(13-7 against the spread this season)
By Danny Picard
BOSTON — I had another 4-1 week against the spread in Week 4. And now, the bye schedule has begun, so there are a few less games to choose from, especially with another early-morning showdown in London.
I never bet the overseas games. The smartest thing you can do is stay away from those.
Let’s keep it rolling with the regular slate on our soil. Here are my picks for Week 5:
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-1.5) over New Orleans Saints
-Mac Jones and the 1-3 Patriots got embarrassed in Dallas last Sunday, and there isn’t much confidence in this team right now, here in New England. But Bill Belichick made a great move this week, trading for cornerback J.C. Jackson from the Los Angeles Chargers. It was Jackson who turned into a Pro Bowler while with the Patriots as an unrestricted free agent out of college. He’s just another example of Belichick turning water into wine. And whether he plays or not against the 2-2 Saints at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, it’s clear that Belichick is committed to grinding it out this season with a good defense and a solid run game. That strategy should be good enough to beat a mediocre Saints team that’s lost two straight to the Packers and Buccaneers. Give me the Pats to cover at home in an ugly, low-scoring affair.
MIAMI DOLPHINS (-12.5) over New York Giants
-This game is a tale of two different stories. Miami is an AFC contender, while New York might have their eyes on a quarterback in next year’s draft. I don’t see a situation in which the 1-3 Giants go into Miami and upset the 3-1 Dolphins on Sunday afternoon. And I’m not even looking at the fact that the G-Men have lost two straight and are coming off a Monday Night Football beatdown at the hands of the Seahawks, in which Seattle won 24-3 at MetLife and sacked Daniel Jones 10 times. All I needed to see here is that it’s supposed to be 90 degrees in Miami on Sunday, with high humidity making it feel like 95 degrees. Jones will be melting by halftime, while Tua Tagovailoa will get back on track after losing to the Bills last week. The Giants allow 31 points per game, so I’m taking Tua and the Dolphins to win big at home.
LOS ANGELES RAMS (+4.5) over Philadelphia Eagles
-Will this be “The Cooper Kupp Game?” Kupp is now removed from the PUP list and is expected to play in LA on Sunday against the 4-0 Eagles. The 2-2 Rams are coming off a win in Indianapolis, and I’m a little surprised that this spread isn’t closer to 1.5 points, instead of the 4.5 points. That’s some serious respect for the Eagles, because not only is October Matthew Stafford’s best month, statistically, but Stafford is also 4-1 in his career against Philadelphia, with 10 touchdowns and only one interception in those five games. The Eagles might not lose this one, but seeing that they just allowed 31 points in a win over Washington last week, this has the makings of a shootout at SoFi Stadium. At the very least, I’m taking the points here with a back-door cover on a late Rams score. This game should really be a pick-em. Because it’s not, I’m jumping on the Rams as a 4.5-point dog at home.
NEW YORK JETS (+2.5) over Denver Broncos
-The 1-3 Broncos seem like a complete shit-show of a team. They had a wild comeback last week, beating the Bears 31-28 in Chicago after falling behind 28-7 in the third quarter. Now though, Russell Wilson goes up against a Jets defense that held Patrick Mahomes to just 18 completions for 203 pass yards last week. New York still lost that game to Kansas City, and the Jets are 1-3 because of it. New York’s schedule has been one of the toughest in the league though. This will be a big test for Zach Wilson in Denver, but if the Jets were smart, they’d keep the ball on the ground against a Broncos defense that’s allowed a league-worst 176 rush yards per game this season. The only stat that makes me pause here is Russell Wilson’s 3-0 record against the Jets in his career, with nine touchdowns and one interception in those three games. But Russell Wilson is in a much different place right now, and these Broncos can’t be trusted. The Jets won in Denver last October. They’ll win there again on Sunday.
DALLAS COWBOYS (+3.5) over San Francisco 49ers
-This is a rematch of the Divisional Round playoffs, in which the 49ers won 19-12 in San Francisco. Both Dak Prescott and Brock Purdy had pedestrian performances, in a game that saw six field goals made. I expect another low-scoring game on Sunday Night Football in San Fran. The 3-1 Cowboys have the No. 1 ranked defense in the NFL, allowing just 10 points per game, while the 4-0 Niners rank third in the league, allowing just 14 points per game. In the regular season, Prescott is 2-0 against San Francisco with five touchdowns and zero interceptions. This game is as important as they come this early in the season, with playoff seeding in mind. There’s now only one first-round bye in the new format, so the result of this game could end up being the head-to-head tiebreaker that determines the NFC’s No. 1 seed when it’s all said and done. But I’m getting ahead of myself here. This game will be decided by a field goal or less. Give me the points.
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