The operative word for NFL Week 6 gambling is “big.”
There are big spreads, big chalk support, and big opportunities for bettors who can read between the lines of the sportsbook landscape.
Bettors also embrace a third straight Sunday morning alarm clock game, with London hosting the Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens at 6:30 a.m. PT/9:30 a.m. ET.
The first Week 6 betting look finds the public bankrolling double-digit favorites in the Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, and Buffalo Bills.
Here are our NFL Week 6 betting trends before the Chiefs and Denver Broncos launch Week 6 on Thursday Night Football.
Bettors Will Watch Travis Kelce Situation
Kansas City sports 78% of the tickets and handle at -10.5 at DraftKings (Best Live Odds: ). The line remaining in double digits projects that Kelce will fight through the pain of a lower ankle injury and play.
Kansas City missed Kelce in Week 1, losing to the Detroit Lions. Kelce suffered a non-contact injury in Week 5 and threw his helmet in disgust. But he has returned to practice and looked more of a go than no on Wednesday morning.
On one hand, it would be good for Kansas City to give him a 14-day rest between games rather than a four-day turnaround. But he’s a tough customer who wants to play.
If he sits, the betting line will drop.
And the Odds Go Higher: Dolphins Face Big Task
Miami has both a tall order and major support against the Carolina Panthers at -13.5 (Best Live Odds: ). Tua Tagovailoa and Co. must cover nearly two touchdowns, just as they did in “nipping” the Giants 31-16 at -12.5 in Week 5. Bettors unfurling a solid 92% of the handle and 89% of the tickets believe Miami will.
Expectations here include Tagovailoa avoiding the Pick 6 and subsequent interception that put the Giants on the verge of covering.
The Panthers often play tough for three quarters before fading.
Carolina, also winless and coverless (with one push), may play its best with Andy Dalton starting ahead of Bryce Young. But in either case, gamblers can rely on receiver Adam Thielen, a great under-the-radar player on a bad team.
Thielen notched 107 yards and 11 catches with a touchdown in Week 5 against the Detroit Lions.
One wild card may nudge bettors toward Carolina. De’Von Achane, Miami’s explosive young back, is expected to miss several weeks with a knee injury. He tallied on a 76-yard blinding run last week.
That could be one less big play Miami puts up.
Bettors will literally try making the Most-ert of his backup. Raheem Mostert looks to be the next man up in Miami, which averages nearly seven yards per carry and 187 rushing yards per game.
Bills Expected to Trounce Giants
Put the Bills at a whopping -14 (Best Live Odds: ) against the winless and coverless New York Giants in Sunday primetime on the massive point-spread list.
Buffalo won’t face jet lag this week. After their 25-20 setback to the Jacksonville Jaguars across the pond, the Bills come home.
Whether Buffalo can cover -14 may come down to a big defensive or special teams play. The Bills can pile it on as well as anybody, spanking the Las Vegas Raiders 38-10 earlier this year.
A -14 final line would match what the San Francisco 49ers had to cover in Week 4 against the Arizona Cardinals. It was the largest spread of the season. The Niners barely held the cover, 35-16, on a dropped late ball by Arizona.
Are the Giants at least due to cover?
A unique twist could be the presence of Tyrod Taylor, who once led the Bills into the playoffs. He is slated as the Giants’ starting quarterback if Daniel Jones can’t go. The Giants’ signal caller suffered a neck injury last week.
All gamblers know in Week 6 is that Jones says his neck hurts but that he wants to start. Players will be more cautious about their necks than most body parts, so it won’t be surprising if he sits.
Taylor is mobile and may depend on his running even more than Jones.
Gamblers wait on the status of Jones and Saquon Barkley, out since Week 2 with an ankle injury. Barkley will return soon, perhaps this week.
Big Blue will try to keep tight end Darren Waller going. They finally began utilizing him last week. He caught eight balls.
Bettors like Buffalo with 71% of the handle and 75% of the tickets, but the high spread will make some think twice about giving so many points.
Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, sees the potential for backdoor covers with all the double-digit spreads.
“Nobody likes laying 14 points in an NFL game and I can’t remember the last time the Giants were getting that many, it’s been a long time,” Avello told Gaming Today. “You can certainly see why bettors would take a shot on the dogs in those games. The Bills have their own injury problems. The Broncos and Chiefs play each other very tough. I think Denver can keep that game close at least for most of the way. And Carolina? Look, you can score on the Dolphins. They could be up 20 points, you can score late on them and get the cover that way.
“We will also see more than a few bets on moneyline plays on the longshots, because they come in sometimes.”
The Cardinals returned roughly +500 across the sportsbook landscape in beating the Dallas Cowboys 28-16 at +12.5 in Week 3.
In Week 6, the Giants are +600, the Panthers +550, and the Broncos are +400 for DraftKings moneyline bettors seeking lightning in a bottle.
Bettors Also Back One-Touchdown Favorites
The Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles, 7-point chalk, are 5-star early picks for nationwide gamblers.
The Rams command 92% of the handle and 76% of the tickets against the Arizona Cardinals. Cooper Kupp’s 118-yard Week 5 return, coupled with 71 yards from Paku Nacua, project good scoring totals from the Rams.
Arizona is game but often manages to shoot itself in the foot at least once a game, often creating a seven-point swing.
The Eagles came in at 82% handle and 87% of the tickets at -7 against the host New York Jets (Best Live Odds: ). The percentage was initially higher, but Jets bettors began weighing in late Tuesday night.
The 5-0 Eagles are an interesting study. They do just enough to cover most weeks and they will have a lot to do at -7 against a feisty 2-3 Jets team.
Philadelphia got monster Week 5 games from AJ Brown with 127 yards, which gamblers might have predicted, and 117 yards from tight end Dallas Goedert, a pleasant surprise. He had been quiet this season.
The combo, along with a final-play first-half touchdown, gave the Eagles a 23-14 triumph.
Philly has multiple weapons and who it uses depends on matchups.
The Jets rode gifts from the mistake-prone Denver Broncos to their second victory last week.
Running back Breece Hall is as good as anyone in the league and will be a target for prop players.
The Jets covered the previous week in a 30-23 setback to the Kansas City Chiefs at +8.5. They show up to play.
NFL Week 6 Injury Updates
Colt’s QB Anthony Richardson Sidelined
Now it’s a shoulder injury dogging prize Indianapolis Colts rookie Anthony Richardson. The exciting running quarterback has only been able to play one complete game this year. He’s already been on concussion protocol.
He may miss several weeks here. Fortunately for the Colts, who visit the Jaguars on Sunday, they have an excellent backup quarterback in Gardner Minshew, who has directed a couple of victories for them.
It’s a reunion in Jacksonville. It was here, four seasons ago, that “Minshew Mania” was born for the charismatic signal caller, then a member of the Jags.
Not Elementary, My Dear Watson
Confusion surrounds Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson. A shoulder injury prompted his game-day scratch against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 4. His backup, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, struggled mightily in the 28-3 loss.
Watson has what’s been termed a rotator cuff contusion. No structural damage but possible short-term implications.
The line of San Francisco -5.5 (Best Live Odds: ) against the host Browns on Sunday is a hint that Watson won’t play, Avello said.
If he can’t, PJ Walker will probably get the nod this week. He is a serviceable backup, who tossed two touchdowns in a victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year.
Cleveland already lost star running back Nick Chubb for the season. This has been a tough run of bad luck for a team with high expectations this season.
NFL Week 5 Betting Highlights
Surprise, surprise, surprise.
The Jaguars and Bills, dumped into a 9:30 a.m. ET and 6:30 a.m. PT slot for their game in England last week, nonetheless tabbed massive betting numbers.
It was the top game of the day at BetMGM and the second highest at DraftKings.
“This was one of the best London games we ever booked,” Avello said of a sample size now approaching 40 over recent years. “It was already a pretty good matchup, but I attribute this interest to the Bills. They were getting a lot of action, even though it was not a good spot for them and they did not play well.
“There was so much interest in them that the line went down to Buffalo -5 on Saturday night and I think that’s where a lot of people grabbed them.”
Jacksonville’s upset, placed against Buffalo taking most of the money, produced an excellent outcome for the book. So did the Niners routing the Cowboys 42-10 on Sunday night.
Avello noted that although the Niners had the majority of the spread money, many players took Dallas on the moneyline. The Dallas moneyline projection overrode the San Francisco money.
Games that turned out better for the gamblers included victories by Miami, the Jets, the Cincinnati Bengals, the Detroit Lions, and the Chiefs.
They all delivered to the bettors who loaded up the action on their behalf.
Why Players Take A Stab
Look at this Prop-A-Looza. DraftKings reports a $2 player-prop parlay returning $16,050.42 in Week 5.
Here’s the ticket:
- Calvin Ridley, 100 receiving yards
- Achane, 100 yards (76 on one play)
- Kupp, 100 yards
- Breece Hall, 100 yards
- Christian Watson, 80 yards
All cleared rather easily. Hall and Watson were the under-the-radar plays because they can be hot or cold.
But for less than the price of a coffee, this bettor sipped a delightful payday.
NFL Futures Fluctuation
Weekly results reshuffle the division betting odds. It creates buy-on-the-dip excitement along with a chance to cash a ticket on a team that only faces three competitors.
BetMGM Sportsbook Insights: NFL Division Futures
- Favorite: Dolphins -135
- Highest Ticket%: Bills 30.7%
- Highest Handle%: Bills 61.5%
- Biggest Liability: Bills
- Favorite: Ravens +110
- Highest Ticket%: Steelers 30.3%
- Highest Handle%: Steelers 27.5%
- Biggest Liability: Steelers
- Favorite: Jaguars -120
- Highest Ticket%: Titans 42.7%
- Highest Handle%: Jaguars 44.7%
- Biggest Liability: Titans
- Favorite: Chiefs -350
- Highest Ticket%: Chiefs 39.9%
- Highest Handle%: Chiefs 82.3%
- Biggest Liability: Chiefs
- Favorite: Eagles -250
- Highest Ticket%: Commanders 31.3%
- Highest Handle%: Eagles 61.7%
- Biggest Liability: Commanders
- Favorite: Lions -350
- Highest Ticket%: Lions 46.8%
- Highest Handle%: Lions 62.9%
- Biggest Liability: Lions
- Favorite: Saints +155
- Highest Ticket%: Saints 48.3%
- Highest Handle%: Saints 64.2%
- Biggest Liability: Saints
- Favorite: 49ers -700
- Highest Ticket%: Seahawks 39.6%
- Highest Handle%: 49ers 75.3%
- Biggest Liability: 49ers
Some bets are fascinating here.
- Jacksonville, -120
- Tennessee, +380
- Indianapolis, +390
- Houston, +650
- New Orleans, +155
- Atlanta Falcons, +185
- Tampa Bay, +200
- Frontrunning Pittsburgh Steelers, +460
- Cincinnati Bengals, +470
- Cleveland Browns, +280 (This team is being hit hard with injuries and may fade)
- Baltimore Ravens, +110
We outlined the wait-and-see approach last week for the Dallas Cowboys. The idea was that Dallas would lose to San Francisco, the Eagles would beat Los Angeles, and Dallas would trail by two games.
That happened and Dallas rose by about 60 basis points.
Gamblers will still take them because the Eagles also must play the Niners and must meet Dallas Twice.
FanDuel (+210) and DraftKings (+225) have the best odds of the season on Dallas.