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Betting Against the Spread: NFL Picks For Week 5


I'm feeling good about my NFL selections right now as we haven't given out a loser the last two weeks. Now that's not going to last so play these next few at your own risk. As the season continues on, more and more plays will be situation-based. These teams have some awful scheduling spots and you have to take advantage of them no matter how bad the team is that you are wagering on. Week 5 is upon us so let's give some more winners. 

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Record: 10-3-1 (4-0 last week)

Buffalo Bills (2-2) at Tennessee Titans (1-2)

The Titans are coming off a bye, which might have been useful after their tough Week 3 loss to the Colts at home. Marcus Mariota has been impressive, but is going to get his first test against a real good defense. Buffalo has held all of its opponents to under 105 yards rushing and three of them to under 300 yards passing. Tennessee's defense has played well too as no one has thrown for more then 250 yards against it. Buffalo is going to be on its third starting running back most likely and could be without Sammy Watkins again. Buffalo has played 21 unders in its last 36 games including 10 of its last 16 in games with a line between +3 and -3. SELECTION: Under 42

Chicago Bears (1-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-3)

Quick quiz for the reader... which defense do you think allows more yards per game? It's not who you think it is because the answer is the Chiefs. The perception is that the Bears' defense is bad, but if you look at the numbers, that's not quite the case. KC has given up 397 yards per game while the Bears allow 309. Jay Cutler is healthy, which means that Matt Forte becomes a more viable weapon. There is a chance Alshon Jeffery plays and that means Chicago will be able to move the ball. On the opposite side, we may see the second straight week of Alex Smith blowing up. He threw for 348 yards in Cincinnati and could do the same against the Bears. While the numbers don't make Chicago look bad, they really aren't that good. The Bears have played in 22 overs in their last 35 including 15 of their last 24 as an underdog. Wait a little longer and you may get good value. SELECTION: Over 44.5

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Seattle Seahawks (2-2) at Cincinnati Bengals (4-0)

Couple of situations in play here as Seattle comes to Cincinnati. The Seahawks are coming east off a short week after a win where they weren't that impressive offensively. They lost their first two road games at St. Louis and Green Bay and have a home game on the next Sunday against Carolina. The Bengals are rolling right now, and really don't have a look-ahead situation as Buffalo is next. Cincy is running it well and has multiple weapons on the outside. Russell Wilson has been on the run all year so far and will continue to be with this stout front seven. The Bengals have covered in 14 of their last 18 home games. In a quirky statistic, Seattle has failed to cover in eight of its last 10 games in Weeks 5 through 9. SELECTION: Cincinnati ML -157

San Francisco 49ers (1-3) at New York Giants (3-1)

NBC's "Sunday Night Football" features a matchup that probably looked better before the season began. The 49ers are a lost group offensively right now, scoring just 10 points in their last two games since they put up 38 in their first two. Colin Kaepernick has thrown for just 172 yards on 22-of-44 passing. Carlos Hyde was a revelation in Week 1 and is now relegated to mop-up work. The Giants' defense has played well against the run, not allowing a single team to go over 100 yards on the ground. San Fran's defense hasn't played too badly, holding the Packers to 17 points last time out. The Giants have struggled to run the ball so they'll look to the air in order to beat the Niners. San Fran has played 23 unders in its last 39 games including 19 of their last 30 against the rest of the NFC. SELECTION: Under 43


- Unlike a lot of handicappers, I don't feel the need or any pressure to bet the big games. Thursday night is an intriguing matchup between the Texans and the Colts. It doesn't appear now that Andrew Luck will play, so Indianapolis' QB situation is anything but a sure thing at this point. Money is pouring in on Houston making the Texans the favorite as of the publishing of this article. Houston's defense has good numbers, but hasn't been the shut-down unit we thought they'd be outside of the win over Tampa Bay. Indy has the uglier numbers on the defensive side, but has allowed almost four fewer points per game. Unofficially, I'd take the under in this one because Ryan Mallett can't take advantage of a shaky Colts defense. 

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- The Lions are winless this season and have to be reeling after the officials stole a potential victory from them. This is a huge red flag for me in considering them as a wager because it's a short week and you know focus could be an issue. Arizona comes to Detroit on Sunday and the Cardinals have three of their next four on the road. The run defense for the Cardinals has been shaky, but Detroit hasn't managed more then 70 yards on the ground in a single game. Arizona has covered in 15 of their last 23 in a dome. I couldn't decide if desperation wins or the better team so we moved on. If you are taking Detroit, then you are hoping there is no Monday night hangover and they take advantage of the Cards. 

- We'll see if an early bye can slow down the Patriots who are averaging nearly 40 points per game this season. Also of note are the 2015 debuts of Greg Hardy and Rolando McClain for Dallas. Who knows how long they will go, but that will help the Cowboys front seven. Dallas has covered only eight of its last 19 home games. Money is coming in on the Patriots. If it goes a lot higher, then the home underdog might become the play. 

- ESPN's "Monday Night Football" was real close to featuring an official play. Michael Vick gets more time to prepare for this one after the quick Sunday-Thursday turnaround for the Ravens game. The Steelers' offense gets Martavis Bryant back, but can Vick get him the ball. San Diego's two best offensive outputs have come at home. The Chargers will try to run the ball on the Pittsburgh defense, but ultimately it will be a Philip Rivers game. The Chargers have covered just six of their last 14 games as a favorite. I really wanted to take the home team, but something doesn't seem right about this one.

— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.