Wanted to share my thoughts on a handful of NFL games for Week 5 before the lines move too much. Last week I wrote about five games, and the four contests that kicked off on Sunday had line movement throughout the week.
Patriots -5 vs Buccaneers
Surprised the line is this high.The Patriots were -4.5 on the look ahead line and their defense continued to struggle in a Week 4 loss to the Panthers. The Buccaneers won but didn’t cover against the Giants and get a boost this week as running back Doug Martin is available to return. Maybe the line is higher because of New England’s history of bouncing back after a straight up loss. It’s a Thursday night game so I’ll probably pass on picking this one but I would be very hesitant to back the Patriots at a number like this on the road.
Bills vs Bengals -3
At a field goal or lower, I’ll probably be backing the Bengals here. Don’t let the 1-3 record for Cincinnati fool you because they are a new team since Bill Lazor has taken over as offensive coordinator. I’ve been impressed with the Bills this season but can see a letdown after the beat the Falcons in Week 4. The Bengals are a better team and I see them showing up after disappointing their home fans in the first two weeks.
Jets vs Browns -1
The look ahead line here was Browns -4 and the Week 4 results shifted that line down. It seemed like the Browns were getting some respect in the betting market since their close loss in the opener to the Steelers. Cleveland was a road favorite to the Indianapolis Colts and failed to win in that spot. The Jets are coming off two straight wins at home and might not be the worst team in the league. In my personal ratings, I have Cleveland as the worst team in the NFL but this could be a time to buy low on the Browns if this line continues to gravitate to a pick ’em. The Browns know this is a game they should win at home and this is a game Hue Jackson needs.
Titans vs Dolphins
No line for this game because of the Marcus Mariota injury. I will say that I expect that Titans to bounce back after an blowout loss to the Texans. Whether it’s Mariota or Matt Cassel under center, I expect the Titans to rely on the running game. The Dolphins are playing their first home game of the season and played in London in Week 4. Both the Jaguars and Ravens lost and failed to cover a week after playing in London so it’s either Titans or pass in this situation.
49ers vs Colts -1.5
Really want to fade both these teams this week. The 49ers are coming off a heartbreaking loss in overtime to the Cardinals and have failed to score a touchdown in three of their four games. The Colts are coming off a loss in Seattle and I usually don’t want to pick a team a week after playing a physical Seahawks team.
Panthers vs Lions -3
The Lions have been awesome as an underdog this year but now they are in the favorite role for the first time this season. Their early-season wins against the Cardinals and Giants don’t look as impressive as they did a few weeks ago. They probably were robbed of a win against the Falcons but they were also dominated in the box score that game. This past week, they played Case Keenum and were aided when Dalvin Cook went down with an injury. Basically I’m trying to say the Lions are overvalued here and don’t be surprised if this line goes lower and in the Panthers favor before kickoff.
Seahawks vs Rams -1.5
Looks like this point spread is the biggest adjustment from the look ahead line. The Seahawks were a -3 favorite before Week 4 and now the Rams are a short favorite. The Rams were a really popular underdog as their line against the Cowboys moved in Los Angeles’ favor all week. They came through for bettors by winning straight up. Seattle trailed at home in primetime to the lowly Indianapolis Colts but finished strong in the second half. I’ll be interested in seeing where this line goes but I think this is an opportunity to bet on the Seahawks as underdogs. Seattle lost in Los Angeles last season so they won’t overlook this opponent.
Packers vs Cowboys -2
I mentioned last week that the Cowboys might be looking ahead to this game and they ended up squandering a lead against the Rams before losing in Week 4. The Packers came through against the Bears but their injury list increased, including knocks to Ty Montgomery and Davante Adams. Green Bay also has injuries all over the offensive line so this is one of the games to pay close attention to information all week. The Cowboys were 5.5-point favorites last year in the playoffs against the Packers so you can argue that there’s line value here in Dallas. Anything under a field goal has me interested in the Cowboys and I’ll like Dallas a lot more based on the Green Bay injuries.
Chiefs -1.5 vs Texans
The Texans beat the Titans 57-14 this past weekend and whenever a team wins by that kind of margin, I’ll look to pick against them the next game. The Chiefs are coming off a close Monday night game, with an all-time backdoor cover, but they are the better team and have a huge advantage at head coach. This is another revenge opportunity from last year as Kansas City let a game slip away against a Houston team led by Brock Osweiler.
The leans for this week are on the Bengals, Browns, Panthers, Seahawks, Cowboys and Chiefs. Nothing strong enough to make a pick but I’ll tweet out when I feel confident enough.