I don’t claim to be an expert at betting football games.
After all, gambling is, by definition, a bit of a toss-up. If you manage to come out of a season with anywhere around 55% of your bets earning a profit, you can afford to pat yourself on the back. Getting to that point is the hard part, but my aim is to help you do that across a season with some under the radar wagers.
What gambling on football does allow us to do is have a little bit of fun with games we might not normally be interested in. While wagering on the spread and total points is the norm, your best bet might be to eschew these and go with more unconventional options.
While Week 6 did not shake us up and down, turn us inside out and toss us – and our wallets – aside like Week 5, it remained unpredictable. This is purely anecdotal, but doesn’t it seem as though the NFL this season is wilder than ever? Just when we believe we have a grasp on Team X, they go and disappoint us.
It was another profitable week for yours truly, as three of the four bets yielded dividends for the second week in a row. I hope you were right there with me on a handful of these bets. Let’s see what we did right last week before tucking in to the feast of Week 6 games on the slate.
WEEK 5 RECAP
WIN: Home team total points: Indianapolis Colts OVER 26.5 points vs. Chicago @ 8/11
It was dicey there for a few minutes, but the Colts managed to pass the all-important 26.5-point threshold with a beautiful touchdown strike to T.Y. Hilton. When the Colts play at home they invariably produce a decent points total, so this isn’t a massive shock. The concern moving forward is whether the Indianapolis offensive line can keep Andrew Luck healthy. The leaky Colts defense should provide plenty of opportunities to pile up points.
LOSS: Away team total points: Buffalo Bills UNDER 19 points at Los Angeles @ 5/6
My only miss of the week, and one I don’t feel too bad about. The Rams failed to match the intensity of the Bills in this game, and Rex Ryan’s team took advantage with a shutdown defensive display when it mattered. What we have to remember is that the Rams are still being led on offense by journeyman Case Keenum. The Jared Goff clock continues to tick ominously in the background, but I can’t see them turning to the rookie until the season is out of reach. In other takeaways, the Bills might just be a good team.
WIN: Longest successful FG: Nick Novak (Houston) at Minnesota @ 11/10
Last week I predicted the Texans were ‘always a candidate to produce a dud’ – and they did just that, but in the end it didn’t matter. Nick Novak came up trumps with a pair of 30+-yard field goals, while Minnesota only needed Blair Walsh’s services for a chip shot 19-yard attempt late in the game. Houston might be a candidate to ride as far as this bet goes, though how wise it is to rely on kicker bets from week to week I am not sure.
WIN: New England (-10.5) at Cleveland @ evens
I sincerely hope you, like I, profited handsomely from this spread. The Browns have no business being on the same field as the Patriots, and Tom Brady showed us why that is the case. Things were far too easy for the 39-year-old quarterback as he diced up the hapless Cleveland defense like it didn’t exist. Not for one moment did I fear a backdoor cover from the home team. The interesting thing will be how much Vegas adjusts the point spreads for Patriots games moving forward. If they overcompensate we can look to take advantage.
WEEK 5 RECORD: 3-1
SEASON RECORD: 11-9-0 (0.550)
WEEK 6 PUNTS
Away team total points: Kansas City over 24 points at Oakland @ evens
Andy Reid’s teams have a long history of impressing off the bye week. The Chiefs will be especially eager to wipe the slate clean after the drubbing they received in Pittsburgh, and this is a pivotal divisional game as well. The ingredients are there for a rebound game. The Raiders defense may have the personnel on paper, but they have yet to put it all together. I believe the Chiefs will take advantage and should exceed 24 points in what will be a tight, cagey affair.
Total points under 44 - Cleveland at Tennessee @ 20/21
The Browns could have Terrelle Pryor starting at quarterback in Nashville this Sunday. Seriously, that is a possibility. By now the dysfunctional Browns quarterback situation has turned from a headache to a full-blown migraine for this organisation. The Titans, meanwhile, let the reins off Marcus Mariota last week and their rushing attack appears to be legitimate. If the Titans can establish that ground game and shorten this contest, I believe their defense will be able to do enough to stop whoever Cleveland’s quarterback is. This feels like a 17-10 Titans victory.
Home team total points: San Diego under 21 points vs. Denver @ 5/6
The Broncos should welcome back Trevor Siemian to the fold for this Thursday night match-up, sending an overwhelmed Paxton Lynch back to the bench. The Atlanta game plan against Denver successfully exploited their linebackers’ coverage ability, but the Chargers might struggle to replicate the talents of the dynamic duo of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. I expect another wild and wacky Thursday night contest, but defense travels – and this Broncos unit is more than capable of shutting down Philip Rivers and company.
Two-team teaser: New England Patriots (-2.5) & Pittsburgh (-1.5)
I don’t normally dabble in two-team bets, but this one jumped out to me. By moving the spread for each game six points, we can get New England -2.5 and Pittsburgh -1.5 to beat two teams, Cincinnati and Miami respectively, who they should handle with relative ease. New England may have the tougher task against a Bengals outfit capable of hanging with them, but one expects home advantage to be telling. Pittsburgh are on a roll and should easily dispose of the Dolphins, who are lifeless and without direction right now.
WATCH LIST – SEASON-LONG BETS
Dallas Cowboys UNDER 9.5 wins @ 5/6
I can’t help but be impressed by this Cowboys team. The prevailing opinion around seems to be that Tony Romo will walk back into a starting gig, but is that really the right thing to do? Dak Prescott has such a command of this offense and is playing with such poise, why would you mess with that? At 4-1, the Cowboys are rolling and should at least split the next four games. The under 9.5 bet looks to be in danger.
Next four games: @ GB, v PHI, @ CLE, @ PIT
Tennessee to win AFC South @ 17/2
At 2-3, the Titans are in a great position to put together a run. Three home games are coming up on the schedule, two of which are in the division. If Mike Mularkey ever needed a reason for optimism, this is it. This team has a ground game that can frustrate any opponent. If they can get more out of Marcus Mariota, they have a legitimate shot to steal this division.
Next four games: v CLE, v IND, v JAX, @ SD
Sterling Shepard to win Offensive Rookie of the Year @ 20/1
I think it is safe to bury this one now. If either Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott or Carson Wentz doesn’t win this award, I will be shocked. The Giants passing game is not looking to be firing on all cylinders either, so hopes of a spike in production would be ill-advised.
Make sure to check back next week for more betting tips ahead of Week 7’s slate of games. Follow me on Twitter @davlar87.