Detroit Lions at New England Patriots: 2022 Week 5 NFL Pick

Detroit Lions (1-3) at New England Patriots (1-3)

Both of these teams are dealing with significant injury problems on offense. For the Patriots, the problem is that they are down to third string quarterback Bailey Zappe, a 4th round rookie and a significant downgrade from normal starter Mac Jones. The Lions, on the other hand, have starting quarterback Jared Goff healthy, but the problem is the sheer quantity of injuries around him on offense. Two of his top-4 wide receivers, DJ Chark and Quintez Cephus, are both out, while the other two are both questionable, with top receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown seeming like a gametime decision at best, getting in just one limited practice on Friday, his first practice time since getting hurt two weeks prior. On top of that, feature back D’Andre Swift is also out.

The Lions still have the better offense than the Patriots, as they would if both teams were healthy, but the Patriots have a much bigger edge on the other side of the ball, with the Lions having arguably the worst defense in the league. Even with a third string quarterback under center, I have the Patriots calculated as 4-point favorites in this game, so we’re getting some line value with them at -3, though not nearly enough for them to be worth betting and if St Brown ends up playing I’ll probably drop all confidence on New England.

Update: St. Brown and fellow wide receiver Josh Reynolds are both playing, so I’ll lower this to no confidence.

New England Patriots 23 Detroit Lions 20

Pick against the spread: New England -3

Confidence: None

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens: 2022 Week 5 NFL Pick

Cincinnati Bengals (2-2) at Baltimore Ravens (2-2)

This is one of the tougher calls of the week. I have the Ravens a couple points better than the Bengals in my roster rankings and they are at home, but being favored by 3.5 points is actually a lot, considering 1 in 4 games are decided by a field goal or less, including 1 in 6 games by exactly a field goal. Because of that, 3.5-point underdogs actually hit more often than any other number, covering the spread at a 53.0% rate all-time, which is actually profitable by itself. The Ravens should be significant favorites in this game, but I’m not sure if they can quite justify being favored by 3.5.

Making matters more complicated, the Ravens have some key players who are questionable. I expect left tackle Ronnie Stanley to play and cornerback Marcus Peters to sit, which is what my roster rankings assume, but neither of those are guaranteed and something unexpected happening with either of those players would have a significant impact on this game. I am taking the Bengals for a no confidence pick for now, mostly just because of how often 3.5-point underdogs cover, but if both Peters and Stanley play, I would probably change my pick to Baltimore and, if both Peters and Stanley are out, I may raise the confidence on Cincinnati.

Baltimore Ravens 34 Cincinnati Bengals 31

Pick against the spread: Cincinnati +3.5

Confidence: None

Las Vegas Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs: 2022 Week 5 NFL Pick

Las Vegas Raiders (1-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (3-1)

The Chiefs are 3-1 and could easily be 4-0 if not for missed makeable kicks and turnovers in a 3-point loss to the Colts, a game in which the Chiefs won the first down rate battle by 5.50% and the yards per play battle by 1.50, which are both significantly more predictive than turnovers or special teams. In terms of overall efficiency, which is based on first down rate and yards per play, the Chiefs rank 5th and my roster rankings have them as the most talented team in the league overall.

The Raiders, meanwhile, are 1-3, but all four of their games could have gone either way and their roster is middling overall. Despite that, they are only 7-point underdogs on the road in Kansas City, so we’re getting some line value with the Chiefs, who I have as 8 points better than the Raiders and 10-point home favorites on my calculated line. That being said, the Chiefs are in a bad spot this week, with a much tougher game against the Bills on deck, so I can’t be confident betting them. They are the right side for pick ‘em purposes though.

Kansas City Chiefs 34 Las Vegas Raiders 24

Pick against the spread: Kansas City -7

Confidence: Low

Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals: 2022 Week 5 NFL Pick

Philadelphia Eagles (4-0) at Arizona Cardinals (2-2)

Coming into the season, I thought the Cardinals were one of the most overrated teams in the league. They went 11-6 last season, but needed a +12 turnover margin to get to that record, which is not predictive, and they ranked just 14th in overall efficiency, barely above average. They also got a lot worse this off-season, losing starting wide receiver Christian Kirk, top edge defender Chandler Jones, top off ball linebacker Jordan Hicks, top cornerback Robert Alford, and their most efficient running back Chase Edmonds, with their only major addition being former Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown, who cost the Cardinals their first round pick in a trade and who isn’t a significant upgrade on Christian Kirk. They’re also without top wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins for the first six games of the season due to a suspension.

The Cardinals have started 2-2, but they have a negative point differential at -15, despite a +4 turnover margin, third best in the league. In terms of overall efficiency, the Cardinals rank 30th, six points below average. My roster rankings don’t have them quite as bad, but they are still a couple points below average. Ordinarily, the Eagles would be an intriguing bet here, even as 5-point favorites on the road, because they are legitimately one of the best teams in the league, but they’ll be without one of their most important players, left tackle Jordan Mailata, and also they could overlook the Cardinals a little bit, with a more important divisional matchup with the Cowboys on deck next week. I’m still taking the Eagles for pick ‘em purposes, but they’re not worth betting.

Philadelphia Eagles 27 Arizona Cardinals 20

Pick against the spread: Philadelphia -5

Confidence: Low

Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams: 2022 Week 5 NFL Pick

Dallas Cowboys (3-1) at Los Angeles Rams (2-2)

All seemed lost for the Cowboys when they lost quarterback Dak Prescott for an extended period of time in a week 1 blowout home loss to the Buccaneers, but they’ve since won three straight games and are squarely in the playoff mix in the NFC, with Prescott now seemingly just a week or two away from returning. Backup quarterback Mike White hasn’t been great, leading an offense that ranks 25th in schedule adjusted efficiency, but he hasn’t made big mistakes and the Cowboys’ defense has carried them, ranking 5th in schedule adjusted efficiency. 

The Cowboys are getting healthier, even with Prescott still out, with wide receiver Michael Gallup, tight end Dalton Schultz, left guard Connor McGovern, and safety Jayron Kearse all returning from injury last week, not coincidentally their best performance of the year in a double digit win over the Commanders. Despite that, the Cowboys are still 5.5 point road underdogs in Los Angeles against the Rams this week. 

This is the toughest opponent Cooper Rush and the Cowboys have faced on the road, but the Rams are not the same team as a year ago and may still be a little overrated as defending Super Bowl Champions.The Rams’ big off-season departures were left tackle Andrew Whitworth and edge defender Von Miller, but they also lost right guard Austin Corbett and are now without starting center Brian Allen and his backup Cameron Shelton due to injury, meaning they are down three offensive linemen from a year ago. 

The Rams added Bobby Wagner on defense, which somewhat offsets the loss of Von Miller, but their attempt to replace wide receiver Odell Beckham with free agent acquisition Allen Robinson has not gone well, with Robinson continuing to struggle after a down final year in Chicago in 2021, which, coupled with their offensive line problems, have caused significant issues on the Rams’ offense. I have the Rams calculated as just 3-point home favorites over the Cowboys, so we’re getting some decent line value with the Cowboys at +5.5. It’s not enough for them to be worth betting, but they should be the right side for pick ‘em purposes.

Los Angeles Rams 20 Dallas Cowboys 17

Pick against the spread: Dallas +5.5

Confidence: Low

Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars: 2022 Week 5 NFL Pick

Houston Texans (0-3-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2)

Last week, I said the Jaguars were overrated as 6.5-point underdogs in Philadelphia and this week I think they are overrated as 7-point home favorites against the Texans. The Jaguars jumped out to a 2-1 start to this season, but they caught the Chargers and Colts when they were missing key players with injuries and lost to the Commanders, who are otherwise winless. They also have a roster that, while not as bad as a year ago, is still middling at best and, as a result, they don’t deserve to be favored by this many points against a Texans team that is also more competitive than a year ago, even if they don’t have their first win yet. My calculated line has the Jaguars favored by just 4.5, so we’re getting good line value with the visitors. There isn’t quite enough here for the Texans to be worth betting, but they should be the right side for pick ‘em purposes.

Jacksonville Jaguars 24 Houston Texans 20

Pick against the spread: Houston +7

Confidence: Low

Seattle Seahawks at New Orleans Saints: 2022 Week 5 NFL Pick

Seattle Seahawks (2-2) at New Orleans Saints (1-3)

The Saints are just 1-3, but they’ve faced a relatively tough schedule and have the league’s worst turnover margin at -7, which is not predictive week-to-week. In terms of schedule adjusted overall efficiency, which takes into account strength of schedule and is based on yards per play and first down rate, two stats are much more predictive week-to-week, the Saints rank 11th on the season. That suggests they have a good chance to bounce back going forward. They’re also healthier this week, with safety Marcus Maye, guard Andrus Peat, and Alvin Kamara all returning after missing last week’s game.

However, the Saints are still missing top wide receiver Michael Thomas and are starting backup quarterback Andy Dalton, which is a concern even if he is one of the better backup quarterbacks in the league. Even with Dalton starting and Thomas out, I thought we might still get some good line value with the Saints this week, but they are 5-point favorites against the Seahawks. My calculated line has them as 6.5-point favorites, so we are getting some line value with them, but it’s not a significant amount and it’s hard to get excited about betting the Saints at this number without their starting quarterback and top wide receiver. The Saints are my pick, but for pick ’em purposes only.

New Orleans Saints 27 Seattle Seahawks 20

Pick against the spread: New Orleans -5

Confidence: Low

Tennessee Titans at Washington Commanders: 2022 Week 5 NFL Pick

Tennessee Titans (2-2) at Washington Commanders (1-3)

These two teams are similar in some ways. Both teams entered the year without top edge defenders, Harold Landry for the Titans and Chase Young for the Commanders. Both teams have gotten off to underwhelming starts to the season, with the Titans and Commanders ranking 25th and 21st in schedule adjusted efficiency respectively. And both teams have also been further handicapped by injuries, with the Commanders losing a pair of starting offensive linemen Chase Rouiller and Samuel Cosmi and starting wide receiver Jahar Dotson and the Titans losing starting wide receiver Treylon Burks, starting left tackle Taylor Lewan, top linebacker Zach Cunningham, starting edge defender Bud Dupree, and starting safety Amani Hooker.

Despite that and the fact that this game is in Washington, the Titans are the ones favored in this game. Even if only by a couple points, we’re getting good line value with the Commanders as underdogs. My calculated line has Washington favored by two points. I would need the full field goal for Washington to be worth betting against the spread, but the money line is a good value at +110 as the Commanders should be favored to win.

Washington Commanders 26 Tennessee Titans 24 Upset Pick +110

Pick against the spread: Washington +2

Confidence: Low

Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2022 Week 5 NFL Pick

Atlanta Falcons (2-2) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2)

Last week Tom Brady lost in a spot in which he hardly ever loses, previously being 36-11 ATS off of a loss unless he is favored by more than a touchdown, but it wasn’t really his fault aside from a sack fumble, as the Buccaneers had a special teams fumble to lose the turnover battle by two, leading to a 41-31 Chiefs win, despite the Buccaneers averaging 6.37 yards per play and a 44.26% first down rate, as opposed to 5.42 and 34.17% for the Chiefs. 

The Buccaneers loss to the Packers the week before wasn’t really Brady’s fault either, as he was missing wide receivers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Julio Jones, as well as left tackle Donovan Smith who have all since returned. Brady hasn’t lost three games in a row since back in 2002, going 9-2 ATS after two straight losses since the start of the 2003 season and it seems unlikely that streak will end this week, given who his opponent is, but covering the spread is far from automatic, as he’ll 10-point home favorites against the Falcons. 

Brady hasn’t been nearly as good at covering the spread after a loss when he’s a big favorite, though we are still getting some line value with the Buccaneers. The Falcons have been a competitive team thus far and have exceeded expectations, but they’ve overachieved their talent level a little and are missing one of their best players Kyle Pitts this week, while the Buccaneers still have one of the most complete rosters in the league when their offensive line and receiving corps are relatively healthy. 

Even with last week’s performance against the Chiefs included, the Buccaneers still rank 3rd in schedule adjusted defensive efficiency and the offense seems likely to catch up at some point, after a slow start due to injury absences. I have them as 10 points better than the Falcons, giving us a calculated line of Tampa Bay -12.5, decent line value, although not enough to bet on it, unless the line happens to drop to 9.5. If that does happen, I would consider a bet on the Buccaneers, even though I don’t love betting on Brady as this big of a favorite.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30 Atlanta Falcons 17

Pick against the spread: Tampa Bay -10

Confidence: Low