Beating the Spread: Week 5 Picks

Our Week 5 Beat the Spread column is ready to go for your consideration as you put in your weekly bets!

Welcome back to another week of Beating the Spread. As always, I’m Jake Roy and I’m joined by Brennan Rampe and Tyler Gentile. We’ll be here every Friday throughout the season, posting our picks along with some analysis.

Last week was a solid week from the panel, with Tyler and I coming in at 3-2 and Brennan finishing the week at 2-3. Tyler has been the picture of consistency this season, going 3-2 each of the season’s first four weeks. 3-2 isn’t a lot of profit week to week, but over the course of the season would come out to about 12 units of profit at your standard -110 odds. That’s some solid cash.

You can play along in the comments or find us on Twitter (@Jake3Roy, @808Paperboi, @phdinnfl). Assuming -110 odds we need about 53% to break even, let’s see if we can hit that magic number for the season and come out with some profit. So, without further ado, here are the lines we’ll use for Week 3!

 

Week 3 Betting Lines
Away Home Line O/U
Lions Patriots Patriots -3.0 43.5
Giants Packers Packers -8.0 41.0
Steelers Bills Bills -14.0 47.0
Dolphins Jets Dolphins -3.5 44.5
Falcons Buccaneers Buccaneers -8.5 48.0
Seahawks Saints Saints -5.5 46.0
Texans Jaguars Jaguars -7.5 44.5
Titans Commanders Titans -2.5 43.5
Bears Vikings Vikings -7.0 44.0
Chargers Browns Chargers -3.0 47.5
49ers Panthers 49ers -6.5 38.5
Cowboys Rams Rams -4.5 43.0
Eagles Cardinals Eagles -5.5 48.5
Bengals Ravens Ravens -3.0 48.0
Raiders Chiefs Chiefs -7.0 50.5

 

Staff Picks
Jake Roy (@Jake3Roy) Brennan Rampe (@Phdinnfl) Tyler Gentile (@808PaperBoi)
Pick #1 Cowboys +4.5 Packers -8.0 Dolphins -3.5
Pick #2 Jaguars/Texans over 44.5 Vikings -7.0 49ers -6.5
Pick #3 Cardinals +5.5 Chiefs -7.0 Falcons/Buccaneers under 48.0
Pick #4 Seahawks +5.5 Buccaneers -8.5 Seahawks +5.5
Pick #5 Lions/Patriots over 43.5 49ers -6.5 Browns/Chargers over 47.5
Record 8-12 10-10 12-8

 

Analysis

 

Jake Roy

 

Let me preface this by saying I don’t like the board whatsoever this week. I’m obligated to make five picks for the purpose of this article and our competition here, but I don’t have a ton of conviction behind these picks. NFL spreads and totals are some of the sharpest lines out there, making this incredibly difficult. I’ve been most successful betting props, which you can find on my Twitter if you’re looking for ex

I’m addicted to betting on the Cowboys. They aren’t the most talented team in the world offensively, but they’ve shown they’re capable enough, especially with the return of Michael Gallup. Dallas scored 25 against Washington last week, who isn’t a defensive powerhouse by any margin, but 25 is a solid number against anyone in the NFL. What makes the Cowboys a contender, however, is the defense. I’ve said it one million times – Micah Parsons and Demarcus Lawrence can take over a game, which is bad news for Matt Stafford and the Rams. Stafford was pressured on about 40% of dropbacks last week against the 49ers. That number likely won’t get much better with the Cowboys’ pass rush in town. I like the Rams to win this game, but the Dallas defense should be enough to keep it within a field goal. DAL +4.5

Better the over in a Jaguars/Texans game is disgusting. It’s a pick you make if you hate yourself. That’s where the money is though. Both these teams play very fast, for some reason. The Jaguars have had success this year, so it’s defensible. Trevor Lawrence has taken a step forward; I’ll ignore the fumbles last week and blame those on the rain. The Texans don’t have much of an excuse for hurrying up. I’m of the opinion that bad teams should try to muck games up, limit possessions, and keep games close. The Texans are quite literally going nowhere fast. That’s okay in this spot though, with both teams trying to get up and down the field as fast as they can, there should be enough possessions to push this one over. HOU/JAX over 44.5

Trap lines don’t exist, I think. If there ever was a trap line though, this would be it. The Eagles are the last undefeated team in the NFL, they’ll be getting everyone’s best shot from this point forward. On the other side, Kliff Kingsbury is coaching for his job. Literally. His job is to coach. He also might get fired if he doesn’t do his job well. The Cardinals are catching five and a half points and are playing at home. I’ll take the points, even if it doesn’t make a ton of sense. ARI +5.5

The dogs are barking this week, I guess. I’m going with yet another underdog in my fourth pick of the week, this time in New Orleans. The Saints are coming back from a heartbreaker against the Saints in London which likely takes a physical and emotional toll. The defense has been solid, while the offense has been mediocre for New Orleans, conversely, the Seahawks have had a stronger-than-anticipated offense and a weak defense. Geno Smith had that awesome “I ain’t write back” line earlier this season, and he’s actually managed to back that up somehow. He’s doing what’s asked of him, playing within the offense, and letting the run game work. He’s been great when he has time to throw, and the Saints haven’t done a good job of getting to the quarterback. With New Orleans potentially missing some offensive weapons, the Seahawks are set up well to keep this one close. SEA +5.5

“Is that person on crack cocaine, or are they just watching the Detroit Lions?” is a question that an unknowing bystander could reasonably ask. Every Lions game somehow goes off the rails. They score a ton of points and they can’t stop a nosebleed. I think the total in this game is suppressed because of the perception of the Patriots as well as the current quarterback situation. As a Patriots fan, I can tell you that they have a knack for scoring the exact amount of points they need to be in the game. This has led to a few tough losses over the past few years which I rationalize by saying “if just one or two plays went the other way we would have won”. If that’s the case again, and the Lions continue to put up points at a high clip, the Patriots will likely keep pace. Give me the over on the low total here. NE/DET over 43.5

 

Brennan Rampe

 

The Packers defeated the Patriots in overtime, but it should never have gotten to overtime in the first place. New England was led by third-string quarterback Bailey Zappe, and Green Bay didn’t dominate a game that shouldn’t have been a contest. The Giants keep finding ways to win games, but they are dealing with tons of injuries. Wide receiver Kenny Golladay isn’t expected to play, and it remains to be seen if Wan’Dale Robinson, Kadarius Toney, and defensive lineman Leonard Williams will suit up. Quarterback Daniel Jones should play, but likely won’t be at full strength due to an ankle injury. The Packers have never played in London before, but I’m expecting an impressive performance from the offense and a dominant showing on defense which should make it a trip to remember. Inside the Numbers: The Packers are 26-18 against the spread as favorites under head coach Matt LaFleur. GB -8.0

I’ll actually be at this game! The Vikings beat the Saints in a thriller and now return to Minnesota to play their divisional rival Bears.  The Bears have been decent on the defensive side of the ball but have struggled on offense, especially in the passing game. Bears quarterback Justin Fields doesn’t have the greatest offensive line and has no notable weapons to throw to after wide receiver Darnell Mooney. Bears running back David Montgomery didn’t practice on Wednesday and his status for week 5 is uncertain. The Vikings have played two games at home and they were against their other divisional rivals, the Packers and the Lions. They won those games, and I think Minnesota will win at home again. Inside the Numbers: All trends point against the Vikings here, but I can’t see Chicago making a game of this. MIN -7.0
The Buccaneers have lost two straight after starting 2-0. They lost to the Packers in a defensive battle in which they were without their top three wide receivers, and then their defense got lit up by the Chiefs. The offense has struggled to begin the season but did score over 30 points in the loss to Kansas City. The Falcons are also 2-2 and have been surprisingly competitive so far. However, they may struggle to keep this game close. Atlanta will be without Cordarelle Patterson for at least four games, and their defense is ranked 25th in the league in yards per game allowed. Tom Brady is 10-0 against the Falcons in his career, and after losing two straight games at home, Tampa Bay will take out their anger on their divisional rival and get their first home win.  Inside the Numbers: The Buccaneers are 9-5 against the spread against division opponents with Tom Brady at QB. TB -8.5
The 49ers once again defeated the Rams, destroying them 24-9 to increase their streak to seven straight regular season wins against their divisional rival. This defense is one of the best units in the league yet again as Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford was sacked seven times, lost a fumble, and threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown. This defense should have another great game against the Panthers, who have really struggled on offense this season. Baker Mayfield has not played well this season, and it’s very likely that Matt Rhule is the first head coach to be fired this season. The Panthers’ defense has actually played pretty well, but the lack of offense is losing them games. This game will probably be a defensive battle, but I like San Francisco to win by a touchdown. Inside the Numbers: The 49ers are 24-19 against the spread after a win since 2017, which is when head coach Kyle Shanahan was hired. SF -6.5
The Chiefs scored 40 points for the second time this year, and they did it against a great Buccaneers defense. Buccaneers running back Rachaad White fumbled on the opening kickoff, and Kansas City scored a couple of plays later. After that, they just kept scoring and put the game out of reach. When Patrick Mahomes makes insane plays and the defense comes up with turnovers, they are nearly impossible to beat, and they could potentially be the best team in the AFC. The Raiders have struggled in Josh McDaniels’s first year as head coach. They are 1-3 and every loss has been pretty painful. The offense and defense haven’t been what people have expected, with the exception of last week’s victory against the Broncos. They got the win, but Denver hasn’t impressed so far, which surprises me. Despite all the moves the other 3 AFC West teams made to challenge the Chiefs for the AFC West title, it still looks as if they are going to win the division. Mahomes is 7-1 against the Raiders in his career, and he should defeat them yet again at home. Inside the Numbers: The Chiefs are 59-50-3 against the spread after a win since 2013, Andy Reid’s first season as head coach. KC -7.0

 

Tyler Gentile

 

Mishandling Tua Tagovailoa’s health was an ugly look for the Dolphins. Luckily he is okay and lucky for them they have a more than capable backup who goes by the name of Teddy Covers. Bridgewater is 42-20-1 against the spread when he starts (24-6 ATS on the road), and he’s just as good, if not better, as Tua in my eyes. Following a tough TNF spot up in Cincinnati, Miami and Teddy will have 10 days to prepare for Zach Wilson and the Jets…need I say more? Okay, here’s more: the Bengals and Ravens, both teams Miami has played, were both -6.5 road favorites against the Jets. I know it’s not quite apples to apples, but if Dolphins beat the Ravens and hung around with Cincy, are they really 3 points worse than those teams? The market doesn’t have the Dolphins properly rated. They look like a playoff team with wins over the Bills and Ravens, so take them to cover against the Jets. MIA -3.5

Let’s fade the Panthers once again. Last week’s handicap came down to Baker Mayfield’s struggles against pressure, and now he faces arguably the best defense in the league. The Niners have generated the highest pressure (34.2%) while blitzing at the 12th lowest rate (22.4%). Nick Bosa is going to have a field day facing rookie left tackle Ikem Ekwonu who is the 84th/100 ranked tackle by PFF. Bosa leads the league in sacks (6), pressures (30), QB hits (16), and is a great look to challenge current favorite Micah Parsons for DPOY. Bosa’s odds currently sit at 6/1 over at DraftKings…just sayin’. Backing a heavy road favorite traveling east doesn’t typically work well, especially for a team coming off a short week, but Carolina might be the worst team in the NFL right now. Matt Rhule is the current favorite to be the first coach fired, and would it be all that shocking if it happened after this week when they fail to score a single point? Bold take there, but San Francisco should smash. Fantastic teaser leg here too. SF -6.5

Making a case for the Bucs’ defense after last week is tough, but no one was stopping the Chiefs that game. Tampa has held the Cowboys (3 points scored), Saints (10), and Packers (14) under two scores, and has the fourth-best defense according to DVOA despite their shortcomings last week. They’re allowing the t5th fewest yards per play and I’m not buying the Falcons’ offense just yet. Cordarrelle Patterson is on the IR, Kyle Pitts appears unlikely to play, and they have Marcus Mariota throwing the ball. Atlanta’s team total under (19.5) looks ripe for the picking, but 48 for both teams feels too high here as well. The Bucs did spark some life into the offense last week, but as a whole haven’t looked great either. ATL/TB under 48.0

TOO MANY POINTS FOR GENO SMITH. It’s that simple. The scheme is working in Seattle, and it clearly isn’t in New Orleans. Alvin Kamara, Jameis Winston, and Michael Thomas are all questionable to play Sunday, and their defense, which was supposed to be a brick wall, has faltered so far. If it weren’t for a late comeback over the Falcons the ‘Aints would be 0-4. Coming off a hard-fought game in London is always a tough spot to be in without having a bye as well. As for Seattle, they have the 3rd best offensive DVOA and have covered this number in three of four games. Geno Smith > Andy Dalton or injured Winston. SEA +5.5

These teams met last year and combined for 99 points, so it has to happen again, right? Right. Justin Herbert looks healthy again, and the Browns are playing miserable defense, ranking 30th in defensive DVOA after playing the Falcons, Panthers, Steelers, and Jets! This was supposed to be a good defense coming into this year…they will likely get Myles Garrett back, but Jadeveon Clowney is still out, and it’s not like they were stopping anyone with Garrett anyhow. Offensively the Browns and Jacoby Brissett have looked pretty good in the early going actually. Brissett seems to be in sync with Amari Cooper, but more importantly, the Browns possess one of the best running games in the league and face an abysmal Chargers run defense allowing the second most YPC (5.4). Dameon Pierce and the Texans ran for 141 yards en route to scoring 24 points against them last week, so what do you think Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are doing? One last note that should promote more touchdown opportunities to the game: both of these coaches love to go for it on 4th down. Kevin Stefanski and Brandon Stayley have the 4th most fourth-down attempts this season. CLE/LAC over 47.5

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

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