Here is a 5-Pack of NFL value plays for this Sunday to build your bankroll on Week 5, highlighted by the late afternoon matchup between the New York Jets and San Diego Chargers.
Our great start to the 2014 NFL season continued when we cashed the Kansas City Chiefs both ATS and on the Money Line Monday night, bringing us to a terrific 25-13, +12.96 YTD! Hopefully we still have more than enough good fortune left as we head into Week 5, as just like every week for the rest of the regular season, we are back again with another of our customary Friday 5-Packs of NFL picks.
Week 5 actually began on Thursday, but it was not much of a contest with the Green Bay Packers destroying the Minnesota Vikings, who were without Teddy Bridgewater, 42-10. Bridgewater was terrific in his first NFL start last week, but he sprained his ankle late in the game and the Vikings were forced to start the inept Christian Ponder with Thursday’s contest coming just four days later. The teams went ‘over’ the closing total of 46½.
Moving on to Sunday, just like last week we again have four sides and one total. And in keeping with out normal nature this week, all four sides are underdogs and the one total is an ‘under’. As has become the custom for us, all NFL odds come from Pinnacle Sports.
Sunday, October 5th
St. Louis Rams, Philadelphia Eagles ‘under’ 47½ (-103) (1:00 ET): The Eagles are playing their second straight game vs. a team from the brutally tough NFC West, and they did not score a single offensive touchdown in a 26-21 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, as their three scores came on a blocked punt, an interception return and a punt return. Chip Kelly’s famed fast-break offense could not do anything vs. a tough, physical defense totaling only 213 yards and 11 first downs, and while they are returning home for this game, the St. Louis defense is nothing to scoff at either, especially against the pass. The Rams lead the NFL in passing defense allowing just 184.0 passing yards per game, but they are 30th against the run right now yielding 155.4 yards per game on the ground, so the Eagles may have a run-heavy game plan in place here to try and get the slumping LeSean McCoy (2.7 yards per carry) on track. If he continues to struggle, Philadelphia may have trouble scoring, and if he breaks out, the Eagles should have time-consuming drives. Either of those scenarios would be conducive to the ‘under’. As for the Rams’ offense, they have now committed to Austin Davis as the starting quarterback for the rest of the season. Davis lacks the body of work though to prove that his 327-yard passing performance vs. the Dallas Cowboys two weeks ago was not just an aberration, and if he is unable to duplicate that performance, the Rams are only 22nd in the NFL in rushing.
Houston Texans +6½ (+100) over Dallas Cowboys (1:00 ET): The Cowboys have surprisingly now won three straight game following an upset of the New Orleans Saints on Sunday night, but that may have served to make an already very popular team even more overvalued, as this game has been bet all the way up to Dallas -6½ after opening up at Dallas -4. Have people forgotten that the Cowboys were supposed to be an 8-8 team at best this year with a defense supposedly not all that improved from a unit that posted some of the very worst numbers in NFL history last year? And the fact of the matter is that the Dallas defense has really not been that great ranking 25th in the NFL in total defense allowing 379.7 yards per game on a poor 5.0 yards per rush and a below average 7.6 yards per pass. The Cowboys have been riding their eighth ranked total offense led by the leading rusher in the NFL in Demarco Murray. Sure Murray can have continued success vs. a Houston defense that has surprising struggled against the run, and he may have to with the Texans allowing only 6.3 yards per pass attempt with J.J. Watt terrorizing opposing quarterbacks. But even a mediocre quarterback like Ryan Fitzpatrick is capable of moving the chains against this Dallas defense with his good receiving duo of Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins. And finally, let us not forget that Dallas could easily be looking past this game with matchups vs. the Seattle Seahawks and New York Giants up next.
Baltimore Ravens +3½ (-113) over Indianapolis Colts (1:00 ET): Since opening up with a home loss vs. the Cincinnati Bengals, a loss that does not look so bad right now with the Bengals being one of the just two remaining undefeated NFL teams, the Ravens have since won three straight games both straight up and ATS, and while making it four straight win may not be easy, we see value in getting the hook on the field goal ATS in this spot. The Baltimore offense has been much more balanced than the offense last season that ranked dead last in the league in yards per rushing attempt, as while Baltimore does not have one true go-to running back, their trio of backs have accumulated 133.7 rushing yards per game, which is sixth best in the NFL, on a very good 4.5 yards per carry. That has allowed Joe Flacco to succeed through the air, such as his 327-yard passing performance vs. a supposedly good Carolina Panthers defense last week. The Ravens should have continued success vs. an Indianapolis team allowing 4.4 yards per rush and 7.6 yards per pass while applying no pressure on the quarterback with Robert Mathis out. Now we love Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck, but he well have to go it alone here as the Colts continue to feature the ineffective Trent Richardson at running back over the superior Ahmad Bradshaw, and the Ravens are only yielding 84.0 rushing yards per game on 3.4 yards per rush while applying nice pressure on the quarterback. The shaky Colts’ offensive line does not help matters.
Jacksonville Jaguars +6 (-106) over Pittsburgh Steelers (1:00 ET): The Jaguars are 0-4 both straight up and ATS, and yet they are probably our favorite play this week, although we were fortunate enough to snatch up +7 earlier on. Still, we feel the Jags remain playable at +6 vs. a Pittsburgh team that has not merited this much road favoritism with its play. In fact, records aside, Jacksonville may actually have the edge in the trenches here on both sides of the ball! The Steelers were absolutely stunned by the previously winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week at home, and a key reason was the ineffectiveness of an offensive line that yielded five sacks, and Ben Roethlisberger was actually hit many more times than that. The strength of the Jacksonville defense is the defensive line, so it could be another long day for Big Ben. Conversely, Pittsburgh has not had any pass rush to speak of all year, which is music to the ears of Jacksonville rookie QB Blake Bortles. The Jags have looked much better offensively since Bortles took over in the second half vs. the Colts two weeks ago, when he passed for 223 yards and ran for another 30 in just one half. Then Bortles performed with the poise of a veteran in his first NFL start on the road vs. a good team in the San Diego Chargers last week, completing 29-of-37 passes for 254 yards and again showing his mobility with 24 rushing yards on five rushes. And that was probably vs. more pressure than he will face here.
New York Jets +6½ (-102) over San Diego Chargers (4:25 ET): Let’s see, the Chargers are 3-1 with the loss being by one point at undefeated Arizona on Kickoff Weekend, the Jets are 1-3 with the only win being vs. a horrible Oakland team also in Week 1, San Diego is home here and the spread is less than a touchdown? Oh and did we mention that the Chargers are 4-0 ATS and the Jets are 0-3-1 ATS? Welcome to the NFL, where things are not always as they seem! You see, two things that the Jets do well is run the ball offensively and stop the run defensively. In fact, New York is second in the league in rushing offense with 151.0 yards per game on a hearty 4.9 yards per carry, and it leads the NFL in rushing defense allowing just 63.2 rushing yards per contest on a scant 3.0 yards per rush. The Jets should be able to utilize both of those strengths to hang in this game, and even an outright stunner does not seem beyond reason as long as Geno Smith does not turn the ball over vs. a good San Diego secondary. The chances of that happening lessens though with every New York carry, and the Jets should be able to control Time of Possession here with their excellent running game vs. a San Diego run defense allowing 4.5 yards per carry. Meanwhile the Jets should have no trouble stopping what has been an almost non-existent Chargers’ running game since Ryan Matthews went down, thus turning San Diego into a totally one-dimensional passing offense. Yes that is dangerous with Philip Rivers under center, but the Jets have competent pass rushers to pressure him in Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Quinton Coples.