Broadway Best Bets is a weekly NFL betting article selecting the five preferred NFL lines of each week. Note: Sports gambling advice is intended for recreational purposes only. All odds and lines are from William Hill US Sportsbook unless otherwise noted.
Week 6 is here! It brings great matchups and tantalizing lines, even if the NFL has inexplicably scheduled nine games for the 1 p.m. ET slot and only two games in the afternoon window!
Last week, we had a bit of a rough go with a 2-3 record, but let’s analyze the losses… the Cowboys and Giants EACH had a pick-6, easily pushing that game over the total. In the Browns-Colts game, a pick-6 and a safety pushed that game over as well. And the Niners… what on earth happened to the Niners?
Overall though, our hunch about the unders was right — the unders were 7-7 last week, the first week this year the overs didn’t crush.
Sometimes, flukey defensive scores happen and mess with your totals. The important thing is to maintain a logical betting strategy and take the value when you see it, which is what we’ll continue to do this week. So without further ado, let’s get to our five favorite lines for the Week 6 NFL slate…
Broadway 2020 Season Record: 10-12-3
Detroit Lions (-3) at Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars have quickly become one of the NFL’s worst teams after starting the season with a surprising division win over the Colts. They’ve now allowed three winless teams to beat them in consecutive weeks, the first time that’s happened in NFL history. They allowed the struggling, winless Texans to dominate them last week, and I don’t expect things to change against Detroit.
The Jaguars are the worst team against the pass (according to FootballOutsiders’ DVOA metric). This is going to be a get-right game for Matthew Stafford and the Lion’s passing attack coming off a bye. Since 2012, the Lions are 7-1 against the spread coming off their bye week according to ESPN.
Jacksonville has fielded a different kicker in each of their last four games, and a fifth will handle field goal duties against Detroit. His name is Jon Brown, and he has exactly zero regular season field goal attempts since entering the league in 2016.
I’m not worried about the road element. Away teams are actually 42-35 against the spread this year, while road favorites are 13-11.
The Pick: Detroit -3
Baltimore Ravens (-9.5) at Philadelphia Eagles
The Ravens enter Week 6 with a 4-1 record. Their loss of course came in primetime to the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs. The public is sleeping on Baltimore.
Their four wins have been by an average margin of nearly 22 points. Their lowest margin of victory was “only” 14 points against the Washington Football Team, who scored a garbage time touchdown with two minutes left in the game.
Baltimore is the number 1 team in DVOA right now. Philadelphia is number 30. I mentioned the irrelevance of playing on the road above. It will take a number of fluky turnovers and random bounces for Philadelphia to stay competitive in this game.
The Pick: Baltimore -9.5
New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (-9.5)
That is my rationale for this pick. The Dolphins looked great last week against a team that is actually good in the 49ers, and now they get to host the New York Jets in what could be considered an extreme revenge matchup. Every player left in Miami that was coached by Gase will be fired up for this one. Ryan Fitzpatrick never played for Gase, but he did play for the Jets, so he has his own revenge factor. And he’s fresh off a fantastic game against the Niners defense, who entered last week leading the NFL with only 3 passing touchdowns allowed.
Fitzpatrick completed 22 of 28 passes for 350 yards and 3 touchdowns, for an average of 12.5 yards per attempt and a nearly perfect rating of 154.5. The Jets defense is 31st in pass DVOA, and even if the Dolphins get up to a lead, I’d expect them to try to run up the score. No mercy for Gase’s squad.
The Jets are not just bad, they are anti-competitive. Their closest game all season was a 9-point loss to the Broncos with Brett Rypien at quarterback. Don’t you think Fitzmagic can beat the Jets worse than Brett Rypien? This is perhaps my least analytical pick of the season to date, but one of my most confident.
This line may be inflated towards the Dolphins a bit due to the public’s willingness to fade the Jets, but until the Jets actually beat a spread (they are 0-5 ATS), I will continue to pick against them.
The Pick: Miami -9.5
Green Bay Packers (-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
In the Battle of the Bays, Green heads to Tampa for a much more notable battle between future Hall of Fame quarterbacks Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.
Tampa Bay comes into this game as the number 2 DVOA defense to take on the red-hot Packers offense, which happens to be number 1 in DVOA. It will be interesting to see how the chess match between these two teams unfolds. The Bucs defense is legit and could slow down the Packers offense. Meanwhile, the Bucs continue to be one of the more penalized units, which suppresses their overall offensive potential.
I expect both sides to try to maintain control of the ball and limit the opposing quarterback’s possessions. Vegas has set this total sky high at 55, but even a high scoring game could fall short of that total. I’m on the lookout for what I think are inflated scores, and because of the two quarterbacks here and with Chris Godwin’s return, I think the public will be excited to take the over.
That’s why I’m on the under.
The Pick: Under 55
Lock of the Week
Los Angeles Rams (-3) at San Francisco 49ers
This is a pure mathematical value play.
The Niners were three-point favorites over the Rams in last week’s lookahead lines — the lines as they sat prior to the last week’s contests. Then, the Rams destroyed Washington and the Niners were upset by the Dolphins. Suddenly, the lines had swung six points in a matter of hours as a reaction to one game. That is the definition of a market overreaction.
Jimmy Garoppolo was not ready to return for last week’s game, and his play reflected that fact. He was immobile in the pocket recovering from an ankle injury, and his poor footwork led to both of his interceptions. The game snowballed from there, and Kyle Shanahan pulled Jimmy G to protect him from himself.
Shanahan is 5-0 against the spread as an underdog since the start of 2019. I trust Shanahan in this coaching matchup a bit more than Sean McVay, and I’m betting on the game to stay fairly close.
The Pick: San Francisco +3
How Betting Lines Work
A quick reminder for anyone unfamiliar with betting lines. “Favorites” are listed next to a negative number, which represents how many points they must win by to “cover the spread.” Titans -2.5, for example, means that Tennessee must beat the Broncos by 3 points or more for bettors to win. Gamblers can also bet on the game’s “total,” betting on whether or not the teams’ combined score in the game is over or under a pre-selected number of points.
“ML” or “moneyline” is not against the spread, just picking the winner of the game. Many people refer to the moneyline as “straight up,” but this can be confusing, because if you’re ever at a betting window in Vegas, a “straight bet” means you are betting on the point spread. Instead of saying “straight up,” you’d want to say “moneyline” when you mean to pick the winner of the game regardless of the point spread to avoid any possible confusion.