Identifying NFL Betting Underdogs and Parlays for Profit in Week 6
Some big lines this week with five teams favored by 9 or more points. That includes three teams playing off a bye this week - Falcons, Broncos and Redskins. And public bettors are piling on supporting these three double digit favorites against the 'bad' teams and losers as the Dolphins, Giants and 49ers are on the road as big 'Dogs with New York (0-5) and San Francisco (0-5) still winless and looking for their first victory of the season. If you check out my NFL bye week article this week you'll see some winning situations supporting some of these big favorites off a bye. However, know too the contrary nature of the NFL also shows that double-digit NFL 'Dogs in week 6 of the season are 38-15 ATS since 1980.
We're off a 3-1 week last week on these pages with three outright 'Dog winners, and our only loser was on the 49ers in overtime for the second straight week. With a record of 13-7 ATS through five weeks focusing on underdogs, I challenge you to have the Balls to step in on some ugly 'Dogs and those teams that may seem harder to support. Of course, injuries need to be considered, especially with a team like the Giants who lose their star wide receiver and are depleted at the position. But the linemaker has factored that into the line, which continues to rise on Denver (-12). Still, the match-ups running and passing the ball don't look favorable for the Giants. But realize that this line would have been close to Denver -3 at the start of the season, setting up the biggest spread adjustment of the season thus far.
I encourage you to do your best throughout each week to anticipate line moves and bet the best numbers. It seemed pretty obvious that money would still come in on the Falcons, and Broncos, and I did play a big favorite early this week supporting Atlanta. With so many offshore options and leading online sportsbooks to choose from and compare, it should be reasonable to expect using due diligence in your search for the best numbers.
Risk vs. reward and searching for value is something bettors should shoot for in their pursuit of profit. Competitively-priced underdogs are always worth examining, as many of these barking 'Dogs can not only have your wager secured in the later stages of a football game, but some will also have a solid shot to win outright.
Thus, money line wagers should also be part of your betting portfolio when you bet on more competitively-priced underdogs, as the payoffs at the sports books can be very rewarding.
In the NFL, competitively-priced underdogs are 6-points or less. We'll add in some bigger 'Dogs along the way, and also modify our course and game selection management with a few very slight favorites less than 2 points if needed. Evaluate our selected teams and match-ups, and play them straight and with parlays as interested. Of course, a portion of your wager should be considered on the money line with selected underdogs of interest.
While it's very difficult to hit an underdog money line parlay, we'll provide the payout should you consider, and we've had feedback and winners from players who bet a 3-team money-line parlay and straight parlay that cashed already this season. Straight win wagers are a far more prudent play, but I know from experience that bettors like a bigger score with less risk and want to parlay their profits.
So join Fairway's Foursome and follow along as we fire for the Flag and go for the Green in our weekly pursuit of profit (doggy style) with Fairway's Football Forecast.
This week's picks and plays – Shop lines at the leading offshore sports books.
251 Cleveland (+9.5) at Houston – Browns Money Line +360
260 Minnesota (+3) vs Green Bay – Vikings Money Line +140
265 LA Rams (+2.5) at Jacksonville – Rams Money Line +115
271 LA Chargers (+5.5 / TBD at Oakland) – Chargers Money Line +200 (TBD)
$20 4-Team Money Line Parlay = $1,404
$20 4-Team Parlay = $220
$200 – Suggested side wagers with $40 Money Line are suggestions for this sample. $1,000 in play each week.
Cleveland at Houston – The Texans suffered a big blow last week, losing two defensive stars when DE J.J. Watt and LB Mercilus suffered serious injuries against the Chiefs and were lost for the season. If you read these pages last week you know we had the Jets over the Browns and ripped Cleveland and their clueless coach for their decision to continue to start even more clueless rookie QB Kizer. They were unplayable IMO with him at quarterback, yet Cleveland did outgain NY badly 419-212. The Browns had a 140-23 rushing edge and still lost. That's what 3 TO's will often do, as teams with exactly a +2 TO margin like the Jets had are 14-2 ATS this season. A three TO differential in a game is near death, as those teams with at least a +3 or more TO margin are 15-1 ATS this season and 93% historically. Keep that in mind as you watch the games, and hope Browns 2nd year QB Kevin Hogan protects the ball. He'll be handing if off plenty, but note he also completed 16-of-19 passes for 194 yards and 2 TDs last week in relief of Kizer, who will be on the bench where he belongs the rest of the season unless injuries pile up at the position. With one of the stronger offensive lines in front of him, look for Cleveland to again run the ball more often to help their more competent quarterback. Meanwhile, the after the Browns passed on drafting Desean Watson this year, Houston was there to take him. He's looked like a pretty polished pro while starting five games with 12 TD passes and a QB rating of 100. Still, rookie QB's will their down games and moments, and with the Browns strong run defense allowing just 76 YPG, we're not confident enough in Houston's rookie QB to make more key decisions and plays to extend any margin, even against the lowly Browns. Showing why you must be willing to adjust and change in your weekly NFL analysis, we change side to Cleveland this week with a contrary call to get the get the cash, and perhaps pull off the unthinkable – a win!
Green Bay at Minnesota – Division rivals college and Green Bay (4-1) sits on top of the NFC North with the Vikings (3-2) looking to beat the 'Pack for the second straight season as home 'Dog. The +3.5 and opening 4 are gone, and the Vikings took early money despite QB Bradford, WR Diggs and OL Easton all out with injuries this week. That following star rookie RB Cook being lost for the season with an injury the week before. Case Keenum has played pretty well at quarterback with a QB rating of 97 and no INT's in four games. But it's the Vikings top-tier defense with playmakers you saw again last week with safety Smith's key INT setting up the game-winning score. Green Bay's offense is statistically worse than the Vikings as well, with a below-league average 5.3 yards-per-play and QB Rogers yards per pass play is down significantly from his career average. Off the big road win and late rally at Dallas last week, we'll take our shot this week against the Packers with a live defensive 'Dog.
LA Rams at Jacksonville – Two teams surprising many this year with both the Jaguars (3-2) and Rams (3-2) having winning records after combining for 7 total wins last year. Both teams outplayed their opponents last week with the Jaguars beating up the Steelers as a big road 'Dog and the Rams losing at home to division rival Seattle despite LA out-playing and out-gaining the Seahawks 375 yards and 5.3 yards per play to 241 and 3.7 YPPL. Remember that turnover differential I mentioned earlier? Los Angeles had 5 TOs while Seattle had 2 last week, ensuring a Rams defeat 16-10. The Jaguars had 1 turnover while the Steelers had 5 ensuring Jacksonville's victory although the Jags also dominated the running game and point of attack 231-70. The Rams are still right near the top of the NFC in offense while averaging 6.1 yards per play while the Jaguars check in at 5.1 yards per play. Yes the Jaguars are allowing just 4.9 YPPL, but the Rams defense is above average and hold a positive net yard-per-play average over the Jags and the Rams have played the stronger schedule despite the Jaguars upset win at Pittsburgh last week. Along with the Rams improving defense and top-ranked special teams that also features Greg the Leg, there is more reason to support the upstart Rams as 'Dog with the most improved team in the league and now scoring 30 points per game.
LA Chargers at Oakland – The Chargers obeyed my command to get their first win of the season last week as a 'Dog at New York (Giants). Now traveling back to the West coast, the Bolts will try to strike again vs a Raiders team that has lost 3-straight and appears confused and lacking cohesion while also dealing with off the field conditions. While there is no line Friday at a majority of the sports books, offshore reduced juice shop 5 Dimes does show Oakland a 5.5-point favorite. The Northern California wild fires are causing considerable damage and air quality concerns, but the reports are that the NFL tentatively plans to Sunday's game in Oakland. Raiders QB Carr returns from a back injury to try and stop the bleeding, but he'll be under pressure from a strong Chargers defensive front featuring Bosa and Ingram. The Raiders (2-3) had another miserable performance in a 30-17 home loss to the Ravens last week. But additional injuries on Oakland including on defense and LB won't help a unit that has allowed 5.9 yards per play during a 3-game losing streak. The Chargers league-worst run defense allowing 161 YPG does not provide confidence, but RB Melvin Gordon's strong offensive performance last week and his running ability and balance with QB Rivers vs a sub-par and banged-up Raiders defense does. As mentioned, shop for the best line when it becomes available and that may be at kickoff. Regardless, we're taking the Chargers as 'Dog to deliver the Green.
FairwayJay is a leading national sports handicapper and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful analysts. Read more great insights from Jay here and follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay