NFL Betting Guide: Week 6
Do you think you know a lot about NFL football? Try regularly picking five games against the spread.
Even with all the information and advanced stats, elite sports bettors are lucky to get about 53% to 54% of -110 (even probability) bets correct. It's essentially flipping a coin.
That being said, people -- myself included -- try. There are plenty of contests, media personalities, and other casual games at work or with friends that pick five games each week against the spread to see how they fare.
Using NFL odds from FanDuel Sportsbook, here are my five picks against the spread and a couple of totals I like this week. Play or fade as you please.
Week 4 Recap
Last Week: 4-1
Year-to-Date Record: 16-9-0 (64.0%)
We're finally off the 60% clip. I'm glad it was in the positive direction.
Our only loss of the week was the Rams in a game that had quite a bit of sour luck. They significantly outgained Dallas, but a punt block and a long Tony Pollard run spoiled any chance of covering that one.
Both totals also hit, so let's keep the good vibes rolling into Week 6.
Pick #1: Jaguars (+2.5) at Colts
It's because we're getting Jacksonville at a low point as well. They had a tumultuous afternoon last week against an underrated Houston defense, but they've excelled in this matchup historically -- including in Week 2.
Though Michael Pittman Jr. was missing, the gap was enormous. Jacksonville put up 331 yards of offense, and they blanked the Colts. I just don't see the latter changing much when Indianapolis has ceded a substantial 26% pressure rate (eighth-highest in the NFL), and Matt Ryan has taken the most sacks in the league (21).
The Jags' defense has a 32% pressure rate itself, which is the eighth-best mark in football.
Plus, Jonathan Taylor played in that Week 2 contest. Taylor is iffy to go here, and Nyheim Hines is still dealing with a concussion. That would leave Deon Jackson and Phillip Lindsay in the backfield. That's almost worse than no Pittman.
The Jags have covered five of the last six against Indy. As a slight 'dog, it'll be six of seven with an outright win.
Swami Swaim's Score Prediction: Jaguars 23-13
Pick #2: Bills (-2.5) at Chiefs
Take a long look. This will likely be the last time I get to bet on the Buffalo Bills this year.
They're a heavy public team and favorites to win the Super Bowl, so there's almost no value left in their betting line every week. Thankfully, the only thing public NFL bettors love more than Buffalo might be Patrick Mahomes at Arrowhead.
This is the first time in Mahomes' career that he's been a home underdog. That's a gigantic indication oddsmakers feel the Bills are roughly 4.2 points better on a neutral field-- and it makes sense.
Buffalo trounced Kansas City 38-20 last year in the regular season, and they were a mental gaffe and 13 seconds from another win in the AFC Championship. When comparing key pieces since that game, Buffalo added Von Miller, and K.C. lost Tyreek Hill.
The Bills are numberFire's nERD rankings' second-best offense and defense. The Chiefs -- for now -- are the best offense, but they're the fifth-worst defense in the entire league. I don't even have to lay a field goal. Thanks, Patty.
Swami Swaim's Score Prediction: Bills 38-27
Pick #3: Seahawks (+2.5) vs. Cardinals
They didn't cover in New Orleans, and Arizona gave the juggernaut Eagles all they could handle. However, a lot of factors are tilted in the Seahawks' direction -- including being a home underdog in a division game.
First of all, Smith is currently outplaying Kyler Murray. I know, it's odd. At 0.28 Passing NEP per drop back, Geno trails only Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, and Tua Tagovailoa. He's been sensational. Murray (0.05) has been below the league average.
Second, the Cards are a team that will put themselves in a hole. They've yet to score a single first-quarter point all season.
Now, this is a game where both teams will score. These are numberFire's worst and fourth-worst passing defenses in the NFL. But, if Seattle can get an early lead, they've been exceptional running the ball (ninth-best in our nERD rankings), and highly-touted prospect Kenneth Walker III won't hold them back in that area.
Where available, buy the half of a point here, too. The three-point number could be your best friend come Sunday night.
Swami Swaim's Score Prediction: Seahawks 31-28
This number stinks, and it's moving Baltimore's way. That's the only reason this bet isn't featured.
I have no idea how the Giants continue to make magic happen. They're 4-1 with numberFire's 10th-worst defense and 12th-worst passing offense. They're certainly seeing a step up in competition here to numberFire's fifth-best team overall.
At some point, New York's defense will catch up to them, and this dually capable Ravens' offense is a great place to forecast it to happen.
Baltimore's issues holding onto leads have come through the air. They've allowed the fifth-most Passing Net Expected Points (0.24 NEP) per drop back in the NFL during second halves this season. I'm still not a believer that Daniel Jones (-0.01 Passing NEP per drop back overall) can get it done on the strength of his arm alone.
Swami Swaim's Score Prediction: Ravens 27-17
At 0.05 Passing NEP per drop back, Rush isn't lighting it up. Dallas' rushing offense is also just 15th in numberFire's nERD rankings. The whole team has benefitted from a weak schedule and a monstrous effort from their pass rush, which leads the NFL in pressure rate (37%).
They've done that one thing particularly well, but Philadelphia allows the second-lowest pressure rate in the NFL (21%). The problem for the Cowboys? They do everything else well, too.
The Eagles are numberFire's sixth-best offense -- balanced in both phases -- and ninth-best defense. Philly has posted an absurd -0.19 Offensive NEP per play allowed at home, and they forced Minnesota and Jacksonville into eight total turnovers.
I don't even know if it's a hot take to say Rush and the Cowboys might not score an offensive touchdown in this game. They didn't last week in Los Angeles if not for the heroics of Tony Pollard.
Swami Swaim's Score Prediction: Eagles 26-9
Totals of the Week
Pick #1: Buccaneers at Steelers (Over 43.5)
The value at this low number is insane.
First of all, I've been fading the Steelers' defense all season since T.J. Watt went down, and last week's meltdown in Buffalo might have just been the red pill for football fans that this isn't your older brother's Pittsburgh defense. They've allowed 0.16 Offensive NEP per play since Watt's injury (sixth-most).
But, Tampa Bay isn't the side everyone's worried about scoring points. I was actually very encouraged by the Pittsburgh offense last week given the gaping deficit they were forced into. Kenny Pickett completed 65.2% of his throws and threw for 327 yards.
The Bucs' pass defense has shown more cracks in the past two weeks, allowing 0.07 Passing NEP per drop back. As a result, I truly do believe Pickett and the Steelers' passing game can post points in this contest.
This game has a sharps-against-squares dynamic; 54% of bets are on the under, but 62% of the handle lies with the over. We'll side with the sharps by sticking with an evaluation of this Steelers' defense that has worked all season.
Swami Swaim's Score Prediction: Buccaneers 30-22
Pick #2: Panthers at Rams (Under 41.0)
It's bizarre to say this, but the defending champions aren't the side I'm worried about busting this under.
The Rams' offense is a mess. They're nERD's 10th-worst offense in the entire league, and this Panthers defense is not a cakewalk. Carolina's opposing point totals have been on Baker Mayfield. The Cats are numberFire's 11th-best defense, and their 32% pressure rate is eighth-best in the NFL.
That's an organic mismatch with Los Angeles' struggling pass protection, which has ceded a 29% pressure rate (second-highest in the league).
With some certainty, I'm expecting the Rams to struggle. The true uncertainty is a potential upgrade of P.J. Walker at quarterback for Carolina. If you think I'm kidding, Walker posted -0.16 Passing NEP per drop back last year. That's exactly Mayfield's mark this year, but the Panthers' offensive line (24% pressure rate allowed) has been much better in 2022.
Still, if my lone worry is the prowess of P.J. Walker on a week where Carolina fired their coach, the right side to wager here is an ugly slopfest.
Swami Swaim's Score Prediction: Rams 20-10