Expert NFL Picks for Week 6, Including Ravens-Giants, Bills-Chiefs and Cowboys-Eagles
A trio of handicappers offer their insights on five of this week's best games
This is NFL Best Bets, a recurring series in which professional sports handicappers lend us their insights and picks for the most intriguing matchups for each week of the professional football season. Here are our Week 6 NFL picks.
You’ve got places to go, people to see and possibly some wagers to make, so let’s get to it with some help from Thomas Gable, the director of race and sportsbook at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, sports betting reporter Josh Appelbaum of VSiN and Odds Assist CEO Dave Rathmanner.
New York Jets (+7.5, O/U 45) at Green Bay Packers
A compelling matchup because…for the first time since 2017, both of New York City’s NFL teams are above .500, and for the Jets, it’s despite having a -2 point differential on the season. New York comes into this one having put up 64 points over the past two weeks with the majority (40) coming in a Week-5 upset of the Dolphins. Losers to New York’s other team last weekend in London, the Packers have not really looked like the same team that locked down the No. 1 seed in the NFC last season but will have the advantage of playing at home.
Appelbaum’s Assessment: The Packers opened as a 9-point home favorite and we’ve seen this line fall to -7.5. This signals wise-guy action on the Jets, with pros grabbing the points with the road dog. Dogs that see a big line move in their favor of 2+ points are 6-2 ATS this season and 44-29 ATS (60%) since 2019. Big dogs of +7 or more are 11-4 ATS (73%) this season. The Packers aren’t scoring as many points as they used to and Aaron Rodgers has a banged-up thumb. Give me Jets +7.5.
Gable’s Guess: The offense for the Jets finally seems to be getting right, with Zach Wilson back after being out to start the season. New York’s defense was good last week against the Dolphins, but this is a big step up in class here facing Aaron Rodgers. He’s looking to throw the ball more and open stuff up downfield. In London last week, the Packers jumped out to a nice lead against the Giants but couldn’t stop them at all in the second half. The Packers’ defense just continues to get exposed week after week. With New York’s offense playing better and Green Bay’s defense not playing great, I’m gonna take the over.
Rathmanner’s Reckoning: Playing at home after the London travel without a bye week is not an ideal spot for the Packers.Aaron Rodgers should be angry and come ready to play against the Jets. However, the Packers have not been good ATS recently, covering only three of their last 10 games, In addition to looking like the better team this season, the Jets have covered six of their 10 ten games. It is tough to go against Rodgers at home, so tease the Packers down through the key numbers of 7 and 3 and take them -1.5 as part of a 6-point teaser. If you need another team to close out your teaser, take Tampa from -8 to -2, again getting you through the most important key numbers.
Our Pick: If the Jets are going to keep it close, they will have to score. Will roll the dice on the over.
Cincinnati Bengals (-2, O/U 43) at New Orleans Saints
A compelling matchup because…all three of Cincinnati’s losses this season have come on the final play of the game when their opponent’s kicker put one through the uprights. Despite that and being below .500 at 2-3, the Bengals have a +19 point differential on the season and have scored at least 20 points in all of their games except one. The last time Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase played in New Orleans, they led LSU to a College Football Playoff national title in a 42-25 win over Clemson. Burrow passed for 463 yards and five touchdowns, two of which went to Chase, who had nine receptions for 221 yards. Quarterback/tight end/freak Taysom Hill had four touchdowns (three rushing, one passing) for New Orleans last week and could see his role expanded against the Bengals.
Appelbaum’s Assessment: This line opened at a pick’em and we’ve seen the Bengals move to a 2-point road favorite. I‘ll follow the money and take Cincinnati -130 on the moneyline. I am willing to pay the higher juice on the moneyline on short favorites so I don’t have to worry about losing my bet if Cincinnati wins by just one, especially when the oddsmakers are predicting a tight game. Joe Burrow is 10-4 ATS (71%) off a loss in his career.
Gable’s Guess: With the Bengals, it’s a wonder to see an offense that has Joe Burrow, Tee Higgins, Ja’Marr Chase, Joe Mixon and Tyler Boyd put up only 20 points, 17 points and 17 points in their losing efforts. Something needs to be adjusted as the team is relying way too much on their defense to carry the load. The Saints are still sort of a riddle to me. Andy Dalton has been decent at quarterback and I’m not sure what they’re attempting to do with Taysom Hill at tight end. Their defense has really not lived up to expectations at all. They gave up six plays that went for 30 yards or more on Sunday to Seattle. The New Orleans office has the most turnovers in the NFL with 13. This game is played at the Super Dome where Burrow is very comfortable. I’m going to lay the points with the Bengals.
Rathmanner’s Reckoning: The Saints come into this one off an offensive explosion against the Seahawks last week, having won 39-32. However, don’t put too much stock into the performance, as Seattle allows the most yards per game in the league and the second-most points per game. The Bengals are holding opponents to under 18 points per game, so expect the Saints’ offense to take a step back against tougher competition. The Bengals have gone under in 10 straight games and the Saints have gone under in six of their last 10 games. Look for those trends to continue Sunday and take the under.
Our Pick: Will give Cincy one more shot and lay the points with the Bengals in New Orleans.
Baltimore Ravens (-5.5, O/U 44.5) at New York Giants
A compelling matchup because…Sunday’s interconference showdown in New York will feature the league leader in scrimmage yards, Saquon Barkley (676), taking on the league leader in yards per rushing attempt, Lamar Jackson (7.6). Both players were taken in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Each of New York’s five games this season has been decided by eight points or fewer and the Giants have prevailed in four of them. The Ravens are 2-0 in road games this year, and 19-7 (.731) overall in road games started by Jackson.
Appelbaum’s Assessment: The Ravens opened as a 6-point road favorite. The public is laying the points with Lamar Jackson, yet we’ve seen some shops drop the line down to 5.5. This signals sharp reverse line movement on the Giants plus the points. Dogs are 48-31 ATS (61%) this season. Dogs who missed the playoffs the previous season like the Giants are 34-19 ATS (64%). Daniel Jones has been great as a dog in his career, going 20-13 ATS (61%) including 3-0 ATS this season. I’ll hold out for the key number of 6 and grab the Giants and the points at home.
Gable’s Guess: The Ravens come into this game atop the AFC North after winning an ugly game against the Bengals. It was a nice get-right spot for them after suffering a bad loss and blowing a big lead against the Bills two weeks ago. Have they fixed all their problems on defense? Definitely not. I would expect the Giants to be able to run the ball against them. Saquon Barkley is back and he’s healthy. New coach Brian Daboll deserves credit for instilling some confidence in this team, but, I still don’t really rate the Giants as a 4-1 club. They had a nice win against Green Bay, but they’re very fortunate with who they’ve played. I’m gonna lay the points with the Ravens.
Rathmanner’s Reckoning: The Giants enter this one riding high off a big come-from-behind win against the Packers in London. However, this is not a good matchup for the Giants. The Ravens have struggled mightily against the pass so far in 2022, but have defended the run quite well, which is the strength of the Giants’ offense. New York will need to rely more on Daniel Jones, who is struggling with an ankle injury and may not be capable of carrying the team and keeping up with Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore offense. The Ravens are 2-0 against the spread on the road this year and it will be 3-0 after Sunday. Give me the Ravens -5.5 on Sunday.
Our Pick: Seems like a letdown spot for the Giants so will lay the points with Baltimore despite the number.
Buffalo Bills (-2.5, O/U 54) at Kansas City Chiefs
A compelling matchup because…in a rematch of their overtime thriller in the divisional round of the playoffs last season, the Bills and Chiefs will do battle at Arrowhead Stadium. In what is certainly a matchup of the AFC’s top two teams, the NFL’s 2022 leaders in touchdown passes, Patrick Mahomes (15) and Josh Allen (14), will duke it out to the delight of their fantasy owners in what is almost certainly going to be a high-scoring affair. A turnover here could be key and Buffalo’s Jordan Poyer (four) leads the NFL in interceptions.
Appelbaum’s Assessment: This line opened with the Bills listed as a short 1-point road favorite. Early money laid the points with the Buffalo, pushing the line all the way up to Bills -3. Once the line reached the key number of 3, there was a ton of sharp Chiefs +3 buyback, causing several books to inch back to 2.5. I jumped on Kansas City at +3. Patrick Mahomes is 7-0-1 ATS in his career as a dog. Dogs who didn’t cover the previous week, like the Chiefs, are 17-9 ATS (65%) this season. Also, the Chiefs aren’t a huge public trendy dog. The ticket split is pretty much 50/50. I can’t pass up an opportunity to buy low on the Chiefs as a rare home dog.
Gable’s Guess: This is the first time ever Patrick Mahomes is going to be a home underdog in his career. This is certainly the cream of the AFC crop and there’s no doubt the Bills should be the highest power-rated team in the league. But there is a definite home-field advantage at Arrowhead for the Chiefs. Mahomes and Co. are the one offense in the league that can stand toe-to-toe with Josh Allen and the Buffalo offense. The Bills are still dealing with injuries on the defensive side with key players out. Tor me, this game comes down to this: Do you believe on a neutral field that Buffalo should be favored by 5.5 points or more over Kansas City? That’s essentially what this line is saying. I’d say no so I’m taking KC plus the points at home.
Rathmanner’s Reckoning: The Bills have looked like the better team to open the 2022 season and revenge is on their mind in a game that could well determine which team will host the other in a potential playoff rematch. The Bills are 6-3-1 ATS in their last 10 games, while the Chiefs are just 4-6 ATS in the same time period. The Chiefs are a bottom-10 team in the league against the pass, which will spell trouble as they go against Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, and the rest of the high-powered Bills’ offense, which is leading the league with over 30 points per game. The Bills are favored as the road team in the game and the Bills are the play at -2.5 or better as long as the line stays under the key number of 3. I like the Bills at under a field goal at Arrowhead.
Our Pick: It’s a square play, but Mahomes getting points at home is too much to pass up. KC and the points.
Dallas Cowboys (+6.5, O/U 42) at Philadelphia Eagles
A compelling matchup because…the last time Dallas and Philadelphia met within the first six weeks of a season with each team having at least three wins was in 1992. The Eagles won that matchup to improve to 4-0. If that happens this time around, Dallas coach Mike McCarthy won’t become the third head coach in Cowboys history to win four straight games over Philadelphia. The Eagles lead the NFL in turnover ratio (plus-nine) while the Cowboys (plus-five) are tied for second. Each club has just two giveaways, tied for the fewest in the league.
Appelbaum’s Assessment: The Eagles opened as low as -3 or -5 across the market and have risen all the way to -6.5. If you bet Philadelphia early, you’re enjoying some great closing line value at this point. However, if you’re betting Philly now, you’re laying the worst of the number. Road dogs are 28-18 ATS (61%) this season. Divisional dogs are 16-12 ATS (57%). Primetime dogs are 58% ATS since 2019. Dallas also has value as a road divisional dog in a low total game. I’m going to sit back and see if this reaches -7, at which point I’ll buy low on Cowboys +7. If not, I’ll sweat Dallas +6.5
Gable’s Guess: I think this will be the first true test for the Eagles this season against a Cowboys team many people left for dead after Week 1 when Dak Prescott got injured and they lost. Their defense is definitely legitimate. Conversely, this is also gonna be the best offense that they have faced with Philly QB Jalen Hurts. He’s continuing to mature into a leader for Philadelphia. if there’s one thing that’s been a concern for the Eagles through five weeks, it’s the second half of games. They’re being outscored 43-29 in second halves this season. The Eagles’ running attack is tough to prepare for and it’s not commonplace in the NFL. I think it’s really going to be strength on strength here. One of the best defenses in the league, the Cowboys, taking on the best offensive line in football. I’m taking the Cowboys here with the points.
Rathmanner’s Reckoning: It’s a battle for first place in the NFC East on Sunday night. With Cooper Rush at quarterback, the Cowboys will continue to rely on Ezekiel Elliot and Tony Pollard to control the game from the backfield. Both of these teams have really strong defenses as the Cowboys are third-best in points allowed at 14.4 per game, while the Eagles are right behind them in allowing just 17.6 points per game. Division games have been trending to the under this season, hitting 71% under so far in the season. Expect a tight game between two teams who are very familiar with each other and take the under on Sunday night
Our Pick: A defensive score could make all the difference here. Will hope Dallas gets one and take the points.
Last Week: 1-4-0; This Season: 10-15-0
Editor’s note: Betting lines fluctuate throughout the week based on injuries, the weather and other factors. Make sure to double-check the odds before making your own Week 6 NFL picks.
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