Finding favorites to handicap in the NFL is not an easy chore.

It’s been an underdog year so far in 2018 and this week doesn’t look like it’s going to veer off that track. All is not lost with favorites, though. October is usually a month where we discover which teams are for real, and which ones are frauds.

As always, follow my Supercontest journey on this blog and @AgainstTheChalk on Twitter. The journey could not have been completed without my proxy Vegas Football Proxy. If you’re entering next year, be sure to reach out to Tom at Vegas Football Proxy.

Here’s my best three favorites in the week 5 NFL picks.

Robby Anderson should get some attention as one of the week 5 wide receivers to start. Flickr

Overall: 11-11-2 ATS

SuperContest: 9-8-3 ATS (10.5 points)

Favorites: 4-7-1 ATS

Denver Broncos at New York Jets (even)

Technically, the Jets aren’t a favorite, but since they opened as nearly a field-goal favorite, I’m backing them as a favorite anyway.

The betting public is in complete disagreement with me on this one. That’s OK. Last time I checked, Las Vegas made money for a reason.

I trust the Jets offense will look better in this game. And this isn’t the same Denver defense we’ve been accustomed to seeing in the past few years.

Every team the Jets have played this season has a better defense than Denver’s in terms of yards per play. And that includes Detroit.

Denver ranks 19th in yards per play allowed. The pass rush is good in Denver, but the rest of the defense leaves a lot to be desired. New York’s offense has been bad, but Sam Darnold’s rookie year will feature a roller-coaster ride.

The Jets get Denver on a short week, with the Broncos traveling two time zones to the east. The Jets will catch the Broncos napping, so fade the public. — Go for the win with New York Jets

Baltimore Ravens (-3) at Cleveland Browns

I understand why the spread is so small with this game. The Browns are showing multiple dimensions, which is rare in Cleveland.

However, I believe Baltimore is one of the better teams in the NFL, and despite having to go through back-to-back road games, the Ravens should have a distinct talent edge.

Baltimore’s defense is the best in the NFL, allowing just 4.4 yards per play. Most importantly, especially against a rookie quarterback, the Ravens are opportunistic on the defensive side of the ball. Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield had difficulties in the turnover department in his first game as a starter against Oakland last week with four turnovers.

The Ravens are far superior on that side of the ball, so this could be a long day for the No. 1 pick. Baltimore’s offense also is coming along, showing nice movement through the air, so I’m expecting the Ravens to escape Cleveland with a victory. — Go Chalk with Baltimore

Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles (-3)

My friends didn’t believe me when I was not buying the Vikings defense earlier in the season. Even though the national media was drooling over Minnesota’s defense, there was something missing.

San Francisco and Green Bay marched the ball up and down the field in the first two weeks. But no one paid attention until Buffalo did the same thing in week 3. And in week 4, it became even more apparent there’s something off with the Vikings defense.

The pass rush is non-existent and injuries are piling up in the secondary. Now, Minnesota has to travel cross-country in back-to-back road trips against a Philadelphia team that is still one of the most talented in the NFL.

Don’t believe all the disdain for the Eagles so far this season. They’ll figure it out. Carson Wentz is back and the offense looked better in week 4 against a solid Tennessee team. The defense played well for about three quarters in week 4 before tiring, and giving up too many points.

Philadelphia is the better team and I only have to give up three points. It’s time to hop off the Minnesota bandwagon. — Go Chalk with Philadelphia

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