Wein a bit of a turnaround. 3-2 every week isn't going to win the SuperContest for Team OddsShark, but it is the start of a decent little reverse course in terms of where we were the few weeks prior.
This week won't feature a full slate of 'dogs, and it won't feature a full slate of terrible teams either, but there are some options for 'dogs in primetime games, including the Texans (+1) at home against Kansas City and the Bears (+3) against the Vikings on Monday Night Football. Both feature rookie quarterbacks, so I'm steering clear for this week. I'll probably regret it later.
What I won't regret is these five bets, which are about to get hot. Leggo.
You can check out all my Week 5 NFL picks right here, all of our Week 5 NFL Expert Picks here and yell at me for my terrible picks on Twitter @WillBrinson. Let's begin our trek out of the crevasse and into some winning ways.
Patriots -5.5 at Buccaneers
This pick could look dumb early with this game going down Thursday night. The Patriots are large favorites on the road despite having the worst defense in the NFL. But they also have the best offense in the NFL and the Buccaneers are missing lots of parts on defense. Plus, as I broke down here in greater length, the Patriots have an incredible record against the spread when playing on the road the week after losing a game at home. Under Bill Belichick and with Tom Brady playing, they are 11-1 ATS following a home loss. They are also 13-0 when on a short week and playing a team doing the same. This game meets all the criteria. It would be nice if everyone was taking the Bucs, but I'm riding the Patriots.
The Chargers are terrible. I get it. They haven't even been good against the spread, going 0-3-1 so far this year. You would think I might be smart enough to move off them at some point. But the Giants aren't good either and are 0-1 against the spread at home this year. The Giants, who have lost three of their first four games on the road, are probably thrilled to be coming home for a game. But the Chargers actually are probably thrilled to get the heck out of California and play anywhere other than StubHub Center, where the stands have been full of opposing fans. That won't change this week, but at least the Bolts can thrive off it instead of being disappointed. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram are going to be a bad matchup for the Giants' offensive line, too, although Odell Beckham could have a big game against this dinged-up secondary. The Chargers will keep it close.
The Steelers have not been dominant this year very often. They stumbled on the road against Chicago and they couldn't really close out teams to start the year. Then last week they decided to get Le'Veon Bell going, and boy did he go: Bell carried the ball 35 times and gashed what we believed to be a good Ravens defense for 144 yards on the ground. He'll get another test this week, with the Jaguars' talented front seven coming to town and looking to rebound after an embarrassing road loss to the Jets in overtime last week. The Steelers are a substantially better team at home over the last few years with Ben Roethlisberger under center, and they've actually been great about covering the spread as well. According to the OddsShark NFL Handicapping Database, the Steelers are 4-0-1 covering spreads of greater than a touchdown as home favorites since the start of 2015. Pittsburgh is going to get a big "squeaky wheel" game from Antonio Brown early and then salt this puppy away with a heavy dose of Bell.
This is primarily banking on everyone hating the Dolphins and Miami finally getting a home respite after one of the most brutal travel schedules we've ever seen for an NFL team. They were dogged by the weather in Week 1, and electing not to take a bye after a London trip looks like a mistake, even though it was early in the season. It does not look like Marcus Mariota is going to play, and it would be insane for the Titans to play him. That means Matt Cassel is in charge of propping up a terrible Titans defense. This is the breakout Jay Ajayi game and the first decent outing for Jay Cutler. (Caveat: If Hurricane Nate causes this game to move locations, all bets are off. I assume? That's kind of scary. Be safe, Florida. Go away, hurricanes.)
Last week we faded my idiotic preseason Super Bowl winner and the 49ers nearly upended the Cardinals in Arizona. That's a bad look for Bruce Arians' squad, and the Cards are struggling against just about everyone these days, particularly in pass protection. Normally that would be a very bad matchup against the Eagles, who have a dangerous front seven. But Fletcher Cox, the fulcrum for that unit, is dinged up and looking like he might not play. The Cardinals can expose this secondary by throwing deep but also need to adjust the gameplan to keep Carson Palmer upright. Patrick Peterson can lock down Alshon Jeffery in this spot and and force Carson Wentz to target his secondary options. Arizona is also stingy against tight ends, which should limit Zach Ertz. I can see an upset here just because no one expects it, but at the very least the Cards will keep this game close.
- Last week best bets: 3-2
- Best bets season: 7-13
- Last week overall: 8-8
- Season overall: 24-23