NFL Best Bets
Last week was a good week for my best bets, winning two out of three to bring the season total to 7-4-1, 62.5%. The one loss was my Raiders pick, but in fairness, at the time of publication, it looked like Jimmy Garoppolo would be playing. I believe they would have won that game if he had played. But there’s no crying in football and there’s no refunds in Vegas.
Over the first four weeks of the season, away teams are performing very well against the spread. Away underdogs are winning 54.29% of the time, while away favorites are winning at a 58.3% pace. We saw this trend through all of last season and it look like betting on the away teams will continue to be a profitable strategy again this year.
Click Here to see all NFL Picks from Doug Burrell and the Gridiron Experts Staff for week 5.
Last week was a down week for the betting model, but it’s still doing very well for the year. I’m tracking the results each week to see where it excels and where it can be improved. Keep in mind, I don’t recommend blindly following the model’s picks. It’s a valuable tool to find edges and value in Vegas lines, but the human element in wagering cannot be underestimated.
Here are the model’s records after 4 weeks:
- Straight up: 44-14 , 75.9%
- ATS: 36-24-3, 59.5%
- Moneyline: 33-30, 52.4%
- Over/Under: 36-25-1, 58.9%
Week 5 Best Bets
As I mentioned earlier, road teams are winning at a high rate against the spread. I’m not a big trends guy, but there’s too much data to ignore the value in picking road teams. I’m choosing three road teams this week, all underdogs in their matchups. I could make a case to include Kansas City -3.5 at Minnesota, but I would feel better about it if the line were -3, so I’m leaving them off. You can consider it a free “bonus bet” this week.
Jets +2.5 at Broncos
The Jets are entering their fifth straight game as underdogs. They are on a three-game losing streak, making this a critical game if they want to stay in the playoff hunt. The Broncos, on the other hand, are facing their own challenges. They rank third-worst in point differential and are off to a very disappointing start to the Sean Payton era. Speaking of Payton, the Jets have not forgotten the remarks he made about Nathaniel Hackett in the preseason, saying he did “one of the worst coaching jobs in the history of the NFL.” If New York needed any extra motivation, that provided it.
Neither offense has been impressive, but the Jets have been plain awful with Zach Wilson behind center. Until last week, that is, when Wilson channeled Aaron Rodgers and actually out-played Patrick Mahomes in their loss to Kansas City. Will this be the spark that ignites Wilson’s career? I don’t know, but I think it gives him enough confidence for him to throw the ball downfield and trust his receivers to make plays. If Wilson can be competent, at worst, the Jets defense should contain the Broncos enough to pull out a narrow victory in what should be a low scoring game.
I think this spread should be closer to even odds and I would be surprised if it doesn’t tighten before kickoff. As long as it stays at +2 or higher for the Jets, I like their chances.
Cowboys +3.5 at 49ers
This is the most anticipated game of the season, so far. Both teams are among the top Super Bowl favorites and last met in the playoffs last year with the 49ers coming out on top. Statistically speaking, Dallas has the second ranked defense in the league, but they do have some vulnerabilities, as shown by their Week 3 loss to Arizona. They’re giving up over 100 yards per game on the ground, so Christian McCaffrey, who leads the league in rushing yards and touchdowns, could be a headache for them all day. Their passing defense, however, is very strong, holding opposing quarterbacks to a league-low 55.2 QBR. They have the second-highest sack percentage in the league and they average 2.5 takeaways per game. This will be a real test for young Brock Purdy, who hasn’t been tested much this year.
It looks like Tyron Smith will be available for the Cowboys, which will be a big boost to their offensive line. They will need to protect Dak Prescott and be able to establish a ground game in order to win. The Dallas offense hasn’t been bad, except in the red zone, where they rank 30th in touchdown percentage. The have an opportunity to fix that against the 49ers, whose weakness has been stopping red zone touchdowns.
The public is favoring San Francisco heavily, with 80% of the cash on them to cover. I do have them as the top team in my power rankings, but the Cowboys are a close third. I think the perception of their team changed when they lost to the Cardinals, but I’m betting not much changed, in reality. At +3.5, I think Dallas is a good bet.
Packers +1 at Raiders
This game has seen a significant shift in the point spread, going from Packers -1 to +1. I was considering this game earlier in the week when the Packers were favored, but I would jump on it now with them as the underdog. The public is pretty even on this one, but I think these are two teams going in different directions and that doesn’t favor the Raiders.
The Packers offense has been efficient with Jordan Love. The rank seventh in points per play and fourth in red zone touchdown percentage. In contrast, Las Vegas is 24th in both categories. Green Bay’s biggest advantage is in their run game. Aaron Jones is back and healthy and should have a field day against the Raiders weak run defense.
Ultimately, I think the key to this game will be turnovers. Vegas is dead last in turnover margin and the Packers offense is good enough to capitalize on turnovers. I think Green Bay is an underrated team and I believe they will win this game outright. Even if the line moves back to -1 for the Packers, they would still be my pick here.
Doug Burrell finished 2022 as Fantasy Nerd’s Most Accurate Expert in NFL Picks and Tallysight’s #1 ranked expert Against the Spread Expert out of 200+ experts. He is a veteran, a runner and an avid fantasy sports enthusiast since 1999. You can reach him on Twitter @dougwburrell.
Doug is a veteran, an avid runner, and works as a copywriter. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and three dogs. You can reach him on Twitter @dougwburrell.