NFL Picks Week #6 (2021 regular season)



University Professor. PhD in stats. Proud dad of 2 boys.



Written Wednesday October 13th, 2021 at 1 PM Eastern Time (spreads/odds may have changed)


We racked up more profit last week with the NFL picks against the spread, while raising our record so far to an incredible 15-3-1. We have not had a losing week in 2021.

Here is a breakdown of how the betting tips have done as a function of the star rating:

  • 5 STARS: 0-0-1
  • 4 STARS: 4-0
  • 3 STARS: 4-1
  • 2 STARS: 0-2
  • 1 STAR: 7-0
  • TOTAL: 15-3-1
  • (Leans: 8-6-1)

This week I’ve got three official picks for you, as well as three leans. Let’s crush the bookies together, shall we? Let’s go!



Let me start by expressing my biggest concern about this bet: Cleveland’s running game is obviously great with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, while Arizona’s run defense currently ranks 31st in terms of yards per rush average. This piece of information alone prevented me from rating this pick five stars.

Other than that, I found several things to like about the Cards. First of all, they are 10-3-2 against the spread (ATS) over their past 15 games as road underdogs.

Meanwhile, the Browns have not performed very well at home, from a betting perspective anyway. Indeed, they have beaten the spread just two times in their last seven home games, while also posting a disappointing 3-13-1 ATS record when playing in front of their home crowd against a team with a winning record.

Let’s speak about injuries a little bit. On Arizona’s side, center Rodney Hudson, linebacker Chandler Jones and cornerback Byron Murphy are uncertain to suit up this Sunday.

Now, if we take a look at Cleveland’s injury list, there are more guys in that same situation. And what makes it worse, in my humble opinion, is the Browns have several guys from the same position being hurt. For example, cornerbacks Denzel Ward, Greedy Williams and Greg Newsome are all banged up. On the offensive line, both starting tackles are listed as questionable: Jedrick Wills and Jack Conklin. And I didn’t even mention pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney.

If you are planning to bet Cleveland laying 3 points, you are basically hoping they will win by 4 points or more against the unbeaten Cardinals with a banged up secondary and offensive line. That seems highly unlikely to me, which is why my top pick this week goes to the Arizona Cardinals +3 points in Cleveland.



If you have been watching my NFL videos for a while, you have certainly heard me say this before: I like to bet the Titans when they are underdogs, whereas I like to fade them when they are favorites. The main reason behind this strategy is that I believe they can beat any team in the league, but they are also susceptible to lose to any team. That was one of my arguments when I took the Jets to upset them a couple of weeks ago.

Now, I am going to go against my own tendency: I am betting AGAINST Tennessee as underdogs. There are too many things pointing in Buffalo’s direction for me to ignore these signals.

The Bills have one of the shortest injury list in the entire league; they are extremely healthy, except for linebacker Matt Milano who seems to have a shot to be on the field this week. Meanwhile, the Titans have many important guys who are hurt: wide receiver Julio Jones, left guard Rodger Saffold, cornerback Kristian Fulton and linebackers Bud Dupree and Rashaan Evans. I am aware that some of them will be suiting up, but they won’t be 100%.

At the time I wrote this article, Julio Jones seemed to have less than a 50% of playing this Monday. That would facilitate Buffalo’s job a lot since they have one of the top cornerbacks in the league, Tre’Davious White, to cover A.J. Brown. The Bills’ second-best cornerback is not nearly as good, but if Julio Jones it out then Tennessee won’t have much to exploit this weakness.

Sure, King Henry is a beast in the backfield, but the Bills’ run defense has been very stout this year. Also, it will be hard to keep up with Buffalo’s high octane offense by running the ball. Ryan Tannehill has not been as good this season as he has been in previous years, and I don’t see him being able to score a boatload of points against a solid Buffalo defense.

Here are a couple of trends to consider:

  • Buffalo is 10-1 ATS after scoring more than 30 points;
  • Buffalo has a 7-3 ATS record over their past 10 games as road favorites.

The icing on the cake is the famous revenge factor that I appreciate so much. Last year, Buffalo’s worst loss by far was a 42-16 defeat in Tennessee in Week 5. Do you think the Bills remember that game? They sure do. Since I also like to bet elite teams when playing a focus game, there is no doubt in my mind that I should be taking Buffalo laying 5.5 points in Tennessee.



The Colts are not a team built to crush opponents. Therefore, I believe beating a point spread of 10 points will be difficult for them, even though they are facing a pretty weak team. We are still talking about a division rival that will do everything it can to keep the game close.

Also, quarterback Davis Mills showed a significant improvement last week against a tough Patriots defense. He completed 21-of-29 passes for 312 passing yards, 3 TDs and no interception. That’s pretty impressive considering he was facing Bill Belichick, who has always been a master at shutting down rookie QBs.

We also have the “double division revenge” factor going our way. Last year, the Texans lost both meetings against Indy. The margin of victory was not huge: 6 and 7 points. According to historical data, it is often a smart idea to back a team that lost both division games against a given opponent.

Also note that the Colts lose one day of rest and preparation after playing the Monday nighter in Baltimore last week. That was their third straight road game by the way, so they could show some fatigue against the Texans after traveling so much.

I am worried about Indianapolis beating the spread in five of the past six matchups against Houston, but the Colts are just 2-7 ATS when playing at home against a team with a losing record. They are also 1-5 as home favorites. As I said earlier, they are not built to destroy opposing teams.

Also, Indy’s secondary is pretty banged up. They are also missing their Pro Bowl guard Quenton Nelson. Granted, Houston may be without left tackle Laremy Tunsil, but he has a much higher chance of playing than Nelson.

Here is my final argument: past data also shows we should bet teams that have been underdogs in each of their last four games if they are underdogs by 7.5 points or more this week. That is the case for the Texans, who have been established underdogs in all of their first five matches in 2021.

For all of those reasons, even though it does not feel comfortable, I am putting my money on the Houston Texans this weekend! Carson Wentz with two injured ankles winning by more than 10 points? Hmmmmm, I don’t think so!



For entertainment purposes, here are some leans:

  • Dallas Cowboys -4 at New England Patriots (This unofficial pick is simply based on each team’s talent level. New England’s victories came against the Texans and the Jets, two of the worst NFL teams. The Pats offense is not explosive at all and will be facing a surprisingly good Dallas defense. The Cowboys have a very well-balanced attack that even Bill Belichick won’t be able to stop.);
  • Over 47.5 Bengals-Lions (Cincinnati’s passing offense has been very effective, and they just got Tee Higgins back after missing two games. It should continue to thrive against the league’s 30th passing defense in terms of passer rating allowed. Meanwhile, the Lions’ running game has done pretty well with D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams, and that turns out to be the Bengals’ weakness on defense. I expect more than 50 points in this game.);
  • Seattle Seahawks +5 at Pittsburgh Steelers (Betting on a Geno Smith-led team does not feel comfortable at all. But I’ll still do it. The Seahawks have three additional days to gameplan after playing last Thursday, which comes in handy since they will have a new QB under center. Also, I have often mentioned in the past how researchers have found that peak athletic performance occurs in the late afternoon or early evening. That’s why I like to bet teams from the West facing teams from the East during primetime games set to start around 8 PM Eastern Time. This betting angle has done wonders for me.);

Can we stay perfect with a sixth straight winning week? We are about to find out soon!

I cannot thank you enough for reading my weekly NFL write-up. Have a good weekend my friend, this is Professor MJ saying so long!

Professor MJ

(Sports Betting Expert / University Professor / PhD in statistics)