Key NFL contest games


Week 6 in the NFL was the first with byes. And looking at the four teams that had the week off — the Falcons, 49ers, Saints and Jets — one could say they all needed it. 


The Falcons won in Week 5 but did so in London. A trip overseas can take a while to recover from, and Atlanta was really struggling through its first five weeks at 2-3. The 49ers have dropped three straight and have lost many players to injury. It looks like Jimmy Garoppolo will be back in Week 7 as well as a few other players who had been banged up before the break. The Saints headed into the bye off a win, but they have not had a clean slate of performances so far. Injuries to offensive linemen Terron Armstead and Erik McCoy need to be monitored to see if they are expected back this week, in which they do have an extra day, playing Monday night in Seattle. And then there are the Jets. At 1-4, it has not been a good start for rookie head coach Robert Salah or rookie quarterback Zach Wilson. The bye certainly did not halt any positive momentum, and Wilson has looked a bit shell-shocked in his transition to the NFL. I can only think a bye had to be a positive for this team.


The betting public got paid in a big way in Week 6 as the haves hammered the have-nots in Sunday’s early slate of games. After the London game between Miami and Jacksonville, every favorite won and covered in the seven early window tilts. Kansas City, Green Bay and Minnesota were part of the top five consensus plays in the Circa Millions, which ended up going 4-1 overall. Week 7 features four such matchups, all at or near double-digit spreads: Washington at Green Bay, Detroit at the Los Angeles Rams, Tampa Bay hosting Chicago and Arizona at home against Houston. 


The public now has some money in its pocket. Will it be reinvested in the big favorites in Week 7? When the pendulum swings greatly in one direction, it typically comes back the other way. It might be worth a gamble in contest play, especially if one is in a bit of a rut and needs a big splash week, to go contrarian and fade what look to be the popular favorite plays.


In the Westgate SuperContest, we are heading into the first week of another three-week and six-week mini-contest. In the Circa Millions, this is the third week of the second quarterly contest.


Back to the bye week: I am looking at all four teams coming off extra rest to return with refreshed and positive efforts in Week 7.


Despite the Colts’ 31-3 victory over the Texans, it was not really as lopsided as the score appeared. Indianapolis was up only 10-3 at halftime and was only 3 of 10 in third-down conversions. Carson Wentz completed just 11 passes, and the Colts benefited from three Houston turnovers. T.Y. Hilton is back on the injury report, listed as questionable, and Parris Campbell is Out. Quenton Nelson and Braden Smith are still out along the offensive line. 

I think San Francisco will come back better and healthier out of the bye and beat the Colts. With early money coming in on the Colts, this line will probably be Niners -3 in contest play, maybe 2.5.


New Orleans has the No. 1 defense in the league in yards per rush allowed. The Seahawks are thin at running back but may get Rashaad Penny back for this game. Still, this could force Geno Smith to try to win this game through the air, and that could be good for Saints backers. I wrote last week that I expected an inspired effort out of Seattle in the wake of losing star Russell Wilson to injury. Now reality sets in, and Superman is gone. We’ve seen the early money come in on the New Orleans side, and I agree with that move.


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