• Bet Dolphins -3.5 at Jets: Teddy Bridgewater has an impressive 24-6 ATS record on the road.
• Bet Bucs -8.5 vs. Falcons: Atlanta's 4-0 start ATS a bit misleading; Bucs' offense beginning to trend up.
• New users who bet $10 or more at BetMGM will receive a free year’s subscription to PFF+ — a $79.99 value.
Last updated: Thurs. Oct. 6, 12:08 p.m.
Estimated reading time: 6 mins
There's arguably no sport more difficult, nor exciting, to bet on than NFL football. Information is both scarce in utility, and abundant in opinion. Markets are so finely tuned and so heavily wagered that there are few opportunities to gain an edge over the oddsmakers.
Enter a model capable of making ATS picks with long-term success.
A majority of the most profitable NFL bettors use some kind of projection tool to help guide their wagers. Such a tool will be provided to the reader today, and for the rest of the NFL regular season. It is important to note that these projections are not a gospel, but merely a compass toward identifying an edge in a razor-thin market that is betting NFL spreads.
Week 5 Best Bets
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-8.5) vs. Atlanta Falcons
Model Line — Tampa (-9.5)
Unsustainable Offense: The Falcons offense has been weirdly good this season, currently with the No. 2 rushing attack per Football Outsider’s DVOA. However, this offensive ideology is unsustainable and will be exploited versus better teams as the season progresses.
Enter Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Bad Matchup for ATL: Tampa has had its struggles thus far, but the offense appears to have regained its rhythm versus KC. Per our analysis, the Buccaneers had their best offensive performance a week ago, and the Falcons defense should offer little resistance to Brady and the Bucs.
Further, the Bucs defense struggled last week, but Atlanta won’t be able to stress them in ways that the Chiefs could. If Tampa can build an early lead, the Falcons may be forced to abandon the run and lean on the right arm of Marcus Mariota.
Ignore the Noise: The rumors surrounding QB Tom Brady’s personal life are hard to ignore, but that should hardly be a reason to avoid this play, or to back the Falcons. Who are we to assume how one’s personal matters will affect their on-field play? It is suggested to follow the numbers, and assess the matchups.
Bottom Line: Atlanta is getting too much credit for its 4-0 start ATS, and this line may be publicly influenced by off-field rumors. This is a great spot to back the Bucs to right the ship and take sole lead in the NFC South.
Model Line — Eagles (-7.5)
Overall Team Disparity: Do not let their pedestrian record confuse you, the Cardinals are really bad. Arizona is incredibly reliant on the playmaking ability of QB Kyler Murray, and the offense has consistently been incapable of performing on-script.
Conversely, the Eagles are going to give the Cardinals offense no layups, and Arizona desperately needs them. The Eagles have the second-rated Defense in EPA / Play, and are number one versus the pass. Additionally, it would be surprising if this were a close game early. The Cardinals have failed to score a point in the first quarter all season, and the Eagles are averaging 23 points in the first half.
Back to the Well: I’ll say it again, the Cardinals are the epitome of declining HFA in the NFL. Arizona hasn’t covered the spread at home in seven straight games, and lost all of these games outright. Further, Arizona HC Kliff Kingsbury is 9-17 ATS at home since taking the job in 2019. Until further notice, it is an automatic play to fade Arizona at home.
Bottom Line: There is no plan nor identity in Arizona. The Cardinals have yet to score a point in the first quarter, expect the Eagles to build an early lead for one of the NFL’s premier pass-rushing units to extend their sack lead versus QB Kyler Murray.
Miami Dolphins (-3.5) @ New York Jets
Model Line — Dolphins (-8.5)
Don’t Sweat the Backup: The loss of QB Tua Tagovailoa stings, but it should not affect Miami’s ability to cover as a short road favorite. Backup QB Teddy Bridgewater should be able to operate this offense with efficiency, and he stepped into action admirably versus Cincinnati in Week 3.
Teddy Covers: Miami QB Teddy Bridgewater has an unreal ATS record of 24-6 when playing on the road. The oddsmakers have consistently undervalued Bridgewater’s value to the spread, and there is no reason to believe this is not still the case.
Bottom Line: I have no doubts that Miami is the better team than the Jets, and won’t shy away from them because of the backup QB. There is certainly a high degree of variance inherent in this game, but I feel comfortable backing a consistently profitable QB playing an unproven team.
Week 5 Leans
New York Giants (+8.5) @ Green Bay Packers
Model Line — Packers (-4)
London Venue: Though this isn’t a traditional road game for either team, it feels appropriate to consider it so for both these teams, and QBs Aaron Rodgers and Daniel Jones. Two key trends to know: Rodgers as a road favorite of seven or more points is 5-10 ATS, and Giants QB Daniel Jones is 13-6 ATS on the road.
Efficacy of the Run Game: The Packers were just gashed on the ground at home, and now will have to face a surprisingly potent Giants run game ranking seventh in EPA / Play. Further, Green Bay’s offensive prowess of years past is gone, and the team seems both content and forced to play a style of ball not conducive to covering a large spread.
Seattle Seahawks (+5.5) @ New Orleans Saints
Model Line — Seattle (-1.5)
Deja Vu: The computer continues to love Geno Smith and the Seahawks, and this line feels like deja vu from a week ago. The Seahawks offense is good, and who the hell are the Saints to be favored by this many points right now?
Jameis as a Favorite: If it is indeed QB Jameis Winston starting for New Orleans, that does not bode well for the Saints' chances of covering the spread. Historically, Winston is 1-7 ATS as a home favorite of more than a field goal. Otherwise, if Winston can’t go, Andy Dalton is 4-7 straight-up as a favorite over the past three seasons.
Home Field Disadvantage: The esteemed edge that New Orleans has in its home stadium is more folk-lore than truth at the moment. The Saints are 14-18 ATS in regular season home games since the start of 2018.
Tommy's spread picks went 2-3 in Week 5, bringing his season record to 6-6 (-.8 units).
How PFF contributor Tommy Jurgens' Projections Work:
A myriad of both objective, and subjective ratings are employed in a logistic regression model to determine the likelihood that each team will win the game outright. By this determined win-probability, a spread is assigned to each game and compared to the consensus line.
This model has successfully identified the outright victor at a near 67% rate, and has chosen the ATS winner at an efficiency greater than 53% since 2006.
One can find all of the projected picks for Week 5 here.