As underdogs often go, so goes my wallet.
Underdogs are 41-33-2 ATS thus far. And after a 4-0-week last week, home underdogs now hold a 16-6 (73%) record through five weeks. Vegas promptly responded by giving us several home dawgs and short home favorites to satisfy my gambling needs.
I’ve largely bet on underdogs since Week 1, and I largely stay on that side from year to year. This (usually) results in a profitable season while also making me look a little strange and/or foolish on the surface for betting on teams with guys like Josh Allen and Eli Manning at quarterback every week.
This gambling philosophy largely stems from, well, math. Underdogs are often the side where the value lies. The public LOVES favorites and popular teams. It’s important to keep a cool head in these situations, trust the numbers, and sometimes bet on games that don’t appear to be too tasty on paper. Underdogs, specifically home dawgs, and short home favorites -especially when the public is clearly swaying in one direction- often provide hidden value. I will continue to trust that philosophy until further notice.
Week 6 Picks
As always, my picks will be listed from most to least confident. However, I must note that I won’t be finalizing most of the picks on my end until Sunday morning (unless I really feel good about the number I’m seeing, which does happen from time to time). For reference, I will have the team I’m picking in bold font next to the point spread.
Season Record: 26-13-1
Season Point Differential: +161.5
Bye Weeks: Detroit, New Orleans
Last Week: 3-2-1
1. Indianapolis Colts (+3.5) at New York Jets
After destroying my Broncos last week, the New York Jets are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 home games. That, along with the Colts’ injury report, would more than likely be enough for many to fade this game.
However, it should be noted that the Jets (for the most part) did most of that damage as home underdogs. The Colts, meanwhile, still have the Commander of the Backdoor Cover Brigade (patent pending) at quarterback. They also have 3.5 points, or did when it opened. I would still take the Colts at 2.5, but money line might be the smarter play if you’re on the Indianapolis side.
2. Chicago Bears at Miami Dolphins (+3)
The Bears are coming off of a bye, which is all well and good and probably part of the reason that this line is inflated. The last time we saw the Bears, they marched into Tampa Bay and put a swift end to Fitzmagic.
The other reason this line is inflated? The Dolphins have played like poopshit the last two weeks. Yet, just two weeks ago, the New England Patriots were only laying 6.5 points at home against this group. Now, I have the opportunity to bet a home dawg against this slightly overvalued Chicago team. The Bears appear legitimate, but I think they’re a few performances away from me trusting them as road favorite.
3. Carolina Panthers at Washington Redskins (-1)
This line likely would have been closer to 2 or 3 had the Redskins not run into a buzz saw last Monday night. While everyone is still talking about the beating Washington took in that nationally televised game, I’d like to remind everyone that the Panthers needed a 63-yard field goal to defeat an inadequate Giants team at home.
The Panthers don’t look too great either, and I believe Washington’s homefield advantage is underrated in this game. Make no mistake about it, Alex Smith is a better quarterback at home.
4. Los Angeles Chargers (pk) at Cleveland Browns
This game was at -1 for Los Angeles as of Wednesday morning. I took the Chargers on Monday and believe I’m on the right side. The Chargers, after losing to arguably the two best teams in the NFL the first two weeks of the season, have turned things around and are likely to be favored by 1-2.5 points before kick-off. Look for the Chargers to win on the road against a hot Browns team that is little more overvalued than we are used to seeing.
5. Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants (+3)
Speaking of the inadequate Giants……
To date, the Giants have been a curious case for bettors. Early on, I took them as short underdogs against Jacksonville and Dallas (both losses). After fading them the past few weeks, it appears that they’re beginning to hit their stride following a tough loss in Carolina last week. The Giants have played two games at home this season, both as underdogs, and they failed to cover both games.
This time, however, they’re going up against a team that has failed to cover since their Week 1 victory over the Falcons. The defending Super Bowl champs have struggled mightily on the offensive end despite stellar (albeit not up to par with last season) play up front. Their meat and potatoes style of play (which, again, is not up to par with last season) won’t do them any good unless Wendell Smallwood and his malcontent band of skill players get going for the Iggles.
I’m going to bet on the Giants as a home dawg, again. Something has to give, and I’m betting on the home team to cover.
6. Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans (+3)
Two weeks ago, we saw the Philadelphia Eagles stroll into Nashville as four-point favorites and get sent home with sad faces. Last week, the Titans lost a heartbreaker to the Buffalo Bills. The Ravens, meanwhile, failed to cover on the road against the Cleveland Browns in what was their second consecutive road game.
Now, with Baltimore traveling for the third consecutive week, I like the home underdog once again. The Titans don’t appear to be much on paper, but with superior line play and a better-than-advertised defense, I like getting the field goal. With the Titans and Ravens neck-and-neck in turnover differential, one turnover could easily be the difference on Sunday. Look for Joe Flacco to continue his regression this week.
7. Kansas City Chiefs (+3.5) at New England Patriots
I’ve been preaching to the “Patrick Mahomes regression is coming” choir since Week 3, but this line is curious to me. Patriots have looked great last two weeks at home, drubbing the poor Dolphins and handling the hapless Colts last week.
I wasn’t convinced that the Patriots were done after their Week 3 loss to the Lions as some other, but I’m not convinced that their recent dominance is real, either. I believe in the Chiefs, and I like getting more than a field goal. The Patriots have not shown the ability to handle high powered offenses so far, and if Mahomes keeps the turnovers down (they have to come someday, right?), they should be able to put up plenty of points.
Most of the bets so far have been on Kansas City, and Touchdown Tommy Brady is 19-6-2 ATS when getting less than 50% of the action since 2003. In addition, Brady is 9-2-2 ATS when favored by three points or fewer.
You don’t get rich betting against Tommy, but great things aren’t great because they last forever. I could be wrong, but the Chiefs appear to be the real deal. If you happen to be on the New England side, wait until this line drops to at least 3 before taking the Pats.
8. Arizona Cardinals (+10.5) at Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings, who just wrapped a controversial victory over the Eagles on the road last week, have not shown us any semblance of consistency since their Week 1 victory (and cover) against the 49ers. That is why I’m puzzled by a 10.5-point line for this Minnesota team, not to mention against an Arizona team that has covered each of the last three weeks after a 34-0 shit kicking by the hands of the Los Angeles Rams in Week 2. I’m holding my nose, betting on the number, and hoping the early trend of double-digit underdogs continues (4-2 this season).
Gun-to-my-head season record: 18-19-1
Buffalo Bills (+10) at Houston Texans
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals (-2.5)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons (-3.5)
Seattle Seahawks (-2.5) at Oakland Raiders
Los Angeles Rams (-7) at Denver Broncos
Jacksonville Jaguars at Dallas Cowboys (+3)
San Francisco 49ers (+9.5) at Green Bay Packers
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