NFL Week 5 Predictions: Data-Driven Picks for Seahawks vs Saints, Steelers vs Bills, More
Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images. Pictured: Alvin Kamara.
NFL Odds & Picks
Billy Ward: I’ve given out first-half unders on all three Sunday Steelers games up until this point, and have gone 2-1. My reasoning has largely been based on Pittsburgh's tendency to speed things up in the second half relative to first-half splits.
While that’s still the case — playing more than three seconds faster in the second half — the Steelers are playing at the 12th-fastest pace in the first half as well.
With rookie Kenny Pickett now under center, their games should be even higher scoring. The rookie quarterback rushed for two touchdowns and threw three interceptions in his NFL debut against the Jets. There's scoring potential both for the Steelers and the team opposing Pickett.
So why the first half over and not the full game?
Well, we’ve seen the Bills take their foot off the gas in the second half when they have a big lead. By taking the first half total, we can count on Buffalo working to put up points, which we can’t guarantee over the course of the entire game.
Billy Ward: It’s not a great week for my favorite prop with only a couple games with tight spreads — and one of those having a total on the higher side — on the board.
Tennessee and Washington are the lone exception, with a total of 43 and a spread in the 1.5 or 2.0 range depending on the book. Looking at the past five seasons, games with a total under 45 and a spread within 2.0 have three straight scores about 57% of the time.
That means a fair line on the “no” side of the prop should be about +133. That’s a fairly significant edge at +175, even if this bet is a slight underdog to lose.
Billy Ward: The Saints will be without Michael Thomas — and possibly Jarvis Landry — on Sunday against the Seahawks.
Seattle has one of the worst defenses in the league, but without Thomas, New Orleans may have to take a run-heavy approach.
What really caught my eye is the battle in the trenches. The league average adjusted line yards matchup (combination of offensive line yards gained against defensive allowed) is 8.76. The Saints are at 10.09, the highest in the league this week.
While we only have Kamara projected for 13 rushing attempts, his efficiency should be high enough to clear this line. The 13 attempts are on the conservative side as well.
If the Saints, who are favored by five points, get out to a lead we could see even more opportunities for Kamara.
Nick Giffen: The Steelers have held opposing kickers to under 6.5 kicking points every game this season, let alone 7.5.
We’re getting 17 mph winds forecasted for this game, which would be the second-strongest for any game of the season so far.
The Bills rank eighth in the NFL in how many times they’re gone for it on fourth down — something we see more this week because of the weather.
We have a 61.2% chance of going under 8.5 kicking points. We may have to lay more juice to get that number, though, since the percentage of the bet hitting is greater. The expected return on investment on Under 7.5 is 9.2%, while it’s 5.2% for Under 8.5.
Nick Giffen: Stevenson has become the de-facto RB1 in this offense, out-snapping backfield mate Damien Harris in each of the last three games.
With Bailey Zappe set to play quarterback, the Patriots are likely to use a more run-heavy scheme than normal. That should benefit both backs in this pristine matchup.
The Lions have allowed the sixth-most yards per game on the ground, and have given up the most touchdowns to RBs so far in 2022. Those eight touchdowns have all come on the ground, but there’s also upside through the air for Zappe.
That’s because Stevenson garnered a team-high four targets from the fourth-round rookie after the injury to Brian Hoyer last week.
Our projections have Stevenson scoring a touchdown around 45.1% of the time, well over the 38.5% implied odds at +160.
Sean Koerner: Rush is one of four quarterbacks who has yet to scramble despite facing pressure 30-plus times this year. His longest run of the season came last week on a six-yard run that was mainly due to the Commanders leaving a wide-open lane to the right. He also took a hard hit after attempting to slide.
I doubt that play will be in his repertoire against the Rams based on his statuesque scramble rate and Los Angeles’ inability to generate pressure (last in pressure rate). I’m projecting this closer to 3.5.
Yes, this prop is ugly, but I’m projecting Rush to stay under this number around 62% of the time. I would bet it down to -135.
Cincy also matches up well against Baltimore — notably, Joe Burrow is an elite passer against the blitz. Meanwhile, the Ravens blitzed at the sixth-highest rate in 2021 and have recorded the fourth-most blitzes in 2022.
By backing the Bengals, we are on a team who benefits from a great matchup and our luck rankings favor. We get this all while fading the publicly backed lucky team, as 83% of the money is on Baltimore.
This reminds me of the 49ers–Rams game from Monday. The Niners won by 15, easily covering the spread as 1.5-point favorites.