Nothing lasts forever, and my string of winning Best Picks went down in flames this week as I missed on all three games I picked. In fact, in the remainder of last week’s slate, I did OK, going 7-3-1 except for those pesky “sure things” I told you about which, as you now know, were anything but.
This week’s games, moreover, are complicated by a plethora of injuries to key personnel. Jamaal Charles in KC, Tyrod Taylor in Buffalo, Justin Forsett in Baltimore. Can these teams win without these players and others like them. In many cases the answer is going to wind up being “no.” Look at how the Cowboys are doing these days. Then again, look how the Steelers are doing these days. Handicapping backups is tough because in many cases you haven’t seen how the player fits into the team’s scheme. In some cases, of course, you need not see much. I can guarantee you KC doesn’t have anyone on their roster who can do what Charles could, and that team, accordingly, is in big trouble right now.
They’re not the only ones, however, so targeting games with these teams before the spreads catch up to reality can be a way to find a few winners.
NFL Week 6 betting preview
Last Week’s Picks: 7-6-1 Best: 0-3
Season Totals: 39-41-3 Best: 11-8
New England (-8) @Indianapolis (MY top sportsbooks)
This Sunday night is one of the classics of the AFC with the Patriots visiting Indianapolis on where My Top Sportsbooks has the Pats as favorites with a spread of -8. I’m not taking the Colts to win the game, but to cover 10 at home with Andrew Luck back? If they can’t do that, they should just quit this season and wait ‘til next year.
New England Patriots 27 Indianapolis Colts 21
Carolina (+7) @Seattle (Westgate Superbook)
How could a 2-3 team be giving a touchdown to one of the league’s remaining undefeateds? Don’t go there. This is a 100% absolutely positively MUST WIN for Seattle. No margin for error. Also, Carolina has almost no offense and don’t go thinking Seattle’s defense is somehow suspect after last week. Give the Bengals and Andy Dalton the credit they deserve for winning that game. The Seahawks, meanwhile, are very likely to take this out on the Panthers. I like the under here a bit but I’m not taking it simply because I’m afraid Seattle’s defense will score points to put the game over.
Seattle Seahawks 24 Carolina Panthers 14
Denver (-4) @Cleveland (Pinnacle)
It’s clear that Denver is now a defensive heavy team and that Peyton Manning is basically being asked to do just enough to win the game. Sadly, Denver’s plan to rely on a running game has been an abysmal failure. The Broncos are so bad running the football they look like the Eagles (you see what I did there?). In any case, it’s a good thing they have that marvelous defense. That will get them a cover against a Browns team that isn’t ready for top level competition yet.
Denver Broncos 20 Cleveland Browns 14
Cincinnati (-3) @Buffalo (CG Technology)
For the Bills, starting QB Tyrod Taylor is out meaning E.J. Manuel is in. LeSean McCoy is banged up and may not play. Karlos Williams hasn’t been cleared to play. Sammy Watkins is nowhere close to 100%, so you’re relatively poor back up QB won’t even have his top 2 RBs and top WR to help him. I know Cincinnati is coming off a huge win and is due for a letdown and that they’re much better at home, but how could you possibly want to take Buffalo here?
Cincinnati Bengals 21 Buffalo Bills 16
Houston (pick ‘em) @Jacksonville (Wynn Las Vegas)
This game opened at Houston -1.5. The line has been moving and now most books have Jacksonville giving one or even a point and a half. It doesn’t sound like much because the numbers are low, but that’s 3 points of movement in just a couple of days. Count me in as someone who thinks the Jags can handle the Texans this year.
Jacksonville Jaguars 26 Houston Texans 22
Chicago (+3) @Detroit (Westgate Superbook)
I wouldn’t really touch this game. The Lions in my view are the better team, but they are snakebit. The Bears have two games in a row by a combined 3 points. Both times they got lucky and they wouldn’t have beaten the Chiefs at all if Jamaal Charles hadn’t gotten hurt. I’m inclined to think Detroit will finally get its first win and may score a “screw everyone” touchdown near the end just for good measure.
Detroit Lions 28 Chicago Bears 20
Miami (+2.5) @Tennessee (MGM Mirage)
This game should probably be a pick ‘em. Before the season, you’d have probably guessed Miami would be giving 3 or even more. Instead, they’re getting 2.5. That’s gift. The Dolphins are likely to win this game feeling that “new coach bounce” you often see. That doesn’t mean their problems are solved but come one, it’s Tennessee, they bottom third, no question.
Miami Dolphins 23 Tennessee Titans 20
San Diego (+10) @Green Bay (MGM Mirage)
I’m not picking against the Packers at home. Period. Don’t like it? Go and put your money against the Packers at home. I guarantee you won’t like that.
Green Bay Packers 31 San Diego Chargers 20
Baltimore (-2.5) @San Francisco (Westgate Superbook)
Let’s see. Baltimore, with either no Steve Smith and Justin Forsett or very limited Steve Smith and Justin Forsett is giving points on the road? Who thought THAT was a good idea?! The Ravens are done, they seem to find a way to lose every week. This will be no exception.
San Francisco 49ers 24 Baltimore Ravens 23
NY Giants (+4) @Philadelphia (Westgate Superbook)
This is another one of those goofy NFC East rivalries where the away team actually has the advantage. The Giants are playing well, but they have a banged up secondary, and the Eagles have struggled with their inexperienced receivers not being able to get open (among other things). I’m inclined to take the Giants to win, but I think it may be very close and require another round of late heroics from Eli Manning to get it done. I’ll take the 4 points in any event.
New York Giants 27 Philadelphia Eagles 24
Denver @Cleveland o/u 42.5 (Pinnacle)
The old days when Peyton Manning would put up 30+ points or 350+ passing yards are over. Denver plays it safe now, and their defense makes life miserable for opponents. Peyton does enough to win the game and then hands it off to some guy average 1.4 yards per carry. That said, Cleveland won’t score much this game, and that will keep the game under the 42.5 number.
Denver Broncos 20 Cleveland Browns 14
Kansas City (+3.5) @Minnesota (MGM Mirage)
The Chiefs season is over. When Jamaal Charles got hurt, any change Kansas City had of making the playoffs ended. On the flip side, Minnesota has had an extra week to prepare for this game and has been enjoying some success this year. How are those Kansas City defenders going to feel about trying to tackle Adrian Peterson in the fourth quarter. Not too good, I’ll wager.
Minnesota Vikings 23 Kansas City Chiefs 17
Washington (+7) @NY Jets (5Dimes)
Sometimes I don’t get how these lines get set. The over/under on this game is between 40 and 41 points depending where you look, so the oddsmakers know this is going to be a tight defensive affair. The Jets are not exactly an offensive juggernaut, they win with defense. And they run the ball. And Washington runs the ball too. This is now both of these teams want to play. Conservative calls, keep the clock moving, wear down the opponent. If Washington gets to 17 points, they’ve already covered in a 40 point game. I don’t expect either team will go over 20 here. I’m counting on it.
New York Jets 19 Washington Racial Slurs 14
Arizona (-3) @Pittsburgh (MGM Mirage)
Here’s yet another spread that makes no sense. As soon as Big Ben got hurt, you know the Steelers were looking at the calendar figuring which games were still winnable (like last week against the Chargers) and which ones probably weren’t (like this week). The Steelers threw everything they had into winning last week and you know how Monday night winners tend to be flat the following week. The Steelers aren’t good enough to be flat. Even with Roethlisberger under center, I might take the Cardinals in this game, they’ve been monsters.
Arizona Cardinals 28 Pittsburgh Steelers 17