By Patrick Everson
FOX Sports Gambling Writer
Lock it in, and rip off the dial.
Bills at Chiefs is easily the most attractive matchup on the NFL Week 6 oddsboard and the most anticipated game of the regular season. That’s due entirely to the ridiculously entertaining playoff game between these two teams last January.
Following are insights on the Bills-Chiefs showdown and Penn State-Michigan, along with several more betting nuggets on NFL Week 6 odds and college football Week 7 odds.
Circle the Wagons
In the AFC Divisional Playoffs last season, the Bills and Chiefs fought to a 36-36 draw in regulation after an insane final two minutes at Arrowhead Stadium.
To recount: Josh Allen led Buffalo to a touchdown and 2-point conversion with 1:54 remaining, giving the Bills a 29-26 lead. Patrick Mahomes and K.C. followed just 52 seconds later with a touchdown to move ahead, 33-29.
A mere 49 seconds later, the Bills put up another TD to nab a 36-33 lead. That left just 13 seconds on the clock.
But Mahomes quickly maneuvered the Chiefs into position for a 39-yard field goal, tying it at 36 to force overtime. Then the Chiefs won the coin toss and drove right down the field to win, 42-36.
The Bills have been stewing ever since. And in this instance, they return to Kansas City as 2.5-point road favorites rather than 2.5-point underdogs, as was the case in January.
“There is a lot to unpack in this game,” WynnBet trader John Manica said. “The WynnBet mantra in 2021 was nobody circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills, and our trading room booked toward them all week leading up to the classic last season.”
What Manica means by that: WynnBet took a position on that game in which it needed a Buffalo road victory, or at least for the Bills to cover as 2.5-point underdogs. With a different coin-toss outcome, WynnBet’s risk room might have gotten the outcome it sought. But alas …
“Pain ensued when Kansas City pulled off the miracle field goal and won in overtime. I am not sure if we have fully recovered from it,” Manica said. “Fast-forward to the rematch, and both teams look like they are the class of the AFC. We have taken heavy action on K.C. at plus-money on the moneyline.”
Indeed, it’s rare for the Chiefs to be an underdog, and even more so a home underdog. In fact, this is the first time Mahomes is a home underdog in his career. Some bettors are forgoing the 2.5 points and instead taking Kansas City to win outright at +125 for a better payout.
But as Manica noted, there’s a lot to unpack.
“There are several conflicting betting angles in the game, he said. “The Bills have the super-revenge angle but are off a blowout win. Then you have a Kansas City team that won a close Monday Night Football game against a divisional opponent. This is often a situation where the team off a blowout win gets hyped up. The home-field advantage at Arrowhead is real, as another classic showdown is likely in the cards.
“This one is up for grabs for sharps and recreational bettors. I expect the home ‘dog Kansas City money to pile on, and once again [us] needing the Bills.”
The Sharp Side
At least one professional bettor has already taken a position – twice – on the massive Bills-Chiefs clash.
“I took Buffalo -2, and I took Buffalo pick ‘em on the look-ahead number [last week], as well,” he said. “Buffalo is the best team in the NFL. The defensive line will be the difference.”
The Bills enter Sunday’s 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff at 4-1 straight up (SU) and 3-1-1 against the spread (ATS). The Chiefs are also 4-1 SU but just 2-3 ATS. Buffalo and Kansas City are Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in odds to win the Super Bowl.
Another play for this sharp bettor goes against the defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals.
Bengals-Saints is a 1 p.m. ET Sunday start.
College Football Rocks on FOX
Let’s go back to school for a few moments here, as there are some monster games in the college football Week 6 odds market. One of those is the Big Noon on FOX battle between two Big Ten unbeatens: No. 10 Penn State at No. 5 Michigan.
Michigan is 6-0 SU/3-3 ATS, while Penn State is 5-0 SU/3-2 ATS. Professional bettors leaned into the Nittany Lions early this week at The SuperBook, and the public seems to like Penn State a bit, too.
“Sharp play on Penn State +7.5 and on Under 53,” SuperBook risk manager/oddsmaker Neil Fitzroy said, alluding to betting on the spread and the total. “There’s plenty of Penn State support at +7, as well. Fifty-seven percent of [point-spread] tickets are on Penn State.
“There’s limited interest on Michigan at -7. I wouldn’t be surprised if this closes Michigan -6.5.”
In contrast, WynnBet is seeing the touchdown home favorite get a little more attention.
“We’ve been writing a decent number of tickets on each side, but a majority of the [money] is on Michigan at this point,” WynnBet junior trader Caden Wickwire said.
In another FOX-televised game, No. 7 USC puts its 6-0 SU mark (4-2 ATS) on the line against No. 20 Utah (4-2 SU and ATS). Interestingly, the Utes are consensus 3.5-point home favorites, but USC is getting most of the attention.
“Sharp play on USC at +4, and 79% of tickets on USC,” Fitzroy said of action by Wednesday night at The SuperBook, for this 8 p.m. ET Saturday night showdown.
Staying in School
Saturday’s biggest matchup is in the SEC, with No. 3 Alabama traveling to No. 6 Tennessee. Much like Penn State-Michigan, the winner in this clash of unbeatens stays on track in the College Football Playoff chase, while the path gets much more difficult for the loser.
Alabama (6-0 SU, 4-2 ATS) is a consensus 7-point favorite, but oddsmakers at several sportsbooks – including The SuperBook – said Tennessee (5-0 SU, 4-1 ATS) is quite popular this week.
“The money and ticket count [favored] Tennessee at +7.5. We’re currently at 7, and there’s still no interest in ‘Bama,” The SuperBook’s Fitzroy said.
Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Sunday Night Lights
Heading back to the NFL, the unbeaten Philadelphia Eagles (5-0 SU, 3-2 ATS) host the surprising Dallas Cowboys (4-1 SU and ATS). Dallas has been without Dak Prescott (thumb) since Week 1 and isn’t expected to have him in the Sunday night game either. But the Cowboys are 4-0 SU and ATS behind backup QB Cooper Rush and a solid defense.
“Dallas found great fortune against the Rams last week, having several key situations break its way,” WynnBet trader John Manica said of the Cowboys’ 22-10 upset of the host Rams. “The underlying numbers for the Eagles show that they are every bit as good as their 5-0 record. However, some will question the strength of their opponents.
“We took a sharp early wager on the Eagles -5.5. But much like last week, the Cowboys’ style and a low total of 42 will certainly stimulate action on the Cowboys, who are currently at +6. I expect a high volume of wagers on this prime-time clash, with opinions forming on both sides of the current number.”
Down and Out
Miami can’t keep its quarterbacks healthy, which is certainly impacting the NFL Week 6 odds for the Dolphins’ home tilt against the Minnesota Vikings. Tua Tagovailoa remains in concussion protocol, and so too does backup Teddy Bridgewater. So third-string rookie Skylar Thompson will get the start.
The Dolphins are consensus 3.5-point underdogs, including at WynnBet.
“The quarterback situation for the Dolphins is in bad shape,” Manica said. “In comes the third-stringer Skylar Thompson, who [played] most of the game last week against the Jets when Teddy Bridgewater went down. That experience is certainly helpful, as the Vikings come into an environment that they generally have trouble with – outdoor road games. Check [Minnesota’s] result against the Eagles earlier this year. It was a 24-7 beatdown at Philadelphia, and it was not that close.”
Manica noted that last week’s look-ahead line for this game was a pick ‘em but now sits at Vikes -3.5 due to the Dolphins’ QB shortage. Bettors aren’t really fond of either team.
“Laying 3.5 with the Vikings outdoors or taking a third-string quarterback has not been an appealing set-up for bettors thus far,” Manica said. “I do expect money to come in on the Vikings, as the public will surely like to back the team with a better record compared to an unknown quarterback. Perhaps an upset is brewing.”
Over at FOXBet, trading operations senior manager Dylan Brossman said as of Wednesday night, the Vikings are one of this week’s most popular bets to cover the spread. Also popular: the San Francisco 49ers, who are 5.5-point favorites at the Atlanta Falcons.
That’s a wrap on this midweek report. May all your bets be winners!
Patrick Everson is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and senior reporter for VegasInsider.com. He is a distinguished journalist in the national sports betting space. He’s based in Las Vegas, where he enjoys golfing in 110-degree heat. Follow him on Twitter: @PatrickE_Vegas.
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