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: New Orleans Saints +1.5 at Jacksonville Jaguars (rated 3 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: 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)