Identifying NFL Underdogs in Pursuit of Profit
We chipped-in another outright underdog winner in Week 5 as the Buffalo Bills buried the Kansas City Chiefs, 38-20. That road win by the Bills was their fourth straight victory and all have come by 18 or more points. Buffalo is now the co-favorite to win the Super Bowl according to Super Bowl 56 odds at many leading online sportsbooks. Bills QB Josh Allen is also the new favorite to win Most Valuable Player at many online sportsbooks including BetOnline.
NFL MVP Odds— BetOnline.ag (@betonline_ag) October 11, 2021
1. Josh Allen +450
2. Tom Brady +500
2. Dak Prescott +500
4. Justin Herbert +625
5. Kyler Murray +650
6. Patrick Mahomes +1000
7. Aaron Rodgers +1200
8. Matthew Stafford +1200
9. Lamar Jackson +1600
10. Jameis Winston +3300
The Bills win runs our record to 9-3 ATS with seven outright underdog winners. The record and run over the past 4-plus seasons picking only underdogs is now 111-82 (57.5%) with 55 outright underdog winners.
Be sure to check the NFL injury reports at NFL.com and various sites like Pro Football Focus - which updated the NFL Week 6 injury report on Friday. Also, the key injury update at OSGA provides additional information, and was updated prior to news that Browns RB Nick Chubb (calf) has been ruled out against the Chargers. The Browns injury report lists both offensive tackles as missing practice and questionable for the Week 6 game. Monitor the betting lines as more bets come in leading to Sunday's games.
NFL Week 6 Underdog Picks
Jacksonville (+3) vs Miami
Jaguars Moneyline +133 at BetOnline
Game in London
Jacksonville vs Miami
Best chance for the Jaguars to pick up their first win of the season, and Jacksonville is a regular participant in the game in London. The Jaguars offense came to life last week in a misleading final and 37-19 defeat to the Titans. Jacksonville had 454 yards offense at 6.9 yards per play, and the Jags rushed the ball 31 times for 198 yards only to be matched by the Titans. That's a winning formula as I track rushing stats and guidelines, as well as turnovers. The Jaguars were minus-2 in the turnover column, and that's a losing situation that is 2-24 ATS this season for teams on the short end of a two or greater turnover margin (2-12 SU and 1-13 ATS if exactly 2 turnover differential). Jaguars RB James Robinson is the leagues fourth-leading rusher with 387 yards, and his 5.8 yards per rush is No. 2 in the NFL for running backs. The Dolphins will start QB Tua Tagovialoa after he missed the last three games with rib injuries. But he's not going to help the running game, and perhaps not much with the passing attack as he's not yet 100% and the injury report shows he'll be without injured leading receiver DeVante Parker (shoulder/hamstring) for the second straight week, and WR Will Fuller (hand) is also out along with CB Xavier Howard (shoulder/groin). Miami is last in the NFL in rushing at just 70 yards per game and a league-low 19 rushing attempts per contest. The Dolphins defense has been below average this season allowing 6.0 yards per play, and teams are running the ball an average of 30 times per game against Miami. The Jaguars also have stronger special teams, and our chances of winning along with the Jaguars are strong if Jacksonville runs the ball 30 times again this week. It's not good if the Jaguars keep turning the ball over, which is a league-leading minus-10 in turnover margin. There may be some disarray along with chemistry issues and concerns inside the Jaguars locker room with coach Urban Meyer, but the players want to win and they know the frustration in recent weeks can be corrected this week against a weaker foe. This is an easy pick despite the Jaguars sporting a 20-game losing streak and a -7.3 point spread margin this season. Few want to bet on winless or bad teams, but consider that the Jaguars fit an 80% ATS non-division angle for game 6 or greater winless teams off an ATS loss of more than 10 points. Recognize too that Miami's spread margin is -11.2 and the Dolphins have scored 17 or less points in 4-of-5 games, and you can join me for another outright underdog winner as the Jags losing streak ends in London.
That's going to be it this week for official Fairway Forecasts as we shoot for an early underdog winner from London to kickoff Sunday action and improve our record to 10-3 ATS this season and our eighth outright underdog winner. I've added notes on other games for you to enjoy and potentially direct you to other bets or teams of interest.
Other games, stats and betting notes.
The Chargers (+2.5) may look attractive on the road at Baltimore against the Ravens, especially with QB Justin Herbert playing at an MVP level. But the match-ups at the point of attack are not working in the lightning bolts favor. Despite Baltimore's record rushing streak of 100 or more rushing yards coming to an end last week, the Ravens and QB Lamar Jackson still run the ball for 149 yards per game and 30 times per contest. The Chargers defense is allowing a league-high 157 rushing yards per game, and Herbert bailed them out in last week's 47-42 shootout win over the Browns after Cleveland romped for 230 rushing yards and piled up 531 yards at 7.8 yards per play in defeat.
Meanwhile, there is nothing attractive about the Raiders (+4) right now with a suddenly struggling offense and running game, and coach Gruden now dismissed. Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson will now take over play calling duties, which Gruden handled. How does Las Vegas react off B2B losses? Not well IMO, and the Broncos defense rises up again as a strong unit and pressure on QB Derek Carr with rookie OT Leatherwood really struggling and even moving to guard. The better ground game in this match-up favors the Broncos, who should wipe away that bad loss to the Raiders in Week 17 last season. The Raiders are averaging just 78 rushing YPG and have a bottom quartile run defense and allowing 4.6 yards per rush while Denver's defense is more dominant ranking in the top quartile of run defense and allowing just 3.7 yards per rush. The total has dipped down to 44 and now 43.5 at some leading online sportsbooks, and a better play is on the first half under 21.5.
I'll likely have a bet at some point on the Patriots (+3.5) during the game (in-play) against the Cowboys, and we cashed in Week 4 with New England while 90+% of bettors bet on and backed the Buccaneers (-7) in a narrow last second escape, 19-17. Well see how it plays out, but want to watch how rookie QB Mac Jones plays early against the improved Dallas defense and star CB Trevon Diggs (6 INTs in 5 games). The Patriots were without some offensive lineman in last week's escape at Houston, but they return this week. The Cowboys offense is clicking and No. 2 in the league in rushing at 172 YPG with QB Dak Prescott balancing the passing attack very well with a talented receiving core. The Patriots rush for just 80 YPG, and Jones may be under more pressure and asked to pass more than preferred.
The Cardinals (+3.5) have a much better shot to remain undefeated with Browns RB Nick Chubb now ruled out of this game with a calf injury. The Browns lead the league in rushing (187 YPG), and these two offense are among the best in the league with each average near 415 yards per game. The Browns defense has really risen up allowing less than 300 YPG at 5.1 yards per play with the Cardinals defense also improved (353 YPG and league average 5.6 yards per play). Both teams beat the Vikings in close contests with the Cardinals escaping on a short last second missed FG, but the Browns stronger defense at home gives them an edge as they try to contain diverse QB and leading MVP favorite Kyler Murray.
I thought I would bet the Lions this week, and another I'll be watching and likely betting in-game. But winless Detroit (0-5) is finding ways to lose, and come off another last second loss last week to division rival Minnesota. The Bengals blew it even more last week in an OT loss to the Packers. Only 6 yards per game separates these two offenses with the Lions slightly ahead at 340 YPG. But the Bengals are more efficient with QB Joe Burrow and more talent averaging 5.9 yards per play to the Lions 5.1. The injury report shows Joe Burrow will play this week after getting beaten up pretty badly and ending up in the hospital following last week's loss. The Lions have stronger special teams ratings, but Detroit's defense is still allowing an NFC-worst 6.5 yards per play although they have played better the last two games. The Bengals defense has been better at 5.3 YPPL yet they have faced three sub-par quarterbacks in Jacksonville, Pittsburgh and Chicago.
FairwayJay is a proven sports handicapper and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful analysts. He chips in additional sports betting coverage and reporting on industry news and events. Read more great insights from FairwayJay and follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay