Here's hoping you opened Week 6 NFL betting by taking my advice on the Thursday night game between the Saints and Falcons in New Orleans, which I previewed here at Doc's. I wrote that the Saints might win outright but definitely to take the 3.5-point alternate line. New Orleans won pretty easily 31-21 -- I also hit on the "over" 51 thanks to a garbage-time Devonta Freeman touchdown reception from Matt Ryan with 1:21 left -- to trim the list of unbeatens in the NFL to five.
So while that wasn't a close game, here's hoping we get more of what we saw in Week 5. A total of 11 games were won by a team that trailed at some point during the contest, including four teams who overcame a double-digit deficit. Seven teams won who trailed in the fourth. The Bengals were down 17 at home to Seattle but won in OT. It was only the third victory in NFL history in which a team erased a fourth-quarter deficit of at least 17 points against a club that played in the previous season's Super Bowl. Random but interesting.
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Here are some line moves or potential game-changing injury notes for Week 6.
Texans at Jaguars (-1, 43): I touched on this in my Opening Line Report on Monday, but back then the Jaguars were 1-point dogs. Now we know for sure that Blake Bortles will play, although I'm not sure that's why the line has moved. Starting running back T.J. Yeldon will be a game-time call with a groin injury. But I'm looking at this game again because it's so rare that Jacksonville is a favorite. Starting with the 2011 season, it has happened all of three times. The Jags are 2-1 ATS and SU in those three games. They were -4.5 at home last season against Tennessee and won 21-13. You may want to play a prop on Texans star defensive end J.J. Watt here. Watt has recorded more sacks against the Jaguars in his career (11.5) than all but Tennessee (12). He has sacked Bortles six times in two meetings, more than anyone but Andrew Luck (eight) -- Luck's total is over six games.
Patriots at Colts (+10, 54.5): I previewed this game here at Doc's -- I took the points -- so I won't go into full detail. Now it's all but sure that Luck will play, so I feel better about taking the points even though the Pats are 4-0 vs. Luck and have scored at least 42 points in all four games, averaging 47.3 points per game, 29 more points per game than the Colts average. New England is taking the biggest lean on the board as of this writing, and this has easily the highest total. Only one time this century have the Colts been double-digit home dogs, and that was in 2011, the year that Peyton Manning sat out with his neck injury and when Luck was still at Stanford. Interesting Bovada special for this one: How many times will "Deflategate" or some variation be said during the telecast on NBC? It's only during the game action, not pregame or halftime or postgame. The total is 2.5, with the "over" a -250 favorite. I lean under (+170).
Broncos at Browns (+4, 42.5): Denver is taking the second biggest lean of the week. I know some people think this is a trap game with the Broncos playing in the early 1 p.m. ET slot. Plus, they probably won't have DeMarcus Ware, a key piece of the NFL's top-rated defense. It's also first in the league with 22 sacks and first with 14 takeaways. Bovada also has a Week 6 special on Denver, but it might not be resolved this week. It asks whether the Broncos will win another game this season where they don't score an offensive touchdown. "Yes" is +1000 and "no" -2000. They have done so twice already, Week 1 vs. Baltimore and then last week in Oakland. Peyton Manning has had back-to-back games with two interceptions and has seven on the year, his most through five games since 2001. He also has only six TD passes, giving him more picks than TD throws this deep into a season for the first time since his 1998 rookie year. But, hey, the Broncos are 5-0. Manning likely won't have to deal with one of the NFL's best cornerbacks in this one as Cleveland's Joe Haden is not likely to play due to a concussion.
Bengals at Bills (+3, 42): At some books, this line opened as Bills -1 with a total of 45. Both have changed, undoubtedly, because of the news that Buffalo starting QB Tyrod Taylor is unlikely to play after he suffered an MCL injury last week -- that came out of nowhere after my Opening Line Report story. Coach Rex Ryan hasn't ruled Taylor out yet, but some pretty credible media sources have said it's going to be backup E.J. Manuel. It is looking good that both running back LeSean McCoy and receiver Sammy Watkins return from injuries, however. Watkins spoke out this week saying that the Bills' offense is making him look bad because he doesn't get enough targets. And you know what? Some teammates have publicly agreed. Watkins believes he needs 10 targets a game. The Bills gave up a lot to move up in the 2014 draft and get Watkins, so they should use him more.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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