NFL Picks Week #6 (2019 regular season)
NFL PICKS (WEEK #6)
BY PROFESSOR MJ
Coming off an incredible week!
We just experienced an awesome week!
3-1 on official picks and 3-1 on leans for a combined 6-2 record.
And that obviously includes the 5-star play that literally CRUSHED the spread, thanks to the Niners destroying the Browns on Monday Night.
We remained perfect lifetime on picks rated 5 stars (now 4-0).
Written Wednesday October 9th, 2019 at 3 PM Eastern Time (spreads/odds may have changed)
PICK #1: Los Angeles Rams -3 vs San Francisco 49ers (rated 4 stars)
After picking the 49ers as my 5-star play last week, I am now fading them as my top pick in Week #6. Sounds weird, right?
The only factor I do not like in this matchup is the revenge factor. Indeed, the Niners lost both meetings to the Rams last year; they lost by a 29-point margin at home and by 16 points in L.A.
Other than that, I love the Rams in this one.
The always critical rest factor helps the Rams without a doubt. They get three additional days of rest after playing a Thursday Night thriller against Seattle, while San Francisco loses one day of preparation following the Monday Nighter. That’s huge!
Things have been going almost too well for the 49ers thus far. They cruised to fairly easy wins over the Bucs, the Bengals and the Browns. They had to work harder against the Steelers, but not having played often in tight situations won’t help them here.
Meanwhile, after winning their first three games of the season, the Rams have lost their past two. They are going to be super hungry.
I’m not saying San Francisco won’t be motivated for such a divisional matchup; obviously, they will be. But desperation is an important aspect of football. We saw it when the Eagles upset the Packers in Green Bay a few weeks ago. My point is the Rams will play much more desperately than the 49ers.
Betting an elite team following a straight up loss is a good betting angle, generally speaking. Imagine after losing two games in a row. And with favorable preparation days over their opponents.
Here is the icing on the cake: San Francisco’s opponents have a very weak 5-15 combined record, as opposed to 15-10 for L.A.’s opponents. The difference in strength of opposition is substantial, to say the least!
I’m taking the Rams laying 3 points against the undefeated 49ers. Let’s go L.A.!
PICK #2: Kansas City Chiefs -4 vs Houston Texans (rated 3 stars)
Let’s start with the injury report. Patrick Mahomes tweaked his ankle last weekend, but he practiced this Wednesday and confirms he’s fine.
Kansas City’s defensive line was gashed by the Colts running game, who racked up 180 yards on the ground. Nose tackle Xavier Williams will miss several weeks after suffering a high-ankle sprain. That may not be good news for the Chiefs, but this guy has been very ineffective thus far anyway.
His counterpart Chris Jones also left last week’s game with a groin injury. He had a breakout year with 15.5 sacks a year ago and he will be missed. He is doubtful to play this weekend.
The good news is explosive wide receiver Tyreek Hill seems on track to return this week. The Chiefs will welcome him with open arms after unexpectedly struggling on offense last Sunday Night.
Kansas City will be playing a third home game over their last four contests. That’s good for the rest factor.
We have another case of an elite team after a straight up loss. I do not see Andy Reid’s squad losing a second consecutive game, especially considering they are playing at home once again. If they take the lead, they won’t slow down at all.
So just to recap, on one side you’ve got an angry team that just lost a home game on primetime television versus another that cruised to an easy 53 to 32 victory. Which one do you believe will be better prepared? You’re probably thinking the same thing as me.
Finally, let’s take a look at the strength of opposition. Houston’s opponents have a combined 12-13 record. If you remove their games against the Texans, they are 10-10, which equates to a .500 record.
Now, KC’s opponents have a combined 13-10-1 record. If you remove their games against the Chiefs, they are 12-6-1, which shows how well they did when facing other teams!
PICK #3: New Orleans Saints +1.5 at Jacksonville Jaguars (rated 2 stars)
Are you kidding me? How in the heck can the Saints be 1.5-point underdogs in this game?
When two evenly matched teams face each other, the home team is generally favored by roughly 3 points. Now, if the Jags are 1.5-point favorites, this means oddsmakers believe New Orleans would be 1.5-point favorites on a neutral field. Uh? I believe the Saints are much stronger than the Jaguars, even considering the Bridewater versus Minshew matchup.
New Orleans has a 4-1 record in 2019. Do you know what their opponents’ combined record is, after removing the games against the Saints? They are 14-6. That’s right! The Texans, the Rams, the Seahawks, the Cowboys and the Bucs have won 70% of their games outside of their meeting with the Saints. Wow! That’s tough opposition, and New Orleans still managed to pull off a 4-1 record against them.
On the other side, Jacksonville’s opponents have gone 10-10 after removing their games against the Jags. That’s a respectable record, but not nearly as good.
My NFL handicapping usually goes like this: I look at various betting angles and every week there are a few teams that seem like good bets based on a combination of those strategies. That’s how I come up with 90% of my picks.
What about the remaining 10%? These plays occur when a line strikes me as out of whack to me. The Saints pick is one of them.
LEAN #1: Cleveland Browns +2 vs Seattle Seahawks
Holy crap, am I going crazy this week? I am now backing the team I faded last week with my 5-star pick!?!?!
Many people will disagree with me on this play, but I’m still going for it. I might get flamed for it, but I don’t care. I didn’t care either when everybody was going crazy on the Packers on Thursday Night Football, but I still went with the Eagles and won it.
I value the rest factor a lot, so it might seem odd that I go against this betting strategy here. Seattle played last Thursday, while Cleveland played the Monday Nighter so the Browns get 4 less days to prepare for their meeting with the Seahawks.
However, the mindset of each team makes me tilt towards Cleveland.
First, this could be a letdown game for Seattle after playing two straight division rivals and going through the exhilaration of their nail-biter against the Rams last week. This is also a non-conference road game for the Seahawks, which typically represents one of the two least “sexy” games on their schedule.
After getting humiliated on primetime television, I can’t imagine the Browns playing sloppy once again (especially in the Dawg Pound). Mayfield, Beckham, Landry and Chubb aren’t bad players at all. They just need to execute better and hope for their offensive line to do a decent job.
What’s been hurting Cleveland’s defense is the absence of cornerbacks Greedy Williams and Denzel Ward. They are both questionable in Week #6. Hopefully, at least one of them returns to the lineup.
Don’t forget that Seattle is traveling through three time zones to play an early Sunday game, which will feel like 10 AM for the Seahawks.
LEAN #2: Tennessee Titans +2.5 at Denver Broncos
In an earlier week, I told you how unpredictable the Titans were. As a rule of thumb, it seems like we should bet them as underdogs and fade them as favorites because they tend to do the opposite of expectations.
Well, we are going to follow this rule and pick Tennessee as 2.5-point underdogs.
This is certainly a sandwich game for the Broncos; they are coming off a divisional matchup against the Chargers and they are awaiting another key meeting with the Chiefs next week. Facing the Titans won’t sound too sexy, especially after pulling off a nice upset over the Chargers. I could see the Broncos letting up a little bit.
Meanwhile, the Titans are probably mad after losing 14-to-7 at home to the Bills. They couldn’t move the ball against Buffalo’s very stout defense. Things should be easier this weekend.
The Broncos are likely eliminated at 1-4 with a strong division leader, the Chiefs, who will be hard to catch up. Tennessee will be more desperate because despite a mediocre 2-3 record, they are very much in the playoff race. The AFC South is wide open and the Titans are just one game back from their division leaders.
Still, I’m not extremely confident over this pick. I told you last week how I believed Denver had an underrated roster. Also, they are 0-2 at home this year; they’ll give everything they’ve got to avoid losing another one.
Therefore, I’m taking the Titans with caution.
LEAN #3: Cincinnati Bengals +12 at Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens just got a satisfying win over their archrivals from Pittsburgh and they are now hosting a weak team at home. That smells like a letdown game waiting to happen.
A few of my weekly write ups this year have mentioned my doubts about this Baltimore team. They are 3-2 after playing teams whose combined record is an abysmal 8-15-1.
Lamar Jackson has not done so well against stronger teams, and Baltimore’s defense is not scaring anyone. They are around the 20th place, both in terms of points and yards allowed per game. And they just lost their starting strong safety for the remainder of the season, Tony Jefferson. He will be replaced by a longtime backup, Anthony Levine.
The Bengals have some weapons on offense with Andy Dalton, Joe Mixon, Giovanni Bernard, Tyler Boyd and Tyler Eifert. I’m confident they can keep up with the Ravens.
I hope you enjoyed the read, have a good week!
(Sports Betting Expert / University Professor / PhD in statistics)