Book adjustments/Week 5 picks

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Book adjustments/Week 5 picks

After a Week 4 that saw favorites go 7-5-1 – after underdogs went 28-20 over the first three weeks – bettors need to be mindful of the imminent adjustment from oddsmakers.┬áIndeed, the Week 5 card looks to be full of value on the ‘dogs, with no fewer than seven teams catching points in games they have good chances of winning outright, headlined by the Texans (at Dallas), Falcons (at the Giants), Ravens (at Indy) and Bears (at Carolina). Then there’s the Patriots, who are suddenly 1-point ‘dogs at home vs. the Bengals after getting blown out on Monday night in Kansas City.

Considering blindly playing all the Week 5 ‘dogs will most likely yield positive results, let’s instead take a look at some totals that also boast some solid value.

Bengals at Patriots – under 46.5

With the Patriots’ 41-14 thrashing in Kansas City fresh in the minds of bettors, the potential for value on the total opened up vs. Cincinnati. The New England offense has big issues, but all of the turnovers were uncharacteristic on Monday night, and a byproduct of a charged Arrowhead Stadium crowd. Tom Brady may not be lighting up defenses these days, but he won’t be repeatedly giving the Bengals the ball as he did for KC. Conversely, the performance of the Patriots D was much closer to an aberration than a trend. Their weakness as currently constituted lies in stopping the run, and facing one of the top rushing attacks in primetime on the road was a recipe for disaster. The Bengals are averaging just 3.6 yards per carry, 26th in the league. The Patriots pass defense is one of the best in the NFL, and will be boosted by the return of cornerback Brandon Browner from suspension. Defense has been the word for both teams this season, as they’re a combined 5-2 to the under.

Cardinals at Broncos – under 48.5

Since Peyton Manning arrived in Denver, the Broncos have been more or less synonymous with the over, especially at home. But after their Super Bowl loss, the Broncos wisely opted to do much of their retooling on the defensive side, which has given way to a unit that’s been above average in every aspect except forcing turnovers (just three in three games). They’re allowing under four yards per carry and less than seven yards per pass attempt in a sample size of stiff offensive competition (Colts, Chiefs and Seahawks). The Cardinals have been no defensive pushovers themselves. To the contrary, despite losing key cogs in Daryl Washington, Darnell Dockett and John Abraham, the unit has been top notch against the run while holding the Chargers, Giants and 49ers to an average of 15 points per game. Arizona knows it will have to turn this game in a grinder to have a chance, and it has the secondary personnel to make Manning and the Broncos offense earn their points.

Browns at Titans – over 44

Neither of these teams have distinguished themselves defensively this season. The Browns are allowing 25.7 points per game, have surrendered at least 23 in each and are giving up 6.4 yards per play, which is tied for second worst in the NFL. They also rank near the bottom of the league in opponent’s passing yards (27th) and rushing yards (29th) per game. The Titans haven’t been much better. Since a season-opening 26-10 win over the Chiefs, the Tennessee defense has been torched by the Cowboys, Bengals and Colts in succession, allowing at least 26 points in each game and an average of 5.4 yards per play. According to Football Outsider’s DVOA metric, the Titans and Browns defenses rank 20th and 29th in the NFL, respectively. With Bryan Hoyer leading a surprisingly efficient Browns offense and Jake Locker’s ability to move the ball (when he isn’t turning it over), each one of these offenses should be more than capable or scoring into the 20s.

Falcons at Giants – over 50

Apart from their 56-14 undressing of the Bucs (on a Thursday night), the Falcons have been unable to stop anyone, allowing 472 yards and 34 points to the Saints, 472 yards and 24 points to the Bengals (including three missed Cincy field goals) and 558 yards and 41 points to the Vikings. Those are staggering numbers, and with Eli Manning and the Giants offense starting to click in their new West Coast scheme to the tune of 75 points and 5.8 yards per play over the last two weeks, the Atlanta defense figures to be in for another long afternoon. That’s not to say the Falcons can’t engage in a shootout. As inept as the defense as been, the Atlanta offense has been Arena League-esque, ranking second in the league in scoring (32.8 points), first in yards per play (6.8) and first in offensive DVOA. The weakness of the Giants lies in their pass defense, which is giving up over 250 yards per game and hasn’t faced an upper-echelon air attack since Week 1 in Detroit. And that didn’t go well, with Matthew Stafford throwing for 346 yards and two touchdowns in a 35-14 Lions win.

Last week: 1-2
Overall: 3-8-1

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