It was a bounce back for “Casino” Joe in Week 5, going 9-6 against the spread and improving the season’s record to 37-36-2 ATS.
Week 6 hands us a tough slate of games as no spread is currently in the double digits.
Indianapolis (-3) at Houston Texans
We kick off Week 6 with a divisional showdown on Thursday Night Football in the Lone Star State. Both teams are 4-1 ATS and are playing for first place. The Colts have won three in a row, two against Jacksonville and Tennessee – a combined 1 win – and go back on the road after a hard-fought win over the Baltimore Ravens. An above-average home team getting 3 points with a good defense AND on a short week is a good situation to back.
THE PICK: Texans (+3)
Denver (-8) at N.Y. Jets
Peyton Manning’s Broncos are 1-3 so far against the spread and that lone cover came last week against Arizona. Luckily for us they are playing the New York Jets who have yet to cover a spread (0-4-1) and have no clue who their starting quarterback should be. We thought they’d give a good effort last week in San Diego, but instead they were thoroughly dominated from the starting whistle. It’s too hard to back the Jets at all until they should the team shows a heartbeat.
THE PICK: Broncos (-8)
Pittsburgh at Cleveland (-1.5)
Ben Roethlisberger is 18-1 in his career against the Browns. That’s right, 18 wins and one loss against his divisional rival. People will see Pittsburgh struggled in Jacksonville and how the Browns came back from a 25-point deficit last week and will hustle to lay the Browns. But we’re talking about the Browns. And we’re talking 18-1.
THE PICK: Steelers (+1.5)
Jacksonville at Tennessee (-6)
Two bad teams. Two really bad teams. No word on if Jake Locker is playing or not, but it doesn’t look good as he injured his thumb on Sunday. Charlie Whitehurst has shown he’s not capable of winning a football game as a starting quarterback and the Jags smell blood. They played the Steelers tough last week until a late pick-six did them in. They keep this one close in Tennessee this week.
THE PICK: Jaguars (+6)
Chicago at Atlanta (-3)
Both teams’ defenses have not played well yet this season, but these clubs have prolific offenses. The Falcons have lost two straight on the road and return to the friendly confines of the Georgia Dome where they are 2-0. You can always count on a Jay Cutler turnover or two, especially on the road and if the Falcons capitalize, they’ll leave this game 3-3.
THE PICK: Falcons (-3)
Green Bay (-3.5) at Miami Dolphins
The Packers have turned it on since Aaron Rodgers told fans to “r-e-l-a-x.” They buried the Bears in impressive fashion and looked even more dominant at home against the hapless Minnesota Vikings. This is the perfect time to fade the Packers. The Dolphins are off a bye and get the returns of many injured bodies, most notably Mike Pouncey. The Dolphins already sport the 5th best rushing attack in football and going up against the league’s worst rush defense in Green Bay, the Dolphins should be looking to control the clock and keep Aaron Rodgers on the sidelines.
THE PICK: Dolphins (+3.5)
Detroit (-1.5) at Minnesota
Calvin Johnson is not going to play in this game as he can’t shake the pain of a high ankle sprain. Stafford is a different quarterback without the All-Pro wideout. And not in a good way. Their running back tandem of Joique Bell (concussion) and Reggie Bush (ankle) are banged up. Meanwhile, Minnesota gets their playmaker back in Teddy Bridgewater after last Thursday’s embarrassing loss. The players will feel the jolt Bridgewater provides and take down the underachieving Lions.
THE PICK: Vikings (+1.5)
Carolina at Cincinnati (-7)
The Panthers got a much needed win last week at home against the Chicago Bears after being down 21-7 at one point in the first half. Cincinnati looks like they’ll be without A.J. Green for Sunday’s game, which leaves the Bengal’s receiver corps very thin. Cam Newton is starting to look healthy and the defense will ride the momentum of the second half comeback over the Bears.
THE PICK: Panthers (+7)
New England (-3) at Buffalo
The Patriots are back? They are back, right? Everyone said they were done after we correctly backed the Chiefs in the primetime beatdown two weeks ago. But then they come out and dismantle the Bengals Sunday night and quiet the critics. Buffalo escaped Detroit with a win thanks to a kicker – now unemployed – going 0-3 in field goal attempts last Sunday. Kyle Orton played well, but can he do it again?
THE PICK: Patriots (+3)
Baltimore (-3) at Tampa Bay
Are the Buccaneers going to come out flat after their overtime loss in New Orleans last week? They left everything on the field giving the Saints all they could handle, but ultimately came up short. If the team they were facing was coming off a win, maybe they’d overlook the Bucs. But the Ravens are an experienced bunch who is hungry to bounce back from a loss at Indianapolis in Week 5.
THE PICK: Ravens (-3)
San Diego (-7) at Oakland
San Diego has covered every spread so far this year as they are a perfect 5-0 ATS. They stay on the West Coast and in the same state to face an Oakland team with a new head coach. During the bye week they fired head coach Dennis Allen and named Tony Sparano the interim head coach for the remainder of 2014. If anyone remembers Sparano from his days as Miami’s head coach, you’ll remember a firy guy who got his team to play hard and loved to run the ball. This Oakland team isn’t very good, but they are off a bye and may play hard for their new head coach.
THE PICK: Raiders (+7)
Dallas at Seattle (-8)
Best game on the Week 6 slate for entertainment purposes. For betting purposes, not so much. Dallas is 3-2 ATS and have won four in a row overall. They come in with the #1 overall rushing attack to take on Seattle’s #1 rushing defense. What gives? Tony Romo is playing at a great level. But Russell Wilson may be playing even better. He’s only lost one game at home in his career. This is the game Jason Garrett panics and throws the ball more than he should against a great secondary.
THE PICK: Seahawks (-8)
Washington at Arizona (-3.5)
Carson Palmer is on schedule to start this game, but no one knows for sure with his dead shoulder. If he can’t play they are in trouble as Drew Stanton suffered a concussion and Logan Thomas is a rookie with little experience. The Washington football team showed signs of life on Monday night against the defending champs and ride that momentum in to a cover in the dessert.
THE PICK: Washington (+3.5)
N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia (-3)
This looks like it’s adding up to be a great NFC East battle. Both teams are 3-2 ATS and the Giants offense has looked clinical the last two weeks. Philadelphia, despite being 4-1 is struggling to run the ball. Their defense has been scoring touchdowns and finding the end zone on special teams, but they are doing with smoke and mirrors. The Giants and Eli Manning are playing well.
THE PICK: Giants (+3)
San Francisco (-3.5) at St. Louis
St. Louis gave it everything they had to come back against Philadelphia last week and almost pulled off the upset. However, they still are a below average team with an undrafted rookie as their quarterback. Jim Harbaugh and his defense must be licking their chops. The 9ers come in 3-2 ATS, while the Rams are 1-3. The Rams are tied for the 3rd worst in the NFL against the run defensively. The 9ers coincidentally are the 3rd BEST rushing team. Big mismatch on Monday night. 9ers roll.
THE PICK: 49ers (+3.5)
Follow Joe on Twitter @jscum13.
All lines are courtesy of www.vegasinsider.com.