Updated October 23, 2021 - 1:51 pm
Dana Lane, @DanaLaneSports, PickDawgz.com
Bengals (4-2) at Ravens (5-1)
Time: 10 a.m.
Line/total: Ravens -6, 46
Analysis: Cincinnati will have its biggest defensive test to date at Baltimore in its first validation game. If the Bengals beat the Ravens, they will be 5-2 with a signature win. If they lose, questions will arise of just how good Cincinnati is. Our ticket will be won or lost at the line of scrimmage where, despite a rash of injuries, the Ravens continue to run the ball well.
By the numbers: Cincinnati is on an 8-4 ATS surge when getting 4½ points or more. … The Bengals are 5-2 ATS in the last five meetings in Baltimore. … Cincinnati is riding a 15-5-2 under streak on the road.
Pick: Ravens 24, Bengals 20
Panthers (3-3) at Giants (1-5)
Time: 10 a.m.
Line/total: Panthers -3, 42½
Analysis: The Panthers are a prime example of an overreaction to a 3-0 start. Current form has seen Carolina lose three straight games with few paths to better results. Running back Christian McCaffrey is still on injured reserve, and quarterback Sam Darnold has turned into a turnover machine. I’m not backing a team that is fresh off allowing almost 600 yards to Minnesota.
By the numbers: The Panthers are 1-4 ATS in the last five meetings, with the underdog winning the past four. … Carolina is on a 7-17 ATS streak against teams with a losing record. … The over is 39-17-1 when the Panthers play on FieldTurf.
Pick: Giants 26, Panthers 23
Football Team (2-4) at Packers (5-1)
Time: 10 a.m.
Line/total: Packers -8, 47½
Analysis: Uncertainty at the quarterback position continues to be a conundrum for Washington. But with a “Thursday Night Football” showdown with the Cardinals up next for Green Bay, it’s hard to believe that we will see the entire Packers repertoire on display. There are still some questions about Green Bay’s big-play threat with Aaron Rodgers’ air yards differential at -3. That’s the worst differential among qualified quarterbacks, according to Next Gen Stats.
By the numbers: Washington is 9-4 ATS after a double-digit home loss, and Green Bay is on a 2-5 spread skid when playing teams with a losing road record. Translation: When it seems too good to be true, it usually is. … The under is 8-3 after a Washington loss.
Pick: Packers 24, Football Team 20
Chiefs (3-3) at Titans (4-2)
Time: 10 a.m., KLAS-8
Line/total: Chiefs -4, 57½
Analysis: In the past, this might have been a spot in which I would bet against the Titans, who are fresh off an emotional win over the Bills and on a short week. But I can smell this Tennessee running game hitting a seasonlong crescendo with running back Derrick Henry. The Titans can control the ball long enough to use their own high-powered offense to outlast the Chiefs.
By the numbers: Kansas City is 4-12 ATS in its last 16 games as a favorite and 4-13 ATS in its past 17 outings overall. … The Chiefs have failed to cover four of the last five meetings. … This is typically the time of year when Tennessee heats up, covering five of its last eight October games (5-2-1 ATS).
Pick: Titans 28, Chiefs 24
Falcons (2-3) at Dolphins (1-5)
Time: 10 a.m.
Line/total: Falcons -2½, 47½
Analysis: What a horrible joke the NFL is playing on the Dolphins. The NFL paraded the Dolphins and Jaguars out last week in London, then asked Miami to come back home, without a bye, to face a Falcons team that’s fresh off its bye week. I would argue that it was a double bye for Atlanta when you take its home win over the lowly Jets into account. The Falcons have every advantage to deliver a decisive win and cover.
By the numbers: Atlanta is 9-3 ATS against teams with a losing record and 4-1 ATS against teams with a losing home record. In other words, the Falcons beat the bad teams while failing to cover against the better teams. … Miami is on a 1-4 spread skid.
Pick: Falcons 23, Dolphins 17
Jets (1-4) at Patriots (2-4)
Time: 10 a.m., CBS
Line/total: Patriots -7, 42½
Analysis: This looks like a classic letdown spot for the Patriots after they dropped a season-defining game against the Cowboys last week. With a trip to the Los Angeles Chargers on Halloween next up for New England, it’s hard to believe that the Patriots will put forth a full 60-minute effort against a team they already have handled with ease this season.
By the numbers: New England is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games and 2-8 ATS as a favorite.
Pick: Patriots 26, Jets 24
Lions (0-6) at Rams (5-1)
Time: 1:05 p.m.
Line/total: Rams -16, 50½
Analysis: If you’re going to bet on the Lions, wait until the last possible minute to place your wager. That’s because the betting public will continue to back the Rams and drive this number up. Almost 90 percent of the money wagered on the spread has been on Los Angeles. I can’t disagree with the obvious logic behind that thinking. But there has to be a point in which the line in the sand is drawn. For me, it’s when you get over the two-touchdown mark.
By the numbers: Detroit is 13-6 ATS after a double-digit loss at home. … The Rams are on an 0-5 spread slide the week after a win of 14 points or more. … LA is 1-4 ATS against teams with a losing record.
Pick: Rams 24, Lions 21
Eagles (2-4) at Raiders (4-2)
Time: 1:05 p.m., KVVU-5
Line/total: Raiders -3, 48½
Analysis: The Eagles’ offense has been dealing with injuries and personal matters for most of the season. But Philadelphia expects tackle Lane Johnson and tight end Dallas Goedert to return this week, giving QB Jalen Hurts another offensive weapon and better protection. Hurts has been sacked at least twice in every game since the opener. Until I can get more than 79 yards a game on the ground from the Raiders, I can’t consistently put my money behind them.
By the numbers: The Raiders haven’t been a team I’ve wanted to lay points with for four seasons, and here’s why: In their last 63 games as favorites, they’re 20-42-1 ATS (32 percent).
Pick: Eagles 26, Raiders 24
Bears (3-3) at Buccaneers (5-1)
Time: 1:25 p.m., KLAS-8
Line/total: Buccaneers -11½, 47
Analysis: This matchup looks too easy, which makes me run the other way. Logic will tell you that the Buccaneers are starting to heat up with their defense rounding into form. Now Tampa Bay faces a Chicago squad that has had trouble scoring, making this an easy play for most. But keep in mind that as good as the Bucs have looked since their lone loss to the Rams three weeks ago, they are 2-4 ATS. And the Bears have to feel good about how their defense played in last week’s 24-14 loss to the Packers. This is going to be a grind for Tampa.
By the numbers: When two teams that made the playoffs the previous year meet and the spread is double digits, the underdog is 31-59 straight up. But the return on investment on a $100 money-line wager on the underdog is more than $7,500. This trend is even stronger the last five years, with underdogs going 8-15 SU but winning more than $2,400.
Pick: Buccaneers 23, Bears 20
Texans (1-5) at Cardinals (6-0)
Time: 1:25 p.m.
Line/total: Cardinals -17½, 47½
Analysis: It’s hard to make a case for the Texans because the Houston organization is out of control with too many factions going in different directions. So it’s better to justify a Texans wager with simple math. When teams are getting 13½ to 17½ points, they’re 32-21 ATS (60.3 percent). When those underdogs are on the road, the numbers are even better at 27-14 ATS (66 percent). That’s all the justification I can muster.
By the numbers: Arizona is on an 8-20 ATS slide as a home favorite, going 2-5 ATS in its last seven games in that role. … The Texans are 5-1 ATS the week after allowing 150 yards rushing or more. … Road teams coming off a road loss are 8-0 ATS this season and 13-1 ATS dating to last season.
Pick: Cardinals 30, Texans 17
Colts (2-4) at 49ers (2-3)
Time: 5:20 p.m., KSNV-3
Line/total: 49ers -4, 43
Analysis: Jimmy Garoppolo gets the Niners’ offensive reins again after rookie QB Trey Lance suffered a sprained knee. San Francisco’s three losses have been by a combined 16 points, which means with fewer turnovers it would be closer to the Cardinals than the Seahawks in the AFC West standings. A motivated Garoppolo gets the job done.
By the numbers: This is the time of the year when we start to get a feel for teams and think we know who they are, especially against the number. The Colts are 4-2 ATS and the Niners 1-4 ATS. However, teams that have covered less than 30 percent of their games are 31-17 ATS vs. teams that have covered 50 percent or more. In the last 15 years, this trend has had only one losing season.
Pick: 49ers 27, Colts 21
Saints (3-2) at Seahawks (2-4)
Time: 5:15 p.m., ESPN
Line/total: Saints -4½, 42½
Analysis: Inconsistent play with some big winners as underdogs is why the Saints’ cover margin is a bit fraudulent. New Orleans is 1-2 ATS as a favorite this season, but that hasn’t stopped the public from jumping on the Saints in this one. I understand the thought process, but I also believe that players and teams make the biggest jump between Week 1 and Week 2, which it essentially is for Seattle QB Geno Smith. He will give the Seahawks just enough offense to complement an inspired defensive effort.
By the numbers: The Saints have a terrific cover margin this season of +30 points. But this is the time of year in which I start to fade teams that I think have a fake cover margin, especially on the road in a conference game.
Pick: Seahawks 21, Saints 20