For The Win: Week 5

NFL picks against the Las Vegas lines.

Here we are again this year, back for more NFL picks. It is with great pleasure that I begin my second season writing this column. As someone who has won and lost their fair share of money on the NFL (and many other sports), this is bound to be a fun and unpredictable ride. Join me, won’t you?

As with the format in previous years, this article will help those of you who compete in confidence pools and in ranking selections, which may come in handy on those Las Vegas trips. Games are rated based on preference for both the point spread and other angles (such as totals or over/unders) with 1-3 “Stars”, which basically highlight the best bets for the week. Those games which have zero stars are not preferred one way or the other, but will still be covered, discussed and a winner will be predicted for those trying to get some advice for their weekly office pools.

A slight improvement in Week 4, with a personal 8-6-1 record, but it is still not enough. The best bets faltered, so we have to be laser-focused entering Week 5 not to be tempted by the wild lines Vegas is throwing at us.

Note that the over/unders are taken from VegasInsider.com

(Thursday Night) TAMPA BAY (-6) at CHICAGO (Over/Under 45.5)

The Bucs have steadied the ship after a rough start but barely failed to cover the spread last week against a feisty Chargers team. Interestingly, they have averaged 34.5 points per game at home, but that number drops to 26.5 on the road. Granted, the sample size is not large, but it is worth bearing in mind. Tom Brady seems to be getting into a groove, with his five touchdown strikes last week going to as many different pass catchers. The defense continues to be strong overall, though Justin Herbert showed they can be exploited with an aggressive mindset.

Nick Foles’ first start for the Bears did not go as planned, with Colts head coach Frank Reich accustomed to his style from his days coaching the quarterback. The Colts defense was able to snuff out the threat and suck the life out of the Chicago offense. The game script may follow a similar track on Thursday night, with the Bears offense looking for answers against a formidable defense littered with difference-makers. Vegas makes the Bucs -6 road favorites, meaning they would be favored by -9 on a neutral field. The temptation is to lay the points, but the Bears defense may have reason to believe it can ruffle Brady’s feathers.

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