As if Week 4 wasn’t rough enough on me, it ended with getting burned by the clubhouse favorite for “bad beat of the year.” But like any team that has reached the quarter mark in a big hole, I’m going to keep echoing the sentiment that it’s a long season. With bye weeks coming into play this week and fewer matchups to focus on, it’s a good opportunity for a bounce-back week. In order to achieve that, though, we’ll have to sift through some major upsets from last weekend and decide who are the NFL’s top teams after four weeks.
Once we accomplish that lofty goal, check out our reviews of the top-five sportsbooks, where you’ll find everything you need to know to choose the right site for your wagering needs.
Week 5 ATS Picks
Thursday, October 5
New England Patriots (-5.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
No other 2-2 team sporting the league’s worst scoring defense would ever be favored by this much on the road against a team like Tampa, but the Patriots have built up a certain cache in Vegas over the years. Every time linemakers begin to doubt this team, they get burned. This will be a difficult spot for New England to serve up a dominant “we’re not dead yet” performance, though. On a short week, they won’t be able to implement any big scheme changes on the defensive side. Instead, they’ll need to hope Stephon Gilmore and Malcolm Butler play better. Otherwise, the Buccaneers receivers will have enough success to keep this one close. And in this stupid Thursday Night Football slot, where home teams have covered in 11 of the last 17, I expect Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson to go off.
Pick: Buccaneers (+5.5)
Sunday, October 8
San Francisco 49ers at Indianapolis Colts (-1.5)
The first quarter of the Niners season has been picture perfect from a fan perspective. They’ve looked like an improved, competitive team; but they’ve managed to lose every game to stay in the running for the first-overall pick. However, you have to win a game eventually, and for San Francisco, this is the spot to do it. The Colts’ pass protection can’t handle this front seven, and struggling Brian Hoyer posted a 120 passer rating against Indianapolis last season.
Pick: 49ers (+1.5)
New York Jets at Cleveland Browns (-2)
I promised back in Week 2 that, if I ever backed the Jets, I would pen some truly poetic analysis. I’m a man of my word: Gang Green, Gang Green; how wrong I’ve been, now you’re second in the AFC East. I thought you were tanking, when instead you were banking, on complete unknowns playing like a beast. You’ve been stout on third downs, now getting points at the Browns, this is the pick I’ll worry about least.
Pick: Jets (+2)
Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers (-9)
Jacksonville’s defense is one of the best against the pass, which counts for so much in today’s game. But against the run, they’re the league-worst, which counts for a lot when you play the Steelers. On the heels of Le’Veon Bell’s breakout Week 4 performance, expect Pittsburgh to milk their bell cow dry, which should open up some easy passes for a still-not-good Big Ben.
Pick: Steelers (-9)
Los Angeles Chargers at New York Giants (-3.5)
Surely this will be the last meeting between former trade pieces Eli Manning and Philip Rivers. Neither has played well enough this season to guarantee employment in 2021 when these teams will meet again. In fact, the losing team will have a leg up in the search for their fringe-Hall-of-Famer’s replacement. Considering both of these teams keep suffering crushing fourth-quarter losses, this will no doubt be an entertaining game that ends in the most deflating way possible, a tie.
Pick: Chargers (+3.5)
Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals (-3)
Was last week’s win not enough to announce the Bills are a pretty good team? They held Atlanta’s offense to 17 points at home (albeit with Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu injured). Cincy got off the schneid last week, but there’s still little reason to believe they can block this Bills pass rush. If Vegas keeps doubting Buffalo at this rate, I’ll be making enough to pay my bills. (I mean, if you don’t count all the other wrong picks during the week.)
Pick: Bills (+3)
Carolina Panthers at Detroit Lions (-3)
Cam Newton got back to balling out last week, combining for four scores against the league’s worst defense. He took off running more than in any other game this year, opening up space for big plays to Kelvin Benjamin in the passing game. The Lions defense has performed very well against all the pocket passers they’ve faced this season, but can Ziggy Ansah and this front four contain Newton? They had trouble last year corralling mobile QBs like Aaron Rodgers, Marcus Mariota, and Russell Wilson. Detroit has been an amazing surprise over the last two seasons, but the more expectations build, the more they falter. They were just 1-3 ATS last season as a favorite of three or more.
Pick: Panthers (+3)
Tennessee Titans (-3) at Miami Dolphins
Marcus Mariota is day-to-day with a hamstring injury, but the way Miami has looked the last two weeks, Matt Cassel would still be favored in this spot. Anyone who woke up early to watch the Dolphins last week was treated to a team that accumulated as many penalties as first downs. Both the Fins and Titans need a bounce-back game, but so far, only Tennessee has shown the actual passion required to go get that big win.
Pick: Titans (-3)
Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5)
There are some surprising 2-2 teams (see Jets, Patriots), but none of them are luckier to have that record than Arizona. Pulling out both wins in overtime against bottom-five teams does not give me great confidence that they can come into Philly and knock off one of the NFC’s most well-rounded squads. The only weakness the Eagles have is in the secondary, but Carson Palmer hasn’t shown that he can make throws for four quarters, and he has no run game to fall back on.
Pick: Eagles (-6.5)
Baltimore Ravens at Oakland Raiders (-2.5)
Two weeks ago, this looked to have playoff-preview potential. Now the loser will be on the verge of burying their postseason dreams. Both teams have shown flaws on offense. Everyone expected the Ravens to be firing blanks, but no one saw this coming from the Raiders, and they’ll need to find a solution to a suffering passing game without Derek Carr. After surrendering 70 points combined in the last two games, the Ravens D will welcome the opportunity to play an EJ Manuel-led offense. The Raiders have failed to cover in the last six games Carr didn’t start at QB.
Pick: Ravens (+2.5)
Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams (-1.5)
Seattle has been upset in their last three road games against the Rams, but this time a loss to NFC West leading L.A. won’t be considered an upset. Behind Todd Gurley, the Rams are the league’s highest-scoring team and are legitimately fun to watch. Coming off a big win over “America’s Team,” they may even be close to corralling finicky L.A. fans onto their bandwagon. However, I see a loss coming to a desperate Seattle team. The Rams D continues to surrender points at an alarming rate and the Seahawks passing game is taking off. A loss here would bury Seattle, and I’m not ready to do that just yet. Plus, L.A. is just 2-5 as a favorite since 2016.
Pick: Seahawks (+1.5)
Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys (-2)
The rematch of last year’s thrilling Divisional Playoff game should have similar offensive fireworks, especially with both these defenses banged up. The Cowboys defense can’t function without Sean Lee, while the Packers are hoping Mike Daniels can return to give their interior line a push. Like last January, this game may come down to who has the ball last. But considering that Rodgers carved up a much better Dallas secondary last season, and has won five of his last six starts against the Boys, I’ll stick with the Pack.
Pick: Packers (+2)
Kansas City Chiefs (-1.5) at Houston Texans
Deshaun Watson had one of the great rookie QB performances of all-time against the Titans, and now he’ll look to knock off the league’s last undefeated team in an excellent prime-time matchup. Neither of these teams has been good in pass protection, with Houston surrendering 17 sacks and Kansas City allowing 16. But the Chiefs have such a creative offense, they can overcome long down-and-distance situations in a number of ways. Alex Smith showed on Monday Night he’s still a huge running threat, piling up 56 rushing yards. The Texans defensive line has yet to perform like we all expected at the start of the year, and if that performance doesn’t come against K.C., they’ll be back below .500.
Pick: Chiefs (-1.5)
Monday, October 9
Minnesota Vikings (-3) at Chicago Bears
As one dynamic rookie’s season ends, another one begins. The Vikings lost the heart of their offense when Dalvin Cook went down for the year. The Bears offense didn’t even have a pulse under Mike Glennon. Mitch Trubisky will be in tough in his first career start, playing a strong Minnesota defense, but with Case Keenum likely running the Vikings’ attack, it won’t take too many points to secure a cover. Considering Chicago has won eight of the last nine meetings at Soldier Field between these two, take the Bears and the points.
Pick: Bears (+3)