A Tad Over/A Tad Under: Week 5 NFL Betting Lines

Cash Photo Credit: Dustin Moore-Under Creative Commons License

Well, I was one for two regarding last week’s bets so rest assured I will not sleep on the Jets anymore this season. Looking ahead to week five, there are lines that are again questionable due to the home-field advantage mindset and there are others that really didn’t factor in outside forces like injuries. So let’s take a look at what I believe to be the safest bets to place this weekend:

Buffalo Bills @ Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5), O/U 39.5

I honestly question the sanity of a person who honestly thinks playing at home is such a big advantage that one of the league’s most inept offenses in the Bengals can beat an emerging defensive force in Buffalo.

I get that the Bengals are coming off their first win of the season but it was against the Browns. Andy Dalton rebounded from a poor start of the season in week three against the Packers and he again fell flat in the fourth quarter and lost the lead.

The Bengals currently sit at 27th in total offense so far this season. Granted one of those teams behind even them is the Buffalo Bills but that’s not the whole picture. The Bills, under first-year head coach Sean McDermott, are quickly turning into the modern-day defensive team in the NFL.

That is to say, a defense that will force a lot of turnovers and field goals but largely keep the other team out of the end zone while asking the offense to not turn the ball over. So the reason the Bills offense is ranked so low is that they’re not focusing on moving the ball downfield as much as they are just not turning it over.

So you have a low-ranked offense going against the 9th-ranked Bills defense, how do you think that’s going to turn out?

So yes, I think the Bills are going to beat this spread by winning outright. As for the over/under, as I discussed both offenses aren’t the best and the Bengals and Bills defenses both are ranked in the top ten. This means that I think we’re going to have a very low-scoring affair on our hands so while it’ll be close, I would still take the under.

Baltimore Ravens @ Oakland Raiders (-3.5), O/U 39.5

I don’t know if it’s the aforementioned home-field advantage playing a role or the fact the Ravens are coming off two big losses in a row or a mix of both but this spread is the perfect one to take advantage of.

While the Jaguars loss is a bad one, it could have been the exception, not the rule. I know many of your responses to that would be their performance against the Steelers but teams are historically bad the week after they travel to London so I would blame it more on that than anything.

Baltimore’s offense has been atrocious this season, I get that. However, there is nothing that harms a defense more than turnovers and poor play on the offensive side of the ball. If they are constantly put in a position to fail then they will eventually.

With Derek Carr out, I think you will see an Oakland offense that will lean far too heavily on Marshawn Lynch and whenever they do try to pass it, I think E.J. Manuel’s true colors will come out.

If Oakland turns the ball over as much as I think they are going to then it will be a close game so I’m not saying that Baltimore will win but I don’t see them losing by more than a field goal. This is another spread to bet against.

The over/under is tricky just because we’re not quite sure what Baltimore’s offense is going to be able to produce against Oakland. The Raiders defense currently sits at 21st in total rankings so it’s not outside the realm of possibility that Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense can’t return to its old self by putting up 20 or 28 points a game. However, I think it’s safer to take the under on this one.

Kansas City Chiefs (-1) @ Houston Texans, O/U 45.5

Man, the Chiefs just get no respect. I get that they’re favored but only by one point? That’s an early favorite for biggest “C’mon man!” on Monday Night Countdown. Well regardless, I think Kansas City will win this one pretty handily.

Alex Smith is playing arguably the best football of his life as he has yet to throw a single interception against his eight touchdown passes. Of course, the headline of this year’s surprise league leader is rookie Kareem Hunt who is making Spencer Ware’s season-ending injury in the preseason an afterthought.

The Chiefs are dealing with Dee Ford being out leaving them a little weak at linebacker but Frank Zombo started 11 games for the Chiefs last year so he’s familiar with the system and will be a solid fill-in.

The main reason I think the Chiefs have this is that of the Texans inability to protect their prized player: Deshaun Watson. Watson is looking to be a really good quarterback but it seems as if he is running for his life on every single passing play.

That is not what you want one of your weaknesses to be if you’re playing Justin Houston, one of the game’s best rushers, in your next game. I think that the Chiefs defense is going to really bully Watson which will constantly disrupt the offensive performance as a whole.

Also, Houston’s defense is very middle-tier so it won’t be a huge surprise if the Chiefs offensive output stays the same. So in conclusion: Kansas City will cover this spread and I think it’s pretty safe to take the over due to their high-octane offense.