Favorites bounced back a bit in NFL Week 5 at 9-7 ATS, but we were still OK here in the Tuley’s Takes home office as we went 3-2-1 ATS with our best bets in this column that we also update during the week in “Tuley’s Takes Today” on VSiN.com, as well as 3-1-1 ATS on the VSiN NFL Best Bets page in Point Spread Weekly.
However, as has been the case most of the season, we continued to ride the wave by expanding our portfolio with 6-point teasers. After two weeks in a row in which we got things rolling on Thursday, the Seahawks actually fell just short of covering our + 8.5 teasers in a 26-17 loss to the Rams. But things returned to form as our other recommended teasers went 6-1 with Washington the other team to fail, so any combinations using the Jets, Vikings, Browns, Cowboys, Bills and Ravens came through. In addition, we capped the weekend with the Ravens -1 while we had a best bet on the Colts + 7 and ended up hitting the middle with Baltimore’s 31-25 overtime win. We hope we helped some readers set that up as well.
Let’s see what we can do with this week’s NFL Week 6 card. Per usual, I’ll give my recommendations from my dog-or-pass point of view, but will also give my “pool play” strategy for those in contests that require a pick for every game.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-7) at Philadelphia Eagles
I’m not sure how the Eagles rallied to beat the Panthers last week, but I don’t feel I’m getting enough points to back them as home underdogs on “Thursday Night Football.” I know this is a square play (and a lot of these have been coming through), but let’s tease the Buccaneers down to -1 so they basically just have to win the game and tie them up in two-team, 6-point teasers with the Chiefs -1 at Washington, Panthers + 7 (hopefully higher as we've had a change of favorites in this game) vs. Vikings, Chargers + 9 at Ravens; and Cardinals + 8.5 at Browns. Best Bet: Pass on side, but teasing Buccaneers down to -1 (pool play: Buccaneers in all of my rare SU & ATS contests that use “Thursday Night Football”).
Miami Dolphins (-3.5) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars in London
Here we go with another early-morning (6:30 a.m. PT) game from London. The Jaguars lost their pre-bye week games in London in 2018 and 2019 (hat tip to Steve Makinen for his pre-bye piece in last week’s PSW), but I’m bucking that trend by taking them here. The Jaguars are certainly used to this trip, though it’ll be the first one for coach Urban Meyer (and he’ll probably welcome getting far away from home at this time!). The Jaguars are far from a good team, but they have shown glimpses of competence and I certainly wouldn’t lay more than a field goal with the Dolphins. Best Bet: Jaguars + 3.5 (pool play: Jaguars 67/33 in ATS contests and even slightly more than 50/50 in SU pools).
Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts (-10)
Here’s another ugly dog. I mentioned last week how double-digit dogs aren’t faring too well this season, so we have to pick our spots. I was able to resist taking the Dolphins last week against the Buccaneers and felt good about that as they were routed 45-17, but the Texans look like a much more live underdog here, especially considering the competition. The Texans nearly upset the Patriots on Sunday before losing 25-22, and don’t forget they covered as 13.5-point road underdogs in a 31-21 loss to the Browns in Week 2. The Colts were kicking butt in Baltimore on Monday night before squandering a 22-3 lead and losing 31-25 in OT, but they shouldn’t be laying this many points to anyone, especially a divisional rival. Best Bet: Texans + 10 (pool play: Texans 70/30 in ATS contests, but Colts still around 75/25 in SU pools).
Green Bay Packers (-4.5) at Chicago Bears
Back in the Sept. 1 issue of PSW, I recommended a play in this game on the Bears + 4.5 as I felt Justin Fields would have taken over as starting QB and both teams would be off to 3-2 starts and this line would be around Packers -3. I got most of that right, though the Packers are 4-1 and Fields hasn’t been as great as I expected. I still feel pot-committed to take the Bears, and I do believe it’s the right side as Fields and the Bears’ offense should have success against the Packers’ defense, but it didn’t make my cut for my picks on the VSiN NFL Best Bets page, so take that for what it’s worth. Best Bet: Bears + 4.5 (pool play: Bears 60/40 in ATS contests, though Packers still 60/40 in SU pools.
Kansas City Chiefs (-7) at Washington Football Team
I’ve been proud to fade the Chiefs in recent weeks with their Swiss-cheese defense and Patrick Mahomes and the offense playing below expectations, but this number is too short for me to jump on Washington as a home dog. If the defense was playing as well as it did last year, I would be all over Washington. Besides, as bad as the Chiefs’ defense is playing, I still don’t see Taylor Heinicke and Co. keeping it close enough to even have a chance at a backdoor cover. Best Bet: Pass, though using Chiefs -1 in teasers (pool play: Chiefs 60/40 in ATS contests – though add plays on Washington if offered + 7.5 – and closer to 90/10 in SU pools).
Minnesota Vikings (-1) at Carolina Panthers
We’ve seen a change of favorites here as the Panthers were 1-point favorites on both last week’s advance line and when the game was reposted on Sunday afternoon in Las Vegas. At that time, the advantage teaser (capturing the key numbers of 3 and 7) was with the Vikings, but now it’s flipped to the Panthers, and I feel better about that even if Christian McCaffrey isn’t ready to return. I still have the Panthers as the better overall team and love getting a touchdown (or more if this line continues to move) at home. Best Bet: Pass on side, but Panthers + 7 or better in teasers (pool play: Panthers 55/50 in all SU & ATS contests).
Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore Ravens (-3)
Here’s one of Week 6’s marquee games with both teams at 4-1. However, while the Ravens could be 5-0 if Dan Carlson hadn’t make a 55-yard field goal for the Raiders in the season opener, we all know tat they easily could have also lost to the Chiefs, Lions (an especially miraculous comeback and win on Justin Tucker’s record-setting 66-yard field goal) and Monday night vs. the Colts. The Chargers are the more complete team at this time, and while their most lackluster performance was in Week 1 when traveling all the way to the East Coast in a 20-16 win at Washington, they showed they can take their show on the road when they went to Kansas City in Week 3 and upset the Chiefs 30-24. I see a similar result here. Best Bet: Chargers + 3, but also using Chargers in teasers (pool play: Chargers 67/33 in ATS contests – lower if only offered + 2.5 – and also 55/45 in SU pools).
Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5) at Detroit Lions
My nephew, Craig, asks me every Sunday morning who I like and then groans when the Lions are on my list. Well, they are 3-2 ATS despite their 0-5 SU record and should have had outright wins over the Ravens and Vikings (and possibly the Bears, too). All that being said, I can’t take them as home dogs here even though the number has gone from + 3 to + 3.5. The hook is tempting, but after watching them go toe-to-toe with the Packers (and foot-to-foot in each team’s woeful kicking performances), I can’t see them not taking care of business against the Lions as they try to keep up with the Ravens and Browns in the NFC North. Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Bengals 60/40 in ATS contests and closer to 75/25 in SU pools).
Los Angeles Rams (-10.5) at New York Giants
As I’m writing this Tuesday afternoon, we’re seeing some 11’s pop up on this game. We know the Rams are already turning into a very public team, bolstered by their Sunday night win over the Bears, marquee Sunday afternoon win against the Buccaneers and the Thursday night win over the Seahawks. It looks like bettors are willing to back them no matter the price, and there are also people cutting in line to bat against the beaten-up Giants. However, I’ll go contrarian here and wait for this number to be bet as high as possible. Granted, the Giants are 1-4 and the prospects for the future aren’t that great with Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley sidelined, but remember they upset the Saints and have had a couple of other close calls. I believe Mike Glennon and other backups (hot fantasy waiver-wire pickups RB Devontae Booker and WR Kadarius Toney) can keep this game surprisingly close with a full week of practice. Best Bet: Giants + 10.5 or higher (pool play: Giants 75/25 in ATS contests, but Rams still 80/20 in SU pools).
Arizona Cardinals at Cleveland Browns (-2.5)
Here’s another great Week 6 matchup with the NFL’s last unbeaten team, the Cardinals, visiting the Browns. I won’t say the wrong team is favored here as the Browns certainly bring a lot to the table on both sides of the ball. I’ll probably be tempted to bet the Cardinals at + 3 (and it certainly looks like it’s heading that way with the Browns -2.5 -120 at most Vegas books), but for now my plan is to just play the Cardinals in 6-point teasers. If you’re reading this on Sunday and the early games have already kicked off, the best option would be to include the Raiders teased up to + 9.5. Best Bet: Pass on side, but loving Cardinals + 8.5 in teasers (pool play: Cardinals 55/45 in ATS contests – jumping way higher if offered + 3.5 – but Browns 55/45 in SU pools).
Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos (-4)
The advance line last week for this game was Broncos -2.5. After both teams lost Sunday, it reopened at Broncos -3 and was bet to 3.5 by Monday night when it was announced that Las Vegas coach Jon Gruden had resigned and now it’s up to 4 at some books. The Raiders certainly looked distracted in their 20-9 loss to the Bears and it looks like early bettors are willing to fade them again, but I actually expect them to rebound and perform better now that they can focus on football. Besides, let’s not forget that the Broncos started 3-0 thanks to a very soft schedule, so I don’t see them as more than a field goal better than the Raiders anyway. I’ll wait to see how high this gets before betting. Best Bet: Raiders + 4 (pool play: Raiders 70/30 in ATS contests and even 55/45 in SU pools).
Dallas Cowboys (-4) at New England Patriots
The Patriots covered as home dogs in a 19-17 loss to the Buccaneers in Week 4, but I’m still not looking to take them as home dogs here against the Cowboys. The line is too short for my liking, and I can’t help thinking the Pats were really helped by inclement weather against the Bucs (plus the whole added incentive of Belichick vs. Brady, etc.). The Patriots showed their true colors in getting outplayed by the Texans last week before rallying to win 25-22. The Cowboys are playing too well right now to expect the back door to be open. If I were to lay points with the chalk this week, this would be it. Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Cowboys 60/40 in ATS contests and closer to 80/20 in SU pools).
Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers (-5)
This was Seahawks -2.5 on the advance line last week but flipped to Steelers -3 after Russell Wilson was injured in the Seahawks’ loss to the Rams on Thursday night. I know the Steelers looked better in their 27-19 win over the Broncos, but I don’t understand why this line then went to -4 and has continued to rise. But, hey, I’ll take however many points they’re willing to give me. I know it sounds crazy, but Geno Smith looked like Wilson in rallying the Seahawks twice to within the teaser number against the Rams. Tyler Lockett fell down (or was he pushed?) on his route and Smith was intercepted to stop another potential scoring drive, so I’m comfortable with Smith filling in for Wilson. Best Bet: Seahawks + 5 (pool play: Seahawks 67/33 in ATS contest, though Steelers still around 55/45 in SU pools).
Buffalo Bills (-5.5) at Tennessee Titans
I’m so tempted to take the Titans as a “Monday Night Football” home underdog. As well as the Bills’ defense has been playing, Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehil should be able to have some success. The problem is, even if they can keep this game close in the first half or so, I have a hard time fading the Bills with how well Josh Allen and the offense are clicking. If this line continues to rise during the week and over the weekend, I might end up betting the Titans + 6 or higher (and also considering a first-half bet of Titans + 3 or especially + 3.5), but passing for now as PSW goes to press. Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Titans 55/50 in ATS contests – higher if offered + 6 or + 6.5 – but Bills 70/30 in SU pools).