warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

NFL Week 6 Betting Preview

Max Meyer |
October 10, 2013 | 12:54 p.m. PDT

Senior Sports Editor


Tom Brady and the Patriots are only one-point favorites against the Saints this week. (Keith Allison, Creative Commons)
Tom Brady and the Patriots are only one-point favorites against the Saints this week. (Keith Allison, Creative Commons)
This week in the NFL will be remembered by bettors for having the largest spread ever, which is the Denver Broncos being favored by 26.5 points over the Jacksonville Jaguars. However, the three best bets this week are all home teams, including two underdogs that I think will win outright, that aren't getting the respect from Vegas that they deserve.

RAVENS (+3) over Packers

It's clear that the Baltimore Ravens are much better at home compared to on the road. So far this season, they've beaten the Browns and Texans in Baltimore, while suffering disappointing losses against the Broncos and Bills on the road. However, last week's game in Miami in which they upset the Dolphins proved that this Ravens team has a lot of fight in them. 

When I picked the Ravens as a home underdog against the Texans in one of my best bets for Week 3, a stat that I loved was that Baltimore has only lost three regular season home games since 2010. While the Ravens' offense has struggled this season, Green Bay's defense may be the perfect cure to help them out.

The Packers are 29th in the NFL in pass defense and 20th in rushing defense. Their best defensive player, linebacker Clay Matthews, is also out for this game because of a fractured thumb. Expect the Ravens to run the ball a lot, and their offensive line received a boost this week since they acquired tackle Eugene Monroe from the Jaguars. 

The Packers offense doesn't have a big advantage in this game either. The Ravens have the second-most sacks in the NFL this season, and Green Bay's subpar offensive line won't do Aaron Rodgers any favors. 

Additionally, the Ravens have the fourth-best red-zone defense in the NFL. Since the Packers have a shaky rushing attack, this forces them to be more one-dimensional in the red zone, which helps the Ravens. The Packers will not be able to run with a lot of success this week either, as the Ravens have the eighth-best run defense in the NFL. 

I actually think the wrong team is favored in this game, and it's too bad that this line dropped from Packers -3.5. Home underdogs have been strong this season, so it's not a surprise that another one is my favorite play of the week. 

BROWNS (+3) over Lions

Here's another home underdog that should be favored. Now, I know the public will be all over the Detroit Lions because Calvin Johnson has practiced this week and will most likely be back. Additionally, who in their right mind would support Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden? 

After Brian Hoyer's torn ACL, many Browns fans were ready to throw away their season. The Vegas perception of this team has turned sour. Yet, has Weeden been given a fair shot this season? In the two games he's started, the Browns have faced tough defenses in the Ravens and Dolphins. He was also without stud wide receiver Josh Gordon, who returned from his suspension in Week 3.

Weeden took over in the middle of the game last week after Hoyer suffered his injury, and actually looked competent. He completed 13 of 24 passes for 197 yards and a touchdown. The Lions cornerbacks have struggled so far this season, and the Browns have two strong weapons in the passing game in Gordon and tight end Jordan Cameron.

While Johnson is back for the Lions, he still has to go against elite cornerback Joe Haden. The Browns pass defense has been a strength for them this season, as has their pass rush. Cleveland has 18 sacks this season, good for third-best in the NFL behind the Chiefs and Ravens. Matthew Stafford was sacked five times by the Packers last week, so he could have trouble against the Browns as well. 

Additionally, the Lions struggle big time on the road. They lost to the Cardinals, got blown out against the Packers and won a tight game against a terrible Redskins team. In fact, in the Lions last 16 road games, they are 3-12-1 against the spread. The Browns have also won four of their last five games when they've been a home underdog. Expect those trends to continue. 

PATRIOTS (-1) over Saints

It's amazing how one game can change the public perception of a team so quickly. The New England Patriots struggled mightily in a 13-6 defeat against the Bengals last week. The previously undefeated Patriots are now getting less than a field goal at home against the New Orleans Saints. The Saints defense has been quite good this season actually, but it's nowhere near the level of the Bengals' front seven. 

The Saints impressed against the Bears last week on the road, but this is still a team that plays much better at home. In fact, the last 17 times they've been a road underdog, the Saints have only won three of those games. Now they get to face an angry Tom Brady, who's streak of 52 straight games with a touchdown pass ended last week.

While the Saints defense has improved, their rush defense still has big problems. They are last in the NFL in allowing 4.93 yards per carry. If the Patriots can run the ball, unlike last week, their passing game will open up. And if superstar tight end Rob Gronkowski comes back this week like he's expected to, the Patriots offense will rebound in a big way.

Betting on the Patriots following a loss has been a recipe for success over the years. Brady is 26-14 against the spread after a loss, and eight of the times he didn't cover were when the Patriots were at least a touchdown favorite. Additionally, Brady loves to prove his competitiveness in big games, as the last eight games that Brady and the Patriots have been favored by fewer than three points, they've covered seven of them. 

Other Picks:

Giants (+7.5) over BEARS

Steelers (+2.5) over JETS

VIKINGS (-1) over Panthers

Raiders (+9.5) over CHIEFS

TEXANS (-7) over Rams

Bengals (-7) over BILLS

Eagles (-1) over BUCCANEERS

SEAHAWKS (-13) over Titans

BRONCOS (-26.5) over Jaguars

Cardinals (+11) over 49ERS

COWBOYS  (-5.5) over Redskins

CHARGERS (+1.5) over Colts

LAST WEEK 9-5 || SEASON 36-24-1 || BEST BETS 5-4



Reach Senior Sports Editor Max Meyer by email.

Follow @TheMaxMeyer



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.