The best bets, odds and gambling advice for NFL Week 5.
Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5)
The Eagles continue to trend favorably, having covered in five of their last seven games, while the Cardinals have failed to cover in four of their last five.
Philly’s offense, led by Carson Wentz, has shredded opposing defensive units this year, ranking in the top 10 in scoring, yards per game, and time of possession. They’ll face a flawed Arizona squad that features a middle-of-the-road defense (8th by YPG) whose numbers are slightly inflated owing to the weak offenses of the Colts and 49ers.
The Cardinals’ aerial attack is their only saving grace (second by YPG), and they do draw a favorable matchup with the Eagles pass stoppers (30th by YPG). However, their moribund ground game may have a hard time keeping Philly’s defense honest, as the mismatch is just as stark as the one in the passing department (worst run attack by YPG against the NFL’s third-best run-stopping unit).
The Eagles should fly by the Cardinals and boost their record to 4-1.
The pick: Eagles -6.5
Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals (-3)
Andy Dalton and the Bengals took care of business against the woeful Browns last week, but they’re in for a serious challenge hosting the Bills this week.
Buffalo’s defense leads the league in PPG allowed (13.5) and is second in opponent passer rating (64.1). They’ve been just as stingy on the road as they’ve been at home, as they allowed just 17 points to the Falcons’ offense in Atlanta last week.
LeSean McCoy should be able to run the ball effectively for the Bills against Cincinnati’s 18th-ranked run stoppers, which would help Buffalo win the time of possession battle. Turnovers could be a factor in what’s likely to be a low-scoring contest, and the Bills have a significant advantage there. Buffalo’s turnover ratio is plus-6 through four games, while Cincinnati’s is minus-5.
The pick: Bills +3
Minnesota Vikings (-3) at Chicago Bears
Second overall pick Mitchell Trubisky will be thrown to the wolves by the Chicago Bears on Monday night.
The Vikings’ second-best pass prevention squad from last season seems vulnerable this year (24th by YPG through four games), but three of their four games have been in domes against the likes of Drew Brees and Matt Stafford. Additionally, Minnesota’s defense has been adept at stopping big plays, allowing just nine passes of 20 or more yards through four games. By contrast, the Bears have completed an embarrassingly-low four passes of 20 or more yards. Chicago has relied on a stout rushing attack led by Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen, but they should be stifled by the Vikings’ third-ranked rush defense.
Assuming Case Keenum is still under center, he’ll have the benefit of adding wideout Michael Floyd, back after serving a suspension, to his arsenal. The Vikings were already sixth-best in yards per play before adding this down-field threat. And although Dalvin Cook was lost for the season with an ACL tear, Latavius Murray should pick up the slack in the backfield.
Minnesota is the best bet of the week.
The pick: Vikings -3
Best of the rest (picks in bold)
Tennessee Titans (-3) at Miami Dolphins
Carolina Panthers at Detroit Lions (-2.5)
Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers (-8.5)
New York Jets at Cleveland Browns (-1)
Los Angeles Chargers at New York Giants (-4)
San Francisco 49ers at Indianapolis Colts (-1.5)
Baltimore Ravens at Oakland Raiders (-2.5)
Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams (-1)
Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys (-2)
Kansas City Chiefs (-1) at Houston Texans