The Backdoor Cover - Week 5 NFL Picks
By: Josh Gamble
Last week was a bad week, I mean a bad week. The best part about last week is that it is over and we are never looking back. So let's dive right into this week's games. Please note that I am not including the "COVID games" as there is too much uncertainty on whether they will be played and Vegas has not set any lines for those games.
*Lines are accurate as of Thursday afternoon*
Buccaneers (-3.5) @ Bears – Over/Under 44.5
We have a Super Bowl LII quarterback rematch, albeit both with different teams. The line in this game started at a field goal and then pushed all the way to 5.5 at one point this week based on the amount of tickets coming in for the Bucs. Since that jump, there has been a good amount of cash coming in for the home dog pushing it back down to 3.5. The total is one of the lower numbers this week despite the Bucs going over in 75% of their games this season and the Bears having one of the poorer defenses thus far. What this tells me is that Vegas thinks that the Bears offense is just that bad. After watching them last week against the Colts that is a point that is hard to argue. I am not really seeing much value in this game at all unless the total comes down a little bit.
Photo courtesy of bengalswire.usatoday.com
Bengals @ Ravens (-13) – Over/Under 51
The Bengals have been impressive offensively this season with rookie quarterback, Joe Burrow. So far, he has done a great job of keeping games relatively close; however, playing the Ravens is a whole other animal. The Ravens have not been nearly as impressive this season as they were last year. Last week, they were 13-point favorites against the lowly Football Team and barely covered that game. I think the Bengals are a better team than Washington is and I would take the points in this game. I think the best play in this game is the over. The Ravens defense gave up a ton of yards to Haskins last week. I would expect the Bengals to be able to put a good amount of points on the board. I will be taking the Bengals +13 and the over 51.
Panthers @ Falcons (-1) – Over/Under 54.5
It is extremely difficult to be a part of anything the Falcons are doing this year. I thought they would put up points in bulk last week and I could not have been more wrong. The Panthers are coming off an impressive win against the Cardinals. Personally, I just do not see a ton of value in either the spread or the total here.
Raiders @ Chiefs (-12) – Over/Under 54.5
Both of these teams have been somewhat tough to figure out. The Raiders have shown flashes of being a great offensive football team and then backed that up with lackluster performance. The Chiefs looked like a Super Bowl team against the Ravens in primetime but have looked flat against the Chargers and the first half against the Patriots. I am not sure I trust either of these teams enough to bet anything in this game. If you are looking to take a moderate risk that the Raiders offense will come out firing then I would take the Raiders and the points. If money keeps coming in on the Chiefs, we could see this line rise before game time and open up some value with the Raiders.
Rams (-7) @ Football Team – Over/Under 45
This line opened at 9 points and have dropped down to 7. This is largely due to the fact that the sharp money is on the home underdog. On the other side, the public like the Rams and hold a great majority of the tickets. Washington benched Haskins in favor of Allen and I am not sure what that means for their team. There likely is not much of a difference between the two quarterbacks but there is just too much uncertainty for me to put any money on this game.
Jaguars @ Texans (-6) – Over/Under 54
I do not want any part of the Houston Texans right now. Their offense is bad, their defense is bad, and they just fired their coach. After reading that, you are probably thinking that I am going to say hammer the Jags. Not so fast, my friend. I also do not know what to make of the Jaguars. They have been doing their best Jekyll and Hyde impression this year and it is hard to predict which will show up on Sunday. The only potential value I can see is the taking the over if the total comes down a little bit, which I would not rely on happening.
Cardinals (-7) @ Jets – Over/Under 47
The Jets are bad. Plain and simple. The Cardinals have not looked good the past two weeks in a row. If you think that the Cardinals are a better team than they have shown the past two weeks, then I see some value in this line as long as it does not go any higher than 7. More value will open up if the total drops down below the 7. Personally, I am staying away from this game unless we see some line movement.
Eagles @ Steelers (-7) – Over/Under 44
The Eagles are coming off a big win against the 49ers, but what does it mean? To me, it does not mean much. The 49ers have a host of injuries and their quarterback play was terrible. The Eagles are banged up all over the place and have had a tough time preventing people from getting to Wentz. Now they are going up against a defense that may get to the quarterback better than any other team in the league. I see trouble all day long for the Eagles offense. I like the Steelers to cover the 7 points this week at home. More importantly, I see this game going under. The total opened at 47 and due to large amounts of cash and tickets on the under, we have seen it drop 3 points already. Even with the drop, I still like this under.
Photo courtesy of thephinsider.com
Dolphins @ 49ers (-9) – Over/Under 49.5
The 49ers looked terrible last week against the Eagles. Given their current roster will all of the injuries, I believe this is closer to the team they are than the one that blew out the Giants. The Dolphins are never a sexy pick but they are grinders. No bigger grinder than Ryan Fitzpatrick. There are a lot of tickets on the Dolphins and even more cash. I am going with the sharps on this one and taking the Dolphins and the points.
Giants @ Cowboys (-9.5) – Over/ Under 54
The Giants played a lot better last week than I could have ever expected them to. Even so, they are a terrible football team. The Cowboys’ offense has been a juggernaut but their team as a whole has been a massive disappointment. Both cash and tickets are heavily skewed towards the Cowboys in this one and probably rightfully so. The Cowboys have been a disappointment but the Giants are just bad. What better medicine for a team trying to find their way than a date with the Giants? Lay the points.
Colts (-1.5) @ Browns – Over/Under 46.5
If you told me that both of the teams would be a combined 6-2 through four weeks, I would have told you that you are crazy, but here we are. This is an intriguing game but not for betting purposes. I am not seeing much value in the spread or the total this week. If I were going to bet this game at all, I would take the moneyline +100 for the home underdog.
Vikings @ Seahawks (-7) – Over/Under 57
The public faded the Seahawks last week and paid the price. The Seahawks are now 4-0 against the spread to open the season. Can they go for five in a row? I think they can and I think they will. The Vikings defense has no chance of slowing down Russell Wilson and this offense. Can the Vikings offense score enough to keep this game close? I am just not seeing it. Dalvin Cook has been the best running back in the league this season, but I do not think he can put this whole team on his back in this matchup to keep this close. Take the Seahawks and lay the points.
Chargers @ Saints (-7.5) – Over/Under 50
There has been a ton of sharp money on the Chargers in this game with a slight lean on tickets to the Saints. Justin Herbert has played well and some may argue he has played just as well as Drew Brees. The Chargers defense has played well as we expected. Losing Ekeler will certainly have its ramifications but if Herbert can continue to play at the level he has this season, I see this being a close game. If you can get the Chargers at the magic number 7.5, then I would take them as I do see some value at that line or higher.
Bengals +13 and over 51
As always, if you have any questions about this week's lines, please feel free to give me a shout on twitter @Jtothe_ROC