NFL Week 5 – Best Bets Against the Spread
Instead of using the previous format, I’ve decided to shorten up this article to my favorite 5-6 six bets per week. I used to offer my opinion on the full slate and would guide readers towards the plays where I am more confident. In this and future posts, these will all be games that I’m considering wagering or have already bet.
Stayed tuned for two other free picks and preview articles on the Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football games. All odds are from BetOnline.ag (Full Review).
Tennessee Titans +3.5 (-110) at Miami Dolphins -3.5 (-110) Total: 43
This is probably a ho-hum matchup for most that are looking forward to Week 5 with two below-average teams facing off. However, I love it from a betting perspective.
Tennessee heads into their matchup with a 1-3 record after losing at Houston last week 27-20. The Titans have shown some promise defensively, especially against the run, but they continue to be a disaster on offense.
The Dolphins are also sitting at 1-3 after four weeks of football. They are coming off an extended rest after playing last Thursday at Cincinnati, where they got little going offensively and lost 22-7.
The extended rest should do the Dolphins a favor in preparing for an underwhelming Tennessee team. Miami’s defense has not been the best, but in a short sample size, they are ranked 17th in overall team defense by Football Outsiders (DVOA).
The Titans offense will likely continue to struggle until a coaching change is made. Mike Mularkey is debatably the worst head coach in the league and may already be on the hot seat. Their vanilla offense hasn’t fooled anyone yet, and while Mariota will have some big games this year, just based on pure talent, I don’t see it happening this week.
The Dolphins’ game plan falls right into Tennessee’s weaknesses. They ran a four-man rotation for two weeks at running back because none of their backs stood out. Arian Foster was a bell-cow, but he went down with an injury.
The Titans secondary has given up several big games to opposing receivers in recent weeks. Jarvis Landry and Davante Parker should have no problems running wild over this secondary. The Titans would prefer to keep the game on the ground, but if they fall behind, they will be forced to throw, and Marcus Mariota has been extremely turnover prone to start the season.
All in all, I love Miami in this spot, and while they are far from a contending team, they’re a lot better than their record indicates so far. They narrowly lost to the Seahawks in Week 1 and lost to the Patriots in Week 3 by just a touchdown. I could see them winning this one by double-digits.
Pick: Dolphins -3.5 (-110)
Philadelphia Eagles -3 (-110) at Detroit Lions +3 (-110) Total: 46
Philadelphia looks to continue their promising start to the season after coming off a bye in Week 4. After starting the season with a big victory against the Colts in Week 1, the Lions are in a serious slide. They look to right the ship back inside the Ford Field this week.
The Eagles have an impressive 3-0 record so far, but aside from their 34-3 dominating win against Pittsburgh in Week 3 – they’ve beaten some bottom-feeders, in Cleveland and Chicago. Rookie quarterback Carson Wentz has looked fantastic this season, but this will likely be his toughest test defensively so far.
Detroit desperately needs a win this week, or they’re essentially out of the playoff race in a tough division. The Lions’ record fell to 1-3 after losing at Chicago last week by a score of 17-14. Detroit’s offense has been especially weak on the road, where they have managed to combine for just 29 points in two road games this season.
Luckily, for us, they’re not at home this week. The public has been all over the Eagles throughout the week. Over 80 percent of wagers have come in on the road favorites which has moved the odds from -2.5 to -3.
Even with Philly coming off a bye week, I love the Lions in this spot. Detroit’s defense is playing poorly this season if we just look at game-by-game statistics right now, but let’s keep in mind that two of their opponents were the high-powered offenses of the Colts and Lions. They held less competitive offenses, such as the Bears and Titans, to 17 and 16 points, respectively.
The Lions are also much better at home offensively. The Eagles defense is solid, but they’re weak at cornerback, particularly if Leodis McKelvin misses again with a hamstring injury. He’s about 50/50 to suit up this week.
I don’t think Detroit will have many issues putting up points against this defense. It also potentially puts Wentz in a tight spot. On the road, and playing from behind, something he hasn’t had to do much of this season, against probably the toughest defense he has faced this season.
Pick: Lions +3 (-110)
Buffalo Bills +2 (-112) at Los Angeles Rams -2 (-108) Total: 39
Buffalo heads out to L.A. to take on the Rams in a game that has little consequence from a divisional perspective but is important for both teams. Buffalo is searching to get back to a .500 record after two victories, and the Rams need to keep pace in where they are currently tied with the Seattle Seahawks.
The Bills started out the year with two losses, but have gotten back on track after back-to-back wins against the Cardinals and Patriots. Bill Belichick couldn’t work his magic this week with his third string quarterback, and the Bills won a low scoring affair against the Patriots 16-0 to improve their record to 2-2.
The NFL’s newest team may also be their biggest surprise. Jeff Fisher said he wasn’t going 8-8 this year, and so far, Los Angeles is backing up his preseason talk. After being shut out in Week 1, the Rams have rattled off three straight wins, including a 17-13 victory over a division rival, Arizona last week.
The odds have moved towards Buffalo since opening at Rams -2.5. Most sportsbooks have the odds at -2 presently. Betting action has been split since opening on the sides.
Aside from a rough outing against the Jets, the Bills have played excellent defense so far this season. Even with their outburst of 37 points in Week 3 against the Buccaneers, it’s clear that L.A.’s offense is one of the least talented in the league.
Buffalo’s offense has looked better since they fired their coordinator. The loss of Sammy Watkins will be tough to overcome, but Tyrod Taylor and LeSean McCoy should be able to move the ball notch some victories together.
The turnaround seems to have started for Red Ryan’s defense. They recorded eight sacks and forced six turnovers in the past two weeks. They shouldn’t have any issue shutting down Cam Keenum and the Rams offense, who don’t have much beyond running back Todd Gurley.
Pick: Bills +2 (-112)
San Diego Chargers +3.5 (-110) at Oakland Raiders -3.5 (-110) Total: 50
The Chargers look to stay in the fight for the division after a rough couple of weeks as they head to the Dawg Pound to take on the Raiders. Oakland has not yet improved defensively after their offseason acquisitions. However, their offense is proving to one of the better units in the league.
San Diego sits at the bottom of the AFC West after losing to the Saints in a shootout last week against the visiting Saints. The Chargers committed two turnovers in the final minutes to blow a 13-point lead and give New Orleans the victory 34-28. The loss put their record at 1-3.
However, most of their games have been extremely close. They lost in overtime in Week 1 to the Chiefs, in a game where they were up 27-3 in the first half. They once again had a lead in Week 3 late against the Colts, but the Luck to T.Y. Hilton connection sunk them in the final minutes.
The total opened at 52.5 points, the largest of the week. It’s moved around quite a bit since then, but is currently between 50 and 51, depending on where you look. 80 percent of all wagers have come in on the over so far.
Most are predicting this game to be a shootout, but I’m not so sure that will be the case. The loss of All-Pro Jason Verrett for the Chargers will hurt their secondary, but overall, they still have a strong unit.
The Raiders are also traveling across the country after defeating Baltimore in a last-second victory last week 28-27. The win improved their record 3-1 on the season.
With this game in the division and little travel time for San Diego, I like their chances of putting up big numbers in this contest offensively. More than a field goal is just fine for a team that has a chance of winning the game outright.
Pick: Chargers +3.5 (-110)
Chicago Bears +5 (-108) at Indianapolis Colts -5 (-112) Total: 48
The Bears got their first victory of the season last week. They now head to Indianapolis to take on the Colts, a team, that is coming off a loss that was played in Wembley Stadium last Sunday. Both the Bears and the Colts have identical 1-3 records through four weeks.
I was on the Bears last week against the Lions, where they notched a 17-14 home victory. This is quite the different spot. The Colts offense has shown up this season in a big way, but their defense has been poor. This may finally be a spot where their defense can do a manageable job, and the offense can score in bunches.
The odd originally opened at Colts -4, but that has moved to Colts -5 at most sportsbooks. The betting action is slightly for Indianapolis but 50/50 overall. I expect this line to get close to -7 by Sunday, so get it while you can.
The Colts’ offensive line issues are well documented. The Bears sunk a lot of money into their defensive front seven this offseason, but most of those acquisitions are already injured or have been ineffective. The have been strong against the run, but terrible against the pass.
Indianapolis wants to throw, and they should have plenty of success in this one. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Luck come away with a 4-5 touchdown game.
Pick: Colts -5 (-112)
Good luck in Week 5!