Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders: 2017 Week 7 NFL Pick

Kansas City Chiefs (5-1) at Oakland Raiders (2-4)

The Raiders enter this game on a 4-game losing streak and are dealing with a much-talked-about injury to quarterback Derek Carr, who was not 100% last week in his return from a back injury and will likely not be 100% again this week on a short week. However, the Chiefs are in a tough injury situation as well, just not one that gets talked about as much. Obviously the injury to Eric Berry in the opener hurt this defense significantly, but their offense is missing two starters on the offensive line (center Mitch Morse and right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif) and and two of their top-3 receivers (Chris Conley and Albert Wilson). That really hurt them in last week’s home loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, a game in which they lost the first down battle 23-11.

On the season, the Chiefs are just 17th in first down rate differential at +0.73%, as they have 3 more offensive touchdowns than their opponents, but 7 fewer first downs. The Raiders, meanwhile, rank just 2 spots behind them at -0.50%. Taking into accounts injuries, I have these two teams about 3 points apart in my roster rankings. Given that, getting the Raiders as field goal home underdogs is a good value. Oakland should be able to keep this one close throughout and possibly pull off the upset. If not, I like getting field goal protection with them, as about 1 in 4 games are decided by a field goal or less. This would be a higher confidence pick if I was confident that Carr wouldn’t get knocked out of the game, but the Raiders are still worth a small bet.

Kansas City Chiefs 24 Oakland Raiders 23

Pick against the spread: Oakland +3

Confidence: Medium

2017 Week 6 NFL Pick Results

2017

Straight Up: 51-40

Against the Spread: 50-40-1

Pick of the Week: 3-3

High Confidence: 6-3-1

Medium Confidence: 12-13

Money Picks (Medium confidence and higher): 21-19-1

Low Confidence: 16-11

No Confidence: 13-10

Upset Picks: 7-8

Since 2013

Straight Up: 727-428-4 (62.90%)

Against the Spread: 602-528-29 (53.19%)

Pick of the Week: 43-31-2 (57.89%)

High Confidence: 65-51-4 (55.83%)

Medium Confidence: 178-132-5 (57.30%)

Money Picks (Medium confidence and higher): 286-214-11 (57.05%)

Low Confidence: 161-156-9 (50.77%)

No Confidence: 155-158-9 (49.53%)

Upset Picks: 95-119 (44.39%)

Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans: 2017 Week 6 NFL Pick

Indianapolis Colts (2-3) at Tennessee Titans (2-3)

The line for this game has finally posted, as the Titans open as 7.5 point home favorites over the Colts, with Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota expected to return from a one-game absence with a hamstring injury. Both are these teams are 2-3, but the Titans’ wins have come over the Jaguars and the Seahawks, a pair of quality opponents, by a combined 27 points, while the Colts’ two wins have come against the 49ers and Browns, two of the worst teams in the league, by a combined 6 points.

With Mariota returning, the Titans are an above average team, while the Colts are among the least talented in the league as long as quarterback Andrew Luck remains out. Joining Luck on the Colts’ injury report is talented left guard Jack Mewhort, who could be done for the season with a knee injury, a big blow an already weak offensive line. I like the Titans this week, but this line is too high for me to bet anything on them confidently. I have this line calculated at -10, but the Titans come with extra risk this week because Mariota will likely be at less than 100%.

Tennessee Titans 27 Indianapolis Colts 17

Pick against the spread: Tennessee -7.5

Confidence: Low

Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints: 2017 Week 6 NFL Pick

Detroit Lions (3-2) at New Orleans Saints (2-2)

The Lions are 3-2 so far this season and last season they finished 9-7 and made the post-season, but they are not that good of a team. Last season, they didn’t defeat a single playoff team and they won just one game by more than a touchdown. So far this season, their 3 wins have come against the Cardinals, the Giants, and the Case Keenum led Vikings, none of whom are playoff caliber teams. If anything, they are worse this season than last season, as they are without left tackle Taylor Decker, starting defensive end Kerry Hyder, and now starting defensive tackle Haloti Ngata for the season with injury.

The Saints, meanwhile, could easily make the post-season. They’re 2-2, but their 2 losses came against the Vikings, who are one of the better teams in the league when Sam Bradford is healthy, and the Patriots, also a top level team. In their last 2 games before the bye, they outscored the Panthers and Dolphins 54-13 in a pair of wins away from home. Their defense is improved this season, led by talented rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore, and their offense remains strong and gets a boost this week with wide receiver Willie Snead and left tackle Terron Armstead likely set to return. Unfortunately, we’re not getting any line value with the Saints, as this line shifted from 3 in favor of the hometown Saints on the early line last week to 4.5 this week, after the Lions’ home loss to the Panthers. I have this line calculated right at -5.5, so I can’t be confident at all in the Saints. 

New Orleans Saints 30 Detroit Lions 24

Pick against the spread: New Orleans -4.5

Confidence: None

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings: 2017 Week 6 NFL Pick

Green Bay Packers (4-1) at Minnesota Vikings (3-2)

When I saw last week that the Vikings were favored by a field goal here on the early line, I liked them a lot. Green Bay is a good team, but the Vikings with a healthy Sam Bradford looked like a good team as well, so I would have happily grabbed the field goal with the hometown team. Unfortunately, in the past week Sam Bradford has re-aggravated his knee injury and #1 receiver Stefon Diggs injured his groin, knocking both of them out for at least this game. The Vikings will turn back to Case Keenum under center and he’s played pretty well this season, but he’s still a journeyman backup and he could find life much tougher without Diggs and injured running back Dalvin Cook, who were such a big part of this team’s early offensive success.

Fortunately, they face a Green Bay team that enters with a very banged up secondary, as they’re missing both Morgan Burnett and Kevin King, arguably their 2 best defensive backs thus far this season. This line has has only shifted to 3.5, despite all of Minnesota’s injuries, so we’re not getting much line value with the Vikings, but they do have the better defense at home, so they should cover as 3.5 point underdogs. I’m not that confident in Minnesota, but this could easily be a field goal game, as about 1 in 6 games are decided by a field goal or more, so the Vikings are probably the smarter choice in pick ‘em leagues.

Green Bay Packers 23 Minnesota Vikings 20

Pick against the spread: Minnesota +3.5

Confidence: Low

New England Patriots at New York Jets: 2017 Week 6 NFL Pick

New England Patriots (3-2) at New York Jets (3-2)

Few people would have predicted both these teams would be 3-2 in their week 6 meeting, given that the Patriots were seen as arguably the best team in the league coming into the season, while the Jets were seen as arguably the worst team in the league. The Jets have gotten lucky during their 3 game winning streak, as they beat a bad Miami team at home before Miami had to go to London, an average Jacksonville team who had just came back from London, and a terrible Cleveland team that got 0 points on 3 drives inside the Jets’ 5 and missed 2 field goals. Their wins against the Jets and Browns came by just 3 points each. They still rank just 29th in first down rate differential at -4.81% and they rank dead last in my roster rankings.

The Patriots have definitely been disappointing and could easily be 1-4 if things hadn’t gone their way against the Texans and Buccaneers, but their offense has been as good as ever and their defense should get better as the season goes on, especially as linebacker Dont’a Hightower works back to 100% from injury. The Patriots should benefit from the extra time off after their Thursday night win in Tampa Bay last week, especially since Bill Belichick is 10-2-1 ATS after Thursday Night Football as head coach of the New England Patriots, and this game against the Jets is a good opportunity for them to get back on track in a big way. We’re not getting any line value with the Patriots as 9.5 point road favorites, but they’re the smarter pick in pick ‘em leagues since this could easily be a New England blowout.

New England Patriots 34 New York Jets 23

Pick against the spread: New England -9.5

Confidence: None

New York Giants at Denver Broncos: 2017 Week 6 NFL Pick

New York Giants (0-5) at Denver Broncos (3-1)

The Broncos were favored by 6 on the early line over the Giants last week, but the line has since moved to 11.5. Ordinarily, I like to fade significant week-to-week line movements like that as they tend to be an overreaction, but in this case it makes perfect sense, as the Giants as coming off of a week from hell. Not only did they lose at home 27-22 to the Chargers to drop to 0-5 (their 3rd loss by 5 points or fewer), but they also lost their top-3 wide receivers to injury. Sterling Shepard will be back in a week or two, but Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall are out for the season and all 3 are out for this game, leaving Roger Lewis as the Giants #1 wide receiver. Add in the absences of center Weston Richburg, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and defensive end Olivier Vernon and this line is about right at 11.5.

With that in mind, I’m going to take the Broncos this week. Not only are the Giants incredibly banged up, but they’re also in a very tough spot, with a home game against the Seahawks on deck. The Giants are 7.5 point home underdogs on the early line and teams are 29-69 ATS since 2012 before being home underdogs of 6 or more. On top of that, underdogs of 6 or more are 51-84 ATS before being underdogs of 6 or more again the following week, since 2012. Combining those two trends, underdogs of 6 or more are just 10-28 ATS since 2012 before being home underdogs of 6 or more. With two tough games in a row, it could be very tough for the Giants to compete in this one, so the Broncos are the smarter choice. There isn’t enough for me to bet on them though.

Denver Broncos 23 New York Giants 10

Pick against the spread: Denver -11.5

Confidence: Low

San Francisco 49ers at Washington Redskins: 2017 Week 6 NFL Pick

San Francisco 49ers (0-5) at Washington Redskins (2-2)

When this line was -7 last week on the early line, I liked Washington a decent amount, as it looked like they continued to be underrated, as they have been throughout the season. However, for some reason, this line has moved from 7 to 10.5 in the past week, despite the Redskins being on bye and the 49ers losing in overtime in Indianapolis. That’s too many points, especially since the Redskins enter this game banged up. Top cornerback Josh Norman is out, while left tackle Trent Williams will play at less than 100% if he even plays this week. The 49ers, meanwhile, could get promising rookie linebacker Reuben Foster back for the first time since week 1.

I have this line calculated at about -9, so we’re getting decent line value with the 49ers. The 49ers haven’t won a game yet, but they’ve been coming awfully close, taking their last two opponents (Arizona and Indianapolis) to overtime and losing their last 4 games by a combined 11 points. They haven’t faced the toughest schedule, but they should be able to keep it within 10 points in Washington. The Redskins are also in a terrible spot because they have to go to Philadelphia next week, so they could easily overlook the lowly 49ers this week. The early line has the Redskins as 6.5 point underdogs next week and favorites of 6+ are understandably just 54-88 ATS since 2002 before being underdogs of 6+ the following week. There’s not quite enough here for me to be confident in the 49ers, but they seem like the smarter pick.

Washington Redskins 28 San Francisco 49ers 20

Pick against the spread: San Francisco +10.5

Confidence: Low

Miami Dolphins at Atlanta Falcons: 2017 Week 6 NFL Pick

Miami Dolphins (2-2) at Atlanta Falcons (3-1)

The Falcons lost at home before their bye to the Bills back in week 4, but that was largely because they lost the turnover battle by 3. They lost the turnover battle by 3 the previous week as well and still managed to pull out the close victory in Detroit. Despite their 3-1 record, the Falcons are actually -5 in turnover margin, 5th worst in the NFL. Turnover margins tend to be inconsistent on a week-to-week basis though and it’s actually very impressive that they’ve been able to get off to a strong start despite a poor turnover margin. In terms of first down rate differential, the Falcons rank second at 5.22%.

The bye week came at a great time for the Falcons, who were a little banged up before the bye. They were without right tackle Ryan Schraeder and top edge rusher Vic Beasley in their games against Detroit and Buffalo and then they lost Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu, their top-2 receivers, during the Buffalo game. Sanu remains out, but he’s the least important of those 4 players and Jones, Schreader, and Beasley are all set to return this week. At close to full strength, the Falcons are arguably the best team in the entire NFL and have a good chance to return to the Super Bowl if they can play turnover neutral football and avoid more major injuries.

The Dolphins, meanwhile, are one of the worst teams in the league. They were 10-6 a year ago, but that was because they had a very easy schedule (with 5 games against the Jets, Rams, 49ers, and Browns) and because they went 8-2 in games decided by a touchdown or less. They were already set to take a step back this season record wise, but then they lost quarterback Ryan Tannehill for the year with injury and signed Jay Cutler out of retirement to replace him. Cutler has looked terrible through 4 games and should be benched for backup Matt Moore, who was solid in limited action in place of an injured Tannehill in 2016.

The Dolphins are 2-2, but those wins came over the Chargers and the Matt Cassel led Titans and they easily could have lost both games, while their two losses were not close (by a combined 34 points). The Chargers game was decided by a pair of missed field goals, either one of which would have won the Chargers the game, while the Titans game was decided by a fumble returned for a touchdown. They’ve produced just 60 first downs and 3 offensive touchdowns this season, while allowing 76 first downs and 7 offensive touchdowns, and they rank dead last in first down rate differential at -7.86%.

The Falcons are favored by 12.5 points, but this line should probably be higher, given that this game is between one of the worst teams in the league and arguably the best. The only reason I’m not putting money on the Falcons is because this is a terrible spot for them, with the Super Bowl rematch in New England on deck. Double digit favorites are 56-75 ATS before being underdogs since 2002 and the Falcons could definitely overlook the Dolphins with New England on deck. The Dolphins, meanwhile, have an easy game against the Jets on deck, so they should be 100% focused. Underdogs are 105-66 ATS since 2012 before being favorites when their opponent will next be underdogs. The Falcons should win this game by at least two touchdowns, but I can’t be confident in them because of the spot they’re in.

Atlanta Falcons 28 Miami Dolphins 13

Pick against the spread: Atlanta -12.5

Confidence: Low