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The Browns host the Seahawks after getting trounced on “Monday Night Football,” while the Panthers and Buccaneers take their NFC South rivalry across the pond. How are our experts betting both of these games?
They reveal their favorite bets of Week 6, featuring spread picks for the following games:
● Panthers vs. Buccaneers (in London): 9:30 a.m. ET
● Eagles at Vikings: 1 p.m. ET
● Saints at Jaguars: 1 p.m. ET
● Seahawks at Browns: 1 p.m. ET
Now let’s dig in.
Buccaneers +2.5 vs. Panthers
Analysis provided by John Ewing
The Panthers have won three in a row, and Christian McCaffrey has been a big part of their success. Carolina’s stud running back leads the league in rushing (587 yards) and is 10-1 to win the MVP.
The Panthers have played well lately, but are we sure they’re good?
Despite McCaffrey’s heroics, their offense ranks 21st in Football Outsiders’ offensive DVOA. A win is a win, but during their hot streak, one victory came over the Cardinals and the other two were decided by seven or fewer points.
More than 60 percent of bets are on Carolina as of writing (see live public betting data here), but history says the Bucs have value. Since 2003, it’s been profitable to bet against teams with a winning record early in the season that didn’t make the playoffs the year before, like the Panthers.
Given my colleague Sean Koerner’s 1.5-point projected spread for this game, it’s fair to say this line is inflated. I’d bet the Buccaneers at any plus-money odds.
Vikings -3 vs. Eagles
Analysis provided by Matthew Freedman
Under head coach Mike Zimmer (since 2014), the Vikings have had all sorts of against the spread edges.
They have been a profitable regular-season team to back:
● At home: 29-12-1, 36.6% ROI
● As favorites: 32-15-1, 31.8% ROI
● Outside of division: 39-13-1, 45.1% ROI
These trends make sense within the context of who Zimmer is as a coach and what kind of team the Vikings are.
Zimmer is focused, no-nonsense and risk-adverse. His process-oriented, defense-directed management makes the Vikings a disciplined team that doesn’t often make big mistakes.
They don’t waste the natural advantage they have at home. They don’t play down to the level of their underdog opponents. They don’t present a known and easy challenge to teams that aren’t familiar with them.
As non-divisional home favorites, the Vikings are 18-2-1 against the spread (71.9% ROI).
Jaguars -1 vs. Saints
Analysis provided by Mike Randle
This was a strange opening line.
The Saints are coming off impressive home wins over the previously undefeated Dallas and a Tampa Bay team that trounced the Rams 55-40 at home. The Jags, meanwhile, are 2-3 and still haven’t resolved their friction with Jalen Ramsey.
But the Jaguars should be able to generate more pressure on Teddy Bridgewater than either of the Saints’ past two home opponents. Jacksonville logged nine sacks in its last home game against Tennessee and added three more at Carolina last Sunday. Bridgewater struggles against defenses that pressure him, ranking only 20th at the position with a 35 percent pressured completion rate.
And I’m officially a believer in Gardner Minshew, who has thrown seven touchdown passes and no interceptions over his past four starts. D.J. Chark has shown promise with Minshew at the helm and Dede Westbrook has recovered from his slow start, with 26 targets and 17 receptions over his past three games.
This line feels low. If Ramsey returns, I like it even more. Even if he doesn’t, I would bet this line up to Jaguars -2.
Browns +1.5 vs. Seahawks
Analysis provided by George Stuckey
As a result of the Browns’ blowout loss to the 49ers on “Monday Night Football,” the consensus has now flipped to them being terrible again. But generally speaking, NFL teams are never as good or as bad as they appear in any individual week.
We’ve seen this story with the Browns a few times already this season. After getting smoked in their opener against the Titans, they bounced back with a convincing win over the Jets. Then after losing at home to the Rams in Week 3 with a shorthanded squad, they responded the following week with a win in Baltimore.
To me, these early-season results speak to the fact that Cleveland is a young, and not-so-well coached squad that will go through these ups and downs.
The Browns are still a decent AFC team in my book, and should be favored at home against the fraudulent Seahawks. Sure, they’re 4-1, which looks impressive on the surface, but look at Seattle’s wins:
● Week 1: 21-20 home win over a winless Cincinnati team in a game they were out-gained by just under 200 yards
● Week 2: 28-26 road win over the Steelers, who lost Ben Roethlisberger in the first half
● Week 3: Home loss to Teddy Bridgewater and the Saints
● Week 4: 17-point road win at Arizona, but only out-gained Cards by 20 yards
● Week 5: 30-29 home win over the Rams in which a missed field goal was the deciding factor
The one bad thing about this spot is Seattle will have extra rest/prep after a Thursday night game, while Cleveland is coming back from the West Coast on a short week. But I can’t pass up the Browns as home dog here.
The Browns have been a mess at times as a result of their offensive line (among other issues), but I’m not as concerned about that group this season — their line ranks 26th in adjusted sack rate, but Seattle’s defensive line ranks 25th in that same category and 21st in adjusted line yards (a measure of run defense effectiveness, per Football Outsiders).
Baker Mayfield should have time in the pocket (assuming he doesn’t bail) to find his receivers downfield against a suspect Seahawks secondary. Just take a look at each respective team’s net yards despite a tougher schedule so far:
● Browns: +0.3 (6.2 for vs. 5.9 against) | 12-11 opponent record
● Seahawks: +0.2 (6.3 for vs. 6.1 against) | 9-15-1 opponent record
Give me the Browns at anything plus money.
Browns +1.5 vs. Seahawks, Take 2
Analysis provided by Sonny Banks
We all saw Cleveland get dismantled in primetime, and I do feel that Seattle’s extra rest has already been factored into the line.
One area I’ve focused in on for this game is in the trenches. The Browns’ offensive line has been a problem this season, but they’ve also faced a difficult schedule vs. opposing defensive lines. Four out of five teams they’ve faced are ranked inside the top eight in both adjusted line yards and adjusted sack rate. This matchup against the Seahawks, who rank middle of the pack in both categories, is actually a step down in competition for the Browns.
I do expect a better showing from the Browns’ offensive line giving Baker Mayfield more time and the opportunity to take advantage of the Seahawks through the air, where they rank as average but have only faced passing offenses with an average rank of 21st in the league.
I make this game Cleveland -1 and would bet the Browns at pick’em or better.