2022 NFL Analysis and Picks — Final Report (Week 6)
This week’s “Best Seat in the House” award goes to Jason March, an executive with DraftKings. Not, bad Jason! These seats will be tough to beat going forward as I post seat views from my friends who attend NFL games.
In previous weeks, Scott Byron (New York Giants), Bruce Kramer (Philadelphia Eagles), and Noah Carbone (Miami Dolphins) each shared their own seat views, which were posted here in the weekly write-ups. Now, let’s see if anyone can top these box seats from the Raiders-Broncos game. Okay, on second thought — this should be easy. Jason got stuck watching the Raiders and Broncos play. Somebody reading this can do better than that travesty (email me directly at nolandalla.com, or send a message via Facebook).
As for my analysis and picks, I hope you enjoy the weekly analysis and picks Last week I had another big week and am enjoying a great season. Hopefully, the success continues.
LAST WEEK’S RESULTS:
New York Giants-Green Bay Packers UNDER 41 — Risking $220 to win $200…..LOST
Buffalo Bills -13.5 — Laying $220 to win $200…..WON
Detroit Lions +3 (-115) — Risking $230 to win $200…..LOST
Seattle Seahawks +3.5 (First Half -120) — Risking $240 to win $200…..WON
Seattle Seahawks +5.5 (Full Game -110)) — Risking $220 to win $200…..LOST
Miami Dolphins-New York Jets OVER 46 — Risking $220 to win $200…..WON
Atlanta Falcons +9 — Risking $220 to win $200….WON
Teaser: Jacksonville Jaguars -1 / San Francisco 49ers -.5 (-120) — Risking $240 to win $200….LOST
Dallas Cowboys +5.5 — Risking $220 to win $200….. WON
Dallas-LA Rams UNDER 43 — Risking $220 to win $200…..WON
Arizona Cardinals +5.5 — Risking $220 to win $200…..WON
Cincinnati Bengals/Baltimore Ravens UNDER 48.5 — Risking $220 to win $200…..WON
Now, it’s on to NFL Week 6.
2022 NFL WAGERING RECORD
Starting Bankroll: $10,000.
Current Bankroll: $13,140.
Net Gain/Loss: + $3,140.
Last Week’s Results: 8 wins – 4 losses (+690.)
Note: I may make a video this week. Check back on Saturday night if you prefer to listen to the analysis and picks.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Pittsburgh Steelers
Line: Buccaneers -8.5
Moneyline: Buccaneers -400 / Steelers +310
Analysis: Both wagers I make on this game will be “bets against” the Steelers’ sluggish offense. QB Kenny Pickett makes his first home start for Pittsburgh following a disastrous five-touchdown loss in Buffalo last week in which the hapless Steelers offense produced only 3 points. Now, Pittsburgh faces perhaps an even tougher defensive foe against Tampa Bay that’s given up 15 points or fewer in 4 of their 5 games this season. It’s hard to see where the points will come from if you’re backing the Steelers in this game. Meanwhile, Tom Brady & Co. could have a monster day in the passing game. The Steelers will be without four significant contributors in the defensive secondary, including safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. This unit was already bad, and things could only get worse: The Steelers rank 30th in the league in pass defense, allowing an average of 288 passing YPG. We all know that superstar TJ Watt is out for the Steelers–his presence and leadership have been sorely missed. I don’t see Pittsburgh producing enough points to drive the total OVER 46, which seems like an outdated total based on mass misperceptions about the Bucs’ (now somewhat average) offense. Keep in mind that 4 out of 5 Bucs’ games have stayed UNDER this season. I’ll combine the totals wager along with a teaser on the favorite, using the Wong Strategy. I’m far more comfortable laying fewer than a FG with a road favorite than more than a touchdown in this spot.
The Picks: Tampa Bay/Pittsburgh UNDER 46 — Risking $220 to win $200 / TEASER: Tampa Bay -2.5 with Jacksonville +7.5 (-120) — Risking $240 to win $200
Cincinnati Bengals at New Orleans Saints
Line: Bengals -1
Moneyline: Bengals -120 / Saints +100
Analysis: All three Cincinnati losses were by late field goals. While the 2-3 Bengals may be suspected of suffering from the dreaded “Super Bowl loser hangover” that’s plagued such teams in the following season, it’s also hard to criticize the Bengals for their play so far. Even the much-maligned Bengals’ offensive line, which has been this team’s Achilles heal dating back to last year, is now playing much better after a rocky start. This week, QB Joe Burrow returns home to Louisiana (he’s an LSU grad) for this game and he’ll face a disappointing Saints defense that was supposed to be among the NFL’s elites, but instead has been average at best. New Orleans has surrendered 20+ points in every game this season, including 32 pts. to the pedestrian Seahawks last week. Oddly enough, journeyman QB Andy Dalton starts for the Saints this week even though utility-man/QB Taysom Hill is coming off a huge game in which he scored three TDs. New Orleans continues to be plagued by injuries at skill positions, and that’s having a major impact. WR Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry will both be out versus the Bengals due to injuries. New Orleans has also been a turnover machine, losing the ball 12 times in their past 4 games. I am concerned that this is the fourth road game in five weeks for Cincinnati, which takes a toll on energy and preparation. Nonetheless, the Saints haven’t exactly been spread killers at home in recent seasons. Since 2020, New Orleans is just 2-4-1 ATS as a home underdog. With Cincy, we have the better-coached team, a superior QB extra motivated to play a game back in New Orleans, a big edge in the injury intangibles, and a Bengals defense that statistically ranks better than the Saints. Laying just a point seems reasonable and is way too tempting to pass up.
The Pick: Cincinnati -1 — Risking $220 to win $200
Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts
Line: Colts -1.5
Moneyline: Jaguars +110 / Colts -130
Analysis: Gawd, the Jaguars looked like shit last week. There was no excuse for that abomination of a travesty. Seriously, 6 points at home against the Texans? So this week, can JAX shake off the defeat and go on the road now and pick up a W? Thing is, Jacksonville destroyed Indy 24-0 just three weeks ago. That glaring fact has likely deflated the line on this game down to Colts -1.5. Otherwise, this is probably -3. Indianapolis is a frustrating team to figure out because they came into the season with high expectations but have been one of the NFL’s most disappointing teams through the first five games, even when they win games. Incredibly, the Colts have the NFL’s worst offense and an offensive line that is incapable of protecting veteran QB Matt Ryan. It’s not all Ryan’s fault, but he hasn’t demonstrated any ability to grasp a new offense after a decade with the Falcons. Even if head coach Frank Reich shuffles up the playbook out of desperation, there’s no assurance Ryan can pull it off with his aging arm and weak supporting cast. Indeed, Indy is averaging just 14 points per game–a frightening number. That is two points fewer than any other team in the league. So, where will the points come from in this game? Gee, I don’t know. So, give me the UNDER. I’ll also play the underdogs on the Wong Strategy teaser, and take the Jags over a touchdown. Given the Colts’ offensive ineptitude, getting +7.5 appears to be a wise bet on the opposite side.
The Picks: Jacksonville/Indianapolis UNDER 42 — Risking $220 to win $200 / TEASER: Jacksonville +7.5 with Tampa Bay -2.5 (-120) — Risking $240 to win $200
New England Patriots at Cleveland Browns
Line: Browns -2.5
Moneyline: Browns -145 / Patriots +120
Analysis: Too many questions about both teams hampers my ability to pick either side in this matchup. First, we don’t know (yet) which QB is starting for the Patriots. What’s most bizarre about the QB issue is, the third-stringer (Zappe) has played as well as the starter (Jones), with capable backup Hoyer on IR. Typically, a 3rd string QB would be an automatic fade when betting, but not here. Speaking of QBs, few bettors forecasted Browns’ backup Jacoby Brissett to perform as well as he’s done (#6 in overall NFL passer rankings). The problem for the Browns hasn’t been scoring points (they rank #5 in total offense), rather, it’s been on defense, which is surrendering 25 PPG. By contrast, the Patriots’ defense has performed far better this season, at 19 PPG allowed. So, getting just under a FG is a temptation with the underdog. I need +3 to pull the trigger–otherwise, it’s a pass. One added concern that keeps me off New England is the Browns’ potent running game, which is producing a whopping 192 YPG — tops in the NFL. The winner here will reach 3-3, which makes the victor very much in contention going forward. However, the loser will fall to 2-4 and appears likely to be headed for a long and disappointing season.
The Pick: No Action.
New York Jets at Green Bay Packers
Line: Packers -7.5
Moneyline: Jets +275 / Packers -350
Analysis: Two questions. (1) Are the Jets “for real?” For real meaning, are they finally a decent team instead of a perennial bottom dweller, and/or (2) Will the Packers bounce back this week after losing to NY’s other football team in Week 5? This game will tell us a lot — about both teams. The line at +/- 7 would be perfect and likely to divide money equally. But the hook on the 7 (up to -7.5) is baffling. I can’t grasp what the market sees in laying more than a TD with a struggling Packers team that’s been frighteningly inconsistent, especially on offense. Bettors can come up with several good reasons to back the Jets and take the points, most notably the team’s steady improvement, coaching that appears to be doing a good job, an offense that could finally enjoy a breakout season with a decent steady QB, and impressive wins in 3 of their last 4 games. However, Green Bay bettors might also insist the Jets are now due to get exposed as frauds, and the Packers coming off a loss at Lambeau Field are “due” to kick some airplane ass. No doubt, Green Bay plays much better at home. They’ve won 16 of their last 19 at Lambeau. But what stands out about passing on the Packers is that Green Bay allowed NWE rookie Bailey Zappe to take them to overtime at home, and then Aaron Rodgers and Co. blew a 17-3 lead to the Giants in London. Now, they have to line up against a team with a winning record without a bye week after a long trip (London last week). I’ll make two wagers. First, I’ll grab the upstart Jets with the points, so long as I can get +7.5. Second, the Jets’ team total is too low. The Jets have run the ball well in their last few games and face a Green Bay defense that allows 4.8 YPC. NYJ should enjoy some success on the ground — and hopefully on the scoreboard.
The Pick: TEAM TOTAL — NY Jets OVER 17.5 (-115) — Risking $230 to win $200 / NY Jets +7.5 — Risking $220 to win $200
Baltimore Ravens at New York Giants
Line: Ravens -6
Moneyline: Ravens -250 / Giants +200
Analysis: The Giants are the NFL’s biggest surprise team as they bring a 4-1 record into this game against the 3-2 Ravens. Even with their shocking success, NYG still opens as nearly a touchdown underdog at home. I presume betting markets continue to distrust the Giants’ one-dimensional offense and view their success not because of QB Daniel Jones, but rather in spite of him. The Giants bring the second-worst passing game in the league into this game, which produces a paltry 157 YPG. Those numbers aren’t sustainable with winning in today’s pass-happy NFL. NYG does have a powerhouse running team, and that probably won’t change much this week even though Baltimore ranks as the worst pass defense in the NFL. Baltimore’s ugly stats are mostly the result of surrendering lots of trash yards and points late in games. The Ravens also faced two of the NFL’s best QBs the past two weeks (Allen and Burrow). At 45, the optimal play here might be the UNDER. The Giants are on a monster roll in UNDERs dating back to last season. The Ravens have also gone UNDER in 3 of 5 games this season. Totals bettors may be slow to adjust on Baltimore statistically being only an average offense.
The Pick: Baltimore/NY Giants UNDER 45 — Risking $220 to win $200
Minnesota Vikings at Miami Dolphins
Line: Vikings -3.5
Moneyline: Vikings -175 / Dolphins +145
Analysis: A few weeks ago, this line probably would have been Miami -6. Maybe even -7. Remember when the Dolphins beat Buffalo? That seems so long ago. Now, it’s the Vikings laying a FG, plus the hook. Why the huge market shift? The answer is primarily due to the Dolphins’ collapse in recent weeks — a 12-point loss to Cincy and a 23-point loss to NYJ, largely the result of QB disarray. This week, who is going to be under center for the Dolphins? Rookie QB Skylar Thompson reportedly will get the start since the 1st and 2nd stringers Tua Tagovailoa and Teddy Bridgewater both make their way back from concussion protocol. Skylar Thompson? Huh? He’s a 7th-round rookie draft pick who started last week at NYJ. Actually, he played about as well as any 3rd stringer could have hoped (19/33, with 1 int, o TDs, and 1 fumble). Not good, but not terrible either. Where I see value is going UNDER on the Dolphins TEAM TOTAL. Inexplicably, it’s 21.5. Miami hasn’t eclipsed the 21-point mark in any of its last three games, and the rookie QB doesn’t inspire confidence that will change.
The Pick: Miami TEAM TOTAL UNDER 21.5 (-115) — Risking $230 to win $200
San Francisco 49ers at Atlanta Falcons
Line: 49ers -6
Moneyline: SFO -250 / Falcons +200
Analysis: The Falcons still aren’t getting any respect. Atlanta is the only perfect team against the spread this season. They’re 5-0 versus the number. Perhaps betting markets haven’t caught on yet, but the Falcons are a far better team than was forecasted when the season began. Even with three SU losses, they’ve been competitive in every game this season. The Falcons’ five games were decided by a total of just 18 points. Their worst loss this year was by 6 at Tampa Bay, and they could have won that game if the Brady-biased roughing-the-passer call and inconsistent officiating weren’t so awful. Yet for some reason, the feisty Falcons are catching +6 at home this week. I don’t understand this line, at all. Sure, the 49ers’ Top-5 defense is capable of shutting down any opponent (what a patsy schedule the 49ers have faced), but let’s also credit the Falcons as the 10th-based scoring team in the league. What should concern SFO bettors is their offense, which is average at best no matter who the QB is the rest of the way. Asking a team that’s averaging just 331 YPG and 21 PPG to cover a number of this size on the road seems steep. The 49ers enjoyed a calk walk last week, yet this is their second straight West-to-East roadie, so travel and road conditions could impair preparation. This is a stronger play at +6 than +5.5. I’ll also step up the bet and add a wager on the first half getting a FG, as well.
The Picks: Atlanta +3 (first half) — Risking $220 o win $200 / Atlanta +6 (full game) — Risking $220 to win $200
Carolina Panthers at Los Angeles Rams
Line: Rams -11
Moneyline: LA Rams -500 / Carolina +375
Analysis: Here’s a battle between two mud pigs. What an ugly matchup. Carolina fired its head coach (Rhule) this past week. TV pitchman-guru Baker Mayfield is now parked on the bench up on cinder blocks (nursing an injury, they claim). So, P.J. Walker and his galloping gypsy all-stars is now starting for the Panthers. Next up, look for Jake Delhomme to get a phone call. In its last three miserable games, Carolina scored just four TDs on 43 total drives (including 14 three-and-outs). Now, they head west to face one of the NFL’s better defenses. Yet, as bad as Carolina has performed in recent weeks, I still don’t get the Lambass Rams laying double wackadoodle digits on the road. Like, what the fuck is that? LA Rams have been a terrible home favorite, even coming off their (fluke) Super Bowl season. They’re just 3-6 in the last nine such home spots. What’s even more of an immediate concern is that 3 of Rams’ 5 starters on the offensive line are out with injuries this week. This unit has been horrible all season, one reason why the Rams rank #26 in overall offense and also have the worst rushing game in the NFL right now (just 62 YPG!). When I bet UNDERs, I look for potentially ugly football games (Gawd, I loved the last two Thursday night sleepers — pure gold!) Like those two creep shows, the UNDER looks too easy here given so many problems with both offenses. It almost scares me. I’ll go UNDER, even though this is a low total and seems way too obvious.
The Pick: Carolina/LA Rams UNDER 41.5 — Risking $220 to win $200
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks
Line: Cardinals -2.5
Moneyline: Cardinals -150 / Seahawks +125
Analysis: This is a high total, but I’m still betting OVER the number. The Seahawks have given up 11 offensive touchdowns and 84 points to their last two opponents Lions and Saints), which has taken away from all the good QB Geno Smith and the ‘Hawks offense are doing each week. Nobody (certainly not me!) expected Seattle to rank as a Top-10 offense (they’re #8 in yards and #7 in points). It’s been the outmanned defense that’s a major problem. The Seahawks rank dead last in yardage allowed and #31 in PPG allowed this season. While Arizona has been inconsistent, at best on offense without WR Hopkins (who returns next week), nonetheless, the Cardinals should enjoy some success moving the ball and getting into the end zone this week given what we’ve seen in Seahawks games. I also expect Seattle to reach its scoring average of 25 PPG at home versus a vulnerable defense. Since the Cardinals are favored in the game, this also gives us an excellent opportunity to bet the first half. Take Seattle plus the points in the opening half. Remarkably, Arizona has bee been the NFL’s very worst 1H team, having been outscored 80-26 in the first half of games this season.
The Picks: Arizona/Seattle OVER 50.5 — Risking $220 to win $200 / Seattle +1.5 (first half) — Risking $220 to win $200
Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs
Line: Bills -3
Moneyline: Buffalo -145 / Chiefs +120
Analysis: I know everyone is looking forward to this “game of the week” matchup. But I hate high-profile games like this from a betting perspective. Lots of offense is expected given the high total. Unpredictable things will happen. The last team with the ball probably wins it. But as a bettor, instead of excitement, give me the INDY-DEN game and a ticket on the UNDER anytime as opposed to a game that might as well be played at a craps table rolling dice while downing a double scotch. I’m betting to win and make money, not pop my jollies with an “exciting” game. Fuck all that. These are perhaps the best two teams in football right now (sorry, Philadelphia–beat Dallas first and go to 6-0, and then we’ll talk). These two explosive AFC powerhouses have dominated the NFL showcase in recent seasons, seemingly saving their very best games for occasions when they play against each other. Who will ever forget last season’s high-flying Bills-Chiefs showdown that went into OT? Not only is this a rematch of last year’s playoff game it could also be significant as to who gets home-field advantage in a future playoff meeting later this season. As talented and explosive as the Bills are, it’s still surprising to see the Chiefs be a home underdog. This is only the seventh time in the Andy Reid era (2013-present) that his team is getting points at home. The Chiefs also boast the highest-scoring offense in the league. For those who must bet on this (why, with so many better games on the menu?) it should be noted that Kansas City does have a reputation for starting big games slowly and then coming back in the second half. The trouble is that Buffalo is a monster team in the second half. Buffalo outgained its first five opponents by 180 YPG and Bills outscored its first five opponents 70-7 in the second half this season. Depending on how this game plays out in the first half, I could make a bet on the Bills at halftime. But it’s a skip game for me at the moment.
The Pick: No Action.
(SNF) Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles
Line: Eagles -6
Moneyline: Eagles -250 / Cowboys +200
Analysis: What a great SNF matchup for fans and bettors. Dallas at 4-1 heads to undefeated 5-0 Philadelphia. I admit to being shocked by the Cowboys’ success this season. We all know the stats and hype on Dallas’ surprising success with backup Cooper Rush leading the offense, which merits massive praise. But it’s the Cowboys’ stout defense that’s really risen to the occasion and carried the team by allowing a stellar 14 PPG this season. Dallas has allowed only five TDs on 53 drives in five games — a remarkable stat. So long as that level of defensive effort continues, Dallas will keep on winning games and certainly cover high spreads like this. Speaking of spreads, this number doesn’t make much sense to me. Even if you’re a believer in the Eagles as a possible Super Bowl contender, laying -6 to a team that continues being disrespected by oddsmakers seems unwise (Dallas was +6 at LA Rams last week and made a mockery of that line). I still predict the Cowboys will crash and burn later in the season as they always seem to do with a team ailing in competent leadership both on and off the field. That said, the division dog Cowboys who have dominated its NFC East opposition recently is clearly the correct side, that is, if you’re betting the spread. Dallas has also won 8 of the last 11 in this series and is 7-3 ATS in Philadelphia since 2013. No doubt, this game will reveal a lot about both of these teams and probably determine which team wins the NFC East (forget the Giants — don’t make me laugh). A win over Dallas would not only give Philadelphia a two-game lead in the division, but it would also – for the time being – give them the tiebreaker due to the head-to-head win. So it is a chance to take a commanding lead in the division. It also opens up a huge QB controversy if the Cowboys win it. If Rush remains undefeated as a starter, it then becomes impossible to pull him. However, a Dallas loss to their bitter rival makes it a much easier decision for the Dallas coaching staff to return to Dak Prescott. This write-up isn’t intended to diss Philadelphia by ignoring them and their great season. The Eagles were expected to improve in 2022, but not be quite this good, this fast. The Eagles increasingly resemble the Bills as an ideally balanced team that can beat opponents in different ways. All this being said, there’s an intangible for me here that I can’t quite explain. I can foresee the Eagles’ making a major statement in this game and covering the number if they can shut down Dallas’ offense, which statistically ranks #27 and scores just 18 PPG. It also seems Dallas could be playing over its head a bit and is due to come back to earth. But I’m not laying nearly a TD, so it’s a pass.
The Pick: No Action.
(MNF) Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers
Line: Chargers -4.5
Moneyline: Broncos +185 / Chargers -225
Analysis: The highly-touted AFC West was supposed to be the best division in football heading into this season, but right now it looks more like a fiefdom with a ruler-king and 3 mediocre serfs struggling for scraps (did you like that medieval reference?). This division hasn’t quite lived up to its hype, but the Broncos and Chargers still take the national stage on MNF in Los Angeles. The Chargers enter this game as a -4.5 point favorite. This seemingly inflated number (I’d have made it -3.5) may be more due to the Bronco’s horrendous offensive lack of production this season. They’re scoring just 15 PPG. Facing the Chargers now gives Denver a wonderful opportunity for a breakout game. Not only are they coming in fresh after 11-days rest, but Russell Wilson & Co. also get to face a defense that’s allowed 11 touchdowns over the last three weeks — and that was to the Browns, Texans, and Jaguars. In short, Denver has NO EXCUSES this week to not finally get on track. If Denver gets shut down again, heads should roll all over the Broncos organization and some people need to be fired. I’m making a bold prediction and pick on this game, despite some strong evidence the UNDER is justified. First, look for Denver to open up the playbook here facing a vulnerable Chargers defense. Added prep time, a proven veteran QB under pressure to perform, and a soft defense that’s not been able to stop other weak offenses is the perfect opportunity for points being scored. But what really moves the arrow to the OVER for me is the other sideline — specifically the Chargers’ reliance on their passing game. Even though this offense ranks #5 overall, the Bolts’ running game is almost non-existent. They were awful in 4 of 5 games. So, I’d be stunned if the Chargers spent any more than decoy time trying to run the ball versus one of the top rush defenses in the league. So, given they’re tossing the rock for nearly 300 YPG (40 pass attempts per game) look for a now-healthy Justin Herbert to sling it early and often (he had injury issues the past few weeks). This pick flies in the face of strong trends in primetime games and divisional rivalries. But I see the extenuating circumstances overriding all this and want to take advantage of a total that may not quite reflect the pressures on each team and how they’re likely to approach this matchup in game plans. Of course, given these two teams have the NFL’s two worst head coaches, I’m expecting one of the dummies to blow it late and end up screaming at the TV. UPDATE: Hold off on this pick, as QB Wilson is being treated for a shoulder injury. Reports are he’s reacting well to the treatment, but I don’t trust the news on this and want to see further updates. Will make the final decision closer to game time.
The Pick: Denver/LA Chargers OVER 45.5 — Risking $220 to win $200