NFL Week 6 Recap: What bettors learned

No matter how you slice it, betting the NFL is a week-to-week proposition. Every week there are a couple of games that just kill a betting bankroll. But, there is always something that can be learned and used moving forward as the season grinds along.

The Pack and the Bucs

Please raise your hand if you cashed on the Jets over the Packers and the Steelers over the Buccaneers last week, because no one saw those two upsets coming. Most likely, no one had the two Bays, with not only losing ATS records, but at just .500 through the first six weeks of the NFL season.

Prior to the 2022 NFL  season, there were just three teams with NFL season win totals of 11 games or more and now, with the slow 3-3 starts and upsets for the Pack and the Bucs, only the Bills seem destined to go over that total.

The Packers head to Washington to take on the worst team in the NFC East and then continue on the road to Buffalo, in what may be a make or break game for the Packers season. They then head to Detroit for their 3rd road game in a row before going back to Lambeau to take on the Cowboys, who will have Dak back by then. It’s looking alot like the Pack may still be .500 after Week 10. Tamp Bay has a similar road through Week 10, with what looks like an easy road game against the worst team in the league, Carolina, before taking on the Ravens at home. Then a home game vs. the Rams before another seemingly easy home game against the Seahawks. To think that Tampa Bay and Green Bay will be 5-5 after week 10 proves that anything can be possible in the NFL in 2022.

The Bucs are 10.5 point favorites this Sunday, but the early money and bets are leaning Carolina to cover the big point spread. Tom Brady and the Buccaneers offense have had trouble scoring, with just one game where they put up more than 21, their only game that went over the total so far this season. The Panthers are banged up at QB, with Baker Mayfield and backup PJ Walker both listed as questionable for Sunday’s matchup. This game is screaming to take the Bucs, but this isn’t Bruce Arians calling the shots or Brady in his 30s. It may be that between father time and a coaching change, the Bucs aren’t the money machine of years past for bettors.

The Packers head to Washington to take on the Commanders and frankly, the number of 5.5 is scary. Shouldn’t the Pack be favored by more than a TD vs. a Commanders team that hasn’t scored more than 17 points in a month? And their 2-4 record is a bit deceiving as their win last week was against the Bears on Thursday night, in a game that somebody had to win. But betting the NFL is week-to-week adventure and after losses to both the Jets and Giants on back-to-back weeks, the public is backing the Pack so far in Week 7.

The Packers look like a team in disarray. Aaron Rodgers told Pat McAfee on his show this week that there is no need to panic but added, “we need to lock in a little bit more and simplify things in our own mind.” Rodgers has thrown just 27 passes of more than 20 yards through six games and completed just 8. The offense is ranked behind teams like Seattle and Atlanta and the defense can’t stop the run. With three road games in a row, it may be time to start fading the Pack.

Under the Total

Betting under the total is still ruling the roost. 19 teams have gone under the total more times than over and just five teams have gone over the total in more than half of their games. Surprisingly, Cleveland is 5-1 over the total and Detroit, Jacksonville, Las Vegas and New Orleans are the only other teams to go over the final betting totals more than 50% of the time. 

Last week, we pointed out in this space how 59.5% of the games had gone under the total in the first 5 weeks. In Week 6, ten more games went under the total. With many teams either banged up or just plain terrible on offense, this trend should continue, especially with a few totals that look inflated posted for Week 7.

Oddsmakers are taking notice of the under trend as currently there are just six games with totals at 45 or more. That includes a 49 for the Lions/Cowboys matchup and a whopping 51 for Seahawks at Chargers game (down from 53). 

Two games where the under warrants a long look this weekend are the Bears at Patriots, where the total has risen from 38.5 to over 40 at most of the top sportsbooks and the Jets at Broncos, where the current total of 38.5 has dropped 4 points from the opening number of 42.5. The Bears are just plain awful and the Patriots have given up just 15 points over the last two games! Yet this number has gone up? Maybe bettors are seeing a 30 point Patriots win? 40 looks like a good point to play under  here. The Broncos have gone over the total just once this season and have put up more than 20 only once. The Broncos have scored just seven touchdowns over their first six games. In their four wins, the Jets have put up some big numbers and the New York defense has given up just 278 total yards per game and a 25% third-down conversion rate. There is a reason this total has dropped so far and betting the train may have left the station for betting under in this matchup.

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