Expert NFL Picks for Week 5, Including Giants-Packers, Cowboys-Rams and Bengals-Ravens
A trio of handicappers offer their insights on five of this week's best games
This is NFL Best Bets, a recurring series in which professional sports handicappers lend us their insights and picks for the most intriguing matchups for each week of the professional football season. Here are our Week 5 NFL picks.
You’ve got places to go, people to see and possibly some wagers to make, so let’s get to it with some help from Thomas Gable, the director of race and sportsbook at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, sports betting reporter Josh Appelbaum of VSiN and Odds Assist CEO Dave Rathmanner.
New York Giants (+8, O/U 41.5) at Green Bay Packers
A compelling matchup because…following Week 4, 23 games had been decided by three points or fewer and 31 had been decided by six points or fewer, both the most ever this early in a season. Close games have been beneficial to both the Giants and Packers, who will face off at London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday morning, are 2-0 in games decided by three points or fewer. This game may not project to be that close thanks to uncertainty at the quarterback position for New York, but Green Bay needed until late in overtime to put away New England’s third-string QB Bailey Zappe in Week 5. It’s nice that Londoners will get to see a game between two teams with winning records for once.
Appelbaum’s Assessment: This early London showdown opened at Packers -7 and has risen to Packers -8. The public is all over Green Bay. This is a no-play for me on the spread. Instead, I’ll focus on the total. The line opened at 41.5 and has fallen to 41. Some shops are even down to 40.5. Unders are 38-26 (59%) this season. Unders that fall at least a half point are 23-15 (61%). The London forecast also calls for 10-15 MPH winds. When the wind blows 10 MPH or more the under is 12-4 (75%) this season. Both teams have struggled offensively but played stout defense. I jumped on the under 41.5 as soon as this line opened.
Gable’s Guess: The messy quarterback situation doesn’t really bode well for the Giants traveling to London The offense will be leaning heavily on Saquon Barkley. If there’s one thing this Packers’ defense has struggled with, it’s been the run. Fatigue could also come into play with the Packers. Two weeks ago they played in the Florida heat and last week they played a full 70-minute overtime game. Now they’ve had to travel overseas. But, I’m gonna lay the points here with the Packers.
Rathmanner’s Reckoning: The Giants enter this one with a major question mark at the quarterback position. Daniel Jones is dealing with an ankle injury, and backup Tyrod Taylor is in concussion protocol. That could force them to go with practice squad QB Davis Webb. Regardless of who is under center, it will be a game the Giants lean on Saquon Barkley and focus on the run. The Packers will also look to run against the Giants who have the fifth-worst run defense in the league and are allowing 141 yards per game on the season. The Giants only average 19 points a game while the Packers are scoring just 18.8 points. Both teams are allowing fewer than 18 points per game on defense. I’ll take the under.
Our Pick: London games are sloppy in general and -8 is a big number. Given that, going to go with the under.
Los Angeles Chargers (-2.5, O/U 47.5) at Cleveland Browns
A compelling matchup because…since entering the league in 2020, Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert leads the NFL with 19 games with at least 300 passing yards. If Herbert eclipses 300 passing yards against the Browns on Sunday, he’ll surpass Andrew Luck for the most 300-yard games by a player in his first three seasons. The Browns will do what they can to prevent that from happening and may not actually have that much of a problem moving the ball on offense against LA as the chargers have given up 108 points through four games. Could be close.
Appelbaum’s Assessment: The Chargers opened as a 3-point road favorite. The public is all over Justin Herbert and Los Angeles laying the short spread. However, despite this lopsided support, the line has fallen from 3 to 2.5. This signals smart money grabbing Cleveland at the key number of +3. Dogs are 38-25 (60%) on the season. Dogs that failed to cover the previous week, like the Browns here, are 14-4 ATS (78%). Cleveland will get Myles Garrett back from injury. I took Cleveland +3 earlier this week when I saw the juice rising on the Browns (+3 at -115).
Gable’s Guess: Justin Herbert played Sunday and didn’t show any signs of lingering injury. I’m not sure if we’re gonna see wide receiver Keenan Allen, but they were okay without him against the Texans. Cleveland’s defense is on a different level than the Texans’ defense and they’ll gameplan to take away the slant routes Mike Williams will want. The Chargers are another team that struggles to defend the run. The combination of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are probably going to have a big day. The biggest concern for Cleveland is their secondary. Last season Herbert lit up Cleveland for 398 yards and four touchdowns when they played. I’d say both of these teams are gonna put up points on Sunday. I’m taking the over.
Rathmanner’s Reckoning: These two teams met last year in a wild 47-42 game. While there may not be quite as many points this weekend, both offenses should still put up points. Neither defense has been playing well this year. The Chargers are allowing 27 points per game while the Browns are giving up 23.8 points per game. Both teams rank in the top 12 in points per game. The Chargers are scoring 23 points per game and the Browns score 26.3 points per game. The Chargers have the number one passing offense in the league and the Browns have the fourth overall offense in the league with an average of 384.8 yards per game. Two questionable defenses and two of the better offenses in the league will lead to points. I’ll take the over.
Our Pick: Hate betting on the Browns or the Chargers. Will avoid that and bet on points with the over.
Dallas Cowboys (+5.5, O/U 43) at Los Angeles Rams
A compelling matchup because…the Cowboys have an average margin of victory of just three points and will head to Los Angeles to take on a Rams team that is coming off a beatdown on Monday Night Football that saw quarterback Matthew Stafford taking a beating. Los Angeles has two wins this season but the Rams have a point differential of -24 and are not looking like the same team that won the Super Bowl last season. Dallas hasn’t lost this season with Cooper Rush under center and there could be a miniature quarterback controversy brewing in Big D.
Appelbaum’s Assessment: This line opened with the Rams listed as a 7-point home favorite. Early Cowboys money dropped this line down to 4.5. But then we saw sharp buyback hit Los Angeles at the low-water mark of -4.5, driving the line back up to 5.5. Dallas has won three straight while the defending champs just lost in primetime to the 49ers. The public is hammering Dallas, making them a trendy dog. Taking the Cowboys plus the points seems like an obvious play, which scares me. I am avoiding this spread. I’ll take the under. It opened at 45.5 and has fallen to 43.5 or 43. Both teams are 3-1 to the under.
Gable’s Guess: LA’s offensive line has just been atrocious and Stafford’s getting hit a lot. I was probably a little slow in adjusting my power rankings on Cooper Rush. He’s 4-0 as a starter dating back to last year. Rush manages the game well and they’ve been able to run the ball. The Dallas defense has been very impressive. They haven’t allowed more than 19 points or more than one touchdown in any game through the four weeks. They’ve played some weaker offenses, but they catch LA here on a short week. Outside of Cooper Kupp, no one’s really performed well for the Rams on offense this season. Even at home, I think this is too many points to give up. I’m going to take the Cowboys and the points here.
Rathmanner’s Reckoning: Dallas will be without QB Dak Prescott again, which means Cooper Rush will be leading the Cowboys on offense. Rush hasn’t faced a team as good as the Rams. Los Angeles has one of the better rush defenses in the league and is allowing just over 92 yards per game on the ground. That will force Rush to take on a role bigger than just a game manager on Sunday and he likely won’t be up to the task as he is completing only 60.8% of his passes on the season. The Rams should be able to do enough on offense to get past a Cowboys team that will struggle to score. Give me the Rams -5.5.
Our Pick: Spread is tough and we could see a defensive score pushing this one over the top. Going to side with over.
Philadelphia Eagles (-5.5, O/U 49) at Arizona Cardinals
A compelling matchup because…for the first time since 2004, the Philadelphia Eagles (4-0) are the NFL’s last remaining undefeated team. That year, the Eagles started 7-0 en route to a berth in Super Bowl XXXIX. They’ll look to push their record to 5-0 against an Arizona team that has yet to win at home this season or beat a team with a winning record. If the Eagles have overachieved this season, the Cardinals have equally underachieved. A win for the home team would go a long way toward reversing Arizona’s negative mojo thus far.
Appelbaum’s Assessment: This line opened with the undefeated Eagles listed as a 4-point road favorite. The public is falling in love with Philadelphia and we saw the Eagles rise to -6. That’s when some Arizona buyback hit the market, dropping the line back down to 5.5. To me, it’s either go contrarian and bet against the public darling Eagles or lay off the game. Kyler Murray is 18-9 ATS (67%) in his career as a dog. If you’re forcing me to bet this game, I’d look to tease the Cardinals up from +5.5 to +11.5, which goes through the key numbers of 7 and 10, and then pair that with the 49ers (-6.5 to -0.5) against the Panthers.
Gable’s Guess: The Eagles showed some character and some grittiness on Sunday after going down 14-0 to the Jags and they were able to turn the ball over a significant amount of times again. Now they head to Arizona where the Cardinals haven’t played well at all. Overall, I think their offense is still a mess and Kyler Murray just isn’t effective anymore unless it becomes a playground-type game. If you’re the Eagles, you don’t want to be looking ahead to Dallas next week. There’s no home-field advantage here for Arizona, so I’m going to lay anything less than six with Philly.
Rathmanner’s Reckoning: This is not the best spot for the Eagles. A trip across the country and a look-ahead spot to a huge divisional showdown against the Cowboys the following week. The Eagles’ defense has looked much improved since a poor showing in Week 1 against the Lions. But those games have come against Kirk Cousins, Carson Wentz and Trevor Lawrence — not exactly elite quarterbacks. The Eagles have 16 sacks on the season but are now going up against a QB in Kyler Murray who has the ability to extend plays with his legs and avoid pressure. The Cardinals have gotten the better of the Eagles in recent meetings, winning six of the last eight games between the teams. While I’m not sure if they can pull the upset Sunday, I think they should be able to keep it close so I’ll grab Arizona +5.5.
Our Pick: The Eagles have won three of their four games by more than a touchdown. Laying the points.
Cincinnati Bengals (+3, O/U 48) at Baltimore Ravens
A compelling matchup because…in what is sure to be a heavily bet affair because it is taking place on Sunday Night Football, the Bengals and Ravens, both 2-2, will face off in an important divisional matchup. Baltimore’s offense ranks third in the NFL with 29.8 points per game but came up short on a crucial fourth-down play that coach John Harbaugh probably should not have called. That offensive unit will now face a Bengals’ defense that has allowed just one touchdown over its opponents’ last 31 drives. Lamar Jackson vs. Joe Burrow should be a good one.
Appelbaum’s Assessment: This line opened with the Ravens listed as a 3.5-point home favorite. Currently, 65% of bets are laying the chalk with Lamar Jackson in primetime, yet we’ve seen the line fall from 3.5 to 3. This indicates sharp reverse-line movement on Cincinnati. The Bengals have value as a divisional dog and a primetime dog (59% ATS since 2019). Joe Burrow is 13-7 ATS (65%) in his career as a dog. Cincinnati also holds a rest advantage, having last played on Thursday while Baltimore played on Sunday. I’m going to shop around and wait for the hook to pop back up. Give me Bengals if it gets back to +3.5.
Gable’s Guess: The Ravens looked dominant in the first half against the Bills on Sunday and then the offense faltered in the second half and they lost the game. The Bengals come in after dealing Miami their first loss of the season last Thursday and have had a decent amount of rest The Bengals swept this series last year and Joe Burrow absolutely torched them. He threw for 416 yards in one game and 525 in the other. This year, the Ravens are giving up an average of 315 passing yards per game. I’d expect Burrow to have another big offensive output here. I’m going to look at the total here. I’m playing against the new trend in primetime and taking the over.
Rathmanner’s Reckoning: For the second time this season, the Ravens blew a double-digit lead in the second half when they fell to the Buffalo Bills 23-20 last week. The first time it happened in Week 2, they bounced back with a solid victory in Week 3. Look for the same thing to happen again this week. The Ravens’ defense showed some significant improvements against the Bills and that momentum should carry over against the Bengals. The Bengals struggled to start the year with losses to the Steelers and Cowboys before getting wins against the Jets and Dolphins. The Ravens are the more battle-tested team at this point and should figure out a way to close out the game and pull out the win Sunday night. I’ll take the Ravens as long as it stays at a FG or less.
Our Pick: Feeling like this could be a shootout with two quarterbacks slinging it. Roll with the over.
Last Week: 4-1-0; This Season: 9-11-0
Editor’s note: Betting lines fluctuate throughout the week based on injuries, the weather and other factors. Make sure to double-check the odds before making your own Week 5 NFL picks.
This article was featured in the InsideHook newsletter. Sign up now.
Suggested for you