My luck with favorites covering the spread has been about as good as favorites just winning straight up lately in the NFL.

The league has been all about the underdogs since we left week 2 with an even split between favorites and underdogs. Since week 3, favorites are six games under .500. And it’s not just underdogs covering the spread. In several cases, underdogs — sometimes major ones — are winning outright.

The odds were going to come down eventually and that has happened in week 5. Ten of 14 games in week 5 feature spreads of three or less points. This week is about picking winners, so here’s my three favorite week 5 NFL favorites that will cover the spread.

Favorites: 5-7 ATS

Overall: 12-11-1 ATS

Carolina Panthers at Detroit Lions (-3)

I’m pretty sure Detroit is a good team. I’m not so sure on Carolina.

I still have the same concerns I had last week with the Panthers. The injuries at the receiving positions shouldn’t be ignored. Greg Olsen is a major loss and Kelvin Benjamin is not completely healthy. The offense looked good in week 4 against New England. But what offense hasn’t looked that good against the Patriots?

Meanwhile, the defense has taken off two weeks in a row, allowing New Orleans and New England to throw all over the field against them. Don’t be fooled by Carolina’s defensive numbers. The first two weeks featured opponents — San Francisco and Buffalo — that couldn’t move the ball through the air. Only the Dolphins, Browns and Saints allow a higher completion percentage per game than the Panthers. That will spell doom against Matthew Stafford, who is playing at an efficient rate this season.

The Lions are winning games in multiple ways, with an emphasis on winning the turnover battle and keeping the ball away from the opponent. The Lions have a plus-nine turnover margin and have a time of possession better than 32 minutes per game, ranking fifth in the NFL.

Without the ability to get the Lions off the field, the Panthers won’t be able to make the stops when necessary. The Lions are good and I trust Stafford in this situation more than Newton in back-to-back road games. — Go Chalk with Carolina

Tom Brady should lead the Patriots to a week 5 cover as one of the best week 5 NFL favorites. Flickr/Keith Allison/

New England Patriots (-6) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I should probably try to stop handicapping New England games, but eventually, I’m going to luck into a win.

I wanted to avoid this game, but I couldn’t do it after looking at the matchup. I like Tampa Bay, but injuries are quietly taking a toll on the defense. Three starters will be out again in this matchup, with Kwon Alexander, Lavonte David and Keith Tandy injured. T.J. Ward, another safety for the Buccaneers, also will be out of this matchup.

Those are major holes to fill on this defense. And so far, Tampa Bay hasn’t been able to plug those holes with replacements. Tampa Bay is allowing almost 400 yards per game, with almost 315 of those coming through the air. I know New England has the worst defense in the NFL at the moment, but if you’re facing Tom Brady and company with that kind of defense, you’re in trouble.

The Patriots are still putting up huge numbers on offense. And while I like Tampa Bay’s offense, I don’t believe it can keep up with New England with so many injuries affecting their defensive roster. The Patriots will start showing improvement at some point. If the Buccaneers were healthy, this spread and matchup would be different. The Buccaneers can’t replace those players, so giving up less than a touchdown isn’t a bad move in this game. — Go Chalk with New England

Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams (-1)

The Rams are legit. The Seahawks aren’t as good as everyone believes they are.

I’m sticking with the same mindset that something is off in Seattle. The first half was a disaster in week 4, and we’re only two weeks removed from Tennessee pushing that defense around. The Rams have a rebuilt offensive line, a quarterback that is more than capable of beating good defenses and a rejuvenated Todd Gurley.

I’m only giving up one point because the name on the opposing team’s jersey says Seattle. The Seahawks will go into this game with one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. The Rams will counter with one of the best defensive lines. The Seahawks have been pushed around often in the run game, giving up 134 yards per game on the ground.

The Rams have a better team at the moment. And in recent years, Los Angeles has owned this matchup. Since 2014, the much less talented Rams own a 4-2 record straight up against Seattle. Now the talent is much improved in Los Angeles, so expect a victory in this game. — Go Chalk with Los Angeles

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *