- Our Best Bets were 2-1 in Week 4 (6-6 overall, -0.55 units)
- The Atlanta Falcons rank 31st in points and yards allowed per game
- Read below for analysis on the Week 5 NFL slate and our favorite ATS picks
It’s hard to believe but we’ve reached Week 5 on the NFL calendar already. Week 4 was a profitable one for this column, but we’re not back in the black yet. Another strong week will change that, and Week 5 is all about picking on overvalued favorites.
Week 5 Picks Against the Spread
|Carolina Panthers vs Atlanta Falcons||ATL (-1.5)||CAR (+1.5)||1|
|New York Giants vs Dallas Cowboys||DAL (-9.0)||NYG (+9.0)||1|
|Jacksonville Jaguars vs Houston Texans||HOU (+5.5)||JAC (+5.5)||1|
Odds taken Oct. 8th at DraftKings. See bottom for rest of Week 5 Picks.
Take the Atlanta Falcons for example. Dan Quinn’s teams enters Week 5 with an 0-4 record, yet are giving 1.5-points to the 2-2 Carolina Panthers. The Falcons are 1-3 ATS in 2020 and dating back to last season are 5-9 at home against the number.
Pick #1: Panthers Feast on Falcons
Not only is Atlanta winless, but they have been decimated by injury. They put starting defensive backs Darqueze Dennard and Damontae Kazee on IR, and could be down an additional three bodies on defense for this game. That doesn’t bode well for a unit that ranks 31st in points and yards allowed per game.
The #Falcons defense is something else. pic.twitter.com/beAWZ2tI7K
— Fabian Sommer (@suuma810) October 6, 2020
On the other side of the ball, it doesn’t look like Julio Jones will play after exiting Monday night’s game in Green Bay at halftime. No wonder the line is moving towards Carolina in the Panthers vs Falcons odds.
Julio also sat out in Week 3 and his absence has had a big impact on Matt Ryan’s performance. The former MVP has thrown just one touchdown in his past 77 attempts, and the offense is averaging a paltry 21 points over its past two games.
Through Weeks 3 & 4, here are the QBs that have scored more fantasy points than Matt Ryan:
* Sam Darnold
* Nick Mullens
* Nick Foles
* Dwayne Haskins
— Kyle Yates (@KyleYNFL) October 6, 2020
The Panthers meanwhile, are rolling after back-to-back wins versus the Los Angeles Chargers and Arizona Cardinals, holding them to a combined 37 points.
After a shaky start, Carolina’s defense has clamped down on enemy quarterbacks, surrendering the seventh fewest passing yards per game.
The offense has actually improved without Christian McCaffrey, scoring 52 points over the past two weeks, led by CMC’s replacement Mike Davis.
Mike Davis is your early favorite for waiver wire MVP pic.twitter.com/Feir5YvOby
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) October 4, 2020
The South Carolina product has racked up 192 total yards and two TD in McCaffrey’s absence, immediately earning the trust of Teddy Bridgewater in the passing game. Speaking of Bridgewater, he was phenomenal in the Panthers previous game throwing for 276 yards, and accounting for three touchdowns.
TOUCHDOWN @teddyb_h2o!!!#GoCards | #ProCards pic.twitter.com/C4rox47izR
— Louisville Football (@UofLFootball) October 4, 2020
Bridgwater’s receiving corps is stacked, and after seeing what Aaron Rodgers did to Atlanta’s secondary in prime time, we can project Carolina’s offense for plenty of success as well.
Pick #2: Giants Cover vs Cowboys
Excuse me if I’m not falling all over myself trying to back the 1-3 Dallas Cowboys against the winless New York Giants. Dak Prescott and the offense may be racking up yards at a historic pace, but this defense is a train wreck.
The Cowboys defense is allowing a passer rating of 114.3 this season.
For context, Patrick Mahomes owns a career passer rating is 109.4.
— Paul Hembekides (@PaulHembo) October 5, 2020
The Cowboys are allowing a league-worst 36.5 points per game, and boast Pro Football Focus’ third worst coverage grade, and fourth worst rush defense grade. They’re fresh off surrendering 49 points and 508 yards of offense to Cleveland, and have forced just two turnovers all season.
“The Dallas Cowboys stink! Can we just say that? They’re just awful.”@stephenasmith rips into the Cowboys’ defense 😳 pic.twitter.com/jUQ4IMKIDh
— First Take (@FirstTake) October 5, 2020
On paper, Dallas is a much better team than New York, but bettors are already taking a stand in the Giants vs Cowboys odds. The line opened at Dallas -10, but has moved as much as two points in New York’s favor depending on which online sportsbook you use.
Sunday. Cowboys vs. Giants pic.twitter.com/XeXAGVS0H1
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) October 7, 2020
It’s hard to make a great case for the G-Men considering they’ve scored a league-low 47 points, but their schedule to start has been brutal. Entering Week 5, the combined record of their opponents was 11-4, and three of those teams feature top-seven defenses by DVOA.
Daniel Jones proved last season he can excel versus bad defenses, racking up three separate four touchdown games.
New York #Giants QB Daniel Jones tosses a money ball against the Detroit #Lions @Daniel_Jones10 #NFL100pic.twitter.com/IKjD6fL2Rr
— Gabriel Schray (@schrayguy) October 27, 2019
None of those teams were statistically as bad as this Cowboys unit, and there’s little reason to believe the Giants can’t find an abundance of success on offense this week.
Pick #3: Jaguars Take Down Texans
Chew on this. The Houston Texans are 0-4, are playing their first game under interim coach Romeo Crennel, yet are favored by 5.5-points over the 1-3 Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Houston Texans are spending $255M in cash on their roster this season, more than any other team in the NFL.
They owe their first- and second-round picks in 2021 to the Dolphins.
They’re currently 0-4.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) October 4, 2020
Houston actually opened up as a bigger favorite in the Jaguars vs Texans odds, but the line has since moved a point in Jacksonville’s favor. Houston has lost all four of its games by at least a touchdown, failing to cover in each one.
Despite their early ineptitude, the Texans are the largest 0-4 favorite since 1992. Also working against them, is the lack of success interim coaches have had in their first game. Since 2000, interim coaches are 11-25 straight up and 13-23 ATS. There’s little reason to believe Crennel is going to fare much better, given the mess he’s inherited.
Life with an interim coach is difficult, and the #Texans are already 0-4. It could be a long season. Main beneficiary? The #Dolphins. They own Houston’s 1st and 2nd round picks.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 5, 2020
Houston’s offense ranks 29th in points per game and 27th in total offense. Their defense meanwhile, which was Crennel’s responsibility, ranks 28th in points allowed per game and is surrendering a league-worst 181.8 rushing yards per outing. Only the New York Jets have a worse point differential in the AFC.
The Jags are no juggernaut, but they’re certainly better than this line suggests. They average 40 more yards of offense than the Texans per game, and rookie James Robinson can absolutely expose Houston’s run D.
RBs with more fantasy points than James Robinson in 2020:
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) October 4, 2020
Robinson ranks eighth in the NFL in rushing yards per game and has already found paydirt three times this season.
Week 5 Quick Hitters
- Rams (-7.5) vs Washington: As bad as Dwayne Haskins performed, Kyle Allen was statistically worse in 2019. Good luck against Aaron Donald and company
- Jets (+7) vs Cardinals: Kyler Murray is averaging just 6.4 yards per attempt and who says Joe Flacco is actually a downgrade from Sam Darnold?
- Steelers (-7) vs Eagles: The league’s best defense tees off on Carson Wentz, who’s still missing the majority of his playmakers
- Chiefs (-11.5) vs Raiders: KC is 10-1 in its last 11 versus Las Vegas, winning by an average of 14 points per contest
- Bengals (+12) vs Ravens: The Baltimore offense looks sluggish and Joe Burrow has been better than advertised
- Dolphins (+9) vs 49ers: Even if Jimmy G returns, this line is way too high given how banged up San Fran is
- Colts (-1) vs Browns: Indy is the number one team by DVOA and has outscored its opponents by 54 points over the last three weeks
- Vikings (+7) vs Seahawks: The Seahawks pass defense is allowing over 400 yards per week. Even Minnesota can take advantage of that
- Saints (-7.5) vs Chargers: LA has been decimated by key injuries and will have a tough time keeping pace with New Orleans inside the dome