Four weeks isn’t long enough to see meaningful NFL trends, but we are starting to get a sense of the league’s contenders and pretenders. The New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers are unbeaten, while the only thing the woeful Miami Dolphins will contend for is the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL draft.

The Dolphins are the only team 0-4 against the spread this season, but their Week 5 bye ensures we will have to wait to see if that changes. The New York Jets, Los Angeles Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, Washington Redskins and Baltimore Ravens each have a 1-3 record against the spread, with the Ravens likely to add another loss to their sports betting ledger.

Here is how we expect the Week 5 games to shake out, starting with three prime picks against the consensus point spreads (as of Thursday morning) from multiple sports books in Las Vegas.

Baltimore Ravens (-3½) at Pittsburgh Steelers

Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers +3½

Baltimore’s defense is suspect. The Ravens have forced opponents to go three-and-out just 21 percent of the time (ninth worst in the league) and feature a below-average red-zone defense (64 percent conversion rate allowed, also ninth worst). That has led to 2.4 points allowed per drive, the seventh-worst rate in the league.

After adjusting these raw efficiencies for opponents faced, Baltimore has the fourth-worst defense of 2019. Only the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins have been worse, per Football Outsiders. Those teams are a combined 2-10.

Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys (-3½)

Pick: Dallas Cowboys -3½

Wideout Davante Adams (toe) and right tackle Bryan Bulaga (shoulder) could both miss Sunday’s game, two major losses for Green Bay. Adams is currently fourth in the NFL with 378 receiving yards, with 180 of those coming last Thursday against the Philadelphia Eagles. Bulaga has yet to allow a sack this season and has been the 11th-best right tackle in 2019, per the game charters at Pro Football Focus.

Plus, the Packers’ defense is allowing an average of almost three more expected points per game on rushing plays this season after taking into account the down, distance and field position of each rushing attempt against them.

Chicago Bears (-5½) at Oakland Raiders

Pick: Oakland Raiders +5½

Chicago’s quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky, has a dislocated left shoulder with a slight labrum tear and is unlikely to play Sunday against the Raiders. In his stead will be Chase Daniel, a 10-year journeyman who has only once thrown for more than one touchdown in a game. He has just five touchdown passes over 184 career passing attempts.


The three games above represent our best plays of the week because our analysis shows the point spreads are the most divergent from what we expect to happen once the teams take the field. Below are picks for the other games on this week’s schedule. However, trying to pick every single NFL game is something of a fool’s errand. The house wins so often partly because bettors try to make too many plays when the odds aren’t in their favor. Keep that in mind when evaluating the remaining games from the Week 5 slate.

Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks (-1½)

Pick: Seattle Seahawks -1½

Jacksonville Jaguars at Carolina Panthers (-3½)

Pick: Carolina Panthers -3½

Arizona Cardinals at Cincinnati Bengals (-3)

Pick: Cincinnati Bengals -3

Atlanta Falcons at Houston Texans (-5)

Pick: Houston Texans -5

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints (-3½)

Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers +3½

Minnesota Vikings (-5½) at New York Giants

Pick: Minnesota Vikings -5½

Buffalo Bills at Tennessee Titans (-3)

Pick: Tennessee Titans -3

New York Jets at Philadelphia Eagles (-13½)

Pick: Philadelphia Eagles -13½

New England Patriots (-15½) at Washington Redskins

Pick: New England Patriots -15½

Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers (-6½)

Pick: Los Angeles Chargers -6½

Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs (-11)

Pick: Kansas City Chiefs -11

Cleveland Browns at San Francisco 49ers (-3½)

Pick: San Francisco 49ers -3½

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