2018 Week 6 NFL Picks

Pick of the Week

NE -3 vs. KC

High Confidence Picks

CIN -1.5 vs. PIT

GB -9.5 vs. SF

Medium Confidence Picks

PHI -2 @ NYG

DAL +3.5 vs. JAX

TEN +2.5 vs. BAL

WAS +1 vs. CAR

Low Confidence Picks

CHI -7 @ MIA

IND +2 @ NYJ

BUF +10 @ HOU

DEN +7 vs. LAR

No Confidence Picks

LAC +1 @ CLE

SEA -2.5 vs. OAK

ATL -3 vs. TB

ARZ +10.5 @ MIN

Upset Picks

WAS +100 vs. CAR

TEN +120 vs. BAL

IND +110 @ NYJ

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons: 2018 Week 6 NFL Pick

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2) at Atlanta Falcons (1-4)

These two teams are pretty similar, as they have good offenses, but horrendous defenses. The Falcons started the season as a balanced team, but they have had terrible injury luck on defense, with defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, linebacker Deion Jones, and safeties Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen out with injuries. As a result, a team that looked like a possible contender coming into the season has fallen to 1-4 and looks unlikely to improve on defense any time soon.

On the other side, the Buccaneers problem on defense isn’t really injuries; they just have a weak defense. They rank dead last in first down rate allowed at 45.88%, one spot ahead of the Falcons at 45.02%. Fortunately, their offense has been strong to compensate somewhat, ranking 7th in first down rate at 40.56%, a few spots ahead of the Falcons, who rank 10th at 39.25% and continue to be without running back Devonta Freeman with injury.

With Jameis Winston taking his starting job back from Ryan Fitzpatrick, after briefly being benched upon his return from suspension, the Buccaneers’ offense could conceivably improve going forward. Winston played well when healthy last season and has arguably the most talented receiving corps in the NFL, especially with tight end OJ Howard looking likely to return from injury this week. I have the Falcons a couple spots higher in my rankings, so I’m taking them as mere 3 point home favorites, but this game is close to a toss up and could easily push. At 3.5, I’d take the Buccaneers.

Atlanta Falcons 34 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31

Pick against the spread: Atlanta -3

Confidence: None

Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings: 2018 Week 6 NFL Pick

Arizona Cardinals (1-4) at Minnesota Vikings (2-2-1)

I’m torn on this one. On one hand, the Cardinals are one of the worst teams in the league and should only be picked if you are getting great line value with them, while the Vikings are in a great spot with only a trip to New York to play the Jets on deck. Teams are 79-61 ATS since 2014 before being road favorites of 4+, which the Vikings are expected to be next week in New York. With no upcoming distractions, they could easily take care of business at home against a much inferior team.

On the other hand, the Vikings enter this game missing several key players, so the Cardinals could easily keep it closer than expected. Already missing defensive end Everson Griffen with injury, the Vikings will also be without left tackle Riley Reiff and talented starting safety Andrew Sendejo with injury this week. Cornerback Trae Waynes and running back Dalvin Cook are expected to return from short absences, but the Vikings are far from 100% right now, so we’re getting a little bit of line value with the visitors. It’s not enough to take them with any confidence, but they are the pick for pick ‘em purposes.

Minnesota Vikings 23 Arizona Cardinals 13

Pick against the spread: Arizona +10.5

Confidence: None

Oakland Raiders vs. Seattle Seahawks: 2018 Week 6 NFL Pick

Oakland Raiders (1-4) vs. Seattle Seahawks (2-3) in London

This game features the Raiders and Seahawks in London. Typically in neutral site games, the rule of thumb is that the better team typically covers, as favorites are 21-9 ATS all-time. That makes sense, as better teams are more likely to be better prepared for a weird situation like this. The crowd is also likely to be slanted towards the better team. The Seahawks are favored in this one, but only by 2.5 points. While favorites of 4+ are 13-1 ATS in neutral site games, favorites of less than 4 are just 8-8 ATS.

The Seahawks also are not a good team right now, thanks to several personnel major losses over the past couple seasons and several major injuries, including stud safety Earl Thomas and every down linebacker KJ Wright. They’re better than the Raiders, but only by default, as the Raiders are one of the worst teams in the league, especially with talented left guard Kelechi Osemele out for the second straight game. I’m taking the Seahawks because they are the slightly better team and only really need to win to cover, but this is a no confidence bet.

Seattle Seahawks 23 Oakland Raiders 20

Pick against the spread: Seattle -2.5

Confidence: None

Los Angeles Chargers at Cleveland Browns: 2018 Week 6 NFL Pick

Los Angeles Chargers (3-2) at Cleveland Browns (2-2-1)

The Browns have been near the top of my underrated list all season and I’ve picked them against the spread every week so far this season, including money bets on them against the Steelers, Jets, and Ravens. The Browns have covered or pushed in all 5 games, with their only non-cover coming in a push as 3-point underdogs in Oakland in a game they led by 8 with the ball under 2 minutes left. In fact, if not for a couple bad calls in that game and some missed kicks week 1 and week 2, the Browns could easily be 5-0 right now.

Of course, they also haven’t won a game by more than 4 points, so they could also easily be 1-4 right now, but my point is that the Browns are a competitive football team this season. They’ve drastically upgraded their quarterback situation, which has allowed a solid all around roster to shine more, after Deshone Kizer’s turnover proneness made it near impossible for them to win games in 2017.

Unfortunately, the public seems to be catching on a little bit, as the Browns are 1-point favorites this week at home against the Chargers. Last week, the Browns were field goal home underdogs against the Ravens. The Ravens and Chargers are about even in my rankings, with the Ravens only a couple spots ahead, so we’re not getting the same line value with the Browns this week. In fact, I actually have this line calculated at even, so, if anything we’re getting a tiny bit of line value with the Chargers.

The Chargers have no homefield advantage in Los Angeles, so I always like to bet on them away from home (30-19-3 ATS on the road since 2012, including 5-3-2 ATS since moving to Los Angeles last season), and the Browns could be a little tired this weekend after playing a ridiculous 3rd overtime game in 5 weeks last week. The Chargers aren’t exactly in a great spot either though, with a trip to London on deck (teams are 16-24 ATS all-time before a trip to London). In a game that’s a complete toss up, I’m taking the point for a no confidence pick. Maybe it’ll be another tie. Both teams have suspect kicking units.

Los Angeles Chargers 20 Cleveland Browns 20

Pick against the spread: LA Chargers +1

Confidence: None

Jacksonville Jaguars at Dallas Cowboys: 2018 Week 6 NFL Pick

Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2) at Dallas Cowboys (2-3)

This line was Jacksonville -2 last week on the early line, but bizarrely it has since shifted to Jacksonville -3.5 and it’s not clear why. The Cowboys narrowly lost in Houston last week, while the Jaguars lost pretty easily in Kansas City, so nothing from last week’s results would seem to justify a significant movement like that. A point and a half might not seem like much, but about a sixth of games are decided by exactly 3 points, so this line moved across a very key number for seemingly no good reason other than heavy action on Jacksonville.

This line is the equivalent of Dallas being -9.5 in Jacksonville, which is what the Jets were a couple weeks back and the Cowboys are definitely more talented than the Jets. The Jaguars were also just -3 week 1 in New York against a Giants team that the Cowboys beat the following week fairly easily and have outplayed since that game. Even if this line was still at -2, we’d still be getting some line value with the Cowboys, as I have this line calculated at even.

A lot is made about the Cowboys’ offensive struggles, but they’ve had a top-10 defense this year and continue to play well despite the loss of linebacker Sean Lee due to injury. Ex-safety Byron Jones has broken out since being moved to cornerback, while the Cowboys’ young linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch have played more than well enough to hold down the fort in Lee’s absence. The Jaguars have offensive issues without Leonard Fournette and down to their 3rd string left tackle, so the Cowboys can definitely keep this one close and even possibly pull off the upset. The Cowboys have not been a good home team in recent years (24-43-1 ATS since 2010), which is why this isn’t a bigger bet, but the Cowboys are worth a bet at +3.5.

Jacksonville Jaguars 20 Dallas Cowboys 19

Pick against the spread: Dallas +3.5

Confidence: Medium

Los Angeles Rams at Denver Broncos: 2018 Week 6 NFL Pick

Los Angeles Rams (5-0) at Denver Broncos (2-3)

The Broncos lost 34-16 in New York against the Jets last week, but they actually won the first down battle, picking up 26 first downs to 18 for the Jets and moving the chains at a 2.82% better rate. The Broncos lost by double digits because they allowed numerous large plays, but large plays tend to be inconsistent on a week-to-week basis. For example, the Broncos allowed 3 touchdowns of 35 yards or longer against the Jets, despite only allowing 1 touchdown longer than 35 yards in their previous 4 games and despite holding a much better Chiefs offense to just one play of 35 yards or more the previous week. Despite last week’s loss, the Broncos still rank 9th in first down rate differential on the year.

The Broncos were also in a terrible spot last week, with that Jets game sandwiched in between two much tougher games, their home game against the Chiefs week 4 and this home game against the league’s other undefeated team the Los Angeles Rams. The Broncos kept it close with the Chiefs and, though the Rams are a step up in talent because they are strong on both sides of the ball, the Broncos could easily keep this one close as well, as 7 point home underdogs. The Rams also have not been as good defensively since losing cornerback Aqib Talib to injury, allowing 30+ points in back-to-back weeks. Fellow starting cornerback Marcus Peters has not missed a game, but has struggled mightily in 2 games since sustaining a calf injury that was supposed to keep him out 2-4 weeks. If he continues to struggle, the Broncos could have a relatively easy time moving the ball in this one.

With only a game in Arizona on deck, the Broncos have no upcoming distractions. Home underdogs are 21-8 ATS since 2014 before being road favorites, which the Broncos are expected to be next week. The Rams are in a good spot too though, with only a trip to San Francisco, where they will be road favorites, on deck. Big favorites tend to take care of business before being big favorites again, going 79-50 ATS since 2014 as favorites of 6+ before being favorites of 6+ again. We’re getting some line value with the Broncos so I am taking them, but there’s not enough here for the Broncos to be worth betting this week.

Los Angeles Rams 26 Denver Broncos 20

Pick against the spread: Denver +7

Confidence: Low