NFL

Patriots at Falcons picks, plus 10 teams with best Super Bowl odds and recapping premiere of ‘Hard Knocks’

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Thursday edition of the Pick Six Newsletter! 

First, let me start off here by saying that if you’re a Falcons fan, you might want to stay off social media tonight because I have a feeling the 28-3 jokes are going to be flying and that’s mainly because we’re getting a rematch of Super Bow LI on “Thursday Night Football.”

If either team takes a 28-3 lead in tonight’s game, there’s a 98.3% chance that Twitter will literally explode and I can NOT afford to have that happen right now. I’m too close to 10,000 followers (Feel free to follow me). Anyway, we’ll be previewing the game in today’s newsletter as well as taking a look at the teams that currently have the best Super Bowl odds. We’ll also be recapping HBO’s first ever in-season episode of “Hard Knocks,” so let’s get to the rundown. 

As always, here’s your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the Pick Six newsletter. To get your friends to sign up, all you have to do is click here and then share this link with them. 

1. Today’s show: Patriots-Falcons betting preview

HOUSTON, TX – FEBRUARY 05: Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons walks off the field after losing to the New England Patriots 34-28 in overtime during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas.
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

If you’re planning on betting any money on tonight’s game, then you’re going to want to make sure to listen to today’s episode of the podcast before you place any bets. For today’s show, Will Brinson brought on CBSSports writer Tyler Sullivan, and the two went into full gambling mode. 

Here are several props they like for the game: 

  • Mac Jones UNDER 23.5 completions (-135). Although Jones has been impressive over the past few weeks, the fact of the matter is that the Patriots haven’t been asking him to do a lot. The rookie QB has gone under this number in five of his past six games. Also, the Patriots are 5-1 this season when he’s finished with under 23.5 completions, so the Patriots probably like keeping him under that number. 
  • Kyle Pitts UNDER 63.5 receiving yards (-135). Bill Belichick loves to take away a team’s best offensive weapon and right now, that weapon would be Kyle Pitts, especially since Cordarrelle Patterson is dealing with an ankle injury. Don’t be surprised if Belichick schemes a defense designed to shut down Pitts.  
  • Hunter Henry OVER 30.5 receiving yards (-125). Henry has gone over this number in seven of New England’s 10 games this season and it won’t be surprising if he goes over it again considering he’ll be facing a Falcons pass defense that has surrendered 956 receiving yards to tight ends this year, which is the fourth-most in the NFL
  • Long shot prop: Hunter Henry to score the first TD of the game (+1100). The Patriots tight end has become one of Mac Jones’ favorite targets, especially in the red zone. Henry has at least one touchdown catch in six of New England’s past seven games.   

For more props and their actual predictions for tonight’s game, be sure to click here so you can listen to today’s episode. If you’d rather watch today’s show, you can now do that on YouTube by clicking here

2. Thursday night preview: Prepping you for Patriots at Falcons

Get ready to dust off all of your 28-3 jokes because you get to use them tonight when the Patriots travel to Atlanta. This game will mark the second time the two teams have met since the Falcons blew that lead in Super Bowl LI. Including that Super Bowl, Matt Ryan is 0-4 all-time against the Patriots. 

This game is actually pretty huge for both teams: if the Patriots (6-4) win, they’ll stay in the thick of the AFC East race. If the Falcons (4-5) win, they’ll still be in the hunt for an NFC wild card spot. 

My good buddy Jared Dubin put together our deep-dive preview for this game at CBS Sports, and here’s how he sees it playing out:

  • Why the Patriots can win: The Patriots have a better offense, a better defense and a better special teams unit. To put it simply: the Patriots are definitely a better team. This game will likely depend on the Patriots defense, though. The unit is only surrendering 17.7 points per game this season, which is the second-best number in the NFL. If it holds the Falcons to something around that number, it’s almost a lock that New England is going to win. 
  • Why the Falcons can win: If the Patriots defense has been vulnerable in one area this season, it’s against the run, which means if the Falcons are going to win, they’re likely going to have to figure out a way to kickstart their ground game. The problem for the Falcons is that’s not going to be easy, because they’re averaging just 82.9 yards per game on the ground, which is the third-worst number in the NFL. It’s also unknown if Cordarrelle Patterson (ankle) is going to play. If Patterson is out, it’s not going to be easy for the Falcons to do anything on offense.  

You can get a full preview of the game from Dubin by clicking here. The Patriots are currently favored by 6.5 points. Out of me and Dubin, one of us thinks the Patriots are going to cover and one of us does not. 

Dubin’s pick: Patriots 24-20 over Falcons.
My pick: Patriots 27-17 over Falcons. 

If you’re thinking about betting on the game, Tyler Sullivan put together a full gambling preview. 

  • ONE PROP TYLER LIKES: Kendrick Bourne OVER 33.5 receiving yards (-130): “Bourne is slowly developing into one of Jones’ go-to guys in the passing game and has gone over this prop in his past five games (seven out of 10 on the season). The duo is coming off one of its better games of the season where Bourne caught all four of his passes for 98 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown.”
  • ONE PROP I LIKE: Younghoe Koo OVER 1.5 field goals (+110): Not only has Koo gone over this number in four of his past five games, but this prop is also getting plus-value, which seems too good to pass up. If the Falcons do trot Koo out for a field goal, you can feel pretty confident he’s going to make it since his FG percentage this year is 93.8%, which is the fourth-highest in the NFL. 

You can check out Sullivan’s full gambling preview by clicking here.

3. Super Bowl odds heading into Week 11


Getty Images

You know the NFL is season is crazy when a team on a two-game losing streak is currently tied for the best odds to win the Super Bowl, and that’s exactly where we stand right now heading into Week 11. In the latest Super Bowl odds from the Caesars Sportsbook, the Buccaneers are the co-favorites to win it all along with the Buffalo Bills. As a reminder, those two teams are a combined 1-3 in the month of November. 

Here are the odds for the 10 teams with the best chance to win it all, according to Caesars. 

T-1. Buccaneers +600
T-1. Bills +600
3. Rams +800
4. Packers +900
T-5. Cowboys +1000
T-5. Cardinals +1000
T-7. Titans +1100
T-7. Chiefs +1100
9. Ravens +1300
10. Patriots +2500

Worst odds: Jets, Jaguars, Lions, Texas: +250000 (Bet $100 to win $250,000)
Best value: Patriots +2500

My first piece of advice here is don’t bet on the Lions even though a $1 bet would pay out $2,500 if they somehow won. That’s throwing away your money. Instead of wasting that dollar on the Lions, you could buy one of 7,000 things at the Dollar Store. I love the Dollar Store. 

If you need one stat to help you pick a Super Bowl winner, you should probably go with point differential. The last five Super Bowl winners — and seven of the last eight — finished in the top five of regular-season point differential. Our Chris Trapasso explained why that’s such an important stat and you can check out his story by clicking here

If I had to bet my money right now on a team to win the Super Bowl, I’d probably go with the Packers, even though it’s not a great value. They were my preseason prediction to win it all and I am going to stick with them through thick and thin. On the other hand, if I want to bet on a team that could potentially win me a lot of money, I would definitely go with the Patriots. If we’ve learned one thing about winning the Super Bowl, it’s that no one is better than Bill Belichick at leading his team to a Lombardi Trophy. A $100 bet on the Patriots would pay out $2,500 if they win it all, and I don’t even want to think about how many things that would buy me at the Dollar Store, but it would be a lot.  

4. Colts on “Hard Knocks”: Recapping the premiere of the first-ever in-season version of the show

With ratings for “Hard Knocks” going down over the past few years, the NFL and HBO decided to spice things up this year by having an in-season version of the show featuring the Indianapolis Colts, which kicked off Wednesday night. 

Although I haven’t gotten a chance to see the premiere episode yet, our Jeff Kerr watched and decided to make a list of winners and losers from the first episode. 

Winners: Darius Leonard, Jim Irsay, Girl dads
Kerr’s take on Leonard: Leonard was the star of the show, on and off the field. The Colts All-Pro linebacker, listed at 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds, had some gripes about his weight on the practice field during the week to Colts staffers. “Tired of hearing about my weight,” Leonard said. “It’s been the same thing since 2018. 220. 8% body fat. … They said I was too small in high school, too small in college, too small in the league. It’s crazy.” Leonard has two interceptions and four forced fumbles this season on his way to another All-Pro campaign. The Colts can leave him alone about his weight. 

Losers: Urban Meyer
Kerr’s take: Part of the reason the Colts were able to take an early lead on the Jaguars in Sunday’s contest was because Urban Meyer revealed the adjustments to his defense in a press conference that caught notice of Colts head coach Frank Reich. Meyer said the Jaguars have morphed to a zone defense, which helped them hold the Buffalo Bills to six points.  Reich pointed out to the coaching staff in a meeting about how that was an “interesting” comment. Basically Reich thanked Meyer for the information, as he used Jonathan Taylor early and often in Sunday’s win. (Taylor had 93 of his 116 rushing yards in the first quarter.)

If you want a full review of the first episode, make sure you click here so you can read Kerr’s entire piece. The show will be airing Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on HBO for the rest of the season. 

5. Lions have NFC’s second-best record in November

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – SEPTEMBER 20: Head coach Dan Campbell of the Detroit Lions celebrates a touchdown with players during the first quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 20, 2021 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

If you want to know just how crazy the NFC has been over the past couple of weeks, all you have to do is consider this stat: There are only two teams that have zero losses in the month of November this year and the WINLESS LIONS are one of them. 

It’s kind of mind-blowing if you think about it. The Lions literally have zero wins this season, but still somehow have a better record than 14 other NFC teams this month.  

Here’s a quick look at each NFC team’s November record this season: 

1. Washington (1-0)
2. Detroit (0-0-1)
T-3. 49ers (1-1)
T-3. Cardinals (1-1)
T-3. Packers (1-1)
T-3. Vikings (1-1)
T-3. Panthers (1-1)
T-3. Falcons (1-1)
T-3. Eagles (1-1)
T-3. Giants (1-1)
T-3. Cowboys (1-1)
T-12. Buccaneers (0-1)
T-12. Bears (0-1)
T-12. Seahawks (0-1)
T-15. Saints (0-2)
T-15. Rams (0-2)

Other tidbits here; The Buccaneers and Rams are still winless in November and the Seahawks still haven’t scored a single point this month. 

If the NFC is as crazy down the stretch as it’s been so far in November, then it’s going to be impossible to predict who’s going to make the playoffs. If this month has proven one thing, it’s that anyone can beat anyone. 

6. Rapid-fire roundup

It’s been a busy 24 hours in the NFL, and since it’s nearly impossible to keep track of everything that happened, I went ahead and put together a roundup for you. 

  • Kelly Stafford apologizes for throwing pretzel at 49ers. Matthew Stafford threw two interceptions against the 49ers on Monday, but as it turns out, he wasn’t the only one in his family making bad throws at Levi’s Stadium. His wife, Kelly, threw a pretzel at a 49ers fan and you can check out the details of the story by clicking here.
  • Vikings secondary could get huge boost just in time for Packers game. Not only has Harrison Smith been activated from the COVID list, but Vikings corner Patrick Peterson has been designated for return from IR, which means both guys could end up playing Sunday against Green Bay.  
  • Brett Favre misses deadline to pay back Mississippi. The Hall of Fame QB still owes the state $228,000 as part of a welfare fraud case, and it appears he forgot to send in his check before Tuesday’s deadline. Favre received a total of $1.1 million in funds from two non-profit organizations, but the money was illegally distributed. The money was supposed to be used to help the poor, but instead went to people like Favre. The Hall of Famer had already paid back the $1.1 million, but he still owes $228,00 in interest. The lesson here is that the interest will kill you. For more on the story, be sure to click here
  • Joey Bosa might be able to play this weekend. The Chargers pass-rusher was placed on the COVID list this week as a close contact. (He didn’t test positive.) According to the Los Angeles Times, Bosa is unvaccinated, which means he’ll have to sit out for five days. However, this also means he’ll be eligible to play as long as he tests negative from now through Saturday. 
  • Richard Sherman placed on IR. The Buccaneers corner, who’s dealing with a calf injury, will miss at least the next three weeks after being placed on injured reserve.  This means he won’t be able to return until Week 14 (Dec. 12) at the earliest. The Bucs will be playing the Bills that week.   



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