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NFL Week 5 Predictions
A betting mentor once told me that the key to wagering success is being able to zig when everyone else zags. Profound stuff, but the idea of playing "against the public" has worked for many a sharp. Ultimately, the matchups and circumstances of the game have to inform your betting opinions, but I'm find plenty of "zig" in my plays and thinking this week.
New England at Tampa Bay (Thursday, 8:25 PM ET)
So the Patriots (2-2) are struggling and its because of their defense.
That's the truth and its the narrative from every major media outlet that covers NFL football heading into this Thursday night showdown against the Bucs. On the flip side, the Pats offense has been its usual high-scoring self and Tampa Bay has a potent offense of its own led by QB Jameis Winston.
All these things should equal an offensive explosion, right? Well the truth is, nothing lasts forever and the Patriots defense simply will not continue to play as poorly as it has - at least not with Belichick roaming the sidelines. The Pats are giving up 32 pionts a game and 456.8 yards.
As bad as those numbers are, this total is still too high.
Even if there's no marked improvement defensively, I look for a quicker tempo in this game with both teams leaning more towards the run than usual. 54 is a bunch of points and I like the group-think mentality bettors are likely bringing into this game.
BABB's PICK: Under 54 Total
Buffalo at Cincinnati (Sunday, 1:00 PM ET)
It's hard to get inspired about picking the Bengals this year - ok any year - but Week 4 surely put some wind into the sails of this squad and they get another manageable opponent.
It may be daft to take anything away from Cincy's 31-7 pasting of the Cleveland Browns (aka: the worst team in professional football), but the Bengals young offensive line seems to be coming along and its defense dominated. Meanwhile, the Bills will be limping into town with a host of injuries including WR Jordan Matthews. Buffalo will struggle to move the ball in this game against a Cincy defensive unit that has allowed the fifth fewest points in the NFL and ranks third in sacks.
The total of 39.5 in this game might also be an appealing play, but I like Cincy to win this game by a TD or more, making the ATS play my choice.
BABB's PICK: Bengals -3
San Francisco at Indianapolis (Sunday, 1:00 PM ET)
Bad game to watch, but good one to bet.
These two hapless squads have just a single win between them and that belongs to Indy.
So why take an 0-4 team on the road?
Admitedly, one reason is because they are playing a 1-3 team, but this Colts squad is just plain bad offensively ranking 29th in passing yards per game, 25th in rushing and 30th in total yards.
The 49'ers aren't much better in any of these categories, but they did play Seattle close, while Indy is fresh off the heels of a 46-18 drubbing to that opponent.
Reaching for straws? Maybe. But what does it tell you when the home team is only favored by a piont against a winless team? It tells me not to bet them. 49'ers by default in this pillow fight.
BABB's PICK: 49'ers -1
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