Give the betting public credit for taking cold showers on NFL outcomes. Most sportsbooks’ Super Bowl odds are not budging despite early-season “oddities” like New Orleans and Kansas City plunging out of Top 10 rankings, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers losing in pale fashion to the L.A. Rams not too terribly long after Tom Brady vanquished Sean McVay’s club in a title scrum, and the very same “consensus #1” Mountain Goats getting embarrassed, in SoCal, no less, by the Arizona Cardinals the next Sunday.
Oh, and the San Francisco 49ers have an injury problem. That isn’t so odds. The 49ers aren’t getting punished badly at the sportsbook counter, but the Kansas City Chiefs look like the real “mafia” pick of 2021-22. Pat Mahomes’ team is still a thinner than 6/1 pick to win the Super Bowl in L.A. despite a dodgy 1st-month debut.
It’s a surprise to see the Baltimore Ravens drawing Super Bowl bets at 12/1, considering that many fans don’t yet trust the unorthodox Big Truss in the AFC playoffs. Is the momentum of Justin Tucker’s record field goal and a subsequent W-streak for Baltimore clouding how a wounded Ravens defense will allow its share of points?
That’s just 1 angle we’ll explore while hunting for picks against an especially-vulnerable looking NFL betting board in Week 5.
Week 5 Lines, Point Spreads, and Picks
TNF: Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks
Sean McVay’s team was ready to assert itself as the #1 brand in the NFL after coming off a dominant win over Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. Instead, the defense played an ignominious role in what became a national coming-out party for Arizona QB Kyler Murray – a new NFC superstar and 2021-22 league MVP candidate.
The Rams must quickly bounce back from the underwhelming performance and prepare to meet Seattle on Thursday Night Football. Seattle is just a (+117) underdog after quite impressively upsetting the San Francisco 49ers in Week 4, but the Seahawks can’t boast nearly the resume of the Rams after dropping games to the Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings.
Given enough weeks of fatigue and short practice time, TNF games can become sloppy and low-scoring. Seattle has hosted enough “baseball” games at CenturyLink Field that an Over/Under line of (54.5) reflects an unrealistic hype for the offenses.
Recommended bet: Under (54.5)
Sunday 1 PM: Miami Dolphins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Despite having touted the Arizona Cardinals for more than a year now, FanDuel is not quite ready to rank Kliff Kingsbury’s team ahead of the defending champions. It’s hard to imagine QB Tom Brady and the Buccaneers losing to the Cardinals 37-13 in the 4th quarter, and it’s even harder to imagine the 2021-22 Bucs going down in a lopsided defeat at all after 60 minutes.
Brady scored a dramatic win over his own in Week 4, as the Bucs kicked a late FG to escape Bill Belichick and the talented, determined New England Patriots 19-17 on Sunday Night Football. Following that performance, the Buccaneers are 10-point favorites against the Miami Dolphins in Sunday afternoon’s game.
Though the point spread looks fairly fat, it’s still not enough points. Miami is off to a miserable start, and Tampa Bay is capable of beating last-place teams by 28 points or more. Not every defense has a genius like Bill Belichick to bolster it against the best opponents that the league has to offer.
Recommended bet: Buccaneers (-10.5)
Sunday 1PM: Green Bay Packers at Cincinnati Bengals
The Green Bay Packers continue to show that a Week 1 loss doesn’t mean much. Green Bay hosted and defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-17 on Sunday despite an uncharacteristic sub-60% completion rate from Aaron Rodgers.
Green Bay travels to Cincinnati this week as a (-164) moneyline favorite. Cincinnati is probably overvalued as a field-goal underdog, given that the Bengals have lost to Chicago and have no wins over the top 10 teams in the NFL.
Recommended bet: Packers (-3)
San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals
If the Vikings hadn’t missed a last-second field goal try to beat the the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2, would the Big Red still be a (-5.5) favorite on Sunday? The answer is less obvious than it seems.
Yes, the Cardinals are lucky to be at 4-0 atop the NFC West, but the form of Minnesota’s special teams has no bearing on whether Arizona is a #1 ranked club or not. Kyler Murray’s skills are special, but the MVP candidate is still not an ideal QB in the 4th quarter of an NFL shoot-out against Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers. Hopes for a championship in the desert will rest on J.J. Watt’s defense and on the ability of HC Kliff Kingsbury to game plan.
4-0 is more than just a point for NFL analysts to ponder, as a record like that can help inspire a team. Arizona may not have been in control of all factors that led to its unbeaten record so far, but the team can use the momentum to build toward a banner fall.
After their Week 4 loss to Seattle, the San Francisco 49ers fell out of the consensus NFL Top 10 once more. QB Jimmy Garoppolo is injured and may not play, leaving rookie Trey Lance to potentially man the helm.
Still, the 49ers are so comfortable playing football in the Big Toaster that Arizona is probably getting a “home field” edge on the point spread that doesn’t apply to Sunday’s upcoming matchup.
Recommended bet: 49ers (+5.5)
SNF: Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs
Chiefs fans can expect KC to continue to score touchdowns for the foreseeable future. The efficiency of an offense on which Pro Bowl tight end Travis Kelce is a “luxury” can’t be questioned, especially after Kansas City hit the 40+ point mark again in Sunday’s 42-30 defeat of the Philadelphia Eagles.
That being said, the KC defense appears to have slipped back to its pre-2019 water line, potentially adding stress to an offense and special teams that’s already under pressure.
Consider that up until last weekend, Philadelphia Eagles offense often looked like a Three Stooges routine. The Eagles came within 10 yards of out-gaining the Chiefs in total offense last week and moved the down markers 30 times in what may be their best performance so far this season, but it also reflects badly on KC.
KC remains a popular 6/1 Super Bowl pick at FanDuel Sportsbook, and bettors are confident in the Chiefs (-3) ability to best the Bills in Week 5. Buffalo, however, is a far more complete team at this juncture of the season than Kansas City.
Recommended bet: Bills (+3)
MNF: Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens
After an impressive defense-minded win against Denver in Week 4, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens are set to take aim at the visiting Indianapolis Colts (+7) on MNF. While the 1-3 Colts have a couple of impressive performances on the ledger, including a 3-point loss to the L.A. Rams in Week 2, a TD-spread is probably accurate given the confidence in PK Justin Tucker and the momentum felt in Baltimore’s dressing room.
To be blunt, Sin City’s Over/Under line for Monday night’s game is mistaken, led astray by recent outcomes. Baltimore’s ability to control the ball with triple-option plays makes some of the Ravens’ final scores look deceptive. When the conditions are right, the offense is as explosive as any in pro pigskin.
There’s no amount of momentum that can make up for Baltimore’s injuries on defense, and the meager 7 points from Denver in last weekend’s road win for Big Truss reflects a perpetually overrated Mile High team more than any kind of potential season-spanning dominance from Baltimore’s front 7.
Recommended bet: Over (46.5)
Kurt has authored close to 1000 stories covering football, soccer, basketball, baseball, ice hockey, prize-fighting and the Olympic Games. Kurt posted a 61% win rate on 200+ college and NFL gridiron picks last season. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.