'Dogs to Watch - Week 6
October 11, 2017
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NFL Week 6 Underdogs to Watch
After backing the wrong big dog in last week's short board, Week 6 gives us plenty of more options to chose from with a plethora of larger spreads this week. It's quite the change from a week ago where nearly every game was lined in the +/- 3 range, and given the success of big underdogs ATS and on the ML this week, chances are the upsets will continue in Week 6.
Who those teams end up being remains to be seen, but with eight games on Sunday having point spreads of +4 or higher, it's time to break down the best candidates to pull off those upsets this week.
Odds per -BetDSI.eu
Underdogs that Qualify
Cleveland Browns (+10); ML (+360)
New York Jets (+9); ML (+350)
Miami Dolphins (+12); ML (+475)
Detroit Lions (+5); ML (+220)
Chicago Bears (+6); ML (+245)
San Francisco 49ers (+10.5); ML (+400)
Pittsburgh Steelers (+4.5); ML (+175)
New York Giants (+11.5); ML (+450)
As you can see we've got quite a few double-digit underdogs this week and most of them you can basically ignore for ML consideration. Cleveland's QB situation is in shambles and they simply don't have the playmakers to keep up with a dynamic Houston offense under Deshaun Watson, while the New York Giants are so banged up on offense that going to Denver to face a Broncos team off their bye week sets up rather well for a Denver blowout victory. Miami and San Francisco are the other two double-digit underdogs here and both of them are on the road facing teams coming off a week of rest too.
The Dolphins and their brutal offense that's yet to score 20 points in a single game is out in Atlanta to face a Falcons team itching to get back on the field after their outright loss to Buffalo two weeks ago. Atlanta may be a bit banged up as well, but there offense is so explosive that I don't see how the Dolphins have a chance of keeping that one close even if Atlanta isn't playing their best.
Meanwhile, San Francisco makes the cross-country trip to Washington for an early start time against the Redskins. Early start time games for west coast teams are always tough, and throw in the fact that they are 10-point underdogs against a team off a bye and San Francisco ML is not a play I'd remotely consider this week.
After that we've got a New York Jets team at home against the Patriots, and even New England has a rest advantage after playing on TNF. This game could end up being closer than the 9-point spread suggests, but like with many of the teams already mentioned, New York doesn't have the offensive capabilities to keep up with New England, as the Pats should win this game 99 times out of 100 SU.
That brings us to Chicago and their road game in Baltimore this week. The Mitchell Trubisky era in Chicago had and up-and-down debut on MNF, but it's clear to see that the Bears made the right choice in giving Trubisky the reigns. There are definitely going to be some growing pains this year for Bears fans – as that INT with under 3 min left will attest too – but there will be some shining moments as well for Trubisky and the Bears. This week probably won't be the latter though as I do not like to back rookie NFL QB's making their first road start of their career ATS, and especially on the ML. Baltimore seemingly got their offense in gear last week in Oakland, and this is just the type of situation the Ravens talented defense should take advantage of and dominate.
Finally we've got the Detroit Lions and Pittsburgh Steelers left on the list and both are facing tough road tests this week.
Detroit is in New Orleans to take on a Saints team that's off their bye week as well, after they shut out the aforementioned Miami Dolphins over in London in Week 4. The fact that New Orleans shut somebody out has got to be one of the most surprising results of the year of any kind, and we could very well see this defense revert back to their sub-par form as this game turns into a shootout. The total for this game is the highest on the Week 6 board (50.5), and given the passing acumen of both QB's, getting a 35-31 type game is definitely in play. If that's the case, then a Detroit ML play should definitely be “live” here as they are the team with the better defense overall, and when all it takes is one stop by a defense in a shootout-type game to win, the Lions should like their chances.
However, Pittsburgh ML may be the better bet of the two and that may be odd for some to hear given the Steelers disastrous performance against Jacksonville last week and the fact that they are in Kansas City to take on the unbeaten Chiefs. There is lots of talk about QB Ben Roethlisberger flat out not having “it” anymore after throwing 5 INT's against the Jags, but when will people stop jumping to long-term conclusions based off one bad game? Yes, Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense hasn't quite been what everyone expected this year, but this is still a very good unit from top to bottom, and bouncing back with a SU win against the league's best teams a week after losing as 8-point favorites is definitely a Steelers thing to do.
Kansas City has been spectacular through five weeks, but their defense has shown vulnerabilities at times. They've given up 20 or more points in four of their five wins, and while the narrative of this being a big revenge game for Kansas City after losing at home to the Steelers in last year's playoffs will pop up everywhere by Sunday, I wouldn't be so quick to buy into it. Pittsburgh's defense shut down this offense – minus Kareem Hunt – in that January playoff game, and dealing with an explosive RB on top of that is not going to be anything new for this Steelers defense.
While it may seem like stating the obvious as Pittsburgh's got the shortest spread of this group, they would be the first team I'd bet for the outright upset this week at +175, followed by the Detroit Lions (+220) in New Orleans.
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