Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos: 2019 Week 7 NFL Pick

Kansas City Chiefs (4-2) at Denver Broncos (2-4)

During last week’s Broncos/Titans write up, I said I was disappointed the two teams were playing each other because I thought both teams were underrated. Fortunately, when two underrated teams square off, they tend to remain underrated, which is the case with the Broncos. They won that game against the Titans to improve to 2-4, but they’ve been better than their record suggests, as two of their losses came on last second field goals. Their point differential is even and they rank 17th in the NFL in first down rate differential at -0.33%, suggesting they’ve been an average team thus far. Their offense is underwhelming, but their defense has allowed just 9 offensive touchdowns in 6 games and they rank 5th in first down rate allowed at 32.42%.

Despite that, they are 3.5-point home underdogs against a banged up Chiefs team. This line is at least in part because the Broncos are underrated, but the Chiefs may be a little overrated right now, even after back-to-back losses, as the general public may not realize how bad their injury situation is. They are missing the left side of their offensive line and their best defensive player Chris Jones, while starting wide receiver Sammy Watkins and starting cornerback Kendall Fuller are both banged up and may not play as well. 

Most importantly, quarterback Patrick Mahomes is playing at less than 100% through an ankle injury and has not played as well in the past couple games. That could become even more of a problem on a short week without normal rest, especially on the road against a tough defense. Everything this team does revolves around Mahomes and his otherworldly playmaking ability, so having him at less than 100% severely hurts the Chiefs’ chances of playing the way they want to play. Right now, I have these two teams about even in my roster rankings, so a field goal or more with the Broncos at home is stealing. Thursday games can be unpredictable so I don’t want to make this my Pick of the Week, but this will definitely be one of my top plays of the week.

Denver Broncos 23 Kansas City Chiefs 20 Upset Pick +150

Pick against the spread: Denver +3.5

Confidence: High

2019 Week 6 NFL Pick Results

2019

Total Against the Spread: 48-42-2 (53.26%)

Pick of the Week: 5-1 (83.33%)

High Confidence Picks: 10-3-1 (75.00%)

Medium Confidence Picks: 8-10-1 (44.74%)

Money Picks (Medium Confidence and higher): 23-14-2 (61.54%)

Low Confidence Picks: 13-17 (43.33%)

No Confidence Picks: 12-11 (52.17%)

Upset Picks: 10-9 (52.63%)

2018

Total Against the Spread: 154-102-11 (59.74%)

Pick of the Week: 10-6-1 (61.76%)

High Confidence Picks: 21-13-2 (61.11%)

Medium Confidence Picks: 41-27-1 (60.14%)

Money Picks (Medium Confidence and higher): 72-46-4 (60.66%)

Low Confidence Picks: 35-28-1 (55.47%)

No Confidence Picks: 47-28-6 (61.73%)

Upset Picks: 25-17-1 (59.30%)

All-Time (Since 2013)

Total Against the Spread: 893-752-49 (54.16%)

Pick of the Week: 66-41-3 (61.36%)

Money Picks (Medium Confidence and higher): 425-306-20 (57.92%)

Upset Picks: 142-162-1 (46.72%)

2019 Week 6 NFL Picks

Pick of the Week

HOU +4.5 @ KC

High Confidence Picks

NE -17 vs. NYG

SF +3.5 @ LAR

Medium Confidence Picks

PHI +3 @ MIN

ARZ +3 vs. ATL

NO +3 @ JAX

Low Confidence Picks

CAR -2 vs. TB

DAL -7 @ NYJ

GB -4 vs. DET

TEN +1.5 @ DEN

CLE +2 vs. SEA

PIT +6.5 @ LAC

No Confidence Picks

CIN +10.5 @ BAL

WAS -3.5 @ MIA

Upset Picks

HOU +170

NO +125

TEN +110

CLE +110

ARZ +135

SF +150

PHI +140

Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers: 2019 Week 6 NFL Pick

Detroit Lions (2-1-1) at Green Bay Packers (4-1)

I’ve thought the Lions are an underrated team all season, as much of the focus on this team coming into the season was how much their offense struggled down the stretch last year (with key players like Kerryon Johnson and Marvin Jones out and Matt Stafford playing through a broken back) and not how well their defense played down the stretch (after the addition of Damon Harrison in a mid-season trade). With Trey Flowers added to the defensive line in free agency, the Lions looked to have a solid defense coming in 2019 and an offensive improvement was expected as well with key players returning to health. 

However, I think the public has caught on to the Lions following their near victory over the Chiefs back in week 4 before their bye, as they are only 4-point underdogs here in Lambeau, where the Packers are 40-20 ATS in games Aaron Rodgers starts and finishes. I still have the Packers as one of the top teams in the league and several spots higher than the Lions in my roster rankings, so I have this line calculated at Green Bay -6, before even taking into account the Packers’ home prowess in recent years. 

The Packers have some injury concerns, with top wide receiver Davante Adams and promising rookie starting safety Darnell Savage both out, but the Lions aren’t in great injury shape either, despite coming off of a bye, with ex-Packer defensive tackle Mike Daniels out and several other key players (defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson, defensive tackle Da’Shawn Hand, cornerback Darius Slay, safety Quandre Diggs, and wide receiver Danny Amendola) questionable after not getting in full practices on Friday. There isn’t quite enough here to bet the Packers confidently, but they should be the right side for pick ‘em purposes and I would consider a bet if several of the Lions’ questionable players do not play.

Green Bay Packers 27 Detroit Lions 20

Pick against the spread: Green Bay -4

Confidence: Low

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens: 2019 Week 6 NFL Pick

Cincinnati Bengals (0-5) at Baltimore Ravens (3-2)

The Ravens have been an overrated team all year, as the general public did not realize how much worse their defense has gotten since last year. During the off-season, they lost five of the 12 players who played at least 500 snaps for them in 2018, including key players like Za’Darius Smith, CJ Mosley, and Terrell Suggs, and then they lost another two due to injury, with cornerbacks Tavon Young and Jimmy Smith both out indefinitely. 

Things have gotten worse on defense with starting safety Tony Jefferson done for the year with a torn ACL, leaving cornerback Marlon Humphrey, cornerback Brandon Carr, edge defender Matt Judon, and defensive lineman Brandon Williams as the only four players who played 500+ snaps on last year’s dominant unit that are still on the team. As a result, their defense has gone from ranking 2nd in first down rate allowed at 32.65% to 26th at 38.63%.

Fortunately, the Ravens get an easy matchup this week as they face a bad Bengals team that is also missing some key players. Already without left tackle Cordy Glenn and #1 wide receiver AJ Green indefinitely, the Bengals will also be without backup left tackle Andre Smith and a pair of starting defensive linemen, Ryan Glasgow and Carlos Dunlap, the latter of whom is one of their best and most important players on either side of the ball. 

The Bengals haven’t won a game all year, including a loss last week at home to a previously winless Cardinals team, and are easily one of the worst few teams in the league right now. Even with the Ravens being overrated all year, I would say this line favoring them by 10.5 points over the Bengals at home is about right. In fact, I actually have this line calculated at Baltimore -12, so if anything we’re getting a little bit of line value with the Ravens. I’m taking the Bengals for pick ‘em purposes because the Ravens are in a look ahead spot with a trip to Seattle on deck (double digit favorites are 64-84 ATS since 2002 before being underdogs), but this is a no confidence pick either way.

Baltimore Ravens 27 Cincinnati Bengals 17

Pick against the spread: Cincinnati +10.5

Confidence: None

New Orleans Saints at Jacksonville Jaguars: 2019 Week 6 NFL Pick

New Orleans Saints (4-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-3)

Ever since Minshew Mania went to a new level in a Thursday Night win over the Titans in week 3, I’ve thought the Jaguars are overrated. Even with backup quarterback Gardner Minshew producing at the level he’s produced at so far, the Jaguars rank just 23rd in first down rate and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Minshew fall back to earth going forward. Defensively, they aren’t much better, as they rank 21st in first down rate allowed. Their dominant defense in 2017 has lost 8 of its top-13 in terms of snaps played, including cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who seems likely to miss his third straight game with a back injury, unwilling to risk further injury for a team that won’t commit to him financially long-term. 

The Jaguars still seem to be overrated, favored by 3 points at home over the Saints, who have a much more complete team, especially with defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins back healthy. The question for the Saints is quarterback play, with backup Teddy Bridgewater filling in while Drew Brees recovers from a thumb injury. Bridgewater has won all three of his starts, but the first two wins came despite Bridgewater struggling and despite the Saints losing the first down battle in both games. 

Bridgewater showed a lot of progress last week though, leading the Saints to a 43.28% first down rate on 11 drives, after leading them to a 30.63% first down rate on his first 27 drives. He has a history of being a solid starter in this league before his injury, so it’s possible he’s turned a corner and he has a strong team around him either way. The one concern is running back Alvin Kamara, who missed Friday’s practice with an ankle injury, but it sounds like he’ll be able to play through his injury. This line is up to a field goal in some places, and I have this line calculated at even, so the Saints are worth a small bet.

New Orleans Saints 24 Jacksonville Jaguars 23 Upset Pick +125

Pick against the spread: New Orleans +3

Confidence: Medium

Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles Chargers: 2019 Week 6 NFL Pick

Pittsburgh Steelers (1-4) at Los Angeles Chargers (2-3)

The Chargers went 12-4 last season, but benefited from a 6-1 record in games decided by 8 points or fewer, and came into this season without their top offensive lineman Russell Okung and their All-Pro safety Derwin James, so I’ve bet against them frequently this season, especially at home in Los Angeles, where they have next to no fans and are just 6-11-1 ATS since moving there in 2017 (as opposed to 13-5-2 ATS on the road). However, with the Chargers now at 2-3 and coming off of a home loss to the Broncos, we’re not getting the same value betting against them, as they are just 6.5-point home favorites over a Steelers team that is missing top defensive back Steven Nelson and that is starting third string undrafted rookie quarterback Devlin Hodges. 

Hodges looked serviceable on 9 attempts in his debut last week, coming in for an injured Mason Rudolph, but that was against a Ravens defense that hasn’t stopped anyone this year, so I don’t have much confidence in him at all. We’re still getting line value with the Steelers, as I have this line calculated at Chargers -4.5, but I don’t think it’s worth betting on the Steelers this week, given their quarterback situation. Hodges could easily prove to be a disaster against a tougher defense in his first full game.

Los Angeles Chargers 19 Pittsburgh Steelers 14

Pick against the spread: Pittsburgh +6.5

Confidence: Low