This could be the season that causes many bettors to retire.
Entering the NFL's Week 5 slate of spreads, this has arguably been the most stressful first month of football for bettors in recent memory. Look to Monday Night Football between the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos as proof: The Chiefs entered favored by five and needed 14 fourth-quarter points capped with a touchdown with less than two minutes left to win.
They won by four points, 27-23, of course.
Glancing at the Week 5 lineup, things aren't going to get any easier, especially with a mix of odd matchups and a smattering of divisional games.
Week 5 NFL Odds
Indianapolis at New England (-10) | O/U 51.5
Miami at Cincinnati (-6) | O/U 50
Atlanta at Pittsburgh (-4) | O/U
Baltimore (-3) at Cleveland | O/U 47
Denver at N.Y. Jets (-2.5) | O/U n/a
Green Bay (-1) at Detroit | O/U 50.5
Jacksonville at Kansas City (-3) | O/U n/a
N.Y. Giants at Carolina (-7) | O/U 44.5
Tennessee (-3.5) at Buffalo | O/U 38.5
Oakland at L.A. Chargers (-6) | O/U 53.5
Arizona at San Francisco (-4.5) | O/U
L.A. Rams (-7.5) at Seattle | O/U 50.5
Minnesota at Philadelphia (-3) | O/U 44.5
Dallas at Houston (-3.5) | O/U 45
Washington at New Orleans (-6.5) | O/U 52.5
Indianapolis at New England (-10)
Thursday Night Football should provide bettors with a strong start to the week.
While the 2-2 New England Patriots haven't been the most trustworthy team, a huge blowout of the previously undefeated Miami Dolphins in Week 4 was the easiest thing in the world to predict.
The Patriots thumped the Dolphins 38-7, getting three touchdowns from Tom Brady and two more from the running game. They controlled the clock for more than 36 minutes of regulation, running 75 plays to Miami's 45.
Did anyone mention the Patriots will only get stronger? The offense is adding another target, by the way:
Thursday should be more of the same from the Patriots against the 1-3 Indianapolis Colts, a team likely exhausted after losing a heartbreaker in overtime to Houston, 37-34. Despite four touchdown passes from Andrew Luck, costly turnovers and mistakes that have come to define a rebuilding team once again popped up and let what was previously a winless team steal a W.
The Patriots aren't a winless team and don't need a bit of luck to get past the visiting Colts. Brady is on a roll, and as expected, Bill Belichick and his staff have started to correct a horrific defensive start, something we should see continue against a Colts team with a lack of weapons around Luck.
While this is a larger spread, Cincinnati and Houston have now gone for 34 or more on the Colts, a marker Brady can certainly hit.
Prediction: Patriots 34, Colts 23
Miami at Cincinnati (-6)
It was easy to see the Dolphins coming back down to earth against the Patriots.
Imploding in possibly season-ending fashion, not so much.
Ryan Tannehill got himself benched in the fourth quarter of the 38-7 blowout, finishing with an 11-of-20 line with 100 yards and an interception. Center Daniel Kilgore suffered a season-ending triceps injury, per the Sun-Sentinel's Safid Deen, and tackle Ja'Wuan James also got benched. The defense simply couldn't compensate against Brady.
Tannehill's performance is not exactly what the Dolphins would have liked to see:
In other words, things are looking up for those who like the Cincinnati Bengals by a touchdown.
Cincinnati rebounded well from its first loss of the season by taking down the Atlanta Falcons on the road, 37-36. While the Bengals defense gave up three passing scores, struggling in Atlanta makes sense and they countered with three passing TDs from Andy Dalton and two touchdown rushes from Giovani Bernard.
For those keeping track, the Bengals are first in the AFC North at 3-1, with the lone hiccup coming in Carolina because Cam Newton's rushing ability gave the defense fits.
All things the same as the week prior, this matchup already favors the Bengals in Cincinnati. But all things won't be the same—the Bengals get star linebacker Vontaze Burfict back from suspension this week. The offense should get back starting running back Joe Mixon, who has 179 yards and a score on 4.7 yards per carry.
In a perfect world, the Dolphins would like to bounce back in the same way the Bengals did a week ago. But the Bengals have been consistently competitive and elite offensively, two factors that will show up in a big way as the better team pulls away following a blueprint New England wrote.
Prediction: Bengals 30, Dolphins 17
N.Y. Giants at Carolina (-7)
For those looking to capitalize on one of the week's easiest lines, this one might only grow.
The real New York Giants showed up in Week 4, going to New Orleans and taking a 33-18 punch on the nose, getting only one touchdown from Eli Manning and only running it 10 times with Saquon Barkley while the defense coughed up three rushing scores.
A dud of a performance for the 1-3 Giants, to say the least, which then led to comments like this from Odell Beckham Jr.: "It seems like it shouldn't be this hard but it is. We got to come with the energy like our game last week. It's not one person doing this or one person doing that. It's got to be everybody. We've just got to stick together It's definitely not the results we want, the outcome. It's not the way we want to play."
The Giants seem to be doing everything they can to protect Manning, but an inability to lean on those around him despite a talented supporting cast has him with just four touchdowns and one interception.
Call it a recipe for disaster as the Giants head into Carolina for a game against the 2-1 Panthers.
Newton's team had a Week 4 bye after downing a strong Cincinnati team. He's once again a riddle that defenses can't solve, hence five passing scores against one pick with another three scores on the ground. The difference this year is a strong complementary running game from Christian McCaffrey, who has piled up 271 yards on 5.9 yards per carry.
A strong Carolina pass rush at home should fluster Manning in this one, and once Newton pulls the Panthers away, it could only lead to more mistakes from the Giants.
Prediction: Panthers 28, Giants 17
Odds via OddsShark