Welcome back to everybody’s favorite (semi) weekly gambling post. If you were missing me last week, it’s because I gave myself a 1 week ban for my subpar Week 3 performance. I went 1-3, bringing my season total to 8-8. But let’s not tread on the past. Here’s what I like for Week 5:
San Francisco 49ers @ Indianapolis Colts OVER 44.5
Ordinarily a Brian Hoyer vs. Jacoby Brissett matchup wouldn’t scream points. But this is no ordinary game. Peyton Manning will be in the building for his statue unveiling and seemingly all of the recent Colts greats will be in attendance as well:
The Colts are giving up 36.5 points per game and the 49ers are giving up 23.5. Two weeks ago, both the Colts and 49ers played another team with a crappy defense. The 49ers lost to the Rams 41-39 in that fascinating Thursday night game. The Colts beat the Browns 31-28. I expect a similar outcome in this game; 4+ TDs for each team.
Hoyer and Brissett are both serviceable QBs with a plethora of offensive weapons on their side. Pierre Garcon is playing against his former team alongside speedsters Marquise Goodwin and Aldrick Robinson. Carlos Hyde has been a top-5 RB now that he has become effective in the passing game this season.
Brissett showed some chemistry with TY Hilton last week against the Seahawks. That’s key as the season progresses. He and Donte Moncrief will be damn near impossible to cover this week. Mix in a little bit of Frank Gore revenge and there are 4 TDs.
Look for the Colts to drop 30+ in homage to Peyton Manning.
Los Angeles Chargers @ New York Giants (-3.5)
The old west coast team traveling east to play the 1:00 slate. I got burnt by the Broncos playing at Buffalo a few weeks ago and I won’t let it happen again. Both the Chargers and Giants are 0-4, but the Giants are a much better team across the board.
There are two match ups that will that heavily dictate how the game goes:
Casey Hayward vs. Odell Beckham Jr and Janoris Jenkins vs. Keenan Allen. Both CBs have been shutdown this season and they have the potential to all but eliminate two of the best receivers in the game. That means that the Chargers will need Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin to step up against Eli Apple on the other side of the field. The Giants will need to have Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram step up, as Brandon Marshall has yet to show that he has even one ounce left in the tank.
The Giants have also been getting hosed by opposing TEs for what seems to be the past decade. The Chargers have Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry and if they are smart, they’ll feed the young Henry as opposed to the dinosaur opposite him. Last week the Giants gave up TDs to both Cameron Brate and OJ Howard, and I wouldn’t put it past the Chargers to replicate that outcome this week.
However, the Giants defense is good to great everywhere else besides covering the TE, and I expect their D Line to be all over Phillip Rivers. Give me some big plays from Landon Collins and the Giants should coast to their first victory of the year.
Arizona Cardinals (+6.5) @ Philadelphia Eagles
I think 6.5 points is way too many to give the Cardinals in this game. The Philadelphia Eagles have an atrocious secondary, which is good news for the Cardinals because with David Johnson’s injury, Carson Palmer is averaging over 45 pass attempts per game. Larry Fitzgerald has proven that he still has plenty left in the tank, with a huge performance against the Cowboys two weeks ago followed by a game winning TD reception last week vs. San Francisco. With John Brown being healthy followed by Jaron Brown and JJ Nelson, the Cardinals will have a solid mix of deep threats and intermediate routes to move the ball all game. Andre Ellington has also emerged out of the Cardinals’ backfield to be a huge threat in the passing game. So while the Cardinals have virtually no run game, they have enough weapons in the passing game to completely overwhelm the Eagles’ secondary.
On the other side of the ball, Patrick Peterson is having a historic season at CB.
He is expected to shadow Alshon Jeffery all game. So that means that you would have to trust Carson Wentz passing to Torrey Smith and Nelson Agholor on the other side of the field. Agholor has a few TDs this year (1 in complete garbage time) and Torrey Smith has basically been in witness protection. Zach Ertz might rack up 15+ targets this game, but he’ll have to handle Tyrann Mathieu for at least a percentage of his routes. After losing Darren Sproles for the season, the Eagles have relied on Wendell Smallwood to take his spot. However, he has a knee injury and isn’t expected to suit up. There are far too many cons against the Eagles for me to be comfortable betting on them. I could even see an upset brewing at Lincoln Financial Field.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-7.5)
It’s safe to say that Le’Veon Bell is back. Bell was a workhorse last week against the Ravens, tallying 35 carries and 186 yards from scrimmage. The Jaguars just gave up 256 yards to the Jets last week. They gave up two huge running plays to Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire, two running backs that aren’t nearly at the level of Le’Veon Bell, as well as an offensive line that can’t hold a candle up to the Steelers’.
For the Jaguars, Marqise Lee doesn’t seem like he’s going to play. That leaves the Jags with pretty much just Allen Hurns. Joe Haden should be able to handle him no problem. Blake Bortles is always good for a turnover or two, and the Steelers should be able to capitalize.
Once they get a nice two score lead, I expect the Steelers to feed Le’Veon over and over as he records 200+ yards from scrimmage. Book it.
Kansas City Chiefs (-1) @ Houston Texans
I’m going to keep rolling with the Chiefs in what is essentially a pick ’em this week. The Texans exploded last week against the Tennessee Titans, and I think that the oddsmakers as well as the public are overreacting to their performance. The Titans secondary is one of the worst in the NFL, while the Chiefs boast one of the best, even without Eric Berry.
With a rookie QB in Deshaun Watson starting for the Texans, you can never fully know what to expect from him. We’ve seen him pick apart a couple horrid secondaries, struggle against the Bengals and their middle of the road secondary, and be quite bad against a good Jaguars secondary. Watson was able to secure a win against the Bengals by using his legs. If the Chiefs can contain him and force him to throw the ball, he’ll be more apt to make mistakes.
The Chiefs are the only remaining undefeated team in the league and have looked unstoppable at times. Kareem Hunt has 659 yards from scrimmage through 4 games. Travis Kelce has 2 100+ receiving yard games. Tyreek Hill has been quiet as of late but can completely change the course of a game in just one snap. With veteran QB Alex Smith running the show, the Chiefs have been limiting their turnovers and taking advantage of the turnovers they create on defense. I expect age and experience to prevail in this game against the younger Texans.
That’s all for this week. Time to get back on track and go 5-0 this week. Call me Tony Soprano because a wrong decision is better than indecision. And rememba that.
**BONUS COLLEGE PICK ‘EM**
I could sit here and brag about picking Troy last week @ LSU, but we’re not here to dwell on the past. I don’t foresee any upsets at that level this week, but if I had to take a stab I’d say that Utah is in the most trouble to lose to an unranked opponent this week in Bryce Love and Stanford. Washington State is heading into Oregon as well, and Royce Freeman is a bad bad man. But here are the real picks for CFB:
Penn State (-14) @ Northwestern
West Virginia (+13) @ TCU
LSU @ Florida (-1)
Minnesota @ Purdue (-3.5)