Ultimate NFL Week 5 Betting Guide: Picks & Predictions For Every Game

Ultimate NFL Week 5 Betting Guide: Picks & Predictions For Every Game article feature image
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USA Today Sports. Pictured: Tom Brady, Ezekiel Elliott, Lamar Jackson

  • See our staff's betting picks and predictions for every NFL Week 5 game.
  • We'll analyze the betting odds for Packers vs. Cowboys, Colts vs. Chiefs, Bucs vs. Saints and more.

The Patriots are (once again) double-digit favorites. The Ravens and Steelers meet in a key divisional matchup. And we have our first neutral-site game of the season, with the Bears and Raiders kicking off in London.

So what are the best betting angles for Sunday?


All odds as of Friday morning and via PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).


Our staff helps sort through every 1 and 4 p.m. ET game to help you find the best edges. Here are the games they’ll hit on:

  • Jets at Eagles: 1 p.m. ET
  • Jaguars at Panthers: 1 p.m. ET
  • Vikings at Giants: 1 p.m. ET
  • Falcons at Texans: 1 p.m. ET
  • Buccaneers at Saints: 1 p.m. ET
  • Bills at Titans: 1 p.m. ET
  • Cardinals at Bengals: 1 p.m. ET
  • Patriots at Redskins: 1 p.m. ET
  • Ravens at Steelers: 1 p.m. ET
  • Bears vs. Raiders (in London): 1 p.m. ET
  • Broncos at Chargers: 4:05 p.m. ET
  • Packers at Cowboys: 4:25 p.m. ET

See how they’re betting all 12 games, complete with Sean Koerner’s projected odds, analysis of the biggest matchups and much more. (Including picks for every game.)


Go To: NYJ-PHI | JAC-CAR | MIN-NYG | ATL-HOU | TB-NO | BUF-TEN | ARI-CIN | NE-WAS | BAL-PIT | CHI-OAK | DEN-LAC | GB-DAL


Jets at Eagles Betting Odds

  • Odds: Eagles -13.5
  • Total: 44
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS

After picking up a crucial road win over the Packers last Thursday, the Eagles welcome the winless Jets to Philadelphia on Sunday.

Read below for Sean Koerner’s projected odds, mismatches to note and our staff’s favorite pick.

Jets-Eagles Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Both are in terrible shape

Coming off their bye, the Jets aren’t any healthier than how they entered it.

LB C.J. Mosley (groin), Demaryius Thomas (knee/hamstring) and OL Kelechi Osemele (shoulder/knee) haven’t practiced all week and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they all sit. Sam Darnold (mono) hasn’t been ruled out yet, but it would be surprising to see him play as he’d have to play with custom padding to guard his spleen from his mono.

The Eagles are banged on both sides of the ball with DeSean Jackson (abdomen) expected to be out again. Additionally, they’ll be incredibly thin in the secondary with CBs Ronald Darby (hamstring) and Avonte Maddox (concussion) unlikely to suit up for this game. Justin Bailey

Note: All injury info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.

Biggest Mismatch

Eagles Pass Catchers vs. Jets Pass Defense

After their big 34-27 win at Green Bay last Thursday night, the Eagles will enter this game with confidence and health.

After catching three passes for 38 yards and a touchdown against the Packers, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery should be fully healed from a calf strain that was hampering him last week. Jackson’s status remains questionable, but with Mack Hollins and Nelson Agholor, the Eagles receiving options should be fine.

Nelson Agholor-Alshon Jeffery
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Nelson Agholor, Alshon Jeffery

The Jets boast the best pass defense against opposing tight ends but will face one of the league’s best in Zach Ertz. Despite ranking first among all tight ends in targets (38), Ertz hasn’t eclipsed 72 receiving yards or logged a touchdown catch. The Jets have faced Buffalo, New England and Cleveland, all of which featured poor talent or injured tight ends.

New York’s defense has struggled against the pass and will be tested by Carson Wentz, who ranks fifth in fantasy points per game. He also ranks fourth with nine touchdown passes while third in red-zone carries. Wentz’s ability to scramble will keep the Jets defense honest, and will allow the brilliant Philadelphia receiving corps more room to attack. Mike Randle

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Eagles -13.5
  • Projected Total: 43.5

I’ll be blunt: This is not a great week for handicapping, and this is a pass for me.

It sounds like Luke Falk will draw another start and we can expect Darnold to return in Week 6. The ultimate outcome for both the spread/total of this matchup could come down to just how much mercy the Eagles are willing to show in the second half. I prefer having to avoid speculating that much, so instead my focus for this matchup will be strictly player props. Sean Koerner

Expert Pick

Randle:  Eagles -13.5 

Philadelphia’s offense compiled 34 points on the road against Green Bay’s stout defense and now returns home with extra prep against a struggling Jets secondary.

The Eagles have averaged 26.9 points per home game with Wentz, outscoring their opponents by an average of 9.1 points. Wentz has averaged 1.91 passing touchdowns per home game with only 0.5 interceptions.

With Darnold still unlikely to play, the Eagles defense will likely face Falk, who threw for just 98 yards and no touchdowns in New York’s 30-14 loss at New England in Week 3.

Look for Philadelphia’s offense to benefit from short fields because of the anemic Jets offense, which ranks 29th in both run and pass offense DVOA (Football Outsiders). New York will likely try to control the ball on the ground but will have little success against the Eagles’ fifth-ranked Eagles run defense. Philadelphia held Green Bay running backs to 24 rushing yards on 14 attempts last Thursday night.

I support giving the large spread for an Eagles offense that should generate yards and points against a struggling Jets secondary. With a backup quarterback and a tough rushing matchup, look for the Eagles to cruise to a comfortable home win.


Jaguars at Panthers Betting Odds

  • Odds: Panthers -3.5
  • Total: 41
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS

In a battle of backup quarterbacks who have successfully filled in for their veteran counterparts, bettors are siding with the road team. As of Thursday, about 54% of bettors like the Jaguars to cover the 3.5-point spread.

Which one of these two passers will have the most success in Week 5?

Our analysts break down the most important angles of this game, featuring Sean Koerner’s projected odds and a staff pick.

Jaguars-Panthers Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Jaguars

The main question mark for the Jaguars is cornerback Jalen Ramsey (back) as he continues to miss practice with his back injury. Gardner Minshew (knee) has been limited in practice this week, but I wouldn’t expect him to sit this one out.

Meanwhile, the Panthers had five players miss practice on Thursday, including defensive lineman Gerald McCoy (knee) and corner Donte Jackson (groin). If McCoy were to miss this game, that would be a nice boost for Leonard Fournette since McCoy is one of the best run defenders on the team. Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Panthers Pass Defense vs. Jaguars Pass Offense

Minshew may have already Wally Pipped Nick Foles, but this game sets up as a “welcome to the NFL moment” for the rookie.

By any metric, Carolina’s pass defense has been pitch-black, lights out:

  • Net yards per pass attempt: 3.9 (first)
  • Passing yards per game: 156.8 (first)
  • Yards per completion: 8.1 (first)
  • QB hits: 34 (first)
  • Sack rate: 11.3% (first)
  • Explosive pass rate: 5.0% (third)
  • Early-down pass success rate: 43.9% (fifth)

Minshew has acquitted himself well, but he has averaged a pedestrian 6.4 net yards per attempt on the season, and the Jaguars are putting up just 19.3 points per game in his starts.

Jaguars offensive coordinator John DeFilippo has been known to be pass-happy, but his best bet is keeping it on the ground vs. a Panthers defense that is ranked 31st in explosive rush rate (17.8%).

As the Jags’ defense has allowed just 14.7 points per game to non-Chiefs opponents, it’s tough to see this game going over the total with Minshew and the pass game likely unable to hold up their side of the bargain. — Chris Raybon

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Panthers -3.5
  • Projected Total: 41

Kyle Allen came back down to Earth last week, but the Panthers were still able to pull off the 16-10 upset over the Texans — and that was despite Allen losing three fumbles. Now he gets a Jaguars defense reeling the past two games and will continue to be overrated as long as Ramsey sits out.

To put things into perspective, the Jaguars have allowed 300-plus yard games to Marcus Mariota and Joe Flacco over the past two weeks. Allen is more than capable of taking advantage of a Ramsey-less Jags defense, so the Panthers would be a slight lean here if Ramsey is ruled out.Sean Koerner

Expert Picks

Mike Randle: Panthers -3.5

As outlined above, Minshew will face his toughest test of the season. His low net yards per attempt will be amplified against Carolina’s fourth-best pass defense DVOA (per Football Outsiders). The Panthers held the Texans’ explosive offense to 160 passing yards while totaling six sacks.

In Jacksonville’s 26-24 win at Denver, the Jaguars’ offensive line allowed five sacks to a Broncos team that had failed to record a sack in their first three games.

The Jaguars will need to lean on Fournette, who gashed the Denver defense for 225 yards. However, the Panthers will also benefit from a Jaguars defense that is ranked 18th in pass defense DVOA and 23rd ranked defense in run DVOA.

Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kyle Allen

With Jacksonville’s cornerback Jalen Ramsey’s status still unknown, the Panthers offense could exceed their team total of 20.7 points. The Panthers are the most balanced team with a defense that is playing at a season-high level.

Look for Minshew’s incredible run to come to an end and the Panthers to cover the 3.5-point line for their third straight victory.

Raybon: Under 41

As mentioned, the Panthers are allowing just 3.9 net yards per pass and should force the Jags to drive the length of the field to score.

Meanwhile, the Jags have allowed 5.7 net yards per attempt and 14.7 points per game excluding the Chiefs game, which would rank ninth and fourth, respectively.

Allen led the offense to 38 points against a Cardinals defense ranked 25 or worse in both metrics, but they mustered only 16 points against a Houston unit ranked top-12 in both.

According to our Bet Labs data, the under is 2-1 in Minshew’s starts and 12-8 since the start of last season, and that mark figures to improve with both of these teams unlikely to light up the scoreboard.


Vikings at Giants Betting Odds

  • Odds: Vikings -4.5
  • Total: 43.5
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs aren’t exactly happy with the Vikings’ pivot to a run-heavy offense. But days of news featuring their frustrations has spurred public speculation about whether it’ll inspire an emphasis on the passing game this week.

Is that founded?

Our experts break down the most important angles of this game, featuring a staff pick on one of Thielen’s props and Sean Koerner’s projected odds.

Vikings-Giants Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Vikings

Every Vikings is trending toward playing with the exception of CB Mackensie Alexander (elbow/groin), who was downgraded from limited practice on Wednesday to no practice on Thursday.

The Giants aren’t in too bad of shape, either, but they’ll continue to be without Saquon Barkley (ankle). LB Alec Ogletree could also be out given he has yet to practice this week. Wayne Gallman (neck) popped up on the injury report as well, but he’s trending toward playing with his limited practice sessions. Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Vikings Pass Offense vs. Giants Pass Defense

Ultimately, I think the Vikings will have the biggest advantage on each side of the ball.

I don’t expect the Giants to do much on the ground without Barkley and against the Vikings’ solid run defense. That means it’ll be on the shoulders of Daniel Jones, but if there’s one thing Mike Zimmer excels at, it’s scheming up complex pressure. Add that to the natural edge pressure from Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen, who both rank inside the top 20 in pressures, and it might be a long day for the rookie who lost two fumbles to Tampa Bay and threw two picks against an atrocious Washington defense.

Meanwhile, this could be the week we see more of a passing attack from the Vikings.

I think the staff will respond to Thielen’s and Diggs’ grievances by making sure both receivers are much more involved this week, especially considering they have outstanding matchups against a very vulnerable Giants secondary. We’re talking about one of the NFL’s best wide receiver duos going up against rookie Deandre Baker and Janoris Jenkins — two corners who rank in the bottom 20 in coverage this season, per Pro Football Focus. Baker actually ranks second overall with a 29.7 cover grade. Even Olabisi Johnson might get some work against Grant Haley, who is the ninth-worst cover corner this year.

Dalvin Cook-Stefon Diggs
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Dalvin Cook, Stefon Diggs

Even after shutting down the Redskins last week, the Giants still rank 31st overall in pass yards allowed per attempt at 8.8; only the Dolphins are worse. Expect Kirk Cousins to connect on some deep balls early, especially after Minnesota successfully establishes the run to draw up the New York safeties. Stuckey

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Vikings -4
  • Projected Total: 44

The potential value here could lie on the over. After opening a bit too high at 46, the market has bet the total down to 43.5. It might not be done dropping, either, as 94% of the money has come in on the under as of writing (see live public betting data here). This would make sense considering just how run-heavy the Vikings have been this season.

Thielen was clearly frustrated after last week’s loss, but he has a point: The Vikings aren’t just running when they have a lead — they even stuck to their running game in an attempt to come back against the Packers in Week 2.

There’s a saying that winning cures everything. As Stuckey alluded to, you could see the Vikings make a slight shift to throw more as the Giants secondary has been a sieve this season. It’s a perfect spot to give someone like Thielen the squeaky wheel treatment, which makes me think this game flow could lean more toward the over. Sean Koerner

Expert Pick

Chris Raybon: Adam Thielen Over 70.5 Receiving Yards

After a 2-6-0 line that spawned a thinly-veiled public lash-out at offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski and Cousins, which was then followed by the apology from Cousins that give birth to one of the most hilarious Deadspin headlines of all time — “Cousins Apologizes to Thielen for Being So Butt” — Thielen’s wheel is squeaking at deafening tones.

Enter a Week 5 matchup with the Giants, who just so happen to be permitting a league-worst 11.0 yards per target to wide receivers. Despite being held under 71 yards in three of four games this season, Thielen has still gone over that mark in 11-of-20 career games with Cousins.

With Thielen begging for the rock and the Giants the NFL’s most obliging defense to his position, as my colleagues have thoroughly covered, Thielen is a near-lock to crush his yardage prop this week.

His median with Cousins is 77.5, so I would bet this prop up to there.


Falcons at Texans Betting Odds

  • Odds: Texans -5
  • Total: 49
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

The struggling Falcons haven’t been able to defend the pass, and the Texans have a loaded offense featuring Deshaun Watson and arguably football’s best group of wide receivers. If you can expect anything during Sunday’s matchup, it’s that more than a few points will be scored.

Read below for Sean Koerner’s projected odds, mismatches to note and our staff’s favorite pick.

Falcons-Texans Injury Report

The only Falcons player who has been missing practice is OL Jamon Brown with his concussion. C Alex Mack (elbow) got banged up last week, but he returned to practice on Thursday with his elbow heavily taped.

In Houston, Kenny Stills got hurt last week and was limited in practice all week. His practice participation on Friday will be a strong indicator of his health heading into Week 5. Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Texans Wide Receivers vs. Atlanta Pass Defense

This game could end up being Sunday’s biggest shootout. While Chiefs-Colts has the highest over/under of the week (56.5), the Texans passing game could erupt against a weak Falcons secondary.

The Falcons rank 21st in pass defensive DVOA per Football Outsiders. They allowed Marcus Mariota to throw for three touchdowns at home in Week 4 and have only defended nine passes as a team this season (fourth-worst in the league). To compound the problem, the Falcons pass rushers have logged just five sacks this season, which is second-worst in football.

Per PlayerProfiler, Watson has a 77.2% clean pocket completion percentage, eighth-best among quarterbacks. When Watson finds time, he can produce plenty of points with one of the best receiving units in the NFL.

Will-Fuller-DeAndre-Hopkins-Deshaun-Hopkins
Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Will Fuller, DeAndre Hopkins, Deshaun Watson

Atlanta will have to stop All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, while Will Fuller (4.33 speed) has only narrowly missed connecting with Watson on major pass plays in each of the past three weeks.

This should concern an Atlanta pass defense that has allowed a 100.8 passer rating on average in each of their first four games.

The Falcons haven’t generated a consistent pass rush, and do not currently have a cornerback ranked in the top 40 in pass coverage at Pro Football Focus. The loss of safety Keanu Neal to a season-ending injury worsens their matchups against a Houston passing game loaded with playmakers.

The Falcons will need to bring their best defensive performance versus their toughest passing game opponent this season. Mike Randle

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Texans -4
  • Projected Total: 48

Both teams are off to a bit of a disappointing start.

The Falcons in particular are reeling. Their offensive line issues are likely to be a problem all season and they recently lost Neal.

This sets up as a Texans bounce back spot and I expect Hopkins to erupt for a big game. Unfortunately, this market is very much in line with what I’m projecting, which means I’ll pass here.Sean Koerner

Expert Pick

Randle: Over 49

Atlanta’s lack of ability to generate quarterback pressure will be a welcome relief to a Houston offensive line that has allowed the third-most quarterback sacks and second-most quarterback hits this season. If we incorporate data from the FantasyLabs trends tool, when Watson has played at home in a game with a total of 44 or more points, he has exceeded his projected total 81.8% of the time.

The Falcons’ 21st-ranked pass defense will struggle to contain Hopkins, Fuller and Keke Coutee.

Matt Ryan, meanwhile, has continued to post quality fantasy numbers despite poor efficiency. He ranks first in pass attempts, second in passing yards and inside the top 10 in fantasy points per game. He’s thrown for 300 or more yards in every game this season, although most in comeback mode. The Texans’ secondary has yielded huge performances to top wideouts this season, including Keenan Allen (13-183-2) and Michael Thomas (10-123-0).

The Falcons have generated passing production in every game this season and will need to score points with Houston attacking their weak pass defense.

This shootout has potential to be the highest scoring game in Week 5.


Buccaneers at Saints Betting Odds

  • Odds: Saints -3
  • Total: 46.5
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

The Saints have surprisingly gone 2-0 without Drew Brees, including a tough win over the Cowboys. The Bucs, meanwhile, have the league’s hottest offense, putting up 55 on the road in Week 4 against the Rams.

Who has the edge in this matchup?

Read below for Sean Koerner’s projected odds, mismatches to note, a pro betting system with a match for this game, Stuckey’s favorite bets and more.

Buccaneers-Saints Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Saints

Everyone on the Saints is trending toward playing except for DE Trey Hendrickson (neck). His potential absence would be good news for the Jameis Winston since Hendrickson ranks third on the team in total pressures, per Pro Football Focus.

The Bucs have quite a few players listed on their injury report, including Chris Godwin (hip). However, he returned to limited practice on Thursday, which is a good sign since he missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday of last week. Granted, it might not matter all that much considering he looked just fine last week.

Most of the Bucs’ players who sat out on Wednesday returned to practice in at least a limited fashion on Thursday, so they should be in decent shape heading into their divisional matchup. Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Buccaneers Pass Offense vs. Saints Pass Defense

The Bucs have struggled at points this year to put head coach Bruce Arians’ Air Coryell scheme into practice, but over the past two weeks they’ve scored 86 points with huge performances from Winston, Mike Evans and Godwin.

The Bucs are rounding into form.

The Saints, though, have really struggled against the pass. They’re No. 26 in Football Outsiders’ pass-defense DVOA, and their present weaknesses unfortunately align with the strengths of the Bucs.

As I mention in my Week 5 WR/CB matchups piece, Evans is likely to see shadow coverage from cornerback Marshon Lattimore. Despite his performance last week against Amari Cooper (4-39-0 receiving on seven targets), Lattimore has not at all played like a shadow corner this year.

wr cb matchups-fantasy football-shadow coverage-week 5-2019
Scott Clause/The Daily Advertiser via USA TODAY NETWORK. Pictured: Mike Evans, Marshon Lattimore

Lattimore has allowed league-worst marks with 24 receptions and 380 yards receiving. Of any corner to play at least 100 coverage snaps, he’s been the third-least efficient, yielding 2.41 yards per snap.

Unsurprisingly, he has a career-low 63.5 PFF coverage grade.

As for Evans, he’s tied for the league-lead with four touchdowns receiving, and he’s No. 1 outright with 581 Air Yards and No. 6 with 368 yards receiving.

Last year, Evans had a 6-163-1 receiving line on just seven targets in two shadow matchups with Lattimore. In overall production and efficiency, Evans rocked Lattimore last year. And that’s not even the biggest passing-game mismatch.

In the slot, Godwin will run most of his routes against cornerback P.J. Williams, who is imminently exploitable. Last year, Williams had a festering 48.0 PFF coverage grade and allowed a 72.0% catch rate in his coverage. In 17 games (including playoffs), he allowed a league-worst eight touchdowns.

Based on his 59.0 PFF coverage grade and 68.8% catch rate allowed, Williams isn’t doing much better this year.

Godwin, meanwhile, is tied with Evans for the league-lead in receiving touchdowns with four. Among wide receivers, he’s No. 3 with 386 yards receiving, No. 6 with 148 yards after the catch and No. 13 with 389 Air Yards.

As long as Winston doesn’t go “full Winston” with a self-immolating four-interception performance, Evans and Godwin should collectively dominate the Saints pass defense. Matthew Freedman

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Saints -4
  • Projected Total: 48.5

The Buccaneers don’t play at home again until Week 10, which means we’ll very much be looking to fade them over that stretch. The fact that they opened this brutal stretch with a convincing road win over the Rams is only going to offer us more value down the road. However, this doesn’t appear to be the spot to fade them quite yet, as the Saints are another team we’ll want to fade in the short term.

Despite having a -8 point differential, the Saints are 3-1. They’ve been able to eek out back-to-back wins with Teddy Bridgewater under center while Brees recovers from thumb surgery.

One thing to note is that the Bucs are a pass funnel defense. They’ve managed to shut down Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley and Todd Gurley over the past three weeks. On the flip side, they have allowed 330-plus yards to Cam Newton, Daniel Jones and Jared Goff over that same stretch. The Saints might have to game-plan Bridgewater to be less of a game manager and force the issue downfield to take advantage of this specific matchup.

I think this sets up as a potential in-play over bet if the Saints either lean on the passing game more early on or if the Bucs take an early lead. Sean Koerner

PRO System Match

Underdogs have historically performed well in division games, as increased familiarity among opponents has kept games competitive. In fact, it’s been profitable to bet small dogs in these matchups to win outright.

Even though teams matching this Pro System have a losing record of 111-116-2, bettors have still been able to turn a profit due to plus-money bets. A $100 gambler would have returned a profit of $4,568 following this strategy since 2003.

The Buccaneers +160 are a match for this system. John Ewing


PRO Systems are data-driven betting strategies that turn winning long-term trends into easy-to-follow picks, all handpicked and monitored by our team of analysts. Try Action PRO now and instantly access real-time game matches for every PRO System.


Expert Picks

Stuckey: Bucs +3.5; Under 47

I’m rolling with the road warrior Bucs on Sunday. I’m not sure anybody would’ve predicted Tampa would be 2-2 with road wins over the Panthers and Rams and home losses to the Giants and 49ers, but here we are.

Yes, the Saints have won both of Bridgewater’s starts, but they’ve done so with smoke and mirrors. Against Seattle, they were out-gained 515-265 (6.8-5.3 yards per play disadvantage) thanks to a special teams touchdown, key Seahawks fumble and some fourth-down luck. They really had no business winning that game.

They then followed up that game with a victory over the Cowboys despite not scoring a touchdown and once again losing the yards-per-play battle, 4.8 to 4.3. New Orleans benefited from two recovered fumbles in that game.

Let’s just say they could’ve easily — and arguably should have — lost their last two games, and most would probably be singing a different tune about this game. They’ve been extremely fortunate so far with Bridgewater, who didn’t throw for more than 200 yards in either game.

This Bucs defense is much improved under the guidance of Todd Bowles, who has implemented an aggressive 3-4 scheme. They will bring pressure from all over to not only get to opposing quarterbacks to create havoc but to mask some of the issues they have in their secondary — their clear weak link. Shaq Barrett has really benefited with Bowles, as the ex-Bronco leads the NFL with nine sacks. (The next closest is Myles Garrett with six.)

The Bucs’ run defense is also leaps and bounds better. They actually lead the NFL in yards per rush at 2.9. Vita Vea, Ndamukong Suh and William Gholston are a load to deal with up front.

  • Tampa Bay: 2.9
  • Chicago: 3.0
  • Philadelphia: 3.2
  • San Francisco: 3.4
  • New England: 3.5

And if you want to dig deeper for confirmation, per Football Outsiders, Tampa’s defensive line ranks second overall in adjusted line yards and in the top five in almost every advanced metric that measures run defense.

The Tampa defense also should see the return of rookie linebacker Devin White, who will give them the speed that Bowles loves at the linebacker position.

nfl-betting-tip-texans-saints-first-half-over-under-strategy
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: New Orleans Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater

Now, while the run defense and pressure are strengths, the pass defense is certainly not. However, I’m not as concerned about that against the very conservative offense we’ve seen in New Orleans since Bridgewater took over. The vertical passing game has been lacking, as Sean Payton is seemingly handling Teddy with kid gloves until Brees gets back.

Bridgewater just doesn’t seem sure of himself in the pocket and prefers to check it down to the safe option more times than not. That’s not how you beat the Bucs, whose pressure should give Bridgewater problems.

The special teams battle does concern me, as the Saints have one of the best special teams units in the NFL, while Tampa’s has been an absolute dumpster fire. Per Football Outsiders, the Saints have the No. 1 overall special teams this season compared to the Bucs’ 29th-ranked unit. Getting Ryan Smith back will help Tampa’s special teams, but this is still a major edge for the Saints.

Still, I think the Bucs actually find a way to win this game in New Orleans, although I obviously feel more comfortable with the 3.5.

I think Jameis will have some success through the air to Evans and Godwin against a very inconsistent Saints secondary. The Bucs offensive line has also been much better this year, which I think has a lot to do with coaching. Winston was hit only four times in 43 dropbacks against the Rams last week. In this particular matchup without Brees, the Bucs have the much more explosive offense.

You should be able to get or find a +3.5 at some point in the week, which is obviously important (more than 20% of NFL games have finished with a margin of three or fewer points since 2003).

Maybe you get a bad Winston game where he throws three picks, but I’m willing to ride with him here.

I also like the under 47, as I think Payton will continue to call a very conservative game, relying on his defense and special teams for as long as the Saints keep winning until Brees comes back.


Bills at Titans Betting Odds

  • Odds: Titans -3
  • Total: 38.5
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS

With every team in the AFC South sitting at .500, the Titans are hoping to exploit a potentially hobbled Bills team in Nashville on Sunday.

As of Thursday evening, the Titans are getting just over 50% of spread betting tickets, while the under is getting more than 60% of tickets.

Our experts analyze the most important angles of Sunday’s matchup, including Sean Koerner’s projected odds and a pick.

Bills-Titans Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Titans

Cameron Wake (hamstring) has yet to practice this week, which wouldn’t be ideal for their pass rush since he’s tied for a team-high in pressures and sacks. He’s the only player on their injury report who has failed to practice these last two days.

Josh Allen remains in the concussion protocol, but he’s been able to practice in a limited fashion on Wednesday and Thursday. It’s looking like his status could go either way at the moment.

Aside from Allen, the Bills could be missing three other offensive pieces in Tyler Kroft (foot) and offensive lineman Ty Nskehe (groin), who’ve both been sitting out of practice. Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Bills Pass Defense vs. Titans Pass Offense

Forget whether it’s Matt Barkley or Allen starting — Tennessee figures to have even bigger pass-game issues of their own.

The return of Taylor Lewan from suspension will help, but this is a pass offense currently ranked 31st in early-down success rate (38.7%) going up against a pass defense ranked third in the same metric (41.4%).

Marcus Mariota is a mediocre quarterback at best, who relies on schemed plays to have success. It will be tough for Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith to out-scheme a Sean McDermott pass defense that can not only stop teams early in the down, but get off the field, too.

The Bills rank sixth in third/fourth down conversion rate (28.1%), while the Titans rank 29th at converting third/fourth downs through the air on offense (28.6%). The Bills beat the Titans, 13-12, last season in Week 5, and this contest sets up as another defensive struggle. — Chris Raybon

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Titans -4.5
  • Projected Total: 37

This game is currently off the board, but the openers were Titans -3  and 38.5, which would assume Allen as playing.

My projected odds above are for if Allen is ruled out and the Bills are forced to go with Barkley. Sean Koerner

Expert Picks

Stuckey: Titans ML

In a battle of two defenses I have ranked in the top 10, I’m siding with the home team for two primary reasons:

  1. Turnovers
  2. Field position

Field position will be critical in this game and the Titans have an enormous edge in this department because of their punting advantage. The Bills allowed a Patriots touchdown on a blocked punt last week, have been brutally bad in this area.

Bills punter Corey Bojorquez ranks last in the NFL with a putrid 31.7 net average. Meanwhile, the Titans will counter with one of the more reliable punters in the NFL, Brett Kern.

Marcus-Mariota-Tennessee-Titans-2018
Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota.

Mariota gets a lot of hate, but he’s actually been pretty good this year.  He’s the only quarterback with four starts and zero turnovers this season, and he has the sixth-best QB rating in the NFL.

For his career, Mariota has a 2.4% interception rate, much better than Allen (4.0%) or Barkley (6.2%), should he suit up. If Allen can’t go, the Bills will also lose his mobility, which has been a big part of their offense.

The Titans haven’t been great in protecting Mariota, but they will Lewan back from suspension this week, which should help in pass protection. Buffalo’s superb safeties don’t give up much deep, but I think Mariota can put together a few drives with his feet and in the short passing game.

In a game with such a low total, every point becomes much more valuable. So, I would not recommend laying more than 3.5 here and actually played the Titans in a moneyline parlay with the Chiefs myself.

The Bills could also be in for a potential letdown here after such an emotional, close loss against the Patriots, which would’ve given them sole possession of first place in the AFC East. That’s not the reason I’m playing this game, but it’s a factor that can only help the Tennessee side.

Ultimately, in a battle of two closely matched teams, I think this comes down to home field, turnovers and field position — all of which I have in favor of Tennessee.


Cardinals at Bengals Betting Odds

  • Odds: Bengals -3
  • Total: 47
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

The battle of the beatens.

Both squads are looking for their first win of the season amidst a ton of early-season injuries. So where’s the value in this game?

Read below for Sean Koerner’s projected odds, an injury report, mismatches to note, betting picks and more.

Cardinals-Bengals Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Bengals

If the Cardinals are trying to win a game that involves having the most injured players, they’re doing a fantastic job. Seven guys on their roster missed practice on Thursday. Most notably, Damiere Byrd (hamstring) and Christian Kirk (ankle) haven’t practiced all week and aren’t expected to play. As of writing, they have just four healthy receivers on their roster.

The Bengals will also be thin at receiver as A.J. Green (ankle) continues to be out, and they placed John Ross (shoulder) on injured reserve. Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Cardinals Running Backs vs. Bengals Linebackers

The Bengals have been straight-up brutalized by opposing backfields, and although the defensive line is partially at fault, the bulk of the blame goes to linebackers Nick Vigil and Preston Brown, who have both been exposed on the ground and in coverage.

The Bengals have allowed more production to running backs than any other team has this season.

  • Rushing: 101 carries, 485 yards, five touchdowns
  • Receiving: 36 targets, 31 receptions, 291 yards, three touchdowns

The Bengals are fortunate to be only No. 22 in Football Outsiders’ run-defense DVOA with a -3.8% mark. They’re at their worst in the intermediate range of the field, where they rank No. 31 with 1.53 second-level yards allowed per run: Once opposing backs get 5-10 yards past the line of scrimmage, the Bengals linebackers have been incapable of limiting yardage.

To make matters worse, the Bengals are No. 30 against running backs with a 48.6% pass-defense DVOA. Last year, they were No. 31 with a 22.0% mark.

On the ground or through the air, they can’t stop anyone.

One of their main problems is that they have a league-worst Pro Football Focus tackling grade of 44.0. Even when Bengals defenders get close to ball-carriers, they struggle to bring them down.

Vigil and Brown specifically have been among the worst defenders on the team, and that’s reflected in their PFF grades.

  • Vigil: 41.8 overall, 51.5 run defense, 39.6 coverage
  • Brown: 49.6 overall, 49.8 run defense, 54.0 coverage
2019-fantasy-football-rankings-standard
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: David Johnson

David Johnson is no longer the 2016 All-Pro compiler who had an NFL-high 373 touches, 2,118 yards and 20 touchdowns. But Johnson has still been productive this year, especially as a receiver.

  • Targets: 28 (2nd)
  • Receiving Yards: 182 (5th)
  • Air Yards: 51 (7th)
  • Yards After Catch: 144 (8th)

Johnson’s production hasn’t been the most aesthetically pleasing, especially on the ground, but he still has 355 yards and three touchdowns through three games.

He gets 18.8 opportunities per game, sees 80.9% of the offensive snaps, has 100% of the team’s backfield goal-line work and plays in a fast-paced system that leads the league with 23.9 seconds per play.

Johnson is going to get his touches, and given the linebackers he’s facing, he could have a big game.

And with Kirk and Byrd doubtful to play, No. 2 running back Chase Edmonds might see more action than usual if the Cardinals choose to give Johnson a few more snaps in the slot.

Vigil and Brown are so bad that they might just allow two Cardinals backs to have big days — just as they did last week with James Conner and Jaylen Samuel. Matthew Freedman


Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Bengals -3.5
  • Projected Total: 48.5

One of these teams will come away with their first win of the season. Both are coached by young, up-and-coming offensive-minded coaches, so a win could boost that team’s confidence to give them some momentum over the next few games. Still, I’d rather avoid choosing a side entirely.

The over is the way I’d lean on the total, as both offenses are competent enough to take advantage of poor defenses (and both of these defenses are indeed that). However, the line drop of a point makes some sense with Ross placed on IR and Kirk a game-time decision. If Kirk also ends up out, it should impact the total slightly. While neither receiver would be considered valuable enough to impact the spread, both teams missing their No. 2 WR might lead each to lean toward the run more, creating value toward the under.

Still, this is a pass for me. Sean Koerner

Expert Pick

Collin Wilson: Over 46.5

I’m gonna differ from Sean here.

The Cardinals and Bengals could not be better matched from a yards-per-play perspective. Cincinnati and Arizona are at 4.8 and 4.9 in offensive yards per play, respectively. Defensively, those numbers are 6.3 and 6.2, giving the Bengals a -1.5 differential and the Cardinals -1.3. Those are some of the worst numbers in the league but it’s an even match for these two winless teams.

There’s reason to think there could be some scoring in this game. The Cardinals rank fifth in rushing offense, per Football Outsiders. The Bengals rank 27th in rush defense, allowing 143 yards per game.

A bigger issue for the Cincinnati defense is finishing plays in space. Per PFF, the Bengals are last in the league in defensive tackling. Arizona has had plenty of busted plays, ranking second-to-last in run blocking but second in PFF’s grade for rushing.

If there’s a game for the Bengals to get right offensively, it might be against the Cardinals’ back-seven.

Arizona has yet to intercept a pass this season and has allowed 271 yards per game and 10 total touchdowns. If Andy Dalton is going to go off, it’ll be against a Cardinals defense has been a springboard for the Niners, Steelers and Bills passing attack.

The loss of Ross, along with a still injured Green, will limit Dalton’s weapons, but the suspension of Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson has left the middle of the field open all season long.

Expect Arizona to capitalize on the ground in the rushing game and busted plays with Kyler Murray. Meanwhile, the Bengals passing attack will look to get healthy against a defense that has not intercepted a pass all season.


Patriots at Redskins Betting Odds

  • Odds: Patriots -15
  • Total: 42
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS

The Patriots are double-digit favorites for the third time this season — and it’s only Week 5.

Tom Brady and Co. easily covered the 18-point line against the Dolphins, but fell short of the 21-point spread against the Jets. Can they cover against a winless Redskins team?

Our analysts break down every angle of this game, featuring a staff pick and Sean Koerner’s projected odds.

Patriots-Redskins Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Patriots

The Patriots have a rather lengthy injury report, but everyone was limited, so it appears they’re all trending toward playing. Listing an abundance of players as limited is par for the course for New England.

The Redskins are in terrible shape with Jordan Reed (concussion), Vernon Davis (concussion) and OL Brandon Scherff (ankle) missing practice this week. Terry McLaurin (hamstring) was ruled out last week, but he’s been able to get in limited sessions so far. Case Keenum (foot) also sat out on Wednesday, but returned on Thursday to get in limited work. However, the Redskins have yet to name a starting quarterback for this week. Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Patriots Pass Defense vs. Redskins Pass Offense

The Redskins are so outclassed in this game that it’s almost impossible for me to narrow this mismatch down to any one area, but I’ll go with the passing game.

Defensively, the Pats might actually have the best unit of the Bill Belichick era. Normally he spends the first month of the season tinkering with his defense, experimenting with personnel groupings and installing different packages. This season, though, the defense returned almost all of its starters, and it seemingly picked up right where it left off with last year’s Super Bowl victory. Through four weeks, the Pats have an NFL-best zero receiving touchdowns allowed and 10 interceptions.

Some of their recent success is undoubtedly due to their easy schedule. But most of it is due to their outstanding defense.

Stephon Gilmore-Jason McCourty
USA Today Sports. Pictured: Stephon Gilmore, Jason McCourty

With three capable-at-worst corners in Stephon Gilmore, Jason McCourty and Jonathan Jones, the Pats have been the league’s most shadow-heavy team, as I highlighed in my WR/CB matchups piece. Every week, they have manned their cornerbacks up with opposing receivers.

Perhaps the best corner in the league right now, Gilmore has locked down the No. 1 wide receiver while McCourty has covered the other outside receiver and Jones has held down the slot. Collectively, this trio has allowed a 48.1% catch rate and 37-413-0 receiving line on 77 targets. That’s beyond outstanding.

As for the Redskins, they have not been anywhere close to outstanding with their passing offense, and their quarterback situation is now in disarray.

Keenum was benched in Week 4 while rookie Dwayne Haskins threw three interceptions in relief. Longtime backup Colt McCoy (leg) is reportedly now healthy, and although Jay Gruden has remained noncommittal, stating that the team doesn’t have a set plan, it seems that McCoy might actually get the start.

Reed and Davis seem unlikely to play, so whatever the Redskins do in the passing game, it will need to be through their wide receivers and running back Chris Thompson.

Thompson is a special receiving back, but he’s just one guy, and he typically catches shorter targets. And No. 1 wide receiver McLaurin missed last week and is uncertain to play. Even if he suits up, he’ll have a tough time outplaying Gilmore at less than peak physical capacity.

The Redskins are implied for a slate-low 13.75 points (per our FantasyLabs Vegas page). And even that feels high.

For the fifth straight week, the Pats have a real chance to keep opposing receivers out of the end zone. Matthew Freedman

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Patriots -14.5
  • Projected Total: 45.5

Books are getting flooded with Patriots money as 86% of the tickets and 94% of the money have been on their side as of writing (see live public betting data here). There’s a real chance this line could end up closer to -17 by kickoff.

When it comes to these massive two-touchdown favorites, the smart play is to typically take the points, but I’m choosing to pass on this line considering the QB situation.

Although I have this total graded more than three points higher than the current line, I’m also considering it a no bet. The Patriots could get out to a comfortable lead then shorten the game with a run-heavy offense in the second half. We also can’t rely on the Redskins putting up enough points against this New England defense, which has been lights out this season.

This is a pass for me. Sean Koerner

PRO System Match

After the Redskins’ poor offensive performance, bettors are looking to fade Washington, especially against New England.

Oddsmakers know recency bias will affect the judgement of casual bettors. What the public last saw impacts how they wager the following week. As such, bookmakers will inflate the lines against teams that had a poor offensive game.

Contrarian gamblers have profited by going against the grain and betting low-scoring teams. This strategy is even more effective if there is lopsided public action. Gamblers following this Pro System have gone 148-94-4 (61%) against the spread since 2003, returning a profit of $4,530 for a $100 bettor.

The Redskins are a match for this system. John Ewing

Expert Picks

Stuckey: Under 42.5

I still don’t think the totals market has fully adjusted to the Patriots, who have gone under in all four games (depending on what number you got against the Jets). The market is getting closer, as totals consistently drop each week, but it’s not quite there yet in my opinion.

The Patriots offense put up a lot of points over the first few weeks, but it was healthy and against horrible competition in the Jets, Dolphins and Steelers, who have one combined win.

As I’ve said all season, this Pats team is much more like the early 2000 teams that were led by a dominant defense. This might be the best defense in the NFL and it all starts with their secondary, which allows them to do so much from a scheme perspective up front. It’s also one of the reasons they rank second in adjusted sack rate.

And the offense is just not the same explosive unit as years past. They suffered numerous impactful injuries along the offensive line and to fullback James Develin. They released Antonio Brown, and two of their best current receivers are banged up (Josh Gordon and Julian Edelman). Tight end has also been a disaster, although getting Ben Watson back will help. Regardless, this offense is just not as great as many seem to think and the Bills defense took advantage last week in Orchard Park.

Matt thoroughly covered the mismatch between the three elite New England corners and subpar Washington wideouts, but don’t forget about the rock solid Patriots safety group. I’m just not sure how this pathetic Washington passing attack will get anything through the air. And when you realize the Skins also can’t run the ball, it could be a long day for an offense that just put up three points against a terrible Giants defense. (Washington and Cincinnati are the only teams averaging fewer than 3.0 yards per carry.)

Washington’s best player right now might be punter Tress Way, who’s averaging 48.5 net yards per punt to lead the NFL. And an elite punter will always be an under bettor’s best friend. When the Skins do punt, which should be early and often, he will at least punt it deep, which at worst will make the Pats have to eat up more yards and clock on their drives.

The Patriots also have a solid punter in Jake Bailey, who can make life even more difficult on Washington. It’s also worth noting that New England’s kicking situation is up in the air after Stephen Gostkowski hit IR.

nfl-week-3-odds-sharp-betting-picks-ravens-chiefs-jets-patriots-saints-seahawks
Tim Fuller/USA Today Sports. Pictured: Bill Belichick

I almost broke my rule of thumb of betting double-digit road favorites in the NFL here by playing the Patriots. but it would go against everything I stand for.

You might hear this week that road favs of 14 or more points are 6-1 ATS since 2003. As you might’ve guessed, the Patriots are responsible for four of those seven games and have gone 3-1 ATS over that span. However, that’s a super small sample size and likely more random than anything else. If you focus only on double-digit road favorites since 2003, they’ve gone just 36-47 (43.4%) ATS, and that includes two non-covers by the lowly Dolphins at home this season.

It’s just very difficult to cover that large of a number in the NFL, especially on the road. That said, I can’t play the Redskins here. Without flukes, I don’t know how they score more than 10, but I feel more comfortable with the under here.

I played this at 43.5. It’s important to note that 43 is such a key number in the totals market post-new 2-point conversion rule, but I’d still play this at 42 or better.


Ravens at Steelers Betting Odds

  • Odds: Ravens -3.5
  • Total: 44.5
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS

The underdog in this series has gone 19-10-3 against the spread since 2003. And 21 of the 32 meetings have been decided by one possession — including 16 by three or fewer points!

So should you back the Steelers as 3.5-point dogs?

Our experts break down this AFC North showdown from every angle, featuring a staff pick and Sean Koerner’s projected odds.

Ravens-Steelers Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Ravens

Mark Andrews (foot) has been listed on their report every week, but he hasn’t come close to missing any games and he practiced in a limited fashion on Thursday. They’ll likely be without CB Jimmy Smith (knee) again, and DL Brandon Williams (knee) is also banged up.

Friday will be a big day for the Steelers since JuJu Smith-Schuster (toe), James Conner (ankle) and Vance McDonald (shoulder) have all missed practice this week. Not ideal for them. Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Ravens Run Offense vs. Steelers Run Defense

In Lamar Jackson’s 12 career starts (including playoffs), the Ravens have a 1940s-esque 56.7% run rate with an average of 39.9 carries per game. That’s unbelievable. What’s more amazing, though, is that they’ve actually been efficient despite their volume.

In Jackson’s starts, the Ravens have averaged 5.3 yards per carry. In seven of his 12 starts, the team has cleared 200 yards rushing.

It helps that Jackson is such a dynamic dual-threat quarterback. He easily leads the position with 36 carries and 238 yards. And run-game aficionado Greg Roman — the Ravens’ inventive offensive coordinator — maximizes the team’s ground attack.

With great year-over-year offensive line continuity, the Ravens are No. 2 with 5.08 adjusted line yards per attempt and a 10% stuffed rate (per Football Outsiders). When they run, they overwhelmingly get positive yardage, and usually lots of it.

Mark Ingram
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Mark Ingram

Mark Ingram has been especially productive: He’s bound to regress, but right now he has career-best marks with 82 yards per game, 6.0 yards per carry and a 60% rushing success rate. A hard-nosed between-the-tackles savant, Ingram is an ideal fit in the offense. With his 6.3 yards per touch, Ingram has been more efficient than every other full-time back except for Saquon Barkley.

The Ravens are easily No. 1 in Football Outsiders’ run-offense DVOA.The Steelers, though, are No. 28 with 4.81 adjusted line yards per attempt allowed. Inside linebackers Mark Barron and Devin Bush have been especially underwhelming, and that’s reflected in their Pro Football Focus grades.

  • Barron: 56.7 overall, 58.2 run defense
  • Bush: 50.4 overall, 54.3 run defense

An underachieving veteran and wet-nosed rookie, Barron and Bush are one of the league’s most liability-prone linebacking duos.

As much as the Ravens run, it’s the 49ers who actually lead the league with a 56.7% run rate, and in Week 3 they gave the Steelers all they could handle with their three-headed backfield in a 24-20 win.

  • Matt Breida: 14-68-0 rushing
  • Raheem Mostert: 12-79-0 rushing
  • Jeff Wilson: 8-18-2 rushing

This week I expect to see the Ravens give the Steelers the “49ers treatment” with a full ground-based attack centered around Jackson and Ingram and supported by change-of-pace options Gus Edwards and Justice Hill.

If Barron and Bush make even a few mistakes, the Ravens could easily roll to another 200-yard rushing performance. Matthew Freedman

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Ravens -2.5
  • Projected Total: 43

The Ravens opened their season with two cupcake matchups against Miami and Arizona. Once they faced tougher competition in Kansas City and Cleveland, they came back down to earth and are 2-2. Now they face a Steelers team that’s still trying to find their identity with Big Roethlisberger out for the season.

The Steelers deployed an extremely conservative offense against the Bengals that involved a wildcat formation with Jaylen Samuels taking the snap. It’s not a sustainable offensive game plan, but a sign that they’re going to tailor this offense to who they have in order to grind out wins.

Mike-Tomlin
Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Mike Tomlin

Mike Tomlin is 30-17 against the spread as an underdog and we need to consider taking the Steelers at a key number like +3.5 due to the adaptability we’re seeing from them.

The under is also showing some value here; this game flow could lend to it as well. The Ravens are one of the NFL’s most run heavy teams while the Steelers are shifting to an extreme short-passing, run-heavy game plan. This is much more likely going to be a grind-it-out division game than a shootout, so I like the under at 44.5, which locks in two fairly key total numbers in 43 and 44. Sean Koerner

PRO System Match

Underdogs have historically performed well in division games as increased familiarity among opponents keeps games competitive, and it’s been profitable to bet small dogs in these matchups to win outright.

Even though teams matching this Pro System have a losing record of 111-116-2, bettors have still been able to turn a profit due to plus-money bets. A $100 gambler would have returned a profit of $4,568 following this strategy since 2003.

The Steelers +158 are a match for this system. John Ewing

Expert Pick

Chris Raybon: Steelers +3.5

The underdog has covered 66% of the time in this rivalry with half the games decided by a field goal or less, but that’s for CBS to have fun with during its telecast; there are other reasons to back the Steelers here.

For one, offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner is doing a masterful job putting his young quarterback, Mason Rudolph, in a position to succeed. Rudolph is completing 67.4% of his passes with a 6-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio, executing well within the scope of the newly imagined offense. What Rudolph lacks in experience he makes up for in accuracy over (late-career) Big Ben: Rudolph is 11th in Pro Football Focus’ adjusted completion percentage (78.3%), while Big Ben ranked 29th last season (73.9%) and 36th this season (66.7%).

On the other side, we have to put Jackson’s career thus far into perspective. While he’s a top-flight fantasy QB, the reality is he faced defenses ranked 25th or worse in DVOA in five of his seven starts last season before struggling against the Chargers’ eighth-ranked unit in the wild card round.

In Weeks 1-2 of this season, Jackson shredded Miami’s 32nd-ranked and Arizona’s 25th-ranked units for 41-of-57 passing (71.9%) for 298.0 yards per game with a 7-to-0 TD-to-INT ratio and 63.0 yards per game on the ground. Against the more formidable Chiefs (18th) and Browns (8th) in Weeks 3 and 4, though, Jackson struggled, completing just 46-of-77 (59.7%) passes for 257.0 yards with a 3-to-2 TD-to-INT ratio and 56.0 yards per game rushing.

Yes, the Steelers started the year 0-3, but that came against the Patriots, Seahawks and 49ers, who are a combined 10-1. As Sean mentioned, Tomlin is as a strong record ATS as an underdog, so don’t be surprised if the Steelers find a way to keep it within a field goal or pull off the outright win once again.

I’d bet this as long as it’s above 3, or at 3 if you can get +100 or better.


Bears vs. Raiders Betting Odds

  • Odds: Bears -5
  • Total: 40.5
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

The Chicago Bears and Oakland Raiders head to London for the first neutral-site game of the season.

Even across the pond and with Chase Daniel expected to start, the Bears are 5-point favorites.

Our experts break this game down from every angle, featuring a staff pick and Sean Koerner’s projected odds.

Bears-Raiders Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Raiders

The Bears have already ruled out Taylor Gabriel (concussion) and OL Ted Larsen (knee). Mitch Trubisky (shoulder) doesn’t seem likely to play since he was ruled out so quickly on Sunday, and he hasn’t practiced this week. Their defensive line could also be in trouble with Bilal Nichols (hand) and Akiem Hicks (knee) sitting out of practice all week as well.

The Raiders’ most notable injury is Tyrell Williams (foot), who hasn’t practiced at all, but they’re hopeful that he’ll play. Either way, it’s not an intriguing matchup for fantasy purposes. Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Khalil Mack vs. Kolton Miller

I do think the Raiders have a situational advantage here. They know how to handle this unique experience, having played across the pond in 2014, 2017 and 2018. (They also played in Mexico City in 2016.) The Bears, meanwhile, haven’t played an international game since the Jay Cutler era in 2011 — aka this team has no experience dealing with a London game.

That manifested itself in how both teams approached travel this week. The Raiders left Monday, which makes much more sense than the Bears, who didn’t leave until Thursday. That gives Chicago significantly less time to adjust and recover from any jet lag. Also keep in mind that during the craziness of a London week, the Bears had to find a backup QB. If anything happens to Daniel, Chicago will really be in trouble.

Now, onto the biggest mismatch on the field. It has to be Mack (as it is most weeks), who will be seek revenge against the team that traded him away. He’s been nothing short of spectacular to start the season, leading all edge rushers in total pressures.

The Oakland offensive line actually isn’t as bad as many think, especially with Richie Incognito back at guard. Rodney Hudson is solid at center and Trent Brown is becoming one of the more underrated tackles in the NFL.

But the biggest concern is at left tackle on Derek Carr’s blindside, where you’d have to imagine Mack lines up for a majority of his snaps against Miller.

I know Carr is very conservative brand and gets the ball out quickly, but it doesn’t take much time for Mack to get to a quarterback and create havoc with a game-changing strip sack. And the Chicago secondary is more than capable of closely guarding Oakland’s subpar receivers, so Carr may need more time to find someone open on Sunday in Wembley Stadium.

Per Pro Football Focus, Miller ranks outside of the 50 overall among 68 offensive tackles with at least 100 snaps. And this isn’t just a fluke of a few bad games and/or a small sample size. Last year, he finished 62nd overall and in pass blocking among 64 tackles with at least 500 snaps. They’ll likely have to use Darren Waller and Josh Jacobs to constantly help chip and double Mack and/or use more two tight sets. Regardless, the constant threat of Mack alone should limit what Jon Gruden can do on offense.

Khalil Mack
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Khalil Mack

If Mack can cause a turnover or two, it might not matter how much a Daniel-led offense can do overseas. Stuckey

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Bears -5.5
  • Projected Total: 40

With Trubisky set to miss an extended period of time with a shoulder injury, this spread has essentially come down to how much he’s worth. The answer appears to be 1.5-2 points, which was the original range I came up with and the market appears to be in line with.

Daniel has been in this Matt Nagy system for two years now and is more than capable of managing the game to rely on the Bears’ solid defense and beat a weaker team like the Raiders. He was a check-down machine in his two starts last season, during which Tarik Cohen, Taquan Mizzell and Jordan Howard combined for 25 receptions.

This spread and total are right in line with what I have pegged, so we’ll need to look for value elsewhere. Sean Koerner

Expert Picks

Chris Raybon: Raiders Under 17.5 Points (-120)

To Stuck’s point, I could see the lack of overseas experience and starting a backup quarterback leading to the Bears stumbling on offense. On defense, not so much.

The Bears have yet to allow an opponent crack 16 points this season and have held opponents to 17 or fewer in 15-of-21 (71.4%) games since the start of last season. The Gruden-Carr marriage, meanwhile, has produced just 17.05 points per game in 19 games in which the Raiders were underdogs — read: essentially all of them — over that span.

Given that the Bears are yet to give up even 16 points this season, I’d bet this down to 17, as the odds are in favor of getting no worse than a push.


Broncos at Chargers Betting Odds

  • Odds: Chargers -6.5
  • Total: 44.5
  • Time: 4:05 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS

Home field has been more of a disadvantage for the Chargers. They’re 11-21-1 against the spread at home the over the past five seasons — only the Browns have been worse. That includes a 6-10-1 ATS mark since moving to Los Angeles.

Despite that, the public is backing the Chargers with 55% of the spread betting tickets. What can we expect from Philip Rivers and the Bolts at home?

Our experts analyze the most important angles of Sunday’s matchup, including Sean Koerner’s projected odds and a pick.

Bears-Raiders Injury Report

The biggest question marks for the Broncos are offensive lineman Ja’Wuan James (knee), who finally returned to practice this week, and linebacker Josey Jewell (hamstring), who has been absent. The potential absence of Jewell would be a boost to the Chargers running game since he leads Denver in tackles and ranks third in stops, per Pro Football Focus.

Mike Williams (back) and Travis Benjamin (hip) both returned to limited practice, which is a positive sign for their status this week. The Broncos’ offense could also see a boost if linebacker Melvin Ingram (hamstring) is ruled out for this game. Ingram leads the Chargers in pressures and sacks and is third in hurries. Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Chargers Run Game vs. Broncos Run Defense

Remember when something was wrong with Leonard Fournette? The formerly maligned back entered Mile High last week with a below-average 4.16 yards per carry.

Twenty-nine carries and 225 yards (7.76 YPC) later, the Broncos run defense was searching for answers.

Austin Ekeler’s gaudy fantasy numbers aside, the Chargers’ run game has been solid if unspectacular this season, with their backs averaging a combined 4.45 yards per carry (14th) and their offensive line ranking 13th in Football Outsiders’ adjusted line yards.

The Broncos’ defense, meanwhile, ranks 25th in yards per carry allowed to running backs (4.75) and 29th in adjusted line yards (4.90) per Football Outsiders.

Chris Harris-Keenan Allen
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Chris Harris, Keenan Allen

The Chargers are banged up at wide receiver, but they still have Philip Rivers, Keenan Allen and Ekeler to keep the chains moving through the air when necessary against a Broncos defense tied for the fifth-fewest QB hits (15) and is now without talented edge rusher Bradley Chubb (ACL), which should allow the Chargers to stick with the run all game long.

Sure, the Chargers don’t have much of a home-field advantage and are banged up themselves. But with Melvin Gordon (holdout) expected back in the mix to compliment the blossoming Ekeler, it should surprise no one if the Chargers thoroughly handle the Broncos team that, according to Bet Labs, has gone 11-23-3 ATS in the post-Gary Kubiak/Wade Phillips era. — Chris Raybon

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Chargers -7
  • Projected Total: 44.5

The Broncos could not be off to a worse start as they’re 0-4 and just lost Chubb to a torn ACL. Ingram is also set to miss this week. And given both defenses are vulnerable to the pass, this game flow could lean more toward the over than my power ratings would indicate.

Despite opening at 44 and receiving near split action, the total has moved up a half-point. That could be an angle some sharps are picking up, which has led to slightly more sharper action on the over here. Sean Koerner

Expert Picks

Chad Millman: Broncos +6.5

All due respect to my friend Chris, sometimes you don’t bet the stats on the field, you bet the number on the board. And this is a bad number, with bookmakers hanging the half-point hook on the six like a fat meatball.

They are begging you to take the Broncos here.

And, as a wiseguy, I am going to bite — and FWIW, I’m not the only one: 55% of the tickets are on the Chargers, but 68% of the money is on Denver (see live public better data here), which tells you all you need to know about which way professional bettors are leaning.

Why do wiseguys like Denver? Well, it really doesn’t matter, if you want to bet with the pros just knowing what side they are on is enough. But this game is loaded with some public perception tells:

1. The Chargers covering against the Dolphins as double-digit favs on the road last weekend. But, dig deeper and you’ll see that they struggled mightily early on and didn’t put that game away until late.

2. The Broncos losing to Jacksonville at home. But dig deeper and you will remember that they had that game in hand in the final seconds and were bitten by some Gardner Minshew magic. Now they are being downgraded for it.

The public remembers what they last saw. Wiseguys remember the whole game.


Packers at Cowboys Betting Odds

  • Odds: Cowboys -3.5
  • Total: 47
  • Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

Two of the NFC’s best will meet on Sunday afternoon. But which team has the edge?

Our experts break down the most important angles of this game, featuring a staff pick and Sean Koerner’s projected odds.

Packers-Cowboys Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Cowboys

The Cowboys are healthier, but are expected to be without Tyron Smith (ankle) while La’el Collins (back) has missed practice so far this week (though is reportedly expected to play). Both rank inside the top 10 offensive tackles in Pro Football Focus grades, so Dak Prescott could have his work cut out for him against a Packers defense that ranks fourth in PFF’s pass-rush grades.

The Packers could also be down key players with Davante Adams (toe) and Kevin King (groin) missing practice so far. Adams doesn’t need to practice to play, but if he doesn’t practice on Friday, I’d think it’s unlikely he suits up. Aaron Jones could also be in for increased reps given Jamaal Williams (concussion) should also be out this week. Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Cowboys Run Offense & Defense vs. Packers Run Defense & Offense

On the surface, the biggest mismatch in this game is the Cowboys’ rush offense vs. the Packers’ run defense, which has struggled to start the season.

Led by Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys are averaging a top-10 4.9 yards per rush. Now they get a defense that’s one of only four to allow five or more yards per carry so far this season. And per PFF, the Packers’ overall run defense ranks 29th out of 32 teams.

The Packers have the league’s worst run defense on runs up the middle between the guards. And that’s where the Cowboys have ran in more than 60% of their rushing plays this season.

Now, having said that, the Packers do get a break with Smith — one of the best offensive tackles in football — expected to be out. If Collins’ status changes, Cam Fleming and Connor Williams would be an enormous downgrade and could spell trouble against a Packers team that ranks sixth in adjusted sack rate thanks to new acquisitions Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith, who rank inside the top 15 in QB pressures among edge defenders.

Still, even if Smith and Collins are both out, the Packers have to find a way to get better up the middle when rushing the ball on offense and when defending runs up the middle. The stuff rates (hit at or behind the line of scrimmage) of each respective teams so far reinforces this story:

  • Stuffed rank offense: Dallas No. 1; Green Bay No. 29
  • Stuffed rank defense: Dallas No. 16; Green Bay No. 30

If the Packers can’t get more push up the middle on both sides of the ball, you’re going to see continued struggles on short-yardage situations — whether third-and-short or near the goal line — which cost them their game against the Eagles. And if the Cowboys can establish the run up the middle, the rest of their offense can flow from there with playaction and easier throws for Prescott, who has led a top-two unit in both red-zone touchdown and third-down scoring percentage. For comparison, the Packers rank 11th and 27th, respectively. Stuckey

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Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Ezekiel Elliott

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Cowboys -3.5
  • Projected Total: 46

This matchup sets up perfectly for a big game from Elliott in which the Cowboys attack the Packers’ weakness in their run defense and avoid their strength, which has been their pass defense thus far. By grinding out with Zeke, it will allow Dallas to shorten the game and keep Aaron Rodgers off the field.

We’ve seen the Packers be a much more balanced team in tight games this season, leaning on their running game/defense much more than years past. Rodgers erupted for 422 yards against the Eagles due to Philly being a pass funnel defense and also because the Packers were in comeback mode at times during Thursday Night Football.

Because all of the above, the opening total of 48 has come down to 47 despite near split action. I bet sharps are going to keep betting it down closer to 46 since the ideal game flow for both teams leans toward the under.Sean Koerner

Expert Pick

Stuckey: Under 47

I like the under between two teams with above-average coverage units and pass rushes. Smith being out (and a potentially hampered Collins) will really hurt the overall efficiency of the Cowboys’ offense, which starts with their offensive line, which for my money is the best in the business.

With the Packers’ propensity for getting to the QB and with three corners all ranked inside the top 25 in coverage grades by PFF, I think you’ll see an even heavier than normal use of Zeke to try to exploit the Green Bay run defense.

I also think we (including myself) prematurely overrated this Cowboys offense after wins over the Giants, Redskins and Dolphins — three of the NFL’s worst defenses.

Meanwhile, the Packers are averaging only 3.5 yards per rush — 26th in the NFL, so I don’t think they can really exploit the run defense of Dallas, which has struggled at times. And the offense in general is still working out some kinks in a new system.

I think the total is a few points too high. The first team to 24 should get this done. I’d play the under down to 46.