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Handicapping Week 6 Totals
-- We head into Week 6 with the Kansas City Chiefs-Buffalo Bills game previously scheduled for Thursday moved to Monday, as the Bills just played on Tuesday in Tennessee due to a COVID-19 reschedule. So we'll have a total of 12 games on Sunday, and two games on Monday, with four teams enjoying their bye week. The Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks will each be off.
We have a handful of exciting matchups which will have a potential impact on the postseason standings. In addition, we have a couple of teams missing their starting quarterback due to injuries, one team welcoming their starting signal caller back after a bout with COVID and another coming back from an ailment. That will have an impact on the totals as well.
Some quick total notes before we break down the action.
-- The lowest total for Sunday's slate is the divisional matchup between the Washington Football Team and New York Giants (42.5) at Met Life Stadium. The visitors from the nation's capital turned to QB Kyle Allen (shoulder) last week, but he didn't last the full game due to a left shoulder injury, so we saw QB Alex Smith make his first appearance since a gruesome lower-leg injury last season.
It was a feel-good moment for Washington, but they were buried 30-10 at home against the Los Angeles Rams. Washington has struggled to put points on the board, going for 10, 17, 20 and 15 across the past four outings, and they're averaging 17.5 PPG in two road contests. The Giants showed some signs of life in their 37-34 loss on the road against the Dallas Cowboys, as their point total was easily a season best. In fact, they had totaled just 47 points through the first four weeks, hitting the 'under' in three of the first four before their easy 'over' result in Big D.
-- The highest total on Sunday's schedule features the Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings. The Falcons ended up firing head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff after last week's 23-16 home loss against the Carolina Panthers. We saw the Houston Texans can Bill O'Brien after a Week 4 setback to Minnesota, and they bounced back with a 30-14 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars and an 'under' result. Might we see a more defensive showing from the Falcons, especially as defensive coordinator Raheem Morris takes the reins as the interim coach?
-- As far as quarterback injuries are concerned, Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (ankle surgery) was lost for the season, so QB Andy Dalton takes over under center in Big D. The Red Rifle led a comeback against the G-Men, and he'll have an extra day to prepare for Arizona on Monday.
-- New York Jets QB Sam Darnold (shoulder) has already been ruled out for Sunday's game in Miami, so veteran QB Joe Flacco makes his second consecutive start. The Jets, who haven't exactly been lighting the world afire offensively, managed just 10 points against the Cardinals with Flacco at the helm.
-- The New England Patriots welcome QB Cam Newton back from the COVID-19 reserve list for their game against the Denver Broncos, and on the other sideline, the visitors get QB Drew Lock back from a shoulder injury suffered in Week 2. The Broncos managed 14 points in his only full game this season.
Over-Under Line Moves
We've had a decent amount of movement for several totals in Week 6, and you can expect more movement heading up to game day.
The oddsmakers did a good job setting the initial totals, but injuries, personnel changes, etc. have caused bettors to react early.
Atlanta at Minnesota: 57 to 54.5
Houston at Tennessee: 55 to 52.5
N.Y. Jets at Miami: 49.5 to 47
Arizona at Dallas (MNF): 52 to 55
Green Bay at Tampa Bay: 52 to 55
L.A. Rams at San Francisco (SNF): 49.5 to 51.5
Over-Under Betting Trends
Listed below are the five largest leans for Week 6 as of Thursday.
Cincinnati at Indianapolis: Over 98%
Green Bay at Tampa Bay: Over 96%
L.A. Rams at San Francisco (SNF): Over 95%
Arizona at Dallas (MNF): Over 89%
Detroit at Jacksonville: Under 95%
Atlanta at Minnesota: Under 94%
Chicago at Carolina: Under 61%
Houston at Tennessee: Under 58%
Division Over-Under Notes
The 'over' went 3-1 in the NFL Divisional battles in the Week 5, and is 14-5 overall this season. We have another five divisional matchups on tap for Sunday.
Cleveland at Pittsburgh: The Browns streak in on a four-game winning streak. More importantly for total bettors, they're throwing up a lot of points. They have 30 or more points in four consecutive games for the first time since 1968 when they turned the trick in eight straight. Cleveland has scored 35, 34, 49 and 32 in the past four weekends, hitting the 'over' in four in a row.
The Steelers flexed a little offensive muscle of their own last week in a 38-29 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, and they have managed 38, 28 and 26 over the past three contests, hitting the 'over' in three in a row. One interesting trend, however, is that the 'under' is 5-1 in Cleveland's past six against teams with a winning record, while the 'under' is 6-2 in the previous eight divisional games for the black and yellow.
Houston at Tennessee: The Texans won their first game under interim head coach Romeo Crennel, and they won it 30-14 as the 'under' (55) easily connected last week over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Will Crennel bring much needed defense to the Texans? They held down a strong Jaguars offense, so maybe. Prior to the regime change, the 'over' had hit in three of four games for Houston, so the jury is still out.
The Titans hit the 'over' while posting a season-high 42 points against the Buffalo Bills on Tuesday night. It's a quick turnaround for the Titans. The last time they had a short week, from Week 1's Monday nighter to a Sunday afternoon game at home against Jacksonville, they hit the 'over'. In fact, they have 33, 31 and 42 points scored in the past three games since Week 1, all 'over' results.
Washington at N.Y. Giants: We touched on this game above, but here are a few trends for each team. The 'over' is 4-0 in Washington's past four divisional games, including a Week 1 win over Philadelphia. The 'over' is 5-1 in the past six home games for New York, while hitting in four of the past five divisional outings and eight of the previous 10 as a favorite. However, in this series the 'under' is 14-3 in the past 17 battles in the Meadowlands, while hitting in five of the seven meetings overall.
N.Y. Jets at Miami: As mentioned above, the Jets give Flacco a second consecutive start. They threw up just 10 points in an 'under' result and loss against the Arizona Cardinals. The Dolphins had no such problems with the scoring, hanging 43 points on the 49ers in a cross-country trip to Santa Clara.
It was rather out of character, as it was the first 'over' in three games, and just the second in five outings for a team which previously had been averaging 23.3 PPG. The 'over' is 3-2 for New York this season, but that's mostly due to their awful defense and not their flagging offense, New York has posted 17 or fewer points in four of five games to date.
L.A. Rams at San Francisco: (see below)
Don't Believe All Trends
The Arizona Cardinals tossed up 30 points in their Week 5 win over the New York Jets, and they have scored 30, 21, 23, 30 and 24 so far this season. However, they are the only team in the NFL to hit the 'under' in each of their five games so far. While the Cowboys lost Prescott for the season, and he was helping the Dallas offense post huge numbers with 32.6 PPG, their defense isn't affected.
And that's good for the Cardinals. Dallas ranks dead-last in the NFL with 36.0 PPG, so the Cardinals offense should be able to roll up plenty of points in the Rod Tidwell game on Monday. Rod Tidwell. Remember Jerry Maguire? Tidwell's Cardinals are playing the Cowboys on Monday night.
Speaking of cinema, how many people remember the movie Best of Times? Remember when Reno Hightower and Jack Dundee were in trouble with their wives, and Robin Williams' character sneaks a look at the TV during dinner. Atlanta and Minnesota was the game, and they're also playing each other this weekend. Yeah, I have a lot of stupid knowledge and a selective memory of dumb sports things.
Last note on Arizona -- this will be its third straight game on the road and past systems have leaned to an 'over' trend on these matchups.
Week 5 featured five AFC-NFC matchups and the totals saw the over go 3-1.The lone exception was the low-scoring battle between the Arizona Cardinals and New York Jets, which had a total of just 40 points with an over/under of 48.5. Flacco and the Jets were horrendous again, and it was never in doubt. We have just two AFC vs. NFC battles on tap for Week 6.
Detroit at Jacksonville: The Lions are back in action after a bye. In their past three games following either a bye or a Thursday game in the previous week, the 'under' has hit in three straight. The Jaguars scored just 14 points last week in Houston, and they're averaging 17.3 PPG across the past three, hitting the 'under' in two of those outings. The Lions are averaging 8.5 points in the first quarter this season, including two games where they scored 14 apiece. So they tend to get off to quick starts, which is something first-quarter and first-half 'over' bettors have come to appreciate about them.
Baltimore at Philadelphia: Speaking of quick starts, the Ravens posted 10 points in the first quarter last week, and 17 in the first half. The week before they managed seven in the first quarter, and 21 in the first half. Baltimore is averaging 6.6 first-quarter points this season, and 18.4 first-half points this season. In fact, last week was the first time the Ravens haven't hit a first-half 'over' this season. The Eagles threw up 29 points against an AFC North team last week, falling 38-29 to the Steelers in Pittsburgh. The 'over' is 3-2 overall, as the Eagles defense has yielded 38, 20, 23, 37 and 27 this season. That's not good news against the defended MVP QB Lamar Jackson and the fast-starting Ravens.
-- The 'over' ended up splitting 2-2 in the primetime games again last week, including a rare Tuesday night matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans, which saw a total of 58 against a number of 52.
-- The 'over-under' sits at 8-9 (47.1%) in primetime games this season.
Sunday Night Football Notes
The Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers do battle in the SNF game at Levi's Stadium, so we'll get to see Cris Collinsworth and Al Michaels wearing surgical masks for the entire broadcast. The Rams were surgical in taking apart the Washington Football Team last week, winning 30-10, and Aaron Donald got to the quarterback for four sacks. The L.A. defense has allowed just 19 total points in the past two games, and they have yielded 19 or fewer points in four of their five outings, hitting the 'under' in each of the past two. San Francisco cobbled together just 17 points in a loss at home, and they're averaging 18.5 PPG in the past two. They hit the under in their most recent SNF appearance, a 25-20 loss to Philadelphia on Oct. 4.
Monday Night Football Notes
We covered the Cardinals-Cowboys game above, but there is a second Monday Night game this season. The Chiefs and Bills will battle at 5:00 p.m. ET in Buffalo, as the Bills had their Thursday game moved to Monday after playing the Titans Tuesday night after a Tennessee COVID outbreak. The Bills led the NFL with 12 'under' results in 16 regular-season games in 2019, but they're all 'over' all the time in 2020. The Bills defense has coughed up 42, 23, 32 and 28 across the past four outings, and the 'over' is 4-0-1 in the past five. Now they have to face the high-octane Kansas City Chiefs and defending Super Bowl MVP QB Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs will be ornery, too, after falling 40-32 to the Raiders last Sunday. The Chiefs have rolled up 32, 26, 34, 23 and 34 in their five games overall, so it should be fun seeing what they can do against this beleaguered Buffalo D.
After a poor Week 4, it was time to bounce back last week. Unfortunately it was more likely being stuck in neutral, hitting two of three 'best' picks in Week 5, while dropping my teaser by going 1-1-1 in the three-teamer. I ended up being slightly in the red (-$10), but still remaining ahead for the season overall (+$295). We'll look for a plus-number in Week 6 with four more wagers.
Best Over: Kansas City-Buffalo 57.5
Best Under: L.A. Rams-San Francisco 51.5
Best First-Half Total: Over Baltimore-Philadelphia 23.5
Three-Team Total Teaser (+7, +135)
Under 54 N.Y. Jets-Miami
Under 53.5 Cincinnati-Indianapolis
Under 61 Atlanta-Minnesota
Week 5 & Overall Betting Results
Depending when and where you placed your bets, the ‘over’ went 8-6 in Week 5, and the over has a 45-32 (58.4%) advantage to date.
NFC vs. NFC
AFC vs. AFC
AFC vs. NFC
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