NFL Picks for Week 5: 4 Best Bets at 1 p.m. ET for Falcons vs Buccaneers, Steelers vs Bills, More
Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images. Pictured: Tom Brady.
- Chris Raybon is all over Week 5 and has four picks at 1 p.m. ET for bettors.
- Raybon is betting one total, two sides and one player prop.
- Get his picks for the early slate on Sunday below.
About the only thing going for the over on a total this high is that this game will be played indoors. Still, this is a hefty number for a Vikings squad that is averaging 21.5 points per game and allowing 20.0, or 41.5 combined — not to mention a Bears squad averaging 16.0 and allowing 19.3 (35.3 combined).
The Bears are averaging a league-low 20.8 dropbacks per game, and 4.0 of those end up in sacks. That means the clock won’t stop often when the Bears have the ball.
When Minnesota has the ball, they have played at a fast pace (25.81 seconds per play, third), but that pace drops to league average when they’re leading by seven or more points (28.58, 13th), which is relevant because the Vikings are 7.5-point favorites. We could also see a sleepy version of this Vikings offense that played last week in London.
Regardless of what the Vikings do on offense, this is mostly a bet on the Bears lack of offense with Fields at the helm. In Fields’ 14 career starts, Bears unders are 10-4, good for a cover rate of 71.4%. That trend includes a perfect 5-0 mark when the total is above 43.
This is a “hold your nose” play, but it will always be profitable to be on the side of the dog with huge spreads like this. Since 2017, road dogs by more than 13 are 30-22 (58%) ATS.
And road dogs of +11 or more when the total is 46 or below are 132-100-2 (57%) since 2003, since it's difficult to build a large lead in what is expected to be a fairly low-scoring game, even for a team that is favored at home.
But there are a number of matchup-related reasons to like the Steelers here.
For one, this has all the makings of a trap game for Buffalo. The Bills are coming off two straight close, emotional games on the road. Coming off a win over a Baltimore team that it could see again in the AFC Championship Game, it’s only natural to overlook the 1-3 Steelers. And with the Chiefs on deck, it is only natural for Buffalo to look past the Steelers.
Secondly, the insertion of Kenny Pickett for Mitch Trubisky gives the Steelers offense a lot more upside. Though Pickett threw three interceptions (which were not all his fault) in his debut, he completed 77% of his passes, which is even more impressive considering his average throw traveled 13.2 yards past the line of scrimmage – more than three yards more than Trubisky’s average throw this season.
Pickett also adds a rushing element, scrambling three times and scoring twice on the ground on designed runs. He greatly increases the Steelers’ chances of getting a backdoor cover late.
Thirdly, the Bills are extremely banged up at the moment, which will likely affect not only their on-field performance, but also their willingness to run up the score late if they have a lead.
The Bills have four players on IR (including one-half of their elite safety duo in Micah Hyde), two more on the PUP list (including top corner Tre’Davious White), four players ruled out (including the other half of their elite safety dup in Jordan Poyer, and starting TE Dawson Knox), four more listed as questionable (including linebacker Tremaine Edmunds), and eight players in all that did not practice Friday.
Finally, this is a classic Tomlin spot. Under Mike Tomlin, the Steelers are 46-24-3 (66%) as an underdog, including 16-8 (67%) against the spread (ATS) as a 'dog coming off of a loss.
Most impressively, Pittsburgh is 23-7-1 (77%) ATS under Tomlin as a 'dog when facing an opponent with a better straight-up record.
This is a major letdown spot for a Falcons team coming off two straight wins and four straight covers.
Atlanta has to face a motivated Bucs team that's coming off two straight losses and on its third straight home game. The reason for the Falcons’ unexpected success early this season has been their offense, which is averaging 25.8 points per game, eighth in the NFL. However, they will be without two of their top offensive players in RB Cordarrelle Patterson (IR-knee) and TE Kyle Pitts (out-hamstring).
With a ranking of third in defensive DVOA and sixth in points allowed per game (17.6), the Bucs represent easily the toughest matchup the Falcons offense has faced. Even with Tampa Bay's offense in disarray over the first two weeks of the season, it was able to secure two double-digit wins thanks to the defense before facing two of the greatest QBs of all-time in Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes — and they held Rodgers and the Packers scoreless to 14 points, including none on their final nine drives of the game.
Even though Tom Brady threw for 385 yards and three scores last week, this game should end up going down as the Bucs best offensive performance to date. The Bucs are finally healthy on offense as far as their studs go, with WR Chris Godwin and LT Donovan Smith not even listed on the final injury report, though Russell Gage and Julio Jones are questionable. Brady should have a field day against a Falcons offense that ranks 30th in pressure rate (14.3%, per Pro Football Reference).
Since 2003, Brady is 66-37-2 (64%) off an ATS loss. Off a straight-up loss, he’s been even better at 43-17 (72%), covering by an average of 6.4 points per game.
That mark includes 8-2 (80%) ATS off a multi-game losing streak with an average coverage margin of that defies belief at 13.6 points per game.
Home teams that made the playoffs the season prior facing an undefeated ATS team are 65-50-3 (57%) ATS since 2004. And when Brady faces a team entering the game with an undefeated ATS record, he is 15-6 (71%), making him the most profitable QB in this spot in our entire Action Labs database.
On average, Brady’s teams have covered the spread by 7.5 points per game in this spot.
Hall is averaging 6.8 targets and 3.8 catches per game. The catches should be much higher, as he has five drops and a catch rate of 55.6%, which should regress to the mean (RBs typically catch 75-85% of their targets).
Hall’s role in the passing game is increasing, as he saw a season-high 61% route participation rate last week. He faces a Dolphins defense which has allowed 6.0 receptions per game to RBs, tied for fifth-most in the league.