Upcoming Match-ups

NFL Picks Against the Spread for Week 6

Chris Amberley

by Chris Amberley in NFL Football

Oct 15, 2021 · 6:00 AM PDT

Davis Mills slings a pass
Houston Texans quarterback Davis Mills throws a pass against the New England Patriots during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
  • Week 6 of the 2021 NFL season continues Sunday, October 17th
  • Our best bets last week were 0-3 (2021 season: 5-10, -5.9 units)
  • Read below for analysis on the Week 6 NFL slate and our favorite ATS picks

Week 6 on the NFL calendar continues on Sunday (October 17th) with 12 more games for us to sweat. The action kicks off bright and early from England, but our focus will be on the 1 pm and 4 pm ET windows.

This week’s ATS betting card is made up entirely of underdogs. The teams we’re backing won’t blow you away in the win-loss column, but they’re still showing serious value against their respective point spreads.

Week 6 ATS Picks

Matchup Spread Pick Units Risked
Houston Texans vs Indianapolis Colts IND (-10) HOU (+10) 1
Green Bay Packers vs Chicago Bears GB (-5.5) CHI (+5.5) 1
Dallas Cowboys vs New England Patriots DAL (-3.5) NE (+3.5) 1

Odds as of  Oct. 14th at FanDuel and DraftKings. See bottom for rest of Week 6 Picks.

The matchup featuring the Texans and Colts is about as ugly as it gets. Indy is currently a 10-point favorite, but Houston showed signs of life last week, while the Colts are riddled with injuries.

Texans Cover vs Colts

As of Thursday evening, six Indianapolis starters are not practicing, putting their Week 6 status in serious doubt. Among them are number one corner Xavier Rhodes, free safety Andrew Sendejo, top pass rusher Kemoko Turay, and stud right tackle Braden Smith. Don’t forget All-Pro left guard Quenton Nelson is on IR, and Carson Wentz is dealing with injuries to both his ankles.

The defensive injuries allowed Baltimore to post video game numbers on Monday Night Football in Week 5, erasing a 20-point deficit and claiming victory in overtime. The Texans are not to be confused with the Ravens from an offensive standpoint, but Davis Mills exceeded expectations versus a strong New England defense last Sunday, and should be able to move the ball on the Colts.

Indy boasts the league’s second worst coverage unit per Pro Football Focus, while ranking 27th in tackling and 22nd in pass rush win rate. They’ve coughed up at least 25 points in four of five outings, and have yet to eclipse 27 points on offense.

Houston’s defense is better than expected, ranking 15th in defensive DVOA. Given the injury concerns on the Colts o-line, coupled with Wentz’s bum ankles, Indy certainly doesn’t profile as a worthy double-digit favorite. Take the points.

Bears Surprise Packers

Our next underdog target is Chicago at home against rival Green Bay. The Bears opened as a 4.5-point underdog, but the line has since moved a full point in the Packers favor.

Getting Chicago at +5.5 is a clear buy, especially given how underwhelming Green Bay has been, despite its 4-1 record. The Packers are the only 4-win team with a negative point differential, and have seen a steep decline in their offensive production from a year ago. They were the NFL’s highest scoring team in 2020, but this season they’re averaging only 24 points per game, while ranking 26th in early down success rate and 27th in red zone conversions.

The Bears lead the league in sacks and have been playing at a very high level on defense over the past two weeks. They’ve held their last two opponents to 23 total points and could wreak havoc on the reigning MVP. Aaron Rodgers has struggled under pressure this season, posting a 47% adjusted completion percentage and a dismal 37.7 grade per PFF with heat in his face.

Green Bay’s defense meanwhile, has allowed its opponents to convert all 13 of their red zone trips into touchdowns and is still missing their top pass rusher Za’Darius Smith and arguably the NFL’s best corner Jaire Alexander.

Chicago has found its offensive identity by pounding the rock which lines up well versus the Packers. Green Bay ranks 29th in run defense DVOA, ahead of only Houston, the LA Chargers, and KC.

Patriots Upset Cowboys

Our final underdog target is New England, who’s catching 3.5-points versus red-hot Dallas. The Cowboys have won four straight and are 5-0 ATS, but are no longer the fun, hair on fire offense we saw when Dak Prescott was under center last season. Instead, Dallas is winning games by running the football and playing good defense. But just how good is the Cowboys’ D?

Dallas ranks eighth in run defense DVOA and seventh against the pass, but has surrendered more yards than all but seven teams. They rank 20th in pass rush win rate and 25th in tackling, and have been carried by turnovers. The Cowboys have forced 12 turnovers against just 5 giveaways, which suggests regression is coming.

Nobody will want to back the Pats after they nearly lost last week to Houston, but Bill Belichick led teams have been sensational as underdogs during his tenure. They’re 28-13-2 ATS covering by an average of 6 points as a dog, and the numbers are even more impressive at home. New England is 15-4 ATS as a home dog under Belichick, winning 12 of those games outright.

This is a similar situation to two weeks ago when Tampa Bay came to Foxborough, and we all know how that ended. The Pats got the cover and came dangerously close to stealing the game outright.

Week 6 Quick Picks

  • Dolphins (-3) vs Jaguars: Tua Tagovailoa returns just in time to try and save Miami’s season. How many more losses will it take before Urban Meyer is cut loose?
  • Chiefs (-6.5) vs Washington: Washington has yielded the NFL’s sixth most points and has recently made Jameis Winston, Daniel Jones and Matt Ryan look like All-Pro QB’s. Imagine what Patrick Mahomes will do to them.
  • Chargers (+3) vs Ravens: Justin Herbert is playing out of his mind right now, while Baltimore has allowed three of the QB’s they’ve faced to be top-seven producers for that week.
  • Panthers (+2) vs Vikings: Carolina has thrown everybody off its scent with back-to-back losses but this is a good bounce back spot versus a Minnesota team that finds new ways not to cover seemingly each week.
  • Lions (+3.5) vs Bengals: Cincy is overvalued in this spot. Their three wins have come against teams who’ve combined for only four victories all season. It’s tough to back Detroit here, but 95% of the money wagered as of Thursday is on the Bengals and the line still hasn’t moved.
  • Rams (-10) vs Giants: New York is absolutely decimated by injuries at the moment. That spells trouble against arguably the best team in the NFC, that’s coming off extra rest.
  • Browns (-3.5) vs Cardinals: The key to disrupting Kyler Murray is pressuring him. Cleveland ranks seventh in pass rush win rate, and its job just got a whole lot easier now that Cardinals center Rodney Hudson has been ruled out.
  • Raiders (+3.5) vs Broncos: Since jumping out to a 3-0 start thanks to abysmal competition, Denver has dropped two straight. The streak continues against a Vegas squad that boasts the league’s top pass rushing grade and the second highest graded coverage unit per PFF.
  • Steelers (-5.5) vs Seahawks. Geno Smith against a fierce Pittsburgh defense. The Steelers win their second straight in convincing fashion.
Author Image