There’s a reason you don’t showcase your record. Once you do, your luck, strategy, and good fortune come crashing back to Earth. If you are a regular reader here and frequent visitor of our 2021 Best Bets contest, then you’ll know that I recently highlighted my “12-3 stretch over the last three weeks (ATS)”. I followed that with a 1-3-1 record in Week 5. Included in that mess was the Packers-Bengals field-goal-a-palooza game that eventually was “won” by Mason Crosby. That landed me a push. Then there’s Nick Saban losing and Bill Belichick failing to cover against rookie QB Davis Mills and the Texans. I still can’t believe both instances happened in the same week. Now it’s time to pivot (screamed aloud like during that episode of Friends) off an ugly week, find my FRIENDS, crack open a cold beer and focus on my Week 6 Best Bets. Here’s mud in your eye.
As a reminder, Chris Humpherys (the SportsChump) – a good friend of mine through years and years of blogging – has a pick ‘em contest rolling with me for the football season. We pick our top five games by confidence (against the spread). Top selections can be from either the NFL or College Football slate.
Here are our Week 6 Best Bets for the week (all ATS), which includes both Week 6 NFL Best Bets and Week 7 College Football Best Bets. The list is ranked in order of confidence, from 50 points down to 10 (or fictional dollars, as the SportsChump prefers). I mean, you gotta keep the guy happy. It’s hard being a bartender in the hottest sports town in the country, after all.
Oh, and by the way, I’ll pepper in some more Friends references, too. THE WIFE (a monstrous Friends fan) might actually appreciate that, that is, if she can past all that sports chatter.
Yeah, on second thought, probably not. Picks time:
Week 6 Best Bets: The Wife Hates SportsChump – Friends Edition
DraftKings Sportsbook: Week 6 NFL Lines | Week 7 College Football Lines
KP’s Picks: The Wife Hates Sports
$50 NFL: Green Bay Packers (-4.5) at Chicago Bears
Yes, I’m rolling with the Cheeseheads again. Perhaps that makes me a turkey (or having a turkey on my head). Geez, all this food talk is making me hungry. Anyway, the Packers survived a wild game with the Bengals last week… a game that no one seemed to want to win. Especially the kickers. Enter the Bears and rookie Justin Fields, with his 17.7 QBR in tow. Hmm, when I mentioned the low QBR of Davis Mills last week, he gave the Pats all they could handle (and I lost that pick). Either way, Green Bay has owned this rivalry of late. The Packers have won four straight against the Bears, and nine of ten. Four of those wins have been by 16 points or more, including the last two. So, Fields outmatching Rodgers this early in his career? Not happening. Give me the Packers to cover on the road (with a side of mashed potatoes).
$40 NFL: Kansas City Chiefs (-6.5) at Washington Football Team
Both of these teams are 2-3. Yet, they feel miles apart. This vaunted Washington defense has been mowed down by opposing teams (28th against pass, 27th overall). That includes teams with lesser offenses as compared to the Chiefs. To explain in Friends speak, you would equate the WFT defense to the “ugly naked guy”. Overall, the WFT has just nine sacks in five games and the Chiefs have only allowed seven. While the numbers are similar on the flip side, it’s hard not to focus more on Patrick Mahomes – and giving him time in the pocket. Then, there’s the Washington secondary, which has been torched all year. Now, they get Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, among others. One has to expect the Football Team to eventually start to improve defensively. Then again, I wouldn’t be shocked to see KC hang a “50-burger” on them. Again with the food references, Kevin. Anyway, Chiefs cover.
$30 NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers (-5.5)
That guy Geno Smith is back. Russell Wilson is out. I still have images of Wilson’s mangled hand that looks like it was made out of Silly Putty. Smith actually led a key drive last week to keep Seattle in the game. Then he showed more of what we are used to… a game-ending pick. Still, Geno has weapons at his disposal. He could get Chris Carson back, too. Then again, Pittsburgh is 9th in rushing defense. On top of that, the Seattle defense is currently last in the league in yards allowed per game. The more you paint it, the uglier the picture gets. Steelers cover at home.
$20 College: California Golden Bears at Oregon Ducks (-13.5)
The Ducks suffered a heartbreaking loss to Stanford a few weeks back. Perhaps it was a letdown game following an emotional win over Ohio State. Now, Oregon comes off a bye week refreshed and ready to avenge last year’s loss at Cal. Overall, the Ducks have won 10 of the last 12 games in this series. This is also a Cal team that has struggled, dropping its last two games. That includes a 21-6 loss to Washington State at home last week. When you add it all up, the bigger question will be which of the 18,000 jersey combinations that the Ducks will wear. Oregon covers at home.
$10 College: Texas A&M Aggies (-8.5) at Missouri Tigers
Overall, I had a lot of games that I liked in this slot. I decided to go with the Aggies, hoping they won’t do what Oregon did after its win over Ohio State. That’s losing a game that they shouldn’t lose. These teams haven’t faced each other since 2014, so there’s not much recent history to look at. In general, after seeing A&M post 41 points against Alabama, it’s hard to not see this offense flourish against Missouri. Why? Check the Missouri defense over the last three weeks: 41 points allowed to Boston College, 62 points to Tennessee (at home), and 35 points against North Texas. For those that prefer not to do the math, that’s 138 points over three games. I’ll take Texas A&M to cover on the road.
ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN (other games I considered):
- Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5) at Detroit Lions – The Bengals nearly knocked off the Packers
- Miami Dolphins (-3) at Jacksonville Jaguars – London – 3 points and the Jags are terrible
- TCU Horned Frogs at Oklahoma Sooners (-13.5) – In Caleb we trust?
- Ole Miss Rebels (-2.5) at Tennessee Volunteers – The O/U is insane
- Purdue Boilermakers (+11.5) at Iowa Hawkeyes – Iowa overrated, but Purdue has too many injuries
- Miami Hurricanes at North Carolina Tar Heels (-7.5) – ‘Canes top QB King out for year
- BYU Cougars (+6.5) at Baylor Bears – Likely a tight game and hard fought battle
- Texas Tech Red Raiders (-16.5) at Kansas Jayhawks – Stick to hoops, KU
Give me $50 on Los Angeles Rams (-9 ½) at New York Giants
I’m not quite sure who the Giants plan to field this weekend when they host the Rams. Last week, they lost their starting quarterback to a concussion, their star running back to a turned ankle and one of their most athletic wide receivers to an alien abduction. (I’m kidding, Kenny Golladay has an injured knee.) Meanwhile, the Rams are healthy and one of the best teams in the NFC. The Rams are laying nine-and-a-half on the road but with the Giants barely able to field a team, this has all the potential to be the biggest blowout of the year. The Giants couldn’t cover this lofty spread if they were healthy never mind injured. At 1-4, with so many people out, the Giants brass may be close to calling this season a wash and hoping for a top five draft pick so why put forth the effort and get more people hurt? Rams cover.
How’s about $40 on Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers (-4 ½)
The Steelers have been good to me this season. Every time I’ve picked them to cover the spread, they have. Every time I’ve wagered on them to cover in real life, they have as well. Despite their rough start, I’m still not convinced they’re out of contention in the AFC North. Of course, I’m in the minority but I’ll be having the last laugh when I cash my +2000 ticket for them to win the division. After winning last week, that number is already down to +1400. This week, they host another team who is dangerously close to giving up on the 2021 season.
Russell Wilson is out (4-8 weeks) and we all know, he’s the driving force behind Seattle’s offense. Geno Smith will be starting in his place. That’s not going to get it done against a team on the rise. Pittsburgh has put their un-Steeler-like start behind them and have a favorable schedule their next four games. In this matchup, I see two teams going in opposite directions, with the down cycle team having to travel to the up-cycle’s home turf for a Sunday night game at home. I’m only having to lay four-and-a-half and I’m okay with that. Steelers cover.
A begrudging on Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Philadelphia Eagles (+7)
The Buccaneers are the walking wounded. The defending champs understand that the NFL is a 17-week marathon and not a sprint. It’s only Week Six and they are already dealing with some heinous injuries. Brady’s Gronkowski security blanket is out. Tampa’s secondary is depleted enough for them to beg a 32-year-old Richard Sherman to become their leading tackler. They’ll be without defensive team captain Lavonte David. While their offense had been unstoppable, their leader Tom Brady is nursing a hand injury. The Buccaneers are once again stout against the run but haven’t yet faced a scrambling quarterback quite like Jalen Hurts this season. Opposing quarterbacks have been passing at will against the Bucs questionable D. Hurts mobility should keep Tampa’s already depleted defense off balance.
The Eagles aren’t as bad as their record indicates. Keep in mind their three losses are to the Cowboys, Niners and Chiefs. While seven points is nothing for the Tampa Bay offense that has scored 30 or more points in four in its first five games this season, the Philly crowd should be less than welcoming for the Super Bowl champs. Again, this game is far more important to Philadelphia than it is to Tampa. We didn’t give Tampa Bay many losses on the season but this could be one if they don’t manage the game properly. In a short week with all their injuries, the Eagles should give Tompa Brady all they want so I will begrudgingly take the Eagles plus the seven points as the Bucs will be lucky to escape from there with a win.
A even more begrudging $20 on Miami Dolphins at Jacksonville Jaguars (+3 ½)
Call me nutty but after the newsworthy week Urban Meyer has had, I’d be absolutely insane to bet on the guy. He’s one bad loss away from joining Jon Gruden in the NFL unemployment line. As sketchy as Coach Meyer is, as little as his college game translates into the pros, as many rumors as we’ve heard about him losing the faith of the Jacksonville locker room, I still can’t see Coach Meyer going out like that. He’s still a competitive guy coaching other competitive guys who want to win ball games. Whether or not they like Urban Meyer, the Jaguars are still going to out and compete. This is the perfect week for them to do so. They face a Miami Dolphins team that has failed to live up to expectations.
Miami finished 10-6 last year but is currently 1-4. They are 31st in the league in yards per play. The only team in the league they’d probably be favored against, which they are, is the Jacksonville Jaguars. We’re sending these two teams over to England to play in Tottenham Hotspur Stadium where fans will probably be wishing they had bad soccer to watch instead. Trevor Lawrence is starting to find a groove. Against a non-threatening defense like Miami’s, the Jags just might have what it takes to get their first win of the season. I’m getting three-and-a-half so I’ll take the Jaguars and the points. Either way, one of these coaches is coming home to a stern talking to, at a minimum.
And finally, $10 on Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts (-9 ½)
Frank Reich is tired of losing. A solid coach in his own right, his Colts have dramatically underperformed. Last Monday night, Indy held a fourth quarter, sixteen-point lead only to see Lamar Jackson go full Tecmo Bowl and beat them in overtime. Note: Lamar Jackson does that to a lot of people. This week, the Colts face the Houston Texans and will be looking to exact some revenge. The Colts are still stuck in will-Carson-Wentz-work mode while Eagles fans already know the answer. But this is how bad the Texans are. The Colts are 1-4 and are nine-and-a-half point favorites! Vegas wants you to be bold this week and lay the points this week. I am. Reich rights the ship, at least long enough to beat a division opponent. Colts cover.
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Good luck, my friend… although I don’t really mean it.