Beating the Spread: Week 5 Picks

Our Week 4 Beat the Spread column is ready to go for your consideration as you put in your weekly bets!

“Steady and She Goes” is not just a great song by the Raconteurs, it describes the stylings of Erik Smith in the last few weeks, posting a steady 3-2 each week. That 60% mark is how you win in the long run and Erik has pulled ahead in our little contest. If you bet against my picks the last few weeks, you’d be in the plus column as I totally misread the game flow of the Texans – Panthers game and couldn’t cover a couple of other lines. Back at square one for me while Tom is looking to make a comeback starting with his picks this week.

I’ll be honest, it’s been surprisingly difficult to pick a side on a Sunday line by the middle of the week. There have been more than a few picks that I didn’t like by the time Sunday came around. While we’re hoping that this column spurs some thought and conversation, it’s probably best to wait until close to kickoff before making your final choices.

The following lines were captured on Tuesday. Betting lines can vary by site and move throughout the week so check yours to make sure that you have similar information.

Week 4 betting lines:

Away Team Home Team Line O/U
LA Rams Seattle SEA -1.5 49
Arizona Cincinnati CIN -4.5 48.5
Buffalo Tennessee TEN -3 38.5
Chicago Oakland CHI -5 41.5
Tampa Bay New Orleans NO -3.5 47
Minnesota NY Giants MIN -4.5 45
NY Jets Philadelphia PHI -14 44.5
Baltimore Pittsburgh BAL -4 42
New England Washington NE -15.5 43.5
Jacksonville Carolina CAR -3.5 41.5
Atlanta Houston HOU -5 48.5
Denver LA Chargers LAC -6.5 44.5
Green Bay Dallas DAL -3.5 47
Indianapolis Kansas City KC -10.5 57
Cleveland San Francisco SF -3.5 47

Staff Picks

Analyst Jeff Berckes Erik Smith Tom Schweitzer
Pick #1 PHI -14 ARI +4.5 PIT +3.5
Pick #2 NE -15.5 NE -15.5 NE -15.5
Pick #3 HOU -5 TB +3.5 HOU -5
Pick #4 BAL -4 NYG +4.5 DAL -3.5
Pick #5 CHI-OAK under 41.5 BAL/PIT over 42 SF -3.5
2019 Record 10-10 11-9 8-12

Analysis:

 

Jeff Berckes: The Jets and coach Adam Gase look out of sorts and traveling over to an Eagles team that looks to have figured some things out with a backup quarterback gives me no confidence in that squad. Obviously, a 14 point line is kind of ridiculous, but they’ve already lost to the Browns by 20 and the Patriots by 16. The Eagles are as talented as anyone in the league (PHI -14). Similarly, I’m going to roll with the Patriots traveling to D.C. as Washington will play a rookie QB against what is a top defense. In fact, this Patriots defense might be the best in the Belichick era (NE -15.5). Note: I like Dwayne Haskins, but this hardly seems fair for his first start. Would it surprise anyone if Jay Gruden was fired by the end of the month? I think the Falcons are broken. I’m not sure what happened, but I don’t see them being able to travel and compete with a decent team at this point. With Houston coming off a tough loss at home against the Panthers, I like them to bounce back here in a big way (HOU -5). Similarly, I like Baltimore a lot this year and I’m surprised they took a home loss against the Browns last week. Traveling to Pittsburgh, a traditionally tough division-rival, may seem like a game to stay away from, but I can’t help myself. I’m not at all convinced the shenanigans the Steelers ran against the Bengals would have any success against the Ravens and this Baltimore squad needs to crank it up quick. Look for a bounceback from John Harbaugh’s squad (BAL -4). Finally, I’m kicking myself for not taking that Bears-Vikings under last week so I’m going to take the Bears under here. Chase Daniel is almost certainly starting for the Bears, Derek Carr is dealing with a lower leg injury, and the Bears defense is terrifying. Don’t overthink it, take the under (CHI-OAK under 41.5).

 

Erik Smith: As a Bengals fan, I can’t see any reason for this team to be favored by more than three points against anyone, and there’s even a chance that the Cardinals are simply the better team in this matchup. This feels like a free point and a half I’m not even sure that I need, so I’ll take Cardinals +4.5. With the Dolphins on a bye, let’s go with the next best thing. The Patriots should have their way with Washington, who may possibly be starting (gasp) Colt McCoy in this one. Regardless of the starter, Pats -15.5 is the pick, as they have shown that they can wipe the floor with the inferior competition due to their lights out defense. The Saints have scraped by the last two weeks without Drew Brees, but this is the week it comes to an end. Tampa Bay has a good run defense, and Teddy Bridgewater has looked shaky in two starts. Worst case we can hope for a backdoor cover from Jameis Winston, but I think Tampa Bay can win this one outright. Buccaneers +3.5 is the pick, as 3-0 without Brees is asking too much of this Saints team. I know the Ravens and Steelers have traditionally played relied on defense in the past, but this year’s teams are different. The Ravens can put up points quickly with Lamar Jackson and Marquise Brown, and the Steelers should be able to move the ball at home against a Ravens defense that has taken a step back this year. I’ll take over 42 points scored. With how badly the Vikings passing game has struggled, and the energy that Daniel Jones has brought to the Giants, this spread feels just a little too high. I don’t see the Vikings running away and hiding in this one, so I’ll go with the Giants +4.5 at home and home Danny Dimes keeps the magic going.

 

Tom Schweitzer: I’m putting totals in hold for a while after an 0-4 stretch over the last two weeks. The schedule has turned on the Ravens a bit, suggest their hot start against two winless teams (Miami and Arizona) might be a bit of a fluke. The Steelers (+3.5) finally got Diontae Johnson and Jaylen Samuels on the field in week 4 and have some success on offense. I think we see them continue to build on that success in another crucial home game. I’ve gotten games involving Washington wrong in each of the first four weeks. That trend ends this week, especially if Dwayne Haskins starts. I like the Patriots (-15) to dominate on the road. Atlanta has lost to AFC south teams in back-to-back weeks and now face arguably the best AFC south team on the road. I expect the Texans (-5) to rebound against a bad Falcons defense. Green Bay has struggled to stop the run for 3 straight weeks and will be without their top receiver, so I’m taking the Cowboys -3.5 at home. Finally, I’ll take the 49ers (-3.5 )and their underrated defense with an extra week to prepare against the Browns.


What are your favorite picks of the week? Put in your comments below to play along. We’ll be updating our records all season!

 

Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

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