From 2015 to 2018, teams from the Pacific or Mountain 37-45-4 (43 percent) time zones were against the spread when they played against opponents in the East time zone. They also didn’t manage to cover the point distribution by an average of almost 1½ points. Over the past two years, their record has increased to 27-9-1 (73 percent) versus the spread, with travelers covering an average of 4½ points.
Part of that could be because of how poorly many East Coast teams have played lately – this season, for example, the 1-2-1 Philadelphia Eagles are leading the NFC East, the first time since 2005 that a division leader has had one in four weeks or fewer wins – but it’s also evidence of how modern NFL teams prepare. When the San Francisco 49ers had to play the New York Jets and Giants on the streets for two straight weeks this fall, coach Kyle Shanahan chose to stay at a luxury resort in West Virginia instead of going back and forth to San Francisco’s own drive exercise facility. The 49ers won both games with a combined result of 67-22.
Arizona Cardinals (-7) at New York Jets
Selection: Arizona Cardinals -7
The jets only score 1.3 points per trip this season. That would be the worst performance of 2020 if it weren’t for the team they share a stadium with, the New York Giants.
Gang Green has problems, yards both on the ground (3.9 yards per carry with a score within eight points, ranked 26th) and in the air (a league low of 5.2 yards per attempt) as well as in the red zone (22) percent scoring percentage, while the league average is 61 percent).
Los Angeles Rams (-8) with the Washington Football Team
Selection: Los Angeles Rams -8
Washington’s offense is in disarray. The team’s alleged franchise quarterback Dwayne Haskins is the Least Valuable Passerby of 2020 and was terrible by a variety of criteria. On Wednesday morning, Washington announced it would put Haskins on the bench and join Kyle Allen, aided by Alex Smith, who has not played since his gruesome leg break in 2018. Allen started 12 games last season and was below average in the completion rate. Yards per try, touchdown rate, and passerby rating while losing 46 sacks for a league high of 397 yards.
The Rams only allow opposing quarterbacks a pass rating of 84.0 this season, the fifth best in the league. Aside from Buffalo’s MVP contestant Josh Allen, none of the other three passers-by the Rams faced (Dak Prescott, Daniel Jones and Carson Wentz) have done more than one touchdown on the LA defense. Only Wentz could avoid a sack; The other three were each released at least three times.
Indianapolis Colts (-2) at Cleveland Browns
Selection: Indianapolis Colts -2
The Colts don’t get the respect they deserve. They have the top-rated defense in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus, and that is true even when they’re customized for the opponent, according to Football Outsiders. Indy’s defense also saves nearly eight points per game when you factor in the down, distance, and field position of each game this season, which TruMedia claims represents the top grade in the NFL over four weeks.
Record of the season’s best bets: 6-6.
The three games above represent our best games of the week as our analysis shows that the point spreads are the most different from what we expect when the teams hit the field. Below are tips for the other games on this week’s schedule. Trying to pick every single NFL game, however, is a breeze. The house wins so often, in part because bettors try to make too many games when the odds are not in their favor. Keep this in mind when evaluating the remaining games from week 5.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3½) at Chicago Bears
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (-2)
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans (-6)
Buffalo Bills (-1) at Tennessee Titans
Las Vegas Raiders with the Kansas City Chiefs (-13)
Selection: Las Vegas Raiders +13
Philadelphia Eagles at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7)
Selection: Pittsburgh Steelers -7
Denver Broncos at New England Patriots (-5)
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens (-13)
Selection: Baltimore Ravens -13
Miami Dolphins at San Francisco 49ers (-8)
Selection: San Francisco 49ers -8
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (-9½)
Selection: Dallas Cowboys -9½
Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks (-7)
Selection: Seattle Seahawks -7
Los Angeles chargers at New Orleans Saints (-7½)
Selection: Los Angeles chargers + 7½