Jimmy McGinty previews Week 5 of the NFL and has bets on the Texans, Cardinals and the Titans.
Week 4 recap: The treble lost as only the Jags covered. The Giants were unsurprisingly bad and the Steelers faced a Ravens team that I underestimated.
Treble: +7.2pts 8-3-1 from 12.
Those I’m struggling with:
A quarter of the way through the season and we’re starting to settle down with knowledge of what all sides are capable of. Our preseason ideas have either gone up in smoke or played out as suspected. Making picks is now a bit harder.
The spread looks bang on in Ravens v Browns, Vikings v Eagles and Falcons v Steelers.
Rams will beat Seattle but the Seahawks showed in week 3 that they are a proud side at home so 7pts is enough to give away even with Thomas, Dissly and Kendricks out. Baldwin is fit and the Rams secondary has holes so Wilson might have some joy.
Carolina are in a good spot off a bye facing a NYG side who’ve done their share of travelling (3rd road game in 4wks) but 7pts is a big spread here as well. The Panthers offense isn’t amazing and on the other side Beckham and Barkley have decent matchups.
Denver travel east after losing an important divisional game on Monday night – a bad spot if ever there was one. But I’m not picking Sam Darnold versus a top defense.
Miami, like Denver, had their best results at home but now are in a bad spot having their second road game in two weeks. The last one was a terrible showing in Foxboro. Yet I can’t take the Bengals -5.5pts – their last win was more to do with the Falcons lack of defense than anything else.
I like Washington (+6.5pts) this week but after picking against the Saints in error last week this is as far as I go. I believe the Redskins are a very good side – they dominated both the Cardinals and Packers and played well versus Indy but were let down at critical (3rd down & redzone) stages. The early bye is a good thing for them as they have many injury-prone players who missed a lot of last season and should benefit from an early break to stay right.
Patrick Robinson (slot-corner) is a big loss to the Saints defense. It’ll be felt here as the Redskins like to attack the middle of the field through Crowder, Reed and Thompson. The strength of Lattimore at CB won’t be noticed as Alex Smith seldom goes wide/deep. New Orleans have not played a good defense in the opening 4wks so weaknesses may yet not have been exposed – the Redskins have a good defense fresh off their bye. Drew Brees is due to break the all-time passing record in this game, it may be a distraction. In the game when Manning broke it with the Broncos in 2015 they got hammered.
Week 5 Picks:
Tennessee (-4.5pts) are actually in a bad spot here. On the road after a long, tough and emotional overtime victory they’re setup for a fall. However, I believe they just have far too much talent not to get past the miserable Bills. This spread should be at least a touchdown. Tennessee eventually showed their ability last Sunday after dealing with many injuries over the opening 3 weeks.
The Vikings slipped up against Buffalo as their OL was very weak but that is a strong-point for the Titans. The Titans defense is also playing at a very high level so should make it a struggle for inexperienced rookie Josh Allen.
The Bills were even worse than the 22-0 score line last week – The Packers left a lot of points on the field. Micah Hyde is their most talented defender but he’s doubtful with a groin injury. Even with Hyde the Bills have been easy to run against and the Titans hold a pair of good running backs.
It might be ugly, run-heavy and low-scoring but the Titans will have more than 5pts to spare in Buffalo.
Arizona (+4pts) were brutal in the first two weeks, but they played good sides and were a mess themselves. Since then they’ve covered the spread twice and looked a little more functional with Rosen installed at QB and David Johnson looking a little more like the star he can be. To date they’ve played four top 10 defenses – the 49ers are anything but. The 49ers are overrated after getting close to the Chargers last week but as I’ve touched on the Chargers were stink (and still won).
This is the perfect spot for the Cardinals to get going. Josh Rosen had a decent debut last Sunday and can build on it here. The Cardinals OL has been a major weakness (they have a few) but it won’t be punished here as the 49ers lack a consistent pass-rush. Speaking of offensive lines – SF have some injuries on theirs. CJ Beathard will be under pressure as a result and with Patrick Peterson taking away one of his go to options (Garcon) I think the Cardinals defense can come up trumps. Like the Titans pick, it could be ugly and low-scoring, but we won’t care if Arizona win or get close.
Houston (-3.5pts) are the last pick. A side who have disappointed so far in 2018 but have a chance to get right now. They were on the road for 3 of their first 4 games, including the tough task of going to Foxboro. After that they dominated possession versus Tennessee but just couldn’t turn it into points. Now at home versus a Sean Lee-less defense Deshaun Watson and co will put up a big score.
The biggest weakness in the Texans side is their secondary but Dak and the Cowboys don’t have the firepower to beat it like Luck and Hilton did last Sunday or Beckham and Shepard the week before. Dak faced an equally bad Detroit defense last Sunday, at home, and came away with just 26pts. The Texans are particularly weak versus tight-ends but Dallas don’t have a talented TE. Zeke being a little banged up doesn’t help either – the Cowboys need him on the ball a lot! I can’t see the Cowboys keeping up to the Texans, there’s a gulf in talent between the two sides that -3.5pts doesn’t do justice.
1pt treble Texans -3.5pts, Cardinals +4pts, Titans -4.5pts (6.2/1 with Betfair)