Pick-up Lines: Week 5

Heading into Week 5, this season has thrown the betting public for a loop, and you can tell just by looking at some of the below trends, per BetLabs:

  • Underdogs: 38-24-1 ATS
  • Road teams: 40-22-1 ATS
  • Teams getting <50% of bets: 37-25-1 ATS

If you’ve been reading my blog the last few years, you know I’m almost always on the underdogs. However, you also know that I like short home favorites. Typically, if road teams cover this much, I run home, sit in a corner and cry in a fetal position until regression takes over. Thankfully, I’ve four winning weeks so far. This week, however, I’m expecting some regression to the mean, both for the home teams and favorites.

Week 4 record: 6-4

Season Record: 26-17-1

Week 5 Picks

As always, my picks will be listed most to least confident. For reference, I will have the team I’m picking in bold font next to the point spread. My gun-to-my-head picks show the games I did not bet on (hence the poopy record above) but the pick I would make if there was a…..you get the picture.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints (-3)

Thank you sir, may I have another?

This number should be significantly higher, and the sportsbooks thought so as well. This game opened at New Orleans -6.5 and has dropped a full 3.5 points since Sunday night. The Buccaneers, who upset the Rams last week in Los Angeles by scoring an astounding 55 points off four Jared Goff turnovers, capped by a 37-yard Ndamukong Suh fumble return.

They looked like world beaters, and the betting public reacted as such. Give me the short home favorite who just shut down a Dallas offense that looked equally as impressive first three weeks.

After looking like a monster the previous week, this is exact spot where Famous Jameis Winston lays a massive egg in the middle of Bourbon Street. I expect New Orleans to win the turnover battle and win this game outright.

Sep 21, 2019; Pullman, WA, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew helps raise the Washington State school flag before a Washington State Cougars game against the UCLA Bruins at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Jacksonville Jaguars at Carolina Panthers (-3.5)

The legend of Gardner Minshew is growing with each highlight play and every reference to his truly fascinating numbers (yes, his completion percentage really is 69.420% at the present).

Expect all of that to come crashing down this week.

Carolina, after throwing everyone (including me) off their scent after an 0-2 start, has a legitimate defense and hasn’t played at home since their Thursday night sadness against Tampa Bay in Week 2. There’s value in betting on a defense that just got done bottling up Deshaun Watson and co. (and more specifically designated red-zone quarterback Deandre Hopkins). This number should be closer to six than three.

Indianapolis Colts (+11) at Kansas City Chiefs

This is a great bounce-back spot for the Colts. The Chiefs, the public darlings despite failing to cover the last two weeks against difficult opponents, are getting a little too much respect in a game that should be at least somewhat competitive. I would describe the Colts, despite a hiccup last week against the moribund Raiders, as a competent playoff contender. Take the points in this spot.  

Oh yeah

Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks (-1.5)

Russell Wilson is 19-6-3 ATS in regular season primetime games. He is also 45-13 at home for his career. I don’t do numbers good, but based off what I see here, the short home favorite looks like the right play in this divisional Thursday night match-up.  

This number actually opened at Los Angeles -1.5, but many who watched the Rams, and more specifically Jared Goff, play on Sunday feel that this team is on the downswing. I’m not so sure about all of that, but this spot is almost perfect for a Seattle bet.

Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys (-3.5)

Love this spot for the Cowboys. The number? It’s not great, especially in a game that figures to be close. The hype for both teams came crashing down last week, but Dallas lost a tight game in New Orleans, one of the toughest places to play in sports, while the Packers were humbled in their own stadium against a so-so Eagles team.

A short-ish home favorite is the play. I have not locked in this bet yet, as Green Bay (+3.5) (-120) is still seeing significant public action and I have a feeling this number could drop all the way to 3, which would give significantly more value to Dallas.

Denver Broncos (+6.5) at Los Angeles Chargers

Despite the 0-4 start to the season and the loss of arguably their second most important player in Bradley Chubb, the sharp guys are on the Broncos (72% of the money while only receiving 45% of the tickets).

As bad as Denver has been (and believe me, I would know), they were also two roughing the passer penalties away from being 2-2 and likely four-point dogs in this game. The Chargers are….we don’t know yet and I think they’re getting a little too much respect as “home” favorites. There will be a lot of sad Denver fans in attendance. If Fanny Pack Fangio cares about his job, this game will be close. If they’re tanking, we’ll find out with the quickness.

Atlanta Falcons at Houston Texans (-4.5)

The Texans hurt me last week. I had them as my best bet here, in my first ever survivor pool and in several parlays. Thankfully, they weren’t the only big upset last week (not even close, actually) so I don’t quite feel like cutting my wrists.

That being said, I believe their loss was more unlucky than indicative of their future. The Falcons, by contrast, are a complete and utter dumpster fire. I’ll take the Texans….again.

What’s the old saying? Fool me once….shame on….shame on you?

Arizona Cardinals at Cincinnati Bengals (-3)

God damn it.

I, just like everyone else, watched the Bungals look just awful last Monday night against Pittsburgh. This offensive line is up there for some of the worst I’ve seen.

But we have to take a step back and realize that the Arizona Cardinals might be even worse than our beloved Bungals. This line is dropping daily with the Cardinals getting over 74% of the bets and 84% of the money (!) thus far. A road favorite getting that much public attention is doomed for failure, even against the Red Rifle and his band of sieves.

Gun-to-my-head picks: 11-8

Buffalo Bills at Tennessee Titans (-3)

Baltimore Ravens (-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers

New England Patriots at Washington Redskins (+15.5)

Chicago Bears (-6) at Oakland Raiders

New York Jets (+13.5) at Philadelphia Eagles

Minnesota Vikings at New York Giants (+5)

Cleveland Browns at San Francisco 49ers (-3.5)

— Josh North

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