NFL Week 5 Best Bets

Posted by T.K. Hann on 10/2/2012 11:48:48 AM

INDINAPOLIS COLTS +7.0 over Green Bay Packers

Sunday, October 7th --- 1:00pm EST

This is a tough game for me. On the one hand, you have Indianapolis playing at home after the awful news of Coach Pagano's recently discovered leukemia. That emotional, “win one for the Gipper” mentality can be enough to push any team to a win in at least one game. You can tell how connected this team is to the visceral and likeable Pagano. It's enough to make you dismiss the 1-2 ATS record the Colts have this season which included a loss to Jacksonville before their bye week.

The other red herring in this game is that I don't think the Green Bay Packers are as good as everyone keeps saying they are. There's a nasty habit by fans to maintain a team's value because of personnel without reading between the lines. I can't really make Green Bay one of the NFL Week 5 Best Bets without properly breaking them down in an honest fashion that doesn't simply sound like ”Aaron Rodgers good! Clay Matthews strong!” There's more to it than that.

First of all, the Packers barely beat the winless New Orleans Saints after coming off a game where they had more motivation than any other team in Week 4. The only game they've covered this season is that Bears debacle where Jay Cutler imploded on national television. That's not exactly fair since they couldn't cover the Seahawks spread with brutal refs giving the game away. At the same time, it's not like Seattle should've been in that game to begin with.

Green Bay is a very strong squad right now, but they're simply not the awesome world breaking force that everyone assumes them to be. Greg Jennings isn't one-hundred percent, and their defense is getting mauled in yards allowed yet again this season (they gave up the most total yards last season).

The long term trends on Indianapolis honestly mean nothing. Most, if not all, the trends are based on Peyton Manning. Andrew Luck has been playing well and threw for 313 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with a pick, in his last game during Week 3. I think the emotional spike of temporarily losing his head coach to such an awful disease will galvanize the Colts as unheralded underdogs in a matchup against a team with a very bloated value.

If anyone is going to let the Colts storm up and down the field this season, it's Green Bay. The Packers may be able to walk all over Indy, but they won't be able to blow this game out of the water as the Colts hang on to hope and get a nice cover in a hard fought game which is all Pagano could ask for from a young team in transition.

Cleveland Browns +10.0 over NEW YORK GIANTS

Sunday, October 7th --- 1:00pm EST

Is it me or were the Cleveland Browns really good last week? Greg Little and the receivers had a lot of trouble holding on to the ball, but Brandon Weeden was delivering it in a spot where they could at least make a play. And, boy, Trent Richardson looked mighty fine against a ferocious Ravens run defense. Weeden unloaded for 320 yards on 25-of-52 passes, while Richardson combined for 104 total yards from scrimmage and the team's only touchdown.

The Browns were better on defense than I would've imagined last weekend too. They shut down a pretty efficient offense that usually drives hard down the field. I'm not saying that they can win this game, but they certainly don't deserve to be double-digit underdogs. Considering what I saw in Week 4 from a young team that has plenty of talent at skill positions, there's no way I can ignore them as one of the NFL Week 5 Best Bets, especially when you realize that they're 5-0-1 ATS in their last 6 games as a road dog.

I am not a huge fan of the Giants right now. They're a massive public team that is still working things out, which is hard to do when you're missing your best receiver. Hakeem Nicks' foot injury is a big concern for the G-Men, and the fact that they're just 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games as a favorite of 3.5-10 points tells me enough. The Giants are a stay away until we see more consistent production out of their passing game, or Hakeem Nicks gets back to action.

And seriously – I don't think Cleveland is as bad as everyone wants them to be. I might have to stop calling them the Cleveland Steamers.

Baltimore Ravens -4.5 over KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Sunday, October 7th --- 1:00pm EST

Ok, I'm giving up on the Kansas City Chiefs. They're now 1-3 ATS after being demolished by the San Diego Chargers in last weekend's divisional matchup. I have even started referring to Dwayne Bowe as “The Garbage Man” in one of my fantasy leagues because all of his touchdowns are meaningless and in garbage time (and by the way, texting your opponent “GARBAGE TIME!” when he scores is an absolute joy).

There is usually an unwritten rule that you can safely back the Chiefs at home when the conditions start to turn sideways. Kansas City is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 October games, but the whole mystique about Arrowhead is quickly vanishing. They're also 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games at home.

Baltimore is one of the toughest teams out there, and though they didn't expect Cleveland to play as well as they did, they're still coming off an extended week with a victory in hand. The Ravens are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games and are certainly one of the NFL Week 5 Best Bets because of their value away from home. Aside from Houston, Baltimore is one of the most complete teams there is. Don't forget that Torrey Smith was shredding Cleveland's defense to pieces before he hurt himself. He'll be back in action to keep Baltimore rolling up and down the field as they control this game outright and maintain their winning ways.

CINCINNATI BENGALS -3.5 over Miami Dolphins

Sunday, October 7th --- 1:00pm EST

You have to hand it to the Dolphins, because at least they're trying. Miami has lost their last two games in overtime, and the Week 4 game against Arizona was a barn burner. Ryan Tannehill threw for 431 yards, a touchdown and two costly interceptions to bring his team to 2-2 ATS on the season. The Dolphins have continued to be one of the best upset specialists in NFL betting, going 8-0 ATS in their last 8 games versus a team with a winning record.

Still, the Cincinnati Bengals are one of those teams that has been flying under the radar. The Bengals are 2-0 ATS in their last two games and continue to be one of the more consistent offenses in the league. Their push against Cleveland and their decimation at the hands of Baltimore threw the scent off their trail. No matter what people think of this team's defense, their offense can still pour on points.

Strangely, the Bengals are 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 games in Week 5 and also went 4-0 ATS last October. This seems to be their month when it comes to wonky sports betting trends. If you need more concrete trends, they're 10-3 ATS in their last 13 games following a straight up victory, and 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games following a cover.

I don't trust anything about Miami's defense especially since they got to play the Cardinals, Jets and Raiders after the Texans in Week 1. The Dolphins have been fighting hard in games, but against teams that have inconsistent – or flat out terrible – defenses. Cincinnati can put this game well out of reach, making a tight line on an undervalued team a pretty decent steal in NFL Week 5 Best Bets.

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