5-point road favorites at Raymond James Stadium last year.
New Orleans only held a 28-yard advantage in the boxscore in that game, while Tampa Bay held them to just 199 yards in the season finale.
Playing on the road for a third consecutive week will take its toll, especially when laying points in each contest.
Handicapper Line: New Orleans Saints (-3.5)
Las Vegas Line: New Orleans Saints (-5)
Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+5)
Dallas Cowboys at New England Patriots
This is without a doubt the sharpest line I've seen all year.
Oddsmakers know that Dallas is much better than its current record and coming off a bye, while New England has been around this number all year.
I suggest monitoring the betting odds closely in this game before diving in.
This handicapper will be watching from the sidelines.
Handicapper Line: New England Patriots (-7.5)
Las Vegas Line: New England Patriots (-7)
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
The Minnesota Vikings caused four turnovers on Sunday and cruised to a 34-10 win over the Arizona Cardinals as three-point favorites.
It's an impressive win due to not giving up on the season after starting 0-4, but there's still plenty of problems underneath.
Starting with quarterback Donovan McNabb.
He really didn't have to do much with running back Adrian Peterson carrying the load, but at least complete 50 percent of your passes.
The veteran finished the game 10-of-21 passing for 169 yards.
On the other side, the Bears will be coming off a Monday Night Football contest in the Motor City, which will make them prepare for this game off a short week.
From a bettor's perspective, I'm not sure if either team is bettor or worse than last season, which will cause the bookmaker to look at last year's lines.
That's exactly what I'm doing.
Handicapper Line: Chicago Bears (-5)
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets
It looks like New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez isn't happy with the team's 2-3 start.
Miami is a division rival, but the oddsmakers figure that the public can't imagine the home team losing four games in a row.
I could see it happen, but I'm also aware of Jets head coach Rex Ryan's ATS record when winning as a big favorite.
Lay it, if you play it.
Handicapper Line: New York Jets (-10)
Las Vegas Line: New York Jets (-8)
Pick: New York Jets (-8)