• Bet Ravens -6 at Giants: Toughest game of the season for Giants, and it’s doubtful they have the offense capable of keeping pace with the Ravens (eighth in EPA per play and sixth in PFF pass-blocking grade).
• Lean Browns -2.5 vs. Patriots: Cleveland is arguably a few plays away from AFC North lead and the Browns' run game is the NFL's best.
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Last updated: Fri. Oct. 14, 11:05 a.m.
Estimated reading time: 6 mins
There's arguably no sport more difficult, nor exciting, to bet on than NFL football. Information is both scarce in utility and abundant in opinion. Markets are so finely tuned and so heavily wagered that there are few opportunities to gain an edge over the oddsmakers.
Enter a model capable of making ATS picks with long-term success.
A majority of the most profitable NFL bettors use some kind of projection tool to help guide their wagers. Such a tool will be provided to the reader today, and for the rest of the NFL regular season. It is important to note that these projections are not gospel but merely a compass toward identifying an edge in a razor-thin market that is betting NFL spreads.
Week 6 Best Bets
Baltimore Ravens (-6) @ New York Giants
Model Line — Ravens (-7.5)
Wink Factor: Much credit to the Giants' coaching staff for the team’s hot start, but now it’s time to come down to Earth. The Giants have had the fortune of playing some of the worst teams in the NFL and will likely struggle to slow down opposing QB Lamar Jackson. Further, Giants DC Wink Martindale is prone to generate pressure via the blitz, and Lamar has excelled when opposing teams have come after him.
Elite Baltimore Offense: Jackson is playing at an MVP level and should be able to navigate the Giants defense with ease. The Ravens rank second in Offensive DVOA, and the unit should only get better as it continues to integrate LT Ronnie Stanley into the starting lineup and as WR Rashod Bateman returns from injury.
Bottom Line: This is the toughest game of the season for New York, and it’s doubtful the Giants have an offense capable of keeping pace with the Ravens. It is crucial for the Ravens that they string together consecutive wins, and this is an overall bad matchup for the Giants.
Carolina Panthers (+10) @ Los Angeles Rams
Model Line — Rams (-7.5)
Addition by Subtraction: The Panthers are clearly reeling, and this line is both a reflection of and an overreaction to that. Through five weeks, QB Baker Mayfield is the lowest-graded QB per PFF and currently ranks last at the position in total EPA. There is a real chance that the team is more competitive with Rhule having been relieved of his duties and P.J. Walker starting while Baker is sidelined with an ankle injury
Hungover Rams: The reigning Super Bowl champions are not without problems of their own. The Rams offense ranks 25th in both passing and rushing DVOA, and the unit will be starting its fourth different center through six weeks. Carolina’s defensive prowess has not been a reason for the 1-4 start, and the Panthers' defensive line should be able to consistently pressure QB Matthew Stafford.
Bottom Line: Los Angeles has stumbled out of the gate, and this line is inflated because of the Panthers’ decision to fire Rhule. Carolina’s defense should keep this game close, and the team may be better suited to cover the spread without Mayfield in the starting lineup.
Denver Broncos (+4.5) @ Los Angeles Chargers
Model Line — Chargers (-3.5)
Stout Denver Defense: The Broncos' struggles cannot be attributed to their defensive play. The unit ranks third in EPA / Play, second in Pass DVOA, and has the third-ranked Pass Rushing Grade per PFF. Injuries to key contributors such as ED Randy Gregory should temper expectations, but the unit still should be regarded as one of the best in the NFL.
Regression Spot: The Chargers are 4-1 ATS, whereas Denver has stumbled to a 1-4 ATS start. If not in this game, expect regression from both teams to occur at some point this year. Lines are too accurate for any team to sustain such success throughout the season.
Bottom Line: The Broncos have been heavily featured in primetime games this season, and their sluggish start has influenced this line. Denver’s defense should be able to keep this game close, and the team should sustain offensive success versus an exploitable Chargers’ run defense. This is a great opportunity to be a contrarian and back the struggling Broncos.
Week 6 Leans
Cleveland Browns (-2.5) vs New England Patriots
Model Line — Browns (-3)
Buy Low, Sell High: Cleveland has led in all three of its losses this season and are a few plays away from being in sole possession of first place in the AFC North. In other words, the Browns' record is not an indictment of their on-field play. The Browns comfortably have the best rushing attack in the NFL, and QB Jacoby Brissett is currently eighth in EPA per Dropback. The Patriots' win versus the Lions was impressive, but the shutout victory is likely a result of Detroit’s own issues.
Seattle Seahawks (+2.5) vs Arizona Cardinals
Model Line — Seattle (-5.5)
Breaking News: The Seahawks have one of the best offenses in the NFL. The unit currently ranks first in Offensive DVOA, sixth in EPA / Play, and is the eighth-best unit per PFF. The model might very well be overconfident in Seattle’s chances of winning this game, but the adoration is warranted. Don’t be scared of monsters under the bed — Seattle QB Geno Smith is playing lights-out, and there is no reason to expect a regression game versus the Cardinals.
Tommy's spread picks went 0-3 in Week 5, bringing his season record to 9-12 (-4.2 units).
How PFF contributor Tommy Jurgens' Projections Work:
A myriad of both objective and subjective ratings are employed in a logistic regression model to determine the likelihood that each team will win the game outright. By this determined win probability, a spread is assigned to each game and compared to the consensus line.
This model has successfully identified the outright victor at a near 67% rate and has chosen the ATS winner at an efficiency greater than 53% since 2006.
One can find all of the projected picks for Week 6 here.