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Against The Spread: Sheasby’s Week 5 NFL Best Bets

With four weeks in the books, we’ve seen some crazy stuff in the NFL thus far. Home favorites have been cruising. Trap lines have been the easiest winners. What gives?

When looking at these home favorites, the obvious picks, and there performance, we see a trend that’s reversed 180 degrees from the last few seasons:

Let’s dive into this week’s Best Bets.

Giants vs. Cowboys: Cowboys -9.5 (line found at DraftKings)

The Giants have bamboozled me two weeks in a row. After gritty efforts against the Steelers and the Bears (both losses, of course), they come out and look lifeless against the backups of the San Francisco 49ers. Perhaps they thought the backups would make for an easier game? Could they possibly not have been motivated for that game? 

Fast forward to Week 4: off a blowout loss, playing one of the hottest teams in the league on the road, the west coast, against the LA Rams. The Rams, mind you, were coming off back-to-back games scoring more than 30 points, and were coming off a robbery-of-a-loss against the Buffalo Bills, and thus should have been peak motivation.

Just like the Giants may have overlooked the banged-up-49ers, did the Rams overlook the 0-3 NYG? The game was all sorts of ugly, but nonetheless the Giants kept it close, had a chance to win, ultimately lost, but covered, losing 17-9.

Week 5: Divisional matchup vs. the Cowboys. 

The Cowboys:

  • Won the last 6 matchups against NYG, dating back to 2017
  • Covered the last 6 matchups against NYG, dating back to 2017
  • Have one of their best offenses in years, ranking 3rd in PPG (31.5)
  • Have a defense that leaves a lot to be desired

NYG:

  • O-Eff: 32nd (30th in DAVE, which factors in pre-season expectations)
  • D-Eff: 11th (but 17th in DAVE, which factors in pre-season expectations)

DAL:

  • O-Eff: 6th (in DAVE, which factors in pre-season expectations)
  • D-Eff: 24th

Looking at overall defensive efficiency stats, and DAVE, an efficiency stat that factors in preseason expectations (as four weeks for NFL is a small sample size), the Cowboys have a clear advantage here.

30th and 17th vs. 6th and 24th. A divisional rivalry that DAL has dominated both ATS & SU. 

Give me the Cowboys -9.5, riding the home-favorite-cover train to glory.

Jags vs. Texans, Texans -6 (line found at DraftKings)

A COUP! AN UPRISING! A PLAYER REVOLT!

There is nothing more liberating than betting on a team who just overthrew their coach. The power of the PEOPLE, unifying, making change.

Where does that narrative leave us? A team that was being held down by their ‘leader’, who’s ready to play their style of football, to prove their worth! On top of that, JJ Watt, a man of the people, is dying to reconnect with the fans:

“One of the things I’m excited about right now is hopefully getting on the same page with our fan base again.” Motivation times ten.

(And it seems that perhaps Vegas agrees: -6 is a strong line for a team that has yet to win a game, going against a team that has looked pretty solid).

JAX:

  • O-Eff: 6 (but 23 in DAVE)
  • D-Eff: 32

HOU:

  • O-Eff: 20
  • D-Eff: 25

If there was ever a get right spot for this Houston offense, it’s against the 32nd ranked JAX defense. Combo the fact that the Jags are currently 6th in O-Eff, but 23rd when factoring in preseason expectations, it also seems that we should see a regression from Minshew and co.

I’ll be backing the Texans -6, riding the strength of the line, and there could be a play on the over as well, at 54.

Eagles vs. Steelers, Steelers -7

Let’s start with the Eagles. The Eagles are coming off an ugly first win of the season, defeating the backup and 3rd string QBs of the 49ers. This comes after tying the Bengals (O: 26th; D: 26th), losing to the Rams (fine), and losing to WASHINGTON (O: 32, D: 9). This isn’t a strong resume. This is a cause for alarm. This is another great time to fade the Eagles.

Let’s look at the Eagles positional rankings on offense:

  • QB: 33 out of 33 (worse than Haskins, Darnold, Jones, Trubisky, Mullens, and even Jeff Driskel)
  • RB: 23 out of 34
  • WR: 68/72 out of 76
  • TE: 26/39 out of 41
  • O-Line: 20 out of 32 pass protection

Those stats are terrifying in a vacuum, and now they have to face the #3 ranked Pitts defense, who’s allowed 19.33 points per game so far this season, AND is coming off a COVID-induced BYE week?

The Steelers are not only healthy, but they need to win. In their week off last week, both the Ravens and the Browns won, and as such, all three teams are fighting for a top spot with 3 wins. They have no room for error in this seemingly loaded division, and should absolutely bring it this week.

Steelers:

O-Eff: 9

D-Eff: 3

Eagles:

O-Eff: 27

D-Eff: 10

This Eagles defense has been performing as well as it can be considering the inefficiency of the offense, but nonetheless, this Steelers offense has looked increasingly better week over week

  • Rusty in Week 1 1H, closed out strong vs. the Giants
  • Sloppy game defensively against the Broncos (backup QB, perhaps looked past it), but Ben 300+ yards, Connor 100+ yards, firing.
  • Good win in Week 3 against a talented Texans team (who’s in the gutter, but underrated); Connor 100+ again; Ben 2 TD 0 INT, and this defense allowed ZERO points in the 2H

Steelers -7, ship it!

Jets vs. Cardinals: Cards -7 (line found at DraftKings)

The Jets, the JETS! How can we truly ever trust the Jets?

Fresh off another loss to another terrible team (The Denver Broncos starting their 3rd string QB scored 37 points, including 13 in the 4Q to come back and win), the Jets are now facing a formidable foe in the Arizona Cardinals while missing another key starter: Sam Darnold. 

The question I ask myself – can things get any worse without Sam? Is Joe an upgrade? Does it matter?

In short: Sam to Joe seems to be a wash, as the issues around them both is what is truly troubling. 

NYJ Rankings:

O-Eff: 28th

D-Eff: 10th

The good news: 

  • Bills, #22
  • 49ers, #6
  • Colts, #1
  • Broncos, #12

It makes sense they couldn’t score against the 49ers or the Colts. I would have liked for them to score more against Buffalo (a game they backdoor-covered on the final drive), but I also don’t want to put too much weight into Week 1 without a pre-season.

28th and 10th vs. 25th and 19th. Those efficiency numbers make me think that a full touchdown simply might be too much. 

Alas, Joe Flacco + Adam Gase. I HAVE to lean towards the Cardinals here. I can’t in good faith bet on Joe Flacco in his first start on a team led by Adam Gase, especially against a Cardinals team off back-to-back losses, most likely in desperation mode to get back in the Win column.

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