NFL Tips: Mike Carlson says Raiders to fall short at Mile High in Week Six

Last Vegas Raiders coaches Rich Bisaccia and Jon Gruden
Rich Bisaccia (left) will be in charge of the Raiders in Denver

Mike Carlson looks at all the Week Six fixtures in the NFL with bets for four including Denver to exploit Vegas's weaknesses when they meet on Sunday night...

"How do you figure what the loss of Jon Gruden to excessive emailing will mean to the Raiders? Do they rally round special teams coach Rich Bisaccia? What worries me more is the idea that Greg Olson is now exclusively responsible for the Raiders' O."

We did ok last week, finally. All three of the big bets were correct, including the Packers winning and going under, plus some of the better extra suggestions hitting, including covers by Tampa and Houston.

On Wednesday's NFL Only Bettor podcast, the forecast for the Eagles/Bucs game, with its sneaky late cover was spot on; the over would have been too had Jake Elliott cooperated from 46 yards out. How bad is Thursday Night Football? Neither Philly nor Tampa actually practiced this week.

The rest of the week starts in London again. I'll be live on BBC2 at 14:00. Oddly enough this week, we have five games between teams with the same records, including the week's best contest in Baltimore.

Sunday, 14:30 - Tua to take fight to Jags in NLFD

Miami (1-4) at Jacksonville (0-5) at White Hart Lane
A North London Florida Derby! Originally this was supposed to be the up and coming Dolphins (10-6 last year) with Tua against the Urban Renewal Jags with Trevor Lawrence: Tank for Tua meets Tank for Trevor. Things have not got entirely to plan....although a half-past Tua kick-off might be a good omen for Miami. James Robinson, who may be the Jags' best player, is evens as an anytime TD scorer; Mike Gesicki is 21/10 for Miami.

Sunday 18:00 - Shootout in one-win city

Houston (1-4) at Indianapolis (1-4)
The Texans are playing hard for new coach David Culley, whose understanding of fourth down still seems shaky. Davis Mills had his best game against the Pats, whose speciality was supposed to be confusing rookie QBs. But Carson Wentz showed signs of life in the loss at Baltimore. Over 42.5 looks good here.

Green Bay (4-1) at Chicago (3-2)
A sneaky important game here, as Da Bears are on a Lions/Raiders win streak and Sean Desai's D is starting to Fangio into place. As it has been for the past three seasons, your bets on Green Bay depend on your faith in Aaron Rodgers to carry the Packers before his patience with his teammates and coaches expires, so the barometer of this one is how much frustration the Bears can make him feel.

Chiefs will be too strong for Washington

Kansas City (2-3) at Washington (2-3)
We've talked the Chiefs' defensive problems to death, but WTF's have been even worse and they don't really have the offense to carry them. The spread dropped from 7 to 6.5 since Wednesday, which I think the Chiefs can cover, with all their woes.

Outside Bet: Back Kansas City (-6.5 at 9/10)

Minnesota (2-3) at Carolina (3-2)
At this early stage of the season the matchup is between teams on the fulcrums of the seasons. Christian McCaffrey is still being held out of practice, and if he doesn't play the Panthers' O remains too one dimensional. After last week, it's tempting to say Sam Old Sam Darnold. It's almost a pick 'em game for good reason, and Dalvin Cook is back for the Vikes, which means they ought to be able to run the ball and make Kirk Cousins more effective in play action.

Ravens are value to edge Chargers clash

LA Chargers (4-1) at Baltimore (4-1)
The key game of the week matching up teams with the same records is a real poser. The stats say Baltimore ought to be able to take advantage of the Chargers' weakest points, like run D and special teams, where the Ravens are one of the best and LA one of the worst. But Justin Herbert seems to thrive in close game pressure situations, and it took a Calais Campbell field goal block for the Ravens to get past Indy last week.

Baltimore Marlon Humphrey 1280.jpg

With all the losses at running back, Baltimore is not a running powerhouse any more, and they don't seem to be using as many designed runs for Lamar Jackson. But Jackson is starting to work the whole field passing, and as long as Hollywood Brown avoids the drops, that could be the difference. That and a very good secondary keeping Mike Williams and Keenan Allen in check. I think Kenneth Murray's injury hurts the Chargers more than people have noticed, and I like Baltimore giving 2.5, but if you like the Chargers take them on the moneyline.

Value Bet: Baltimore (-2.5 at 9/10)

Cincinnati (3-2) at Detroit (0-5)
Are the Bengals for real? Yes, sort of. Will the Lions' game reveal whether they are or not? Nope. But I don't jump at Cincinnati giving only 3.5 because the frustration is building up in Dan Campbell and his team might bite a few knees off this week.

LA Rams (4-1) at NY Giants (1-4)
Palindromic Records! And that's for a reason. I can come up with scenarios where the G-Men hold the Rams under 9.5, but many of them are unconvincing.

Sunday 21:05 - Arizona (5-0) at Cleveland (3-2)
It's not often the league's only undefeated team are road dogs to a 3-2 outfit, but you can see why. Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins were both nursing injuries but I would be shocked to see either of them missing this game.

It might remind some of the 32-29 loss to KC where Cleveland led 22-10; it might remind others of a Big-12 shootout between two ex-Oklahoma quarterbacks. The problem is only Murray is coached by an ex-Big 12 coach. Lots of us have noticed that Vance Joseph's D has been the real key to the Cards' fast start: the Browns' run game will be a challenge, but without Jarvis Landry and with OBJ obviously not back to his OBJ form of yesteryear, the Browns don't want to have to play catchup. The hidden key here may be the absence of C Rodney Hudson from the Cards' line, because pass rush is the Browns' key defensively.

Sunday 21:25 - Broncos are best bet of the week

Las Vegas (3-2) at Denver (3-2)
How do you figure what the loss of Jon Gruden to excessive emailing will mean to the Raiders? Do they rally round special teams coach Rich Bisaccia? What worries me more is the idea that Greg Olson is now exclusively responsible for the Raiders' O. Maybe that will make Derek Carr happier, but I've never been a fan of Olson's play-calling (and we saw a lot of it when we did the Jags on Talksport). I don't think they can do to Teddy B what the Bears did or what the Steelers did at the end of the game last week.

Best Bet: Denver (-3.5 at 9/10)

Dallas (4-1) at New England (2-3)
If the Pats can do one thing at home it's hold teams in check, which is why on the podcast I recommended the under at 56.5. Except I was misreading my phone and it was 50.5, which I think I would still recommend. I don't see the Pats, who spent a lot of money on everything but a downfield threat, will be able to exploit the Dallas D. They've been cautious with Mac Jones.

Zeke Elliott and Tony Pollard receiving out the backfield could be the difference and I note the spread has moved up half a point to Dallas -4. That's still a fair bet. Rhamondre Stevenson and Pollard are each 21/10 for an anytime score, and Hunter Henry is 3/1.

Ben Roethlisberger 1280.jpg

(01:20 Monday) Seattle (2-3) at Pittsburgh (2-3)
There is a whiff of the Jets about Geno Smith, and because the biggest strength of the Steelers game is their pass rush, Smith's relative lack of mobility compared to Russell Wilson would seem to tilt this one Pittsburgh's way, despite Big Ben's absolute lack of mobility and injuries to his receiving corps. The over 42.5 at 9/10 appeals to me, though.

Bills provide Monday night value

(01:15 Tuesday) Buffalo (4-1) at Tennessee (3-2)
One of the things I said last week is that the Bills were perfectly set up to hold Kansas City's offense in check. They are not that badly geared to do the same to Tennessee's and more than most teams, the ability of Josh Allen to keep plays alive and get early scores can force the Titans out of their preferred style of play and into trying to throw downfield, a game they will lose to the Bills.

Value Bet: Buffalo (-5.5 at 9/10)

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