After underdogs dominated the first four weeks of the NFL season, favorites clawed back with their first winning slate in Week 5, going 9-7 ATS. Dogs still lead with a 45-35 ATS (56 percent) record this season. One big distinction with dogs is home versus road. Road dogs have been the stronger edge, going 30-19 ATS (61 percent), while home dogs are just 14-15 ATS. Also, short road dogs + 3 or less are 22-8 ATS (73 percent) while really short dogs + 3 or less are 11-3 ATS (79 percent).
Now we turn our attention to Week 6. Here are five games that pros are targeting.
MIAMI DOLPHINS AT JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
For the second week in a row, NFL Sunday kicks off in London, this time featuring teams with a combined record of 1-9. The Dolphins (1-4 SU, 2-3 ATS) have dropped four straight after beating the Patriots 17-16 in the season opener. Miami just got waxed by the Bucs 45-17, failing to cover as an 11-point road dog. Meanwhile, the Jaguars (0-5 SU, 1-4 ATS) are one of only two winless teams in the NFL, along with the Lions. Jacksonville just fell to Tennessee 37-19, failing to cover as a 4.5-point home dog. This line opened with Miami as a 3-point road favorite. Wise guys have been happy to fade the hapless Jags, driving the Dolphins up from -3 to -3.5. London favorites are 1-0 ATS this season and 16-10 ATS (62 percent) since 2007. Also, teams off a blowout loss of 20 points or more (like the Dolphins) are 9-2 ATS this season and roughly 55 percent ATS over the past decade. Sharps have also hit the Over, driving the total up from 44.5 to 45.5. London Overs are 13-8 (62 percent) since 2012. Tua Tagovailoa may make his return from injury here, hence the move to the Dolphins and the Over.
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS AT BALTIMORE RAVENS
This heavyweight matchup between divisional leaders could be a possible playoff preview. The Chargers (4-1 SU, 4-1 ATS) have won three straight and just edged the Browns 47-42, covering as 2.5-point home favorites. Similarly, the Ravens (4-1 SU, 2-3 ATS) have won four straight, including a big 31-25 come-from-behind win over the Colts on Monday night, although Baltimore failed to cover as a 7.5-point home favorite. This line opened with the Ravens as a 3.5-point home favorite. Early respected money pounced on the Chargers getting the hook, dropping most books from 3.5 to 3. Road dogs are 30-19 ATS (61 percent) this season. Short road dogs + 6 or less are 22-8 ATS (73 percent). Los Angeles also enjoys a rest advantage as the Ravens are on a short week. Justin Herbert is 6-3 ATS (67 percent) as a dog in his young career.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS AT CAROLINA PANTHERS
These teams are trending in opposite directions. The Vikings (2-3 SU, 2-3 ATS) started 0-2 but have won two of their last three games, including a 19-17 come-from-behind win over the Lions last week, although Minnesota failed to cover as a 10-point home favorite. On the flip side, the Panthers (3-2 SU, 3-2 ATS) started 3-0 but have lost their last two, most recently falling to the Eagles 21-18 as 2.5-point home favorites. This line opened with Carolina as a 1-point home favorite. Right off the bat, this speaks volumes. Typically teams are awarded roughly 3 points for home-field advantage. So this opener says the Vikings would be favored on a neutral field. The public is all over Carolina, which has a better record and is laying a short number at home. However, pros have gotten down hard on Minnesota, flipping the Vikings from a + 1 dog to a -1 favorite. Road teams that see the line stay the same or move in their directions are 34-23 ATS (60 percent) this season. Craig Wrolstad, the lead referee, has historically favored road teams 64-44 ATS (59 percent).
ARIZONA CARDINALS AT CLEVELAND BROWNS
This is a matchup of two of the NFL’s top scoring offenses. The Cardinals (5-0 SU, 4-1 ATS) are the last remaining unbeaten team and just edged the 49ers 17-10, covering as 6-point home favorites. The Browns (3-2 SU, 3-2 ATS) just lost to the Chargers 47-42, failing to cover as 2.5-point road dogs. The loss snapped Cleveland’s three-game winning streak. This line opened with the Browns as 3-point home favorites. With most teams receiving roughly 3 points for home-field advantage, oddsmakers are pretty much saying this game would be a pick-'em on a neutral field. Sharp money has pounced on Arizona as a dog, dropping the Cardinals from + 3 to + 2.5. Short road dogs + 3 or less are 11-3 ATS (79 percent) this season. Kyler Murray is 14-7 ATS (67 percent) as a dog.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS AT PITTSBURGH STEELERS
This Sunday night game features teams looking to get back to .500. The Seahawks (2-3 SU, 2-3 ATS) are 1-3 over their last four games and just fell to the Rams 26-17, failing to cover as 2.5-point home dogs. Meanwhile, the Steelers (2-3 SU, 2-3 ATS) just snapped a three-game losing streak with a 27-19 win over the Broncos, winning outright as 1.5-point home dogs. The look-ahead number with a healthy Russell Wilson was Seahawks -2.5 on the road. However, with Wilson out indefinitely with a finger injury and Geno Smith starting in his place, this number reopened at Steelers -3.5 at home. Pros have rushed to the window to lay the points, fading Geno and steaming Pittsburgh up from -3.5 to -5. Pittsburgh has value as a nonconference favorite with a line move in its favor. Historically, nonconference matchups have benefited favorites as the lack of familiarity provides an edge to the "better" team.