Bet Chargers to Cover vs. Jets for Week 5 NFL Picks

Jason Lake

Thursday, October 2, 2014 2:31 PM UTC

Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014 2:31 PM UTC

After four games, the San Diego Chargers are perfect against the football odds. The New York Jets have yet to cash in. That’s not quite all you need to know about Sunday’s matchup, but it’s a big part of the story.

Jason’s Record After Week 4: 12-14 ATS, 5-4-1 Totals

Profit: minus-5.6 units


There was a time when people thought very highly of Geno Smith. He was the Big Man on Campus at West Virginia, putting up ridiculous QB numbers under head coach Dana Holgorsen and leading the Mountaineers to a 70-33 win (!) over Clemson at the 2012 Orange Bowl. If the movie had stopped right there, everyone would have gone home happy.

Alas, here we are in 2014, and Smith is on the verge of losing his job. His New York Jets are 1-3 SU and 0-3-1 ATS; fans are openly calling for Michael Vick to replace Smith in the starting lineup, and if the Jets don’t come out firing this Sunday (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS) when they visit the San Diego Chargers, we might even see Vick start the second half. Maybe that explains why over half the action (54.6 percent at press time) has been on New York as a 7-point road dog on the Week 5 NFL lines.


A View to Kalil
You could make an argument that the Jets are worthy “buy low” candidates in this situation. We’d be recommending them in a heartbeat if Vick (86.5 passer rating, 8.5 yards per carry last year in Philly) had already been tabbed to replace Smith (75.1 passer rating, 3.7 yards per carry this year). We’re not saying that the Jets should make the change, only that it would make them an easy pick this week – just like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were an easy pick last week with Mike Glennon replacing Josh McCown.

But if you buy into the idea that Vick could replace Smith at halftime, then you may have a chance to realize your equity, as they say in poker. If you bet on New York and Smith plays well on Sunday, it’s a moot point – you got a good game out of your quarterback position. If Smith doesn’t play well and Vick takes over, at least you have a better chance of getting a good half out of your QBs.

Otherwise, it’s hard to justify calling the Jets a live dog going into San Diego’s yard. It isn’t just Smith that should concern football betting fans: The Gang Green defense has fallen to No. 17 on the DVOA charts (No. 16 pass, No. 10 rush) at Football Outsiders, and minus-5.2 SRS over at Pro Football Reference. And while New York’s special teams are a respectable No. 11 in efficiency, they’re not getting much from the return game, especially on punts. A yard is a yard is a yard.


Eat Your Greens
Having said that, we’re not about to bet the farm on San Diego. Although the Chargers are a shiny 4-0 ATS, they’ve got injuries to worry about. You’ve probably heard already about the running game, where Ryan Mathews (knee) and Danny Woodhead (ankle) are both out of commission, leaving Donald Brown (2.0 yards per carry) and Branden Oliver (2.8 yards per carry) holding the ball. But we’re also worried about CB Shareece Wright (sprained MCL) and his status in a banged-up secondary.

Fortunately for us, our fears have been assuaged by the NFL betting lines. There’s been enough early money on the Jets to move the spread to 6.5 points at about half the online sportsbooks on our Week 5 NFL odds board. That’s a very welcome move off the magic number seven. Dial us up for our standard Kelly criterion-based 1.4 units, and may the prolate spheroid be with you and your NFL pick.


The Five Stars
Injuries/Suspensions/Travel/Rest: NYJ

Defense/Special Teams: SD

Coaching: NYJ

Market Bias: SD

Betting Line Value: SD

Verdict: 1-star pick on SD

Free NFL Pick: Bet 1.4 units on the Chargers –6.5 (–105) at Intertops

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