Recreational bettors love to put winning teams in their football picks. They'll have five undefeated teams to choose from when they break their piggy banks this weekend.
Jason's 2015 record as of Oct. 4: 17-8 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 10-13 Total
Like everything else in life, betting on football is as simple or as complicated as you care to make it. But we do a fine job of making everything complicated. It's baked right into our language. We trap ourselves with questions that logically cannot be answered, like “What is the meaning of life?” and “Is there a God?” and “Do these jeans make me look fat?”
We also do a very bad job with verbs – like winning, for example. It's fine to say that the Carolina Panthers have won all four of their football games this year. But if you think that means the Panthers have been outperforming, say, the 2-2 Buffalo Bills, you'd probably be mistaken. That's why contrarian betting can be so profitable when you're putting together your NFL picks every week. Recreational bettors overload on “winners,” and there are five undefeated teams who can expect tons of public action for Week 5.
Put a Tiger in Your Tank
Let's go ahead and list those teams before we proceed, with the games they'll be playing (all of them are Sunday games):
Seattle at Cincinnati* (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX)
Washington at Atlanta* (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX)
St. Louis at Green Bay* (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS)
New England* at Dallas (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS)
Denver* at Oakland (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS)
Alas, the Panthers have the bye this week, so we can't take advantage of the gap between their record and their performance level (–0.3 SRS at Pro-Football Reference). The other five teams have already been drawing truckloads of chalk this year, especially the Patriots and Packers – no big surprise there. Also no surprise to see the Broncos moving up the public money charts after those initial concerns about Peyton Manning's arm.
Cincinnati and Atlanta? They're a bit more surprising, but that's what winning can do for your profile. The Bengals and Falcons have yet to be tripped up by the NFL odds; their success can no longer be ignored, no matter how “small-market” these franchises may be. Everyone loves a winner.
Back to our point, though: Some winners are created better than others. Let's hit up the Simple Rating System again and see what Pro-Football Reference thinks of our five undefeated teams.
New England +18.1 SRS
Green Bay +5.0
Oh dear. Well, the Broncos did need some heroic defense to win the first two games of the season. But apparently the Bengals have been playing at the same level as the 1-3 Philadelphia Eagles (also +6.8 SRS). No doubt the Week 5 DVOA stats at Football Outsiders will disagree, but you get the point. Meanwhile, expect both the sharps and the squares to unload on the Patriots this week. Get in early if you're getting in.