NFL Picks Against the Spread Week 5: Predictions for Every Game

Jeff Grant@@JeffGrantSportsContributor IOctober 3, 2011

NFL Picks Against the Spread Week 5: Predictions for Every Game

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    Week 5 of the 2011 NFL regular season marks the first round of bye weeks around the league and features two games that will have home teams aiming for revenge from last year's playoffs.

    The New England Patriots welcome in the New York Jets, while the Green Bay Packers visit the Atlanta Falcons.

    Let's take a closer look at all 13 games from a betting perspective.

Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts

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    The Kansas City Chiefs made sure this matchup wasn't going to feature a pair of winless teams, capturing a 22-17 win over the Minnesota Vikings as three-point home underdogs.

    After leading the league in rushing a year ago, Kansas City is currently 13th, averaging 110.8 yards per game.

    Considering the loss of running back Jamaal Charles in the season's first game—that's a better standing than most anticipated.

    The Indianapolis Colts will likely be playing on Monday Night Football as a double-digit road underdog against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as the team is 1-2 ATS on the year.

    If the Colts happen to lose that contest, oddsmakers may have no choice but to make the Chiefs a slight road favorite.

    At this point in time, Indianapolis gets the slight edge.

    Handicapper Line:  Indianapolis Colts (-1)

Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings

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    The Minnesota Vikings have lost their first four games, but will likely kick off as home favorites against the Arizona Cardinals.

    Before the season started, Minnesota would have likely been a 4.5-point favorite, so the betting market has made a slight adjustment.

    Let's just say that the road team has shown some fight this year, losing its three games by a combined total of eight points.

    I also made my handicapper line to favor the Cardinals by a point.

    Early Recommendation:  Arizona Cardinals (+3)

Philadelphia Eagles at Buffalo Bills

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    The Philadelphia Eagles were well on their way to evening their record at 2-2, but then they were outscored by a 21-3 margin in the second half by the San Francisco 49ers, ultimately falling 24-23 as 9.5-point home favorites.

    Bettors will find that the "Dream Team" is 1-3 ATS on the year, failing to cover the number by an average of three points in those losses.

    Buffalo was unable to hold onto a 17-3 lead in Week 4, dropping a 23-20 contest to the Cincinnati Bengals as three-point road favorites.

    The Bills continue to win the turnover battle, which make them a dangerous home underdog.

    I developed a handicapper line of Philadelphia (-3.5) for this matchup, which is a half-point hither than the current line.

    Early Recommendation:  Philadelphia Eagles (-3)

Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans

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    The Houston Texans are among a short list of teams that are vying for the title of being the "Best Team in the AFC," picking up a 17-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers as four-point home favorites Sunday.

    Oakland dropped to 2-2 on the season with a 31-19 loss to the New England Patriots as six-point home underdogs, but has covered its first two games on the road this year.

    Both teams possess strong running games, while each defensive line is capable of getting after the quarterback.

    Neither team has a major look ahead spot, but the Texans do travel on the road to face the Baltimore Ravens the following week.

    I developed a handicapper line of the Houston Texans favored by seven, which gives me no real edge.

    Early Recommendation:  Oakland Raiders (+7)

New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers

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    The Carolina Panthers outgained the Chicago Bears by a 543-317 margin, only to lose 34-29 as six-point road underdogs Sunday.

    Professional bettors always circle such disparity in statistics, especially when the team that wins that battle is sent out as an underdog the following week.

    New Orleans was just as dominant offensively in capturing a 23-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, finishing with 503 total yards.

    I made the New Orleans Saints 5.5-point road favorites in this game, which is just a tick below the current betting odds.

    Carolina is just a point away from being a perfect 4-0 ATS this year.

    Early Recommendation:  Carolina Panthers (+7)

Cincinnati Bengals at Jacksonville Jaguars

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    A battle of rookie quarterbacks, as Cincinnati's Andy Dalton travels to Jacksonville to face Blaine Gabbert.

    Dalton has been the more polished product thus far, but he's also gotten more snaps. 

    Both teams have capable running backs and the defensive edge would seem to be in the Bengals' favor.

    My handicapper line of a pick' em puts us squarely on the road underdog.

    Early Recommendation:  Cincinnati Bengals (+2.5)

Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers

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    The Pittsburgh Steelers are 2-2 on the season and head back home with their quarterback on crutches. 

    It's certainly possible that the franchise decides to rest Ben Roethlisberger this week, as the team has Jacksonville and Arizona on deck before a showdown with New England.

    Tennessee is 3-1 on the season and could easily be 4-0, falling by two points to the Jacksonville Jaguars as one-point road underdogs in the season opener.

    The schedule hasn't been very daunting, catching the Baltimore Ravens in a flat spot in Week 2.

    At this point in time, we can only formulate a line with Roethlisberger being under center.

    Handicapper Line:  Pittsburgh Steelers (-5.5)

Seattle Seahawks at New York Giants

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    The New York Giants have bounced back after a season-opening loss to the Washington Redskins, posting straight-up and against-the-spread victories in the following three games.

    Looking ahead at the schedule, it's very much in the team's favor, with three home games against Seattle, Buffalo and Miami ahead.

    All things considered, Seattle might be the worst team in the league, even though it has a victory.

    The Seahawks have failed to cover both of their road games this year, scoring just 17 combined points against the Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers.

    My handicapper line placed the New York Giants as 12.5-point home favorites.

    It's always scary laying this many points in the NFL, especially on a quarterback that can throw three interceptions any day of the week—even on Sundays.

    Early Recommendation:  New York Giants (-10)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Francisco 49ers

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    Neither of these teams wants to be placed as a favorite in this contest, but the oddsmakers will take into account home-field advantage and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers traveling on a short week.

    I've developed a handicapper line of San Francisco as a 2.5-point home favorite, but that may move up due to the situation I outlined above.

    Tough spot for the Buccaneers due to a look-ahead game against the New Orleans Saints at home in Week 6.

    Early Recommendation:  San Francisco 49ers (-4 or lower)

New York Jets at New England Patriots

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    The New England Patriots will be out to avenge a 28-21 loss to the New York Jets in last year's playoffs as 9.5-point home favorites.

    I'm not sure the line gets that high due to the team's defensive woes in the early going this season.

    New York managed to gain just 150 total yards in Sunday night's 34-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens as five-point road underdogs.

    The Jets have lost two games in a row, which is a rallying cry for head coach Rex Ryan.

    Watch the injury report closely, as center Nick Mangold's return is paramount for New York in covering any type of number.

    The host has injury concerns of its own, especially linebacker Jerod Mayo going down with a knee injury this week in Oakland.

    Handicapper Line:  New England Patriots (-6)

San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos

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    Sharp money has already landed on the Denver Broncos in this AFC West showdown, as the team has fallen from six-point home underdogs to 4.5.

    The San Diego Chargers covered their first game of the season Sunday, handing the Miami Dolphins a 26-16 loss as 6.5-point home favorites.

    This is the first of three consecutive road games for the Bolts, but they do get a bye week after visiting the Mile High City.

    That's enough for me to establish the Chargers as seven-point road favorites.

    Early Recommendation:  San Diego Chargers (-4.5)

Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons

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    Atlanta got caught looking ahead to this contest, barely holding onto a 30-28 win over the Seattle Seahawks as 4.5-point road favorites.

    Green Bay seems to be firing on all cylinders and quarterback Aaron Rodgers is inching closer and closer to being the best in the NFL.

    Professional handicappers are well aware of Rodgers' ability inside dome stadiums, which minimizes the home-field advantage for the Falcons in this contest.

    Incredibly sharp line, as I've established the same exact line as the oddsmakers.

    Let's remember that the Packers were one-point road underdogs in last year's playoff meeting, which gives five points of value to the home team this time around.

    Early Recommendation:  Atlanta Falcons (+4)

Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions

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    How much gas is left in the Detroit Lions tank?

    Winning consecutive road games when down by 20-plus points is going to take something out of you. 

    It sounds awfully familiar to what the Buffalo Bills accomplished earlier this season, but that took place in front of the home fans.

    That ultimately resulted in the Bills falling flat in the second half of a 23-20 defeat to the Cincinnati Bengals as three-point road favorites Sunday.

    You never know what you're going to get from the Chicago Bears each week, as nobody in the Windy City was expecting running back Matt Forte to gain 205 yards in Week 4.


    I developed a line of Detroit being favored by seven points, which is just a point higher than the opening number.

    Detroit hasn't hosted a Monday Night Football game in quite some time, but I'd be interested in backing the veteran-laden Chicago Bears in the second half.

    The emotion leading up to this week and the thrill of playing in front of a raucous crowd will only go so far after two weeks of improbable wins.

    Early Recommendation:  Chicago Bears (Second Half)