'Dogs to Watch - Week 5
October 4, 2017
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NFL Week 5 Underdogs to Watch
Week 4 was another good week for NFL underdogs across the board, but if you had the stones to bypass the points on some of the bigger 'dogs and bet them on the ML, you came away like a bandit.
Last week's underdogs piece suggested that only the Washington Redskins were primed for an outright upset (and they were in it until the end), but of the five other teams on the list, three of them won outright, San Francisco nearly knocked off Arizona in OT, and only the Colts lived up to their big number by getting smoked in Seattle.
ML plays on Carolina (+350), Buffalo (+320), and the L.A. Rams (+230) all provided huge paydays for bettors backing those sides, and they taught me to not be so dismissive of some quality teams that make this list.
Week 5 is a whole different beast all together though as people in survivor pools are likely going to be scratching their heads on who to pick this week. All but two of the games on the Sunday/Monday slate have point spreads of 3.5 or less, making this week's underdog list of teams at +4 or better rather short. Let's get right to the breakdown.
Odds per - BetDSI.eu
Underdogs that Qualify
Jacksonville Jaguars (+8.5); ML (+330)
Arizona Cardinals (+6); ML (+235)
I'll start with Jacksonville, as they are in Pittsburgh to play a Steelers team off a dominant performance against the hated Baltimore Ravens. Pittsburgh is also back at home after two straight on the road, and do have a potential look-ahead spot here with a trip to face Kansas City on deck. That's not an ideal situation to be laying all those points with the Steelers, but do you really want to go all the way and fade them on the ML as well?
Jacksonville has looked good in two of the four weeks so far (beating Houston 29-7 and beating Baltimore 44-7), but it's been their play in their two losses that is quite concerning. The Jags got blown out by Tennessee in Week 2, and they basically played from behind all week last Sunday against a bad New York Jets team.
The Jags were outgained by 160 yards total against the Jets (-81 on the ground, -79 through the air), and they enter Week 5 with the worst rushing defense in the league - giving up 165.5 yards/game. That's music to the ears of Pittsburgh's O-Line and RB Le'Veon Bell, and if those guys have success then it will likely be another long day for this Jags defense.
Pittsburgh should be able to simply run the ball down Jacksonville's throat, dominate the time of possession game, put up plenty of points, and let their defense bring it home. Simply put, the Jags are not one I'd be looking to bet on the ML here, even with Pittsburgh potentially looking ahead to their date with the Chiefs.
Arizona is on the road as well, but they are in Philadelphia to take on the Eagles. Philadelphia is 3-1 SU and while many media pundits are quite high on this Eagles team now, I believe they have gotten to that 3-1 SU record with a lot of smoke and mirrors.
The Eagles were lucky to leave Washington with a 30-17 victory in Week 1 as a few controversial calls went their way, they fell to the Chiefs late in Week 2, and have since beaten two winless teams (NYG and LAC) by a combined five points. Sure, they've put up at least 20 points each game in 2017, but this is a team that's nowhere near as good as many would want you to believe, or that their 3-1 SU record suggests.
Arizona hasn't really looked good in any game this year at 2-2 SU and that “eye test” is a big reason why they are getting nearly a TD here. The Cardinals have yet to cover a point spread this year, and two OT wins against the likes of Indianapolis and San Francisco have many people suggesting this Arizona team is going to be a bottom-feeder this year.
However, the talent is definitely on the Cardinals roster to be exponentially better than what they've shown, and an inability to execute in the redzone in terms of getting TD's has made them look a lot worse then they really are. This is definitely a game where I can see Arizona put it all together as the signs are there that they are close, and it's not like Philly's defense is anything special.
The Eagles allowed 24 points to the Chargers and Giants the last two weeks and they were torched through the air in both games. Arizona's strength on offense is in the passing game with RB David Johnson on IR, and Carson Palmer and his numerous weapons in the passing game should have a big effort.
So not only do I believe Arizona gets their first ATS win of 2017 this week, I strongly believe they get the outright victory as well. With the Cardinals (+235) paying out at the price they are, they are the big dog most likely to pull off the outright upset in Week 5.
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