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Week 6 NFL betting trends: Patrick Mahomes a home underdog? It’s true

Chiefs quarterback catching points at home for the first time in his career

Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes looks to complete a pass downfield during Monday's game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium. Mahomes and the Chiefs are home underdogs this week against the Buffalo Bills. (Photo by Jason Hanna/Getty Images)
Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes looks to complete a pass downfield during Monday's game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium. Mahomes and the Chiefs are home underdogs this week against the Buffalo Bills. (Photo by Jason Hanna/Getty Images)Read moreJason Hanna / Getty Images

If you’ve scanned the NFL odds board this week, you almost certainly did a double take when you got to the marquee matchup of Week 6, a first-place showdown between the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs.

Wait, what? Patrick Mahomes is an underdog … at Arrowhead Stadium? When is the last time that happened?

Answer: It hasn’t.

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After 41 regular season and playoff games (33 of which the Chiefs have won), Mahomes will take the field Sunday as a home underdog for the first time in his four year-plus career. As if that wasn’t startling enough, there’s this: Early money on the favored Bills pushed the point spread from an opener of Buffalo -1.5 to the current consensus number of -2.5 (with BetMGM coming in at Buffalo -3).

Should you automatically jump at the chance to take the points in this highly anticipated rematch of last year’s playoff thriller? Yes, if you believe in history. Because while Mahomes never has been a ‘dog on his home turf, he has been a pup in enemy territory—eight times, in fact. Kansas City’s point spread record in those eight contests: 7-0-1.

Here are some additional NFL trends to ponder heading into Week 6, the first of the season that includes teams on bye.

Note: All stats and odds are current as of 7 p.m. ET on October 12.

Cashing in on the feisty Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons took the field last week in Tampa Bay as the NFL’s last remaining unbeaten team against the spread. And they’ll do so once again Sunday.

After spotting Tom Brady and Co. a 21-0 lead in Week 5, Atlanta clawed back and covered the 10-point spread in a 21-16 road defeat. With that, the Falcons improved to 5-0 ATS for the first time in franchise history—this despite the fact they’ve only won two games on the scoreboard.

In both victories (at Seattle in Week 3 and at home against the Browns in Week 4), the Falcons went off as a one-point underdog. Meanwhile, Atlanta’s three losses were by margins of 1, 4 and 6 points. This week, Arthur Smith’s squad hosts San Francisco, which is a 5.5-point road favorite at BetMGM.

The 49ers (3-2 SU and ATS) are coming off last week’s 37-15 shellacking of the dysfunctional Panthers in Carolina. However, in their first two road games, San Francisco was on the wrong end of a pair of upsets: 19-10 at Chicago as a 6.5-point favorite and 11-10 at Denver as a 1-point chalk.

Keep an eye on this 49ers-Falcons spread, because if it jumps a point (or more), the following trend comes into play: Favorites of 6.5 points or more are 14-9-1 SU this season, but only 8-16 ATS.

» READ MORE: NFL Week 6 survivor pool picks, predictions: Fade dysfunctional Panthers in tough spot

Dogs are still barking

When Kansas City failed to cover as a 7-point home favorite in their zany 30-29 victory over the Raiders on Monday night, it rubber-stamped yet another profitable week for underdog bettors. Despite only winning five of 16 games outright, pups went 10-6 ATS.

That continued an NFL betting trend that now has lasted a full month: Since an 8-8 ATS split in Week 1, underdogs have out-cashed favorites four straight weeks, going 37-24-3 ATS along the way. Not counting ties, that’s 60.7 percent hit rate.

Your top ‘dogs to this point: Falcons (5-0 ATS), Giants (3-0 ATS), Cowboys (3-1 ATS) and Texans (3-1-1 ATS). Oddly enough, those teams are all catching points in Week 6, except for Houston (which has a bye).

One more worthwhile underdog note: The Steelers (1-4 SU, 1-3-1 ATS) are off to a miserable start to the season, which explains why BetMGM has Pittsburgh as an 8.5-point home pup against Tampa Bay on Sunday. But before you go running to lay the points, note that in the past two decades, the Steelers are 15-9 SU and 17-4-3 ATS as a home ‘dog.

Not ready for prime time

Even though Raiders-Chiefs turned into an old-fashioned AFC West shootout that easily cleared the 51-point total, prime time games still have been an Under bettor’s dream. Through five weeks, the Under is 11-5 in prime-time contests, including 7-2 combined on Thursday and Sunday nights.

Which brings us to the game that kicks off Week 6, the Chicago Bears hosting the Washington Commanders. Justin Fields vs. Carson Wentz doesn’t figure to short-circuit the scoreboard like Josh Allen vs. Patrick Mahomes, and the total reflects that. At BetMGM, the Over/Under is sitting at 38.

As low as that total is, it might not be low enough. Last week, half of the NFL’s 16 games ended with 39 points or fewer (starting with Thursday night’s 12-9 Colts-Broncos snoozefest).

Each of Washington’s last three games have featured 38 combined points or fewer (38, 35, 32), while three of Chicago’s five contests have stayed below 38 points (37, 32, 29). In fact, the Commanders (18.0 points per game) and Bears (17.2) rank 26th and 27th, respectively, in scoring offense.

Throw in kickoff temperatures below 50 degrees and sustained Windy City breezes approaching 15 mph and, well, it’s much more likely this game turns into Colts vs. Broncos than Raiders vs. Chiefs.

» READ MORE: Full sports betting coverage from The Philadelphia Inquirer

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