For the first time all season, NFL betting favorites took care of business last week. Not only did an overwhelming majority of favorites win outright, but most covered the point spread as well. It just goes to show that things always tend to balance out in the National Football League. While the general underdog feast of weeks past came to a halt in Week 5, we still correctly predicted two outright upsets in last week’s NFL betting picks column. What do you say we try to nail another plus-money winner or two in Week 6?
The following looks at three NFL betting favorites who are officially on upset alert ahead of their Week 6 matchups including the Miami Dolphins, Cincinnati Bengals and Dallas Cowboys.
**Author’s Note: The Baltimore Ravens and Minnesota Vikings are two other favorites that are officially on upset alert in Week 6. However, with those games having point spreads smaller than three points, they are not featured in this column.
3 Teams on Upset Alert for Week 6 | NFL Betting Picks
Dolphins (-3) vs Jaguars
Considering that the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars have combined to win one game through the first five weeks, it seems pretty safe to say the NFL is in no rush to send its best product over to London. An NFL betting ticket or two might be necessary to enjoy this one. Luckily, the underdogs are barking all the way from Europe!
After a three-week stint on the IR with fractured ribs, Tua Tagovailoa will make his return at quarterback for the Dolphins this week. How much of an upgrade that is from backup Jacoby Brissett is very much debatable. In actuality, neither Dolphins QB can be expected to perform this season behind what is one of the worst offensive lines in football. Miami thrived last season off of their defense generating turnovers and playing with short fields. With their turnover margin regressing to the negative through five games, so too has their win-loss record. If not for a fumble recovery late in Week 1, the Dolphins could very well be sitting at 0-5.
Speaking of 0-5 teams, that is exactly where the Jaguars are at entering Sunday’s NFL betting showdown across the pond. That said, Trevor Lawrence has cut down on his mistakes in each of the last two weeks. Perhaps he can put together another quality effort against a suspect defense. He doesn’t have many quality wideouts, but tight end Dan Arnold showed out in just his second game as a Jaguar last week. Running back James Robinson figures to remain the heart and soul of Jacksonville’s offense.
Dolphins vs Jaguars NFL Betting Picks
Look, the Jaguars are undoubtedly one of the worst teams in the NFL. But given what we’ve seen through five weeks, it honestly seems fair to also throw the Dolphins into that conversation. Brian Flores may be a far better coach than Urban Meyer, but no amount of scheming can fix Miami’s horrendous offensive line. The return of Tagovailoa won’t be enough to turn their season around. The Jags have a great chance to score their first win in London on Sunday morning.
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Bengals (-3.5) at Lions
Mason Crosby gave the Cincinnati Bengals every chance to upset the Green Bay Packers last week. Thanks to rookie kicker, Evan McPherson, missing two late field goals of his own, the Bengals fell short of picking up a signature win. Now, they go on the road to face the winless Detroit Lions in Week 6. Talent-wise, the Bengals have a distinct advantage in this game. Joe Burrow has looked sharp in his second season, and the WR trio of Ja’Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins have what it takes to light up a bad Detroit defense. Cincinnati has also been quite stout defensively through five games. They rank seventh in total adjusted efficiency according to Football Outsiders.
Despite the notable improvements and optimism surrounding this year’s Bengals, the Lions are not an opponent to be taken lightly. Sure, they have dropped all five of their games thus far. That said, if not for an NFL-record field goal in Week 3 and another buzzer-beating kick from over 50 yards out last week, Detroit would be 2-3 entering this NFL betting matchup. While Jared Goff leaves a bit to be desired, he has proven capable of having a big statistical game on a moment’s notice. The emergence of rookie wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown figures to continue on Sunday. The Lions also have one of the league’s best RB tandems in D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams. Despite numerous injuries and an overall lack of talent on defense, Detroit has held two of their last three opponents below 20 points.
Bengals vs Lions NFL Betting Picks
Both the Bengals and Lions suffered heartbreaking losses last week. The resilience of both sides will be tested in this Week 6 matchup. The Bengals have not been in the position of being an NFL betting favorite away from home very often. Cincinnati is just 2-17-1 SU in their last 20 road games. Plus, if anyone can motivate his team to spring an upset, it’s Lions coach Dan Campbell. Book Win No. 1 for Detroit this week.
Cowboys (-3.5) vs Patriots
Rounding out this week’s favorites on NFL betting upset alert is America’s Team. The Dallas Cowboys have admittedly been impressive in starting the season 4-1. The only loss came in close fashion to the defending Super Bowl champs back on opening night. Of course, with all the talent assembled on offense, it’s no surprise to see the Cowboys moving the ball at will. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott lead a unit that ranks second in points per game entering Sunday’s showdown against the New England Patriots. The real surprise for Dallas through five weeks has been the defense. After ranking at or near the bottom in most meaningful defensive stats a season ago, the unit ranks sixth in adjusted efficiency. Better defensive play is a huge reason why the Cowboys are the only unbeaten team ATS through five weeks.
While last week’s narrow victory over the lowly Houston Texans wasn’t pretty on paper, the fact that Mac Jones was able to lead the comeback charge without four starting offensive linemen is nothing to sneeze at. While the Patriots expect a healthier front on Sunday, the status of lead RB Damien Harris is up in the air. Expect rookie Rhamondre Stevenson to garner a larger workload if Harris can’t go. Like the Cowboys, New England has also rebounded defensively this season. They also rank top-10 in adjusted efficiency and have veteran talent at all three levels. Matthew Judon continued his stellar start to the season with two sacks last week. If there’s any defense capable of slowing down the Dallas offense, it’s the Patriots.
Cowboys vs Patriots NFL Betting Picks
The Cowboys may be perfect ATS coming in, but those numbers always tend to even out over time. There are also a number of intriguing NFL betting trends surrounding this matchup. One is that the Patriots have never started 0-4 at home under Bill Belichick. Speaking of Belichick, the coaching gap between him and Mike McCarthy is too great to even quantify. The Patriots have also won each of their last six games against the Cowboys. The Patriots set up beautifully as a contrarian home underdog with bite this week.