October 5, 2012

NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 5

Here at Bang the Book, we have all of the top matchups of the 2012 NFL betting campaign covered! Today, we’re taking a look at the best matchups for Week 5!

Arizona Cardinals (4-0 SU, 3-1 ATS) @ St. Louis Rams (2-2 SU, 3-1 ATS)
Spread: Arizona -1.5, Total: 39.5

Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, MO – Thursday, October 4th, 8:30 ET

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The NFC West hasn’t featured a big time game like this in quite some time, and this is also the first meeting between the Cardinals and Rams that has really meant something for both teams in years. QB Kevin Kolb has been an unlikely great story this year, but the Cardinals in general are a shock at 4-0. The feeling is that this game should be won to move the team to 5-0 with bigger and better on the horizon. However, the Rams are hungry to get back into the thick of the fight in the NFC West and the NFC playoffs in general, and finding a way to win this game would be a big step in the right direction towards doing just that. This series has been all Arizona though, especially in this building, where it has won five straight SU and three of the five from an ATS standpoint.

Philadelphia Eagles (3-1 SU, 1-3 ATS) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS)
Spread: Pittsburgh -3, Total: 43.5

Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA – Sunday, October 7th, 1:00 ET

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It’s not all that often that these two teams from the state of Pennsylvania hook up, but normally when they do, the battle is a big one. This is no exception. Steelers fans have to be excited about the fact that LB James Harrison, S Troy Polamalu, and RB Rashard Mendenhall are going to be back in the fold, and this is the first time that the team is going to feel relatively complete. That’s why this one is so important for the men in black and gold. Losing this game to another playoff type of team will be devastating, especially knowing that the Steelers will almost certainly be in a position where they need to go on the road in the playoffs. The Eagles are 3-1, but they feel like a precarious 3-1 team. The home team has won five of the last six both SU and ATS, but the one road victory in this series came in 2000 in favor of Philly here in the Steel City.

Green Bay Packers (2-2 SU, 1-3 ATS) @ Indianapolis Colts (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS)
Spread: Green Bay -7, Total: 47.5

Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN – Sunday, October 7th, 1:00 ET

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The Packers and Colts appear to be heading in different directions, but that might not totally be the case. Green Bay is a 2-2 team that is more or less in flux at this point. A loss in this game might create some real trouble, and there are still a lot of games that are going to be tough on the docket as well. Still, it’s a trap game to say the least, knowing that the Colts are coming off of their bye and have to think that this is the equivalent of the Super Bowl. QB Andrew Luck is going to be playing against a man that he probably idolized a bit in the Pac-12 in QB Aaron Rodgers, and this is going to be a big time game. Green Bay has never won a game here in Indianapolis, and the home team has won five straight in this series. The best news for the Colts? History is definitely on their side, knowing that they won a game at the old RCA Dome as 12.5-point underdogs in 1997, and the Packers won a game 26-24 at Lambeau Field in 2000.

Cleveland Browns (0-4 SU, 2-1-1 ATS) @ New York Giants (2-2 SU, 1-3 ATS)
Spread: New York -8.5, Total: 44

MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ – Sunday, October 7th, 1:00 ET

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Speaking of big time trap games… This one fits the bill for sure. The Browns are hungry to get their first win of the season, and there is no bigger fish to take out of the water than the defending champs. The Giants are a 2-2 team, and again, they’re a 2-2 squad that has a lot of work to do just to get into the playoffs this year. Losing this game would be devastating, but it definitely is a possibility for sure. Remember that the last time these two teams met, albeit in Cleveland, the Browns were able to kill the Giants by three touchdowns. That was the one loss that the G-Men had in their first 12 games. Yes, this game is in East Rutherford, but the truth of the matter is that the Giants were a lot better team in 2008, the year after they won their first Super Bowl under Head Coach Tom Coughlin, than they appear to be now.

Miami Dolphins (1-3 SU, 2-2 ATS) @ Cincinnati Bengals (3-1 SU, 2-1-1 ATS)
Spread: Cincinnati -3.5, Total: 45

Edward Jones Dome, Cincinnati, OH – Sunday, October 7th, 1:00 ET

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The difference between really good teams and really bad teams in the NFL isn’t always talent. The best teams always find ways to win the close games, while the worst teams tend to find ways to lose them. Miami is definitely a bad team from that perspective. The Dolphins had both the Cardinals and Jets dead to rights in the last two weeks, but they let both games slip away. Meanwhile, the respect level for Cincinnati just doesn’t seem to be there. The Bengals have won back to back road games, and now they get to come home with a chance to go to 4-1 against one of the worst teams in the conference, yet they are only favored by the value of home field advantage. It just doesn’t make sense to us. But then again, the last time these two met at Paul Brown Stadium two years ago, Miami did come away with a 22-14 victory, which has to be in the backs of the minds of the Bengals.

Atlanta Falcons (4-0 SU, 3-1 ATS) @ Washington Redskins (2-2 SU, 2-2 ATS)
Spread: Atlanta -3, Total: 50.5

FedEx Field, Landover, MD – Sunday, October 7th, 1:00 ET

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QB Robert Griffin III is starting to get more and more in the spotlight over the course of his first four games of the year, but if he can find a way to pull this one off, it would be an accomplishment that likely goes unmatched for the rest of his rookie campaign. QB Matt Ryan and the Falcons truly look like one of the best teams in football right now, and that 4-0 record isn’t one that lies. A win would only move Atlanta one big step closer towards the NFC South title, which is starting to look like will be locked up by around Thanksgiving. A huge percentage of the public is backing the Falcons on the road in this one, and maybe it is justified, knowing that they have won three of the last four both SU and ATS in this series, including both meetings between these teams here in DC dating back to 1992.

Baltimore Ravens (3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS) @ Kansas City Chiefs (1-3 SU, 1-3 ATS)
Spread: Baltimore -6, Total: 46.5

Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO – Sunday, October 7th, 1:00 ET

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Over 75% of the public is backing the Ravens in this game, which makes it feel like a relatively scary proposition to bet. Yes, the Chiefs were blown away in each of their first two home games by at least 16 points apiece in games that were never that close, but they aren’t a terrible team in our eyes. Baltimore is the significantly better squad and the one of these two that legitimately have a chance at playing in the Super Bowl this year, but that doesn’t mean that KC can’t pull off this upset. QB Matt Cassel will be playing with a fire in his belly, knowing that if he plays poorly, he will likely be replaced by QB Brady Quinn. The last time that these two met was a playoff game two years ago in this venue, one that was won by the Ravens in a 30-7 romp.

Seattle Seahawks (2-2 SU, 2-2 ATS) @ Carolina Panthers (1-3 SU, 2-2 ATS)
Spread: Carolina -3, Total: 43.5

Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC – Sunday, October 7th, 4:05 ET

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The Seahawks are normally a fantastic home team and a terrible road team, and the road trip doesn’t get a heck of a lot farther away from home than this week’s game in Charlotte. Seattle has won some big ones and has let some big ones get away, and for the first time, we have heard some grumblings about QB Matt Flynn taking over as the team’s starter from QB Russell Wilson. Carolina badly needs a win in this game, or it risks really falling out of the playoff race in the NFC. As good as that win against the Saints looked in Week 2, the Panthers still haven’t beaten a team that this year that has a victory to its name. It shouldn’t be all that much of a surprise that the home team has won all five games in this series, knowing just how many miles separate the two, and the hosts are also 4-1 ATS in those games.

Chicago Bears (3-1 SU, 3-1 ATS) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3 SU, 2-2 ATS)
Spread: Chicago -6, Total: 40

EverBank Field, Jacksonville, FL – Sunday, October 7th, 4:05 ET

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Once again, the trap has been set for a team on the road. The Bears have had a long, long week and not many days with which to deal with it. They are going to have their week cut short, not just by one day to travel from Dallas back to Chicago after last week, but by a second day from the standpoint that this one is also on the road. The week was short as it is too, knowing that Chicago played on Monday Night Football, some 30 hours after the Jags were done playing at home against the Bengals. It’s a great scheduling spot for Jacksonville and a terrible scheduling spot for Chicago, and when you’re dealing with a team that has such bipolar qualities as the Bears, that could be dangerous, even against one of the worst teams in the league. If the Bears come out and play their best, they’ll look like the team that is 3-1 ATS in the last four in this series against the Jags. If they come out looking like a hot mess though, it is anyone’s guess what the end result of this one could turn out to be.

Buffalo Bills (2-2 SU, 2-2 ATS) @ San Francisco 49ers (3-1 SU, 3-1 ATS)
Spread: San Francisco -10, Total: 44.5

Candlestick Park, San Francisco, CA – Sunday, October 7th, 4:25 ET

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On one glance, it would seem like the 2-2 Bills and 3-1 49ers aren’t separated by all that much. It’s just a game, right? QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has better numbers than QB Alex Smith, and RBs CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson look to be putting up better seasons statistically speaking than RB Frank Gore and RB Kendall Hunter are. However, San Fran has this thing called a defense, a concept that is totally foreign to the Bills right now. Buffalo just allowed 45 in the second half alone to the Patriots at home, whereas in the same week, the Niners were on the road and totally blanked the Jets. Both feats are impressive, but one obviously for all the right reasons, and one for all the wrong ones. That’s why this game started as one of the biggest point spreads of the weekend, and it has only continued to rise as the week has progressed.

Denver Broncos (2-2 SU, 2-2 ATS) @ New England Patriots (2-2 SU, 3-1 ATS)
Spread: New England -6.5, Total: 51.5

Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA – Sunday, October 7th, 4:25 ET

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Can you imagine the fact that here we are in Week, and the Patriots still don’t have a win at home this year? In fairness, they did play three of their first four games on the road, but make no mistake about the fact that this is a game that is definitely dangerous. QB Tom Brady and QB Peyton Manning meet for the first time with Peyton donning a different shade of a blue uniform, and this is where Manning is really going to be tested and judged. Brady already has all of his wins against the Colts from back in the day, while there is no team in the league that Peyton has tossed more picks against than this New England side. For what it’s worth, these are the two teams that met in the AFC Divisional Round of the playoffs last year, a game that was dominated by the Patriots from start to finish. It’s not QB Tim Tebow’s team any longer though, which could leave New England with a fighting chance.

Tennessee Titans (1-3 SU, 1-3 ATS) @ Minnesota Vikings (3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS)
Spread: Minnesota -5.5, Total: 44

HHH Metrodome, Minneapolis, MN – Sunday, October 7th, 4:25 ET

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Normally speaking, when a team is forced to turn to its backup quarterback due to injury, it turns out to be a disaster. It has only happened twice this year for any period of time though, and in both instances, it turned up gold for the team with the backup. Arizona hasn’t lost a game yet this year under QB Kevin Kolb, and the Lions erased a 14-point deficit in less than 20 seconds when QB Shaun Hill had to play for the injured QB Matt Stafford. Now, it’s Tennessee’s turn to see if it can rally around QB Matt Hasselbeck, who is expected to play in place of the banged up QB Jake Locker. The Vikes really still don’t feel like the real deal at 3-1, but they could start to prove that they are one of the elite teams in the conference if they just keep winning the games that they are supposed to. This is definitely one of those games. Minnesota has gone 3-1 SU and ATS in the last four in this series dating back to 1998.

San Diego Chargers (3-1 SU, 3-1 ATS) @ New Orleans Saints (0-4 SU, 1-3 ATS)
Spread: New Orleans -3.5, Total: 54

Mercedes Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA – Sunday, October 7th, 8:20 ET

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There has only been one team in the history of the league to start 0-4 and make the playoffs, and that team is none other than these Chargers. Ironically, the Saints are going to have to beat them if they want to take the steps in the right direction to figure out how to get back into the thick of things at this point. The oddsmakers still favor the hosts for a few reasons. For one, this is a long road trip for the Chargers, and long roadies don’t often go well. The second problem is that New Orleans has lost its four games by a total of 20 points. QB Drew Brees will break the record this week for the most consecutive games with a touchdown pass, assuming that he throws one, breaking the record of the great Johnny Unitas in the process. Expect a lot of points in this game if history repeats itself. The Chargers and Saints have combined to score a whopping 61.3 points per game in their last three meetings, all of which have exceeded the total by at least 10.5 points.

Houston Texans (4-0 SU, 4-0 ATS) @ New York Jets (2-2 SU, 2-2 ATS)
Spread: Houston -8, Total: 41.5

MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ – Monday, October 8th, 8:30 ET

Click Here For Handicapping Match-up Details

The Texans are the last undefeated ATS team standing, and many think that they are going to be able to come to East Rutherford and keep that going on Monday. However, what we have to remember is that Houston has never beaten the Jets, and it has only gone 1-4 ATS in the five all-time meetings between these two. This is the best version of the Texans ever though, and it might be one of the worst versions of the Jets in spite of that 2-2 record to start the year. QB Mark Sanchez has had three straight games completing less than half of his passes, and that just isn’t going to cut it against a ferocious defense, led by the league leader in sacks, DE JJ Watt, who legitimately might be one of the best players in all of football.

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Adam Markowitz

is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.

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