Week 5 NFL Picks – Picks Against the Spread
09 October 2020
Much like week 4, we have a Titans game in jeopardy due to positive covid tests, and we do not know whether their matchup with the Bills will be played this week, if at all. What we do know for certain is that game will not be played on Sunday.
Let’s dive into week 5 Bets.
|Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons||Panthers +2|
|Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans||Jaguars +6|
|Miami Dolphins at San Francisco 49ers||49ers -9|
|Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks||Seahawks -7|
Best Sportsbooks For This Pick
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons
Opening Line: Falcons -3.5 and 5
Current Line: Falcons -2 and 54
Don’t look now but the Panthers are on a two game winning streak. They’ve beaten the Chargers and Cardinals in consecutive weeks. The matchup this week is with the worst coached team in the league in the Falcons, as Dan Quinn aims for a perfect 0-5 and continuing to trick the franchise into employment.
The Falcons defense is an unmitigated disaster, as they have allowed 138 points, second worst to only the Cowboys joke of a defense. 138 points through four weeks simply cannot be understated, that’s 34.5 per game. Their *best* showings from a defensive scoring perspective came in weeks 3 and 4 consecutively, as they allowed only 30 points to the Bears and Packers, losing those games by a combined 18 points.
To make matters worse, the offense, which had been the only thing Elmer’s gluing this sinking ship together has a completely banged up wide receiving corps, and Matt Ryan looked truly putrid on Monday night. There was simply no zip on any of his passes and he either had a mechanical hiccup in that game or his arm is going the way of Philip Rivers. If it is the latter, we could truly see an 0-16 team, because that defense is completely hapless.
The Panthers on the other hand are now exceeding expectations with a 2-2 record. The biggest hole the team had was allowing running backs to just thrash them, but they were able to keep that game plan from coming to fruition against them in the games against the capable Chargers and Cardinals, both wins. The Cardinals offered more of a refusal to unleash Kenyan Drake, but in any event, the Falcons almost assuredly lack that capability with a Todd Gurley lead backfield. At this point in his career, Gurley is a wholly diminished version of himself. While he can be effective in goal line and early down situations, he is no longer a game breaker that can change a game.
Needless to say, it felt just about laughable that the Falcons would be set as favorites, and the public agreed, immediately cutting the line in half. It would be surprising if the Falcons were still favored at all at kickoff on Sunday, and I am happy to get in at any plus figure on the Panthers side. The +2 where it currently sits is value laden.
Betting Play: Panthers +2
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans
Opening Line: Texans -6.5 and 47
Current Line: Texans -6 and 54.5
I made the mistake of backing a Bill O’Brien coached and managed Texans team last week, and it cost us a bet, but it cost BOB much more after the 0-4 start. He was fired after the inexcusable loss, and will be replaced by previous head coaching failure Romeo Crennel. Crennel is a more likeable figure than BOB was, but his ineptitude as a head coach is well known to Clevelanders and anyone who paid attention to his stint with the Browns, and there is no upgrade here. The Texans also have no option to go in the tank for higher draft picks, they do not own their own first or second round pick in 2021.
The Texans schedule was unfriendly until the Vikings last week, but they made that one a loss as well. They have the fifth worst scoring defense in the league, and that’s been the better side of the football. (!!) They have scored fewer points on offense than any team not named the Jets or Giants. Normally, with skill position players in place that are at least competent, the offensive line can be blamed for the output, but that has not been the case for the Texans. Their line has been average to above average, and the problem comes from the coaching and skill position players. While Deshaun Watson has certainly been imperfect, there are two key players that are mostly cooked playing ample snaps and getting amole opportunities. Those players are running back David Johnson and wide receiver Brandin Cooks. While slight improvement overall may be expected, with nowhere to go but laterally or up, this unit has lots of problems, and it is apparent Deandre Hopkins covered up a lot of warts in previous seasons.
On the defensive side of the ball, they are subpar as well, being easily bottom 10 if not bottom five in every way. It is time to alter expectations for this team, and that news has not yet reached bookmakers.
The Jaguars on the other hand, were a team with no expectations for this season, but have been very competitive. Their offense is an underrated fun one, and they have scored at least 25 points in all three games wide receiver DJ Chark has played in this season. They are also buoyed by the surprising play of rookie running back James Robinson, who has not been just lucky, he has been very good. With quarterback Gardner Minshew holding up as the starter, this team is much closer to middle of the pack than the worst teams out there. The defense has been average compared to the rest of the league, which is a win versus expectations.
I suppose I understand making the Texans a tiny favorite at home in this divisional tilt, but nearly a touchdown feels like unmitigated insanity to me. The Jags have inarguably been the better football team through four weeks and I believe they should be around a pickem in this road game, if not a tiny favorite. The team getting the points in this game would likely be the value side, but the fact that Jags are getting six makes them quite a clear avenue of attack. I wouldn’t blame anyone attacking the money line, but the Jags +6 are the play.
Betting Play: Jaguars +6
Miami Dolphins at San Francisco 49ers
Opening Line: 49ers -8.5 and 46.5
Current Line: 49ers -9 and 49.5
The 49ers, who are somewhat surprisingly just 2-2, are coming off a hiccup last week, in which they lost at home to the struggling Eagles. Granted, they had backup quarterback Nick Mullens under center, who was benched late in that game, and that should not be an issue this week. All signs point to Jimmy Garoppolo being healthy enough to return this week and the 49ers are set up to stomp one of the worst teams in the league at home. The 49ers offense against the Dolphins defense is going to be a track meet of sorts. The Dolphins have struggled in coverage all season and the run after the catch ability of the entirety of the 49ers skill position players will be a super glued Rubik’s cube for the Dolphins secondary. The Dolphins have been mostly adequate against the run, but the 49er scheme will also beat the Dolphins at that level as well. This has the feel of a team that will score at will and it will simply remain to be seen of they take the foot off the gas at any point at all.
The Dolphin offense is not surprisingly one that has been struggling to be average in the league, and while this team is always showing signs of growth, we must remain aware they are a rebuilding team. They employ a committee of running backs, and none have been a difference maker, and we will continue to see pedestrian talent Myles Gaskin lead that group. After the very capable Devante Parker, the wide receivers have been subpar as a whole, and this hole could be very much exposed by the 49ers as the Dolphins try to keep pace/catch up.
With the 49ers having a healthy Deebo Samuel and George Kittle, their passing attack will roll over the Dolphins, and it’s likely to not be pretty at all. Take the 49ers to bounce back at home and blow out the Dolphins with their starting quarterback back under center.
Betting Play: 49ers -9
Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks
Opening Line: Seahawks -9 and 49.5
Current Line: Seahawks -7 and 57
We have another game here on the west coast, where the home team should simply overmatch the visitor on the offensive side of the ball. If you have been living under a rock for these first four weeks, let me be the first to inform you that Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is quite elite at football.
Through four games, Wilson has amassed 1, 285 passing yards and 16 touchdowns while throwing just two interceptions. To put this in perspective, no other quarterback has more than 13 passing touchdowns on the season, and only four other quarterbacks have thrown more than nine of them! His completion percentage of 75.2% leads the league, as does his 9.4 yards per pass attempt. Wait, it gets better. These gaudy numbers from Wilson are there despite him being 17th in pass attempts! His precision and chemistry with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett is something to behold, but he is mixing in everyone on the field, and is just playing the position and the game at the highest level possible right now. This week he gets a matchup with the lowly Vikings, who have had trouble with deep ball coverage (uh oh) and have also been even more helpless stopping the run. If you’re unfamiliar with the Seahawk offensive philosophy, they are quite happy to tilt to more run than pass, and are happy to be bailed out by Wilson when the rushing attack fails. Well in this matchup, it is difficult to see where the offense fails at any point. If we were pitting the perfect defense to attack from the Seattle philosophical side, it very well could be the Vikings as they are currently built.
The Vikings were able to let Dalvin Cook run early and often, and control the game against the lowly Texans last week to get their first win, but that plan of attack and game management only works with leads and neutral game scripts. As we outlined above on the Seahawks side, a game script resembling that is highly unlikely to be available. The pressure will be on Adam Thielen and Kirk Cousins to keep pace with Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, and they have been unable to do that in all three cases when trailing this season. Now consider this the most difficult test to date for the sixth worst scoring defense in the league, and we are likely to get some version resembling the Vikings 43-34 Week 1 loss to the Packers. The betting public seemed to be hyper aware of that potential outcome, and moved the total an insane 7.5 points upwards, taking it out of play. With that being the case, we will have to settle for playing only the Seahawks in this matchup to roll at home and simply outscore the Vikings.
Betting Play: Seahawks -7
Other Game Predictions
🏈 Chiefs win and cover against the Raiders, over 🏈
🏈 Rams win but no cover at Football Team, under 🏈
🏈 Cardinals win but don’t cover at the Jets, over 🏈
🏈 Steelers win and cover against the Eagles, over 🏈
🏈 Ravens win but don’t cover against the Bengals, under 🏈
🏈 Cowboys win but don’t cover against the Giants, over 🏈
🏈 Browns win as underdogs against the Colts, under 🏈
🏈 Saints win but don’t cover against the Chargers, under 🏈
🏈 Patriots win but don’t cover against the Broncos, under 🏈
🏈 Bills win and cover at Titans, over 🏈
If handpicking any of the next best plays for this week, I would say the Bills are next up given the amount of turmoil the Titans have gone through over the course of the last week or so. The Browns to win outright at home would also be a sound play.
NFL Week 5 – 2019
Thanks for stopping by for week 5 for your NFL betting needs. Week 4 showed us the consequences when average talent is managed by poor coaching. The Falcons and Bengals are prime examples of that. Dan Quinn had his typical ineptitude on full display in the Falcons home loss while Bengals coach Zac Taylor showed just how green he is and was consistently outschemed on both sides of the ball with no adjustments made.
Week 5 NFL Picks
Redskins coach Jay Gruden gets a pass from me for the benching of Case Keenum and the lopsided loss, as I believe one of two scenarios were at play. The first would be a mandate from ownership that if the team were losing by two scores at a certain point, keeping his job relied on making a change to project and longhair to be a legitimate NFL starter Dwayne Haskins. The second scenario would be that Gruden recognized the inevitability of the loss and wanted the rest of the world to see what he sees: Haskins is not close to ready. Haskins proceeded to throw for just 107 yards and three interceptions on just 17 attempts and leads to the probability that finally healthy Colt McCoy will take over as starter for as long as he can remain healthy going forward.
The biggest story of the week is probably the delayed emergence of the Cleveland Browns in an easy road win in Baltimore as a full touchdown underdog. The Browns reminded everyone why the hype existed to begin with and was the signature game for running back Nick Chubb so far in his young career.
Both plays of the week were winners last week, as both the Panthers and Jaguars secured road wins as underdogs. The Jaguars were dicey for a bit as the defense couldn’t have played worse in a game they should have dominated, but ultimately got the job done and cashed both ATS and money line. Let’s keep it rolling and on to NFL picks – week 5.
I’ll be debuting a more identifiable system of betting plays versus betting leans this week to more easily identify the strongest plays.
Play of the week
Ezekiel Elliott will lead the Cowboys to an easy cover against a Green Bay defense that has allowed over 600 yards of offense and 6 touchdowns to running backs over the last three games. What’s more, the Packers will likely be without top wide receiver Davante Adams in their effort to keep pace.
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
- Opening Line: Ravens -3 and 42.5
- Current Line: Ravens -3.5 and 44.5
There is a glaring play in this game and one that may go mostly overlooked due to a few factors. The first being that the Steelers looked great on MNF, rolling out a wildcat attack and utilizing the RB position heavily, and it caught their opponent by surprise. The element of surprise will not be present the second time around and the Steelers may not have such an easy time hiding work in progress Mason Rudolph. Another factor pertaining to Pittsburgh is the defensive front feasted on an awful defensive line and that matchup is far more even this week. Despite the Ravens being owned by Nick Chubb last week, they are a team that is generally stout against the running back position and adjustments will be made and it is a good bet they dare the Steelers to beat them with the pass. The Raven offensive line will have a much easier time pass blocking than the Bengals did and the beatable Steeler secondary will be in trouble on that side of the ball.
Chicago Bears at Oakland Raiders
- Opening Line: Bears -6 and 41
- Current Line: Bears -4.5 and 40.5
Not many teams get an upgrade when their incumbent starting quarterback goes down and a career backup becomes the quarterback, but that is exactly the case for the Bears as Chase Daniel replaces the injured Mitchell Trubisky. Daniel is simply the more capable and accurate passer and his presence will make this game no play versus the underdog play it would have been if Trubisky were starting. The Raiders are capable but this spread is right on and is just a game to avoid.
No plays or leans
Arizona Cardinals at Cincinnati Bengals
- Opening Line: Bengals -4 and 48.5
- Current Line: Bengals -3.5 and 47
Help, one of the league’s winless teams *should* get into the win column this week, but let’s not put a tie past these inept teams. The Bengals has a simply putrid performance Monday night against a Steeler team that is so much less than what the Bengals made them appear to be. We were well aware of the Bengals offensive line woes, particularly pass blocking, entering the season, and those have quickly come to a head. Both coaching and quarterback play seem to refuse to acknowledge they exist to this point and in turn the offense is a disaster. Until Zac Taylor shows he can formulate a game plan to overcome these issues, the Bengals will be a betting target, particularly if favored. Take the points with the Cards here.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Carolina Panthers
- Opening Line: Panthers -3 and 42
- Current Line: Panthers -3.5 and 41
This is a matchup of two stout defenses and two competent offenses. Here’s the weekly reminder the Panther offense is better with Kyle Allen while Cam Newton is out and they still feature the league’s premier skill position player in running back Christian McCaffrey. I do think the Jaguars will have a difficult time securing a second consecutive road win and the Panthers get the job done at home. This is a much more concerning matchup should the Jaguars find themselves without Jalen Ramsey again and the individual matchup of DJ Moore against AJ Bouye is one the Panthers can win with. Panthers are the lean.
Minnesota Vikings at New York Giants
- Opening Line: Vikings -5.5 and 46
- Current Line: Vikings -5.5 and 45
There is much (correctly) made of wide receiver Adam Thielen’s comments generally summed up that team’s will eventually need to be able to pass to win. The Vikings run heavy season to date is well documented, but now that they’ve have two losses in the last three weeks, there are squeaky wheels that need greased. If there were an ideal get right spot to pick in the league for a quarterback to wide receiver connection needing a boost, it would be exactly the Giants. The Vikings offense should face little resistance as a whole and there should be talk next week of the passing game fixing its issues. The Giants offense is limited to shorter passes with Daniel Jones for the foreseeable future and is in a spot for the sound Minnesota defense to exploit that predictability. The Giants will put a few points on the board at home, but just enough to get the over home.
New England Patriots at Washington Redskins
- Opening Line: Patriots -13 and 47.5
- Current Line: Patriots -15.5 and 43.5
The Redskins fully bottomed out last week, showing how bad an offense can conceivably be in a truly simple matchup with the Giants. Even if Colt McCoy is under center this week to restore competence, this matchup is among the worst imaginable. The Patriots defense has performed as the league’s elite to this point in the season and the Redskins are going to have problems moving the ball from the opening snap. The Patriots wide receivers are just going to have a field day against the overmatched Washington secondary. It’s difficult to envision a way the Redskins keep this game close, however the line movement is clearly unideal.
New York Jets at Philadelphia Eagles
- Opening Line: Eagles -13 and 44.5
- Current Line: Eagles -14 and 44
The Jets will remain an absolute offensive mess as long as Luke Falk is filling in for Sam Darnold, and it looks like that will be for one more week. LeVeon Bell remains one of the league’s elite backs, but the matchup with Philly is exploitable only through the air and by picking on the secondary, and it takes away much of the difference making potential Bell brings. The Philly offense showed off a new element with Jordan Howard last week, and if it gets a healthy Desean Jackson back, they will be on the short list for the league’s best offense. Even without DJax, the Eagles remain a high end offense as long as Carson Wentz is under center and will cruise to an easy win here at home. If Darnold were to play, the Eagles would move from a play to a lean.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints
- Opening Line: Saints -6.5 and 47
- Current Line: Saints -3.5 and 47
The Bucs pulled off a massively improbable win at the Rams last week on the back of wide receiver Chris Godwin’s dominant performance. They were aided by mistakes by Rams quarterback Jared Goff making plenty of mistakes, even in a game he threw for over 500 yards. The Bucs won’t have to worry about numbers like that this week, facing a Teddy Bridgewater lead offense. Both teams are coming off hard fought wins in polar opposite types of games, and this one is a candidate to simply be a flat and ugly game. The total is set too high for any Saints game in which Bridgewater starts.
Atlanta Falcons at Houston Texans
- Opening Line: Texans -4.5 and 49.5
- Current Line: Texans -5 and 48.5
Not to mince words, this game could be one that costs Falcons coach Dan Quinn his job if the team puts forth a lackluster effort. Fortunately for him, the Texans defense is most easily exploited by wide receivers, and he has Julio Jones at his disposal and additionally a nice individual matchup for slumping Calvin Ridley to bounce back. No matter the matchup this year, the Falcons are a team that will have to simply outscore their opponents as the defense as a whole is quite inept. Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson will have a bounce back week in this matchup and we will see a steady and healthy scoring pace in this one. I still believe Houston will finish the year with a winning record but will continue to play close games with all or most of their opponents and the underdog is a prudent lean until further notice. The over is a spot to attack here and the underdog is worth a long look.
Buffalo Bills at Tennessee Titans
- Opening Line: Titans -1 and 38
- Current Line: Titans -3 and 38.5
This is a matchup of two sound defenses, and with the status of Bills QB Josh Allen in question, a game to avoid. The line will move back down if it comes out that Allen is in line to play, and should be avoided either way. Neither of these teams are highly predictive on week to week offensive output, and this is a spot to fully sit out.
No plays or Leans
Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers
- Opening Line: Chargers -6.5 and 44
- Current Line: Chargers -6.5 and 44.5
The Broncos are going to remain helpless this season. They had an ideal spot in a home game last week where the very high end defense they were facing came out flat and allowed some early points, but they simply could not capitalize. The offense exceeded expectations for the game but the defense collapsed and folded like a lawn chair late. They were simply out muscled and ground down by the physical running game and did not have an answer. Now they have to go on the road to face a Charger team that will have top back Melvin Gordon return to the lineup. The Chargers will overmatch them on both sides of the ball and this one could turn into a laugher. Oddsmakers are continuing to give the Broncos too much respect.
Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys
4:25 PM EST
- Opening Line: Cowboys -4 and 48
- Current Line: Cowboys -3.5 and 47
The rest of the league has seemed to have solved the “puzzle” of the Packers defense that Bears coach Matt Nagy was unable to solve in week 1. The Packers are helpless against running backs. In the three games since that defense was exalted after a strong week 1 outing, they have allowed 486 rushing yards and five scores. Running backs have additionally caught 17 passes for another 124 yards and a touchdown in that span. Now they go on the road to Dallas to see Ezekeil Elliott make those numbers look even worse, in a game Dallas should control front to back. To make matters worse, the Packers are likely to be without top wide out Davante Adams. This line gives the Packers far too much respect and one to get in early on before Adams is officially ruled out.
Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs
8:20 PM EST
- Opening Line: Chiefs -8.5 and 54
- Current Line: Chiefs -11 and 56.5
The Colts are going to need top wide out TY Hilton back healthy if they are going to be competitive in this one, competitive against the spread that is. This is just a nightmare matchup and the worst in football they can possibly face. The way the Colts are built in the post Andrew Luck era, they are simply going to have mountains of trouble keeping up with teams that will put a big scoring pace on them, and no team fits that bill better than the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes. Now, the massive betting line movement is the correct one, and makes the game much more difficult to play, for either the Chiefs or the over. Right now I’ll call the Chiefs a lean but would only truly entertain it if TY Hilton were ruled out.
Cleveland Browns at San Francisco 49ers
8:15 PM EST, Monday Night
- Opening Line: 49ers -4 and 47
- Current Line: 49ers -3.5 and 46.5
This should be another fun prime time game. After what we’ve gotten to this point in the season, we absolutely deserve it. The 49ers have started the year off strong despite quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo being quite turnover prone, handing it away five times in their first three game. Enter the Browns defensive front, by far the best they’ve faced and one that will have Jimmy G under duress all night. The Browns secondary should also be back to or near full health and the game is likely decided on this side of the ball. The Browns offense is also the best the 49ers has faced and this is a great underdog spot with simply the better team getting points.