NFL Week 6 best bets: Three games with intriguing early lines and odds

Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp breaks free to score on a 75-yard touchdown reception against the Cowboys.
Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp breaks free to score on a 75-yard touchdown reception during a 22-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys at SoFi Stadium on Sunday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

We’ve already reached the point in the season when bye weeks start, so the 2022 campaign is absolutely flying by. The Raiders, Texans, Titans and Lions are the idle teams this week, leaving us with 14 games to pick from in Week 6. There were some really disappointing performances last week, so there are several teams trying to bounce back. There are also some teams looking to ride the wave of big victories.

Here are some early lines of interest for Week 6:


Carolina Panthers at Los Angeles Rams (-9, 42)

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford waits in the tunnel leading to the field as light pours in.
Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford waits in the tunnel before entering the field at SoFi Stadium on Sunday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)


The Panthers look like the absolute worst team in the NFL. Baker Mayfield isn’t long for the starting quarterback gig and Matt Rhule isn’t long for the head coaching job. The Panthers are 3-16 ATS in their last 19 games. They are 1-27 SU and 5-23 ATS when allowing at least 17 points. The Rams should be able to eclipse that number and then some. After all, the 49ers just hung 37 points on Carolina.

This is a really big number, but the Rams need a get-right game. They need the opportunity to blow a team out and this is a team that they should be able to blow out. The offense needs to be able to go off on somebody. The defense has been relatively solid throughout the season, but the offense has been the weak link. Against a Panthers team that just allowed 6.5 yards per play to the Niners and once again failed to get much pressure, it sure looks like this is the game that the Rams need to get on track.

Pick: Rams -9

The Rams can’t seem to get much done on offense again as they suffer their second decisive loss in a row, this one at home 22-10 to the Dallas Cowboys.

Oct. 9, 2022


New England Patriots at Cleveland Browns (-2½, 42)

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones passes before a game against the Baltimore Orioles on Sept. 25.
(Michael Dwyer / Associated Press)


The Browns left points on the field again last week against the Chargers, but continued to rack up yards at a really high rate. Cleveland had over 400 yards for the second straight week and had 6.8 yards per play. This has been a very efficient offense that grades well in success rate and DVOA metrics. Sure, they’ve struggled in the red zone and in the kicking game, but their performance on offense has definitely been strong enough to put up a lot of points.

The Browns defense has also been bad. They allowed 6.7 yards per play to Los Angeles and also lost some key players during the game, including top cornerback Denzel Ward to concussion protocol. Mac Jones is not Justin Herbert, especially in his current state, but Cleveland has been gashed by both the pass and the run. A well-coached team should be able to find the weaknesses to exploit with this Joe Woods defense and get this game at least into the upper 40s, if not more.

Pick: Over 42

The Rams, now 2-3 after a home loss to Dallas, have never looked worse under coach Sean McVay, who admits everything is “not good enough.”

Oct. 9, 2022


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-8, 43½) at Pittsburgh Steelers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady throws during a win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.
(Chris O’Meara / Associated Press)


The Buccaneers have really struggled offensively thus far. They got some players back for the game against the Falcons and still only managed 21 points. Tampa Bay also struggled to get the running game going again, so they became very one-dimensional on offense. Tom Brady threw for over 350 yards, but the Bucs only managed 5.6 yards per play. They came into the game with just 5.2 yards per play. The offensive line has had some issues protecting Brady, who, as we know, does not move particularly well.

The Kenny Pickett era started with a whimper for the Black & Gold as the Steelers mustered just three points in a blowout loss against the Bills. The Steelers were able to throw for over 300 yards, but they were also trailing badly throughout the game and played against a lot of soft zone coverage from Buffalo. It was a lot of empty, garbage-time offense. While the Steelers have had very little efficiency on offense, the defense has played well for the most part, even without T.J. Watt. They can keep Tampa Bay in check and the Bucs should do the same with the Steelers.

Pick: Under 43½

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