Welcome to the labyrinth.
NFL Week 6 presents an interesting array of variables, between home underdogs who don’t perform well, uncertainty at the quarterback position, and an ironic storyline.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
Redskins-Dolphins: the underdog matchup of NFL Week 6
The most unique could be a Dog Day Afternoon type of matchup between Washington and Miami, two proud franchises on the wrong end of the “o.”
These teams met in Super Bowl VII, when Miami secured the only unbeaten season in NFL history.
Now they are both winless, and, as somebody must be favored, Washington gives 3.5 points away from home on the suspected energy of a coaching change. The firing of Jay Gruden has implemented a premium of expectation for Washington.
Winless teams don’t give points on the road.
“This was a hard one to make a number for,” said John Murray, executive director for the race and sports book operation at the Westgate in Las Vegas.
“How bad Miami is is unprecedented in a lot of ways. The Dolphins are not just losing, but losing by 20 points every week. I have never seen anything like this. They are coming off their bye week and that’s not easy to factor in either.”
Maybe with a seal of approval. The Dolphins HAVE been outscored by 137 points, but they face three teams with a combined 1-12 record — the Redskins, Steelers, and Jets — over the next four weeks. If the Dolphins are going to show up at all, it will be during this stretch.
Washington’s coaching change to Bill Callahan will bring a sufficient dose of paranoia to the players. If they are going to show up, it will be this week.
For those with an angle on this game, play with confidence.
When the books are perplexed about making a line, bettors have a wide lane of confidence. Just as horse-race bettors will find winners in a maiden claiming $5,000 race, you can cash a wager in this bottom-of-the-barrel match.
The quarterback quandary in NFL Week 6
Two variables clash in the Steelers-Chargers game, Murray indicated.
Devlin Hodges, the third-string quarterback, replaced injured Mason Rudolph late in the Steelers’ overtime loss (but cover) against the Ravens.
Much of what he directed was on the ground, and he’ll need to gain credibility as a passer to keep the Chargers’ defense honest. Murray said Hodges was “competent” against Baltimore, but will that be enough?
Pittsburgh went to a few wildcat plays to add some running game depth. They are now being led by a QB who was cut one week before the season.
The Chargers have under-achieved amid an expected 10-game win total. They are a disappointing 2-3 and, in Murray’s assessment, a sub-par home team.
“We can always expect the line to go down because the sharpies don’t trust this team at home,” Murray said in the wake of the Chargers’ setback to Denver last week. The Chargers were a favorite that went down from 6.5 to 4 points and then lost the game outright.
“We see that every week. We don’t have to put a number too high on them to attract action from the other side. They are not a strong home team. Another weak home team is Washington because their fans have stopped showing up. You heard a lot of New England fans last week at their game.”
Murray said that Jacksonville, the Jets, and Detroit are getting respected play by the bettors.
“Everybody was jumping on New Orleans at the beginning of the week, but that number has been shifting to Jacksonville,” Murray said as the midweek number settled on Jacksonville giving 1.5 points. “It looks like there will be a lot of sharp money on Jacksonville by the weekend.”
Murray added that the Jets coming off a bye week are gaining respect on the expectation of Sam Darnold’s return and a banged-up Cowboys offensive line. The Jets are getting seven as a home dog.
Detroit has gained surging interest for its Monday Night game in Green Bay, with the line moving from 6 down to 3.5.
New Jersey bettors return to Eagles fandom
Matt Stetz, the COO of Rush Street Interactive, which operates SugarHouse Sportsbook in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, views a major trend in the Cleveland-Seattle battle.
“On Monday night, before Cleveland played poorly in San Francisco, the Browns were giving 2.5 points to Seattle,” he indicated. “That line has moved to 1.5 points with Seattle as the favorite. That’s a major swing. The Seahawks got 90% of the early money.”
Anyone playing Seattle before the Monday Night game feels well-positioned now.
Stetz added that Eagles fans, who went off them when they lost to Detroit and when they upset Green Bay, continue their prodigal son march home and have bet them again.
The Eagles are supported by 83% of the wagering money in SugarHouse’s backyard, Stetz said, before they play the Vikings as a three-point road dog.
A five-team parlay wins big
As in past weeks, Stetz announced a winning SugarHouse ticket that took aggressive optimism to new levels. It was a five-team parlay that included the Bills on the moneyline against the Titans, the Eagles adjusted to 20.5-point favorites against the Jets, the Patriots adjusted to 24-point picks against the Redskins, the Cardinals getting 4.5 against the Bengals, and the over-under of 47 points in that game.
It was a whopping $150 play and returned $17,300.
Think of the potholes to overcome in that ticket. The Patriots were giving 24 and gave up the first touchdown of the game but covered that number by two. And the Cardinals game needed overtime.
What a call. Four of those teams played on the road. It was an unusual and well-rewarded insight.
That’s the magic of the NFL.