Week 5 NFL Picks: Biggest Underdog Locks Against the Spread
With so many evenly matched teams going at it during Week 5 of the NFL season, this could potentially be a lucrative weekend for the oddsmakers. With that said, close games often seem to favor the teams that are getting points, so it wouldn't be surprising to see underdogs reign supreme.
Some favorites should be able to cruise, but it is unrealistic to expect every favorite to cover. Home underdogs are especially dangerous, and several of them could possibly even win their games outright this weekend.
Here are three underdogs that you can take to the bank against the spread in Week 5.
Oakland Raiders (+5.5 vs. San Diego Chargers)
While the Oakland Raiders' record says that they are 1-3, they have actually made some notable progress this season. Oakland has shown some offensive competence, and much of that has to do with the play of quarterback Terrelle Pryor.
Although he missed last week's game against the Washington Redskins due to a concussion, he has been cleared to play and start for the Raiders when they host the San Diego Chargers on Sunday night, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
That is a huge boost for Oakland's offense as Pryor is a true dual threat. He figures to give the Chargers some problems as San Diego's defense is fourth worst against the pass and eighth worst against the run.
Raiders HC Dennis Allen said Terrelle Pryor is ready to start on Monday Morning Football vs. Chargers.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 2, 2013
The biggest question mark relates to running back Darren McFadden, who left Oakland's Week 4 game with a hamstring injury. He is questionable to play in Week 5, according to Jerry McDonald of the San Jose Mercury News.
San Diego has fared much better than most expected this season due to the resurgence of quarterback Philip Rivers and tight end Antonio Gates, but the Chargers might not be ready to be 5.5-point favorites in a road divisional contest. This game will be closer than the line suggests, and Oakland could pull off the upset.
Arizona Cardinals (+2 vs. Carolina Panthers)
Which underdog is most likely to cover in Week 5?
Quarterback Carson Palmer has been hit or miss, but he has a great stable of weapons with Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and Andre Roberts, so he can break out at any time. The defense has also held up well this year, so the Cards are capable of hanging with good teams.
Arizona will host such a team on Sunday when the 1-2 Carolina Panthers come to town. Carolina's record isn't indicative of its level as the two losses came late against the Seattle Seahawks and Buffalo Bills. The Panthers could easily be 3-0, but their lack of killer instinct has hurt them. They'll need it to put away a stingy Cardinals team in Week 5.
Arizona has already been busy this week, dealing disappointing offensive tackle Levi Brown to the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to SportsCenter.
While that could have an impact on the Cardinals offense, it isn't as if he was doing a great job anyway. Based on the fact that both defenses rank in the top seven against the run, this promises to be a low-scoring affair.
THIS JUST IN: The Steelers have traded for Arizona Cardinals LT Levi Brown. (via media reports)— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 2, 2013
As long as the Cards don't allow Carolina quarterback Cam Newton to go off, they should be able to keep it close. Taking the team getting points is usually a good idea in these types of slugfests, and Arizona being at home is also a deciding factor.
Tennessee Titans (+2.5 vs. Kansas City Chiefs)
KC is favored by 2.5 points on the road, and the absence of Titans quarterback Jake Locker probably has a lot to do with that. He figures to miss at least three games with a sprained hip, according to John Breech of CBSSports.com, but backup Ryan Fitzpatrick is eager to step in, per Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.
Truth be told, his starting opportunity couldn't have come at a better time. He owns a 4-1 career record against the Chiefs, including wins over them in 2011 and 2012.
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