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The first NFL week with byes meant a reduced slate of games, but there was still plenty for bettors to learn from Sunday's action.
Here are five betting takeaways from Week 6.
Sunday was a great day to be a Seahawks futures ticket holder, and they didn't even play a snap. That's because the Packers and Rams both suffered blowout losses, creating some separation at the top of the NFC standings.
Green Bay (-2.5) entered this week with a chance to equal Seattle's 5-0 start to the season, but they fell apart against an inconsistent Buccaneers team that had everything working on Sunday. It was the fourth blowout loss in coach Matt LaFleur's five-loss Packers tenure, though the team bounced back each of the previous three times. This might be a good time to buy the NFC odds for Green Bay (+550), which still has the offensive firepower to win the conference.
As for the Rams (-2.5), Sunday's loss to the injury-ravaged 49ers is troubling after they struggled to put away lousy teams earlier in the year. They had chances this week, though Jared Goff's inaccuracy reared its ugly head once again and should concern anyone betting Los Angeles to win the NFC (+900) or NFC West (+350).
A week ago, I said it might be time to take the Browns seriously after an impressive 4-1 start. Then they got their doors blown off by the Steelers (-3), who are 5-0 for the first time since their Super Bowl-winning season in 1978.
Pittsburgh's vaunted front harassed Baker Mayfield to the tune of four sacks and two interceptions, and it eventually chased him from the game in the third quarter. Mayfield was pressured on a career-high 52% of his dropbacks, per ESPN's Brooke Pryor, calling into question just how impenetrable the Browns' top-ranked pass protection really is.
It wasn't all good news for the Steelers, who lost former top-10 pick Devin Bush to a season-ending injury. It's a crucial loss for Pittsburgh - Bush was the team's defensive play-caller on the field and played every snap for a thin linebacking corps. The Steelers' defense pre-injury was good enough to threaten a Super Bowl run (+1200); the next few weeks will reveal whether that's still the case.
And then there was one. The Falcons (+3.5) and Giants (-2) both got off the schneid Sunday in wins over the Vikings and Washington, respectively, leaving the Jets as the only winless team in the NFL. That may not change anytime soon, either.
New York (+8.5) never stood a chance in Sunday's 24-0 loss to the Dolphins, setting multiple marks for futility along the way. The Jets became the first team to score zero points in a game since ... last year's Jets, and they became the first team to get shut out by Miami since 2014. As for their season-long marks? Those also aren't pretty.
The Jets are the seventh team in the last 30 years and the first since 2013 to start the season 0-6 against the spread. Those previous six teams went 1-5 ATS in the following week, and two of them fired their coach before the season ended. No team since 1989 has started the season 0-9 ATS; with games against the Bills, Chiefs, and Patriots upcoming, this team could pull it off.
Speaking of those Patriots, this week's 18-12 loss to the Broncos (+7) dropped them below .500 through five games for the first time since 2002, marking another low point in an already tumultuous season.
It was the first time since 2017 that New England lost outright as touchdown favorites to a team other than the Dolphins. It was also the first time in the Bill Belichick era the Patriots lost without allowing a touchdown; they were previously 39-0 in that spot.
That said, there's still value on this squad as a Super Bowl long shot (+3500). The defense has allowed a combined two touchdowns in consecutive weeks against the Chiefs and Broncos; the offense was on fire early with Cam Newton, who just came back from a bout with COVID-19. If this team can put those two elements together at the same time, there's some sneaky upside.
If you ripped up your moneyline parlay slip earlier than usual on Sunday, you weren't alone. Favorites went 7-5 straight up this week with a 4-8 ATS record - tied for the worst mark ATS since Week 6 of 2017 (3-11 ATS), which was one of the worst weeks of all time for favorites.
Is there anything we can glean from this week's chalk failures? In essence, don't overreact. Favorites are still 60-28-1 SU (68.2%) on the season and 41-44-4 ATS (48.2%), which are both in line with previous seasons' records. If anything, oddsmakers might tighten the lines next week, which could be a major value opportunity for bettors.
The last time favorites were this bad was Week 10 of last year; they went 9-5 ATS the following week. After that 2017 debacle, favorites went 9-3-2 ATS a week later. If lines look suspiciously short this week, don't hesitate to fire away on the better team.
C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.