Three betting insights gained from NFL Week 6: Ravens are off to the races

Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters (24) and his teammates stomp on the Titans logo after Peters picked up an interception to seal their win over the Tennessee Titans in Nashville.
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Ricky Dimon

NFL· 1 month ago

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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

Six weeks into the 2021 NFL season, the cream is rising to the top. And, for that matter, the dead weights are sinking to the bottom. The best teams in the league kept their momentum going on Sunday, while the worst teams—with one exception—continued to struggle. That one exception was the Jaguars, who prevailed in London with a 23-20 victory over the Dolphins. Yes, head coach Urban Meyer’s squad actually won a football game.

Let’s take a look at three things we learned from Week 6 in the NFL.

Ravens taking flight

Before the Ravens even made it to the regular season, they suffered a whole host of damaging injuries—mainly to their running back core. Adding insult to injury, they lost their opener to the Raiders.

Fast forward five weeks and Baltimore is now 5-1 following a 34-6 beatdown of the Chargers on Sunday. Most impressive was the fact that the home team did it without a big performance by Lamar Jackson. The star QB threw for 167 yards, rushed for 51, and accounted for just 1 touchdown. He was also picked off twice. If the Ravens can continue to excel with this ball-carrier by committee (187 yards and 3 TDs on Sunday) and dominate on defense (26 rushing yards allowed), there is no ceiling on their potential.

While the Ravens have hit their stride, now it is the 3-3 Chiefs who are just barely scraping by. Kansas City, which trailed Washington at halftime before winning 31-13, seems to be surviving on life support like Baltimore did at the start of the year. Still very much afloat with a ton of time left in the regular season, are Patrick Mahomes and company poised to make a run?

The ‘books certainly think so. K.C. is still a +350 second choice behind Buffalo to win the AFC.

No coach, no problem

I am a firm believer that the Bucs are the best team in the NFL. Although “until the champs are dethroned they are still the best” is not always true, I believe that’s the case with Tom Brady and company.

But the Cardinals are not far behind. Despite missing head coach Kliff Kingsbury due to a positive Covid-19 test, they went into Cleveland and thumped the Browns 37-14. Kyler Murray tossed 4 touchdown passes without committing a turnover. With both the 49ers and Seahawks under .500, it’s shaping up to be quite a NFC West battle between the Cards (-140) and Rams (+150). And the stakes could not be higher. The winner will surely be in the mix with Tampa Bay for the top seed and a first-round bye; the runner-up will be relegated to a first-round road game.

The Texans are who we thought they were

The Texans were supposed to be the worst team in football when the season began, and that is exactly what they are. An opening win over the Jaguars briefly suggested otherwise, but it has since been confirmed. Houston lost 31-3 to Indianapolis in Week 6, whereas Jacksonville picked up its first win of the year by beating Miami on a last-second field goal at Tottenham Stadium.

Although the Lions (0-6) are still winless, the Texans have to be considered the worst of the worst. Their minus-80 point differential is testimony. Four of the Texans’ setbacks have come by double-digits, including a 40-0 humiliation against the Bills.

Similar to the Jets last year, it’s time for game spreads to start giving Houston a large, large, large amount of points. And since it’s the Cardinals next week (LOL), 17 might not even be enough!

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