NFL Betting Odds: Week 6 Line Movements & Last-Minute News
The Dallas Cowboys opened as 1-point home underdogs Sunday vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars and are up to as high as 3.5 points at a few Doc's-affiliated books. I'll be taking the 3.5, and as long as the Cowboys cover that number I could give a hoot who wins the game.
But, please, please, please let Dallas be in a tie game late in the fourth quarter at around the Jacksonville 42 and be staring at a fourth-and-1. That's basically what the Cowboys faced last Sunday night in Houston in overtime. Coach Jason Garrett, despite having one of the best tailbacks in the NFL in Ezekiel Elliott and one of the league's better offensive lines (it's not what it used to be, though), opted to punt. Dallas would end up losing.
I'm sure you know by now that GM/owner Jerry Jones publicly questioned his coach's decision after: "We were being outplayed there, not out-efforted but we were outplayed. But it's time for risk at that particular time. That's not second-guessing, but we were taking some risk too at certain points in the game."
Hey, Jones owns the richest franchise in sports, so he can darn well say what he wants. I tend to agree with him in this situation. At your own 42 on fourth-and-4? Nope, not like the Colts' Frank Reich did the week before. Garrett's reasoning was that he was relying on a defense that had played very well to hold Houston deep and force a punt. The Cowboys D had forced three punts, created two turnovers and allowed just two field goals in the second half. And 10 of Elliott's 20 runs against Houston either were for no gain or lost yardage. On the flipside, since 2016 the Cowboys had been 18-for-19 on fourth-and-1 situations including one earlier against the Texans.
We shouldn't root for anyone to lose their job, but we all do: a coach we don't like or an irritating/smelly coworker, etc. I definitely want to see Garrett in that situation again this week and see if he learned his lesson or thumbs his nose at Jones.
Naturally, Bovada has a special related to this for Week 6. The wording is important: "First NFL Head Coach to Leave Their Post?" I take that to mean Garrett might just walk away because he's tired of Jones' meddling (I'm sure a settlement could be reached contractually). Garrett is the +260 favorite. Denver's Vance Joseph is next at +333, and I see no way he's back in 2019. Not his fault that John Elway still hasn't found him a quarterback, but Elway isn't firing himself. Tampa Bay's Dirk Koetter (+400), Houston's Bill O'Brien (+750) and Cleveland's Hue Jackson (+900) round out the favorites. Jackson has more job security now than he ever has.
Here are some line moves or potential game-changing injury notes for Week 6.
Colts at Jets (-2.5, 45): New York has dropped to that magic number of 2.5 from 3, and now I'd probably jump on the Jets. The Colts are on extra rest, but Andrew Luck is not expected to have his two top targets in receiver T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) or tight end Jack Doyle (hip). Doyle has been out since Week 2 and Hilton missed last week. Luck will have his fifth different starting lineup on the offensive line after the team placed veteran guard Matt Slauson on the injured reserve list. That dude played a half with two broken vertebrae in his back in Week 5. Some good news, though, as left tackle Anthony Castonzo (hamstring) is in line to make his season debut. New York could be without two of its top defensive backs in Trumaine Johnson and Buster Skrine. Those injuries were known. What wasn't was running back Isaiah Crowell not practicing through Thursday with an ankle injury. He set a franchise record with 219 yards rushing in last week's win over the Broncos. If Crowell sits, I may have to reconsider.
Bills at Texans (-10, 41): There was no line on this one Monday and then it opened at -8.5 early in the week. The reason was the status of Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson, who was battered behind his awful offensive line in last Sunday's win over Dallas. He has been limited at practice all week, but no question he will play. This is the difference between the NFL and college. If Watson was still at Clemson and his team was facing some bad team like UTEP, then Watson would sit. But in the NFL any team can beat any other one as the Bills proved a few weeks ago in Minnesota. Running back Lamar Miller was active only on an emergency basis last week but practiced in full Thursday and should go. Buffalo's main injury concern was top cornerback Tre'Davious White, but he was fulling practicing on Thursday and will draw DeAndre Hopkins in this one. I will say this: If LeSean McCoy is scratched for any reason, that means a trade is imminent - probably to Philadelphia.
Rams at Broncos (+7, 52): Been hoping for this to climb over 7.5 (clearly I'm leaning Broncos) but have only seen 5Dimes with that number thus far. This could be our first winter weather game of the year as the forecast for the kickoff in Denver is 26 degrees with light snow and that's basically the rest of the day. The area could get 1-3 inches, although more of it before game time. One would think that would slow the high-powered Rams some. Jared Goff's top two receivers, Cooper Kupp and Brandin Cooks, left last week's win in Seattle with concussions, but it's looking like they will play. Denver QB Case Keenum could be under siege often against Aaron Donald & Co. because right tackle Jared Veldheer is expected to miss a second straight game and left tackle Garrett Boles is questionable with an ankle injury. He probably plays but clearly not at 100 percent. Maybe I'm reconsidering this too and trying to find Rams -6.5.
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