The odds makers nailed it to a tee in Week 4 with eight favorites and eight underdogs winning against the spread. We, unfortunately, took it on the chin with Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Miami.
That dismal showing sent us back to the drawing board to crunch the numbers even harder, so we are ready to ‘Bang the Book’ this week with our three top plays for Week 5 in the NFL.
Oakland Raiders vs. Houston Texans (-6)
Oakland is off to a 2-2 start straight-up, but last week’s 31-19 loss to New England as a six-point home favorite was its only loss ATS. The Raiders’ offense is ranked first in the league in running the ball with an average of 178.8 yards a game which should bode well against a Texan defense that is ranked 18th against the run.
Houston got a boost last week with the return of running back Arian Foster, but lost a key part of its offense for this game when wide receiver Andre Johnson went down with an injury to his hamstring. The Texans are 3-1 on the year both SU and ATS.
The Raiders are 5-0 ATS in their last five games following a SU loss, while the Texans are 1-5 ATS in their last six games followings a SU win.
The Free NFL Pick: Houston 20 Oakland 17
New Orleans Saints (-6) vs. Carolina Panthers
New Orleans quickly bounced back from a 42-34 loss to Green Bay as a 4.5-point road underdog in its season opener with three straight wins both SU and ATS. Rookie running back Mark Ingram has given the Saints the running game they lacked last season to go along with Drew Brees and their second-ranked passing game.
Rookie quarterback Cam Newton has single-handedly put Carolina’s offense back on the map making it the most exciting 1-3 team in the league. The Panthers are also proving to be a tough out with a 3-1 record ATS.
The past trends in this matchup tend to favor the Saints as they are 7-2 ATS in their last nine trips to Carolina. The favorite in this series is 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings and the road team is 20-8 ATS in the last 28 games.
The Free NFL Pick: New Orleans 34 Carolina 24
New York Jets vs. New England Patriots
New York is coming off two straight losses both SU and ATS to fall to 2-2 on the year. In what has been very uncharacteristic for a Rex Ryan coached team, the Jets are ranked 25th in the NFL in running the ball and 27th in defending the run. This week could be a good time for Ryan to get his troops back in order.
New England has been lighting up the scoreboard on its way to a 3-1 start both SU and ATS with an average of 33.8 points a game, but its defense has been suspect; giving up an unexplainable 477.5 yards of total offense a game. It is also giving up an average of 24.5 points a game.
The Jets are 4-2 both SU and ATS in the last six games against New England, which should have you licking your chops at such a robust spread. Ryan will have his bunch ready to go on Sunday in what could be New York’s most important game of the year.
The Free NFL Pick: New England 31 New York 24
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.