Week 5 NFL betting: Eagles still overrated, Panthers still underrated
Week 4 sent NFLbets plummeting back down to even on the season and while some may find the erasure of profit the end result of a Sisyphean task, NFLbets is excited to be restarting the season at 0-0 (well, technically 5-5-2, but you get the idea).
In fact, covid-cancelled games aside, week 5 is typically an ideal time to start turning a profit: Most teams are locked into their seasonal identity but the sportsbooks and/or NFL bettors may not have caught up to the season’s realities. This week, NFLbets is focusing on two games which each feature, as far as general NFL fandom is concerned, a team whose preseason forecast will likely turn out significantly incorrect.
For week 5 and a comeback, we started out ticket with…
Philadelphia Eagles +7 at Pittsburgh Steelers
Are the sportsbooks finally done living in Philadelphia’s past when making 2020 point spreads? The Eagles haven’t been a 7-point underdog at home since the last game of the ’05 season – this after going 1-2-1 SU/1-3 ATS thus far.
It’s a logical line that hasn’t budged at most sportsbooks since Monday: Virtually anywhere the bettor looks statistically, Pittsburgh appears to be a near shoo-in for the SU win at very least. For example, Carson Wentz leads the league with 7 interceptions through four games and the Eagles are second-worst in turnovers; in 2019, the Steelers defense ranked no. 1 overall in turnovers generated and no. 2 in interceptions.
As for the battle of minds on the sidelines, Doug Pederson has done well enough coaching against AFC teams in his 4-plus seasons with the Eagles – and the following statistics are cited here as a reflection of performance against teams one usually doesn’t face often – to run up a record of 10-6-1 SU/9-8 ATS. Note, however, that Pederson’s Eagles are 0-2-1 SU/0-3 ATS in their last three such games. For the Steelers, Mike Tomlin has led his guys to a nice 35-18 SU (23-20 ATS) record against NFC teams.
Throwing in, you know, actual eye test results makes this feel like a slam dunk for Steelers -7 – and we’d certainly call betting the Steelers ML within a parlay a solid investment – except for what could be Tomlin’s kryptonite: The bye week. Tomlin’s Steelers have been fine for football results following a regular-season bye week at 9-4 SU, but have disappointed NFL bettors with a 5-8 ATS mark, including the current 1-5 ATS run.
Going into week 5, of course, every NFL team has a 0-0 SU/ATS mark in games following a surprise bye week due to coronavirus, with the Steelers and Tennessee Titans acting as guinea pigs for this weirdness. But WTF can NFLbets do with this unprecedented factor? That’s right, we’re ignoring it. Take the Pittsburgh Steelers -7 at Philadelphia.
Carolina Panthers +1 at Atlanta Falcons
Even without the dominant force that is Christian McCaffrey, the 2-2 SU/ATS Panthers have got to like their chances to eke into the postseason, thanks to the existence of the brand-new no. 7 seed combined with several NFC teams playing below general expectation (e.g. Dallas, San Francisco, Arizona, New Orleans). The timing is also negative for the Falcons: With their inability to score late (the Falcons have been outscored 84-46 in second halves this season), Atlanta doesn’t want to face an offense that’s beaten their last two opponents 39-14 in the final 30 minutes – especially not with the league’s second-worst defense in points allowed and yardage allowed.
This may be the last chance to get the Panthers as an underdog, so get on the bandwagon for this Sunday at least. And with the point spread at +1, the only reason to cover Carolina plus the point is if you fervently believe the game will end in a tie – a 0.33% probability going back to 2010. At the typical sportsbook, Carolina +1 will get odds of 20/21 whereas a Carolina money-line bet will net winners 21/20 odds.
At one sportsbook, the odds are 20/21 on Panthers +1 but 21/20 on the Panthers ML: a 10% swing! So, yeah, take the Carolina Panthers ML at Atlanta.
NFLbets’ current record in 2020: 5-5-2.