Football is back, baby! With the NFL back, every week I will break down the games and select a couple of wagers that stick out to me.
Week 5 played out perfectly, with me hitting all of my columns and video picks. For transparency, I’ve gone 15-10-1 ATS in the NFL through Week 5 over at sportsintel.com and will keep track here weekly. The biggest thing is to trust the process, as it is a long season. There are going to be some ups and downs, but that is gambling for you.
I predict we are going to start seeing a lot more Joes vs. Pros type of games from this weekend on. The public is going to absolutely hammer good teams, where wiseguy will just be looking for value on numbers and some good situational spots. After diving into the numbers, I see some good value on a couple of teams this weekend. So, without any more wait, let’s get to it.
Here are my favorite picks for the weekend:
Chicago Bears +2 at Carolina Panthers
If you read this column last week, you know how much I love the Panthers. I took them against the Falcons and have been riding them. But, with that being said, this is a good spot for the Bears.
We know Chicago’s offense needs work, but their defense is one of the best in the league. We saw that first-hand last Thursday night when they had Tom Brady dazed and confused, literally. The Bears rank fifth in defensive DVOA, so points will be tough to come by for a CMC-less Panthers squad.
Offensively, I do expect the Bears to be able to move the ball in this game. Chicago is coming off of facing two top-five defenses in the Colts and Bucs since making the switch to Nick Foles. With the Bears coming off of a Thursday game, Foles and that offense had extra time to prepare for this game and face a 23rd ranked Tampa Bay defense. Chicago should be able to move the ball against Carolina, especially after they lost a solid defensive tackle in Kawann Short for the season.
This reminds me a lot of the Panthers-Bucs game from earlier this season metrics wise. Tampa Bay won that game 31-17. I’d take this all the way to a pk’em, as the line is moving in the Bears direction.
Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Bucs +2
I know Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have been hot out of the games, but I like the Bucs to win straight up in this spot. The public is on the Packers at an 80% clip, but there is some value in TB.
The Bucs look like they are getting all their weapons back on offense, as Chris Godwin and Mike Evans both practiced today. They also have had time to prep for this game, since they played the Thursday Night game.
The Bucs defense is legit and ranks in the top-five in every metric defensively when it comes to DVOA rankings. On the flip side, the Packers come in at 29th, and that’s with them missing out on facing Julio Jones, Mike Thomas and Kenny Golladay.
For all those reasons I like the Bucs. But most importantly, I love Tom Brady off of a loss, with extra time to prepare against a defense that is struggling.
Bills +5 & Niners +3
I know Mahomes is coming off of a loss, but I like Buffalo’s defense to keep him in check in this one. The Bills were missing a lot of key players against the Titans, but everyone practiced in full today, so they should be fully loaded. The public will be all over KC, but I see this as a three-point game, so give me the points.
The look-ahead line for this game before last week’s debacle by the Niners was SF -3. Too much value in this spot to pass up. Must-win situation for SF here, and they should be healthier. The Rams have the 24th run defense in DVOA, that is the key matchup, as SF will be able to run the ball.
If you are in any survivor pools, first of all, good luck. Those things are impossible because there is always a day where every upset in the book happens. But, we can research and try our best to find the mismatch that looks good for the week.
Last week we hit with the Cards. I think I will go back to the well this weekend by fading the Jets. Yes, it is a risky pick going with the Dolphins here, but I’ve seen enough of this Jets team to know just how bad they are. I’ll put my faith in Fitzmagic to get the job done in this spot.
So, there you have it for Week 5. Good luck with your wagers and hopefully this sports intel helps with your Sunday NFL card.