2021 NFL Predictions and Picks: Week 5

NFL Oct 09, 2021

2021 NFL WAGERING RECORD

20 Wins — 16 Losses — 1 Push

WEEK 5 PREDICTIONS AND PICKS

Game:  Atlanta -2.5 vs. NY Jets

Now that the Jets finally got a win, I expect some pressure is off and they’ll revert back to the inexperienced, lackluster team we saw in the first three weeks.  The Jets were fortunate to catch Tennessee sleepwalking, with their top two WRs out.  Keep in mind, RB Henry still rushed for 160 yards and QB Tannehill threw for 300+.  The Jets were down by 7, then came alive in the 4th quarter against a horrible Titan’s defense that’s among the NFL’s worst.  The Falcons D isn’t much better, of course, but given they come off a disastrous collapse against Washington, Atlanta should bounce back here versus a much softer opponent.  Keep in mind Atlanta has played well the last few weeks, beating the Giants on the road and losing in the closing seconds to Washington.  Jets have dropped 9/10 road games dating back to the start of last season.  Atlanta is also in a good spot in another favorable trend as 1-3 teams (SU) coming off a loss are 75-35-4 ATS after a loss versus a team coming off a win.  Note you need to get -2.5 to make this bet.  I rank this as a pass at -3.  The line has dropped below a field goal in several places, so that compels me to make the wager.  Also, note this is the London game, with an early morning start.

Game:  Miami +10 vs. Tampa Bay

First Half:  Miami +6.5

It’s difficult to bet on Miami right now, but this appears to be a game where the line is inflated based on recent results.  The Dolphins have been a huge disappointment at 1-3.  However, they were forecasted as a 10-win team and it’s not time yet to toss away the Dolphins as a valid sleeper pick.  What better way for Miami to make a statement than to play the Super Bowl champions tough and give them a close game.  That’s a strong possibility, especially given the obvious letdown circumstances of coming off the Bucs’ emotional victory on SNF at New England in Week 4.  Now, back to reality, I can see the Bucs taking this game less seriously and failing to cover.  Getting +10 is a nice number for any contrarian and if things go right and Miami plays up to potential, I see this as a possible upset.  It’s just one of those games that happen each year that defies the talent level of each team, but the perfect storm is here in place for a Dolphin’s cover.  I’m also putting a little sugar on Miami +6.5 in the first half.

Total:  Washington/New Orleans OVER 43.5

The Washington Football Team (WFT) isn’t the unit that was predicted, expected to be a plodding, low-scoring team with an excellent defense.  On the contrary, the WFT has gone OVER the number in three straight, allowing 122 points in four games (30 PPG).  Facing the Saints who usually rebound well following a loss, I look for points to be scored in this game, certainly more than the 43.5 O/U, which is one of the lower numbers on the board this week.  New Orleans has underperformed, certainly on offense.  But those numbers should improve as QB Winston continues in the Sean Payton system.

First Half:  Chicago +3.5 vs. Las Vegas

The Raiders have been a weak first-half team, particularly during the last few weeks.  They fell behind 14-0 and 21-0 in their last two games.  Coming off a loss and a short week, I don’t see Las Vegas fixing these problems, even though Chicago doesn’t exactly inspire a bettor’s confidence.  the Bears did look much better prepared in last week’s game versus Detroit where they jumped out to a 2-touchdown lead early.  While prior results do not guarantee future outcomes, I’m willing to bet on Chicago getting more than a field goal in the first half under the presumption the first 30 minutes of this game will be close before Las Vegas makes adjustments and pulls away in the second half.

Game:  Cleveland +2.5 vs. LA Chargers

Several trends favor the Browns.  I’m not solely locked into trends as a handicapping tool, but they can’t be dismissed either.  I really liked what I saw from Cleveland last week, beating Minnesota 14-7 on the road.  The Browns didn’t play well and the stats didn’t look good in the box score.  But that’s the sign of a strong team, when one aspect of the team fails, another picks up its game.  The Browns have a shot to prove they’re among the AFC’s best teams with a win here, and they’re getting the Chargers in a bad spot.  LA comes off their biggest home win since the relocation versus a division rival, and now faces a better team.  I’ll take the Browns to take some momentum out of the Chargers with a small upset here.

Total:  San Francisco / Arizona OVER 49.5

I’m surprised this total isn’t higher, especially given how the Cardinals are 4-0 to the OVER and are scoring points at will.  Arizona has posted 38, 37, 33, and 31 points in its four games.  I don’t see the number declining here at home, particularly the way the Cards ripped apart the Rams in a division matchup last week.  San Francisco’s defense has allowed 28, 30, 33, and 11 (to the Eagles) in its four games, which doesn’t bode well for slowing down the Cardinals.  Arizona has a tendency to get up on the scoreboard and then get lax on defense since they’ve enjoyed the lead in most all of their games.  Obviously, a concern is the 49ers QB.  Trey Lance will likely be under, who may be the future for the 49ers but this will be his first game.  I see the line dropping to 49.5 as an overreaction.  Cardinals will build a lead and then look for Lance to produce some trash points.  I’m betting the OVER.

First Half:  Buffalo +2 vs. Kansas City

First Half Team Total:  Buffalo OVER 13.5 (+105)

First Quarter:  Buffalo +1 (-130)

First Quarter Team Total:  Buffalo OVER 5.5 (-115)

The Bills have been an outstanding first-half team, and the Chiefs have not.  In fact, dating back to last season the Chiefs have developed a reputation for starting off slow but finishing games with a flurry.  Buffalo, which has consistently been among the NFL’s best teams in the first half scoring-wise is 3rd in the NFL this season, averaging 17 PPG (1H).  Defensively, the Bills are #1, allowing only 4 PPG (1H).  Meanwhile, the Chiefs defense has been among the NFL’s worst in the opening two quarters, ranked 29th in the NFL this season, allowing 16 PPG (1H).   All of these factors, plus the fact we are GETTING POINTS in both the first quarter and the first half with the possibly hungrier team with something to prove strikes me as the best bet on the board.  I suggest a combination of all of the above.

Teaser:  Dallas -1 (vs. NY Giants) / Baltimore -1 (vs. Indianapolis) —

Both home teams are 3-1 and look far superior to their opponents.  I especially like the fact the underdogs in both games won in upsets last week and must stay on the road again, typically not a favorable situation for a repeat.  Dallas is improving with each week, and scoring plenty of points.  I don’t see how the Giants, who pulled out a gutsy win at New Orleans in Week 4 can duplicate that effort here.  Dallas has also played well recently versus the Giants at home, so teasing the -7 down to -1 looks like the way to go.  The MNF game features Baltimore hosting a beat-up Colts team that won at Miami last week, despite missing several starters.   The Ravens, rolling along with 3-straight victories after stumbling on the road in the MNF opener, should get the W here in front of the home crowd.  Ravens teased from -7 to -1 looks like free money.

THIS WEEK’S BETS:

Game:  Atlanta -2.5 vs. NY Jets

Game:  Miami +10 vs. Tampa Bay

First Half:  Miami +6.5 vs. Tampa Bay

Total:  Washington/New Orleans OVER 43.5

First Half:  Chicago +3.5 vs. Las Vegas

Game:  Cleveland +2.5 vs. LA Chargers

First Half:  Buffalo +2 vs. Kansas City [BEST BET]

First Half Team Total:  Buffalo OVER 13.5 (+105) [BEST BET]

First Quarter:  Buffalo +1 (-130)

First Quarter Team Total:  Buffalo OVER 5.5 (-115)

Total:  San Francisco / Arizona OVER 49.5

Teaser:  Dallas -1 (vs. NY Giants) / Baltimore -1 (vs. Indianapolis)