NFL Picks Against the Spread Week 5: Underdogs That Will Beat Odds
Everyone loves a good underdog, and they especially love one when they can at the very least cover the spread.
It's always hard to pick underdogs, but it's a lot easier after a quarter of the season has come and gone. Now that we've had a good look at all 32 teams, we can determine which teams are strong in which areas.
So, now that we know a good amount about these teams, here are some underdogs that will be able to cover the spread.
Note: All betting lines are provided by Bovada
Buffalo Bills (+4) at Cleveland Browns
It's not everyday that you see the Browns as favorites, and that likely won't last long after Thursday night's game.
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As far as the Bills go, they don't have the strongest defense, but their offense is certainly getting there. E.J. Manuel is developing nicely as a passer, throwing for 856 yards and five touchdowns with three interceptions. C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson have been solid, combining for nearly 500 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Even if Spiller is unable to go, this offense should be productive enough.
For the Browns, as good as they've been the past two games, they're also outplaying their talent level right now. The Bills secondary looks to be coming together after intercepting Joe Flacco five times last week, and they could possibly give Brian Hoyer some trouble this week.
The Bills may be struggling against the run, but the ground game for the Browns isn't very strong. They do have a couple of options at running back, including Willis McGahee and Chris Ogbonnaya, but no one in the backfield is a reliable option.
The Bills have a good shot at winning this, and even if it's a close one, at least there's a very good chance that they can keep the game within four points.
Detroit Lions (+7) at Green Bay Packers
The Packers may have Aaron Rodgers, but there are some real questions on this team that put them on upset alert for this week after coming off of a bye.
For the Lions, they just came off of a huge 40-32 win over the Chicago Bears. The entire offense looks much more balanced, with Matthew Stafford on pace for just over 600 pass attempts instead of the 727 from last season.
The big difference for this offense so far has been the emergence of Reggie Bush and Joique Bell in the backfield. Bush is finally starting to look like his old self from college, running for 254 yards and averaging 5.3 yards per carry while also grabbing 179 receiving yards. Bell has been a great red-zone option, grabbing three touchdowns and over 300 total yards.
This offense could put up some big numbers against the Packers defense, which has struggled so far this year. They've allowed 88 points in three games, along with 311 passing yards per game. The secondary has been hobbled without Casey Hayward and Morgan Burnett, and even if Burnett returns, this team will still struggle against all of the Lions' weapons.
This is a big game for both teams and could potentially impact the NFC North race down the road. The Lions look like an exciting football team in 2013, and they should be able to give the Packers a run for their money this week.
New York Jets (+10) at Atlanta Falcons
The Jets aren't a very good football team this season, but 10 points is a pretty significant spread, and the Atlanta Falcons don't exactly match up well against them.
The defense has been what's helped this team grab two wins already this season. They've allowed around 283 total yards per game, the second-best in the NFL behind the Houston Texans. Before the ugly loss to the Tennessee Titans, this team was averaging just under 16 points per game allowed.
The Falcons are currently 1-3 and quickly falling behind the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South. Their defense is struggling, giving up over 25 points per game and almost 400 total offensive yards. Their inexperienced secondary has been picked apart, while key players on their front seven continue to get injured.
The offense for the Falcons is solid, but they're going to have trouble going against the Jets defense. Meanwhile, Geno Smith might actually have some open receivers this week going against the secondary.
I don't think that the Jets pull out a win here, but I don't think it's going to be a high-scoring affair for either team, and that makes it even harder for the Falcons to outscore the Jets by at least 10 points.
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