Need a cheat sheet or some help spotting situational edges with a new week of NFL action fast approaching? We’ve got you covered.
Here are five situational spots to consider as you do your homework for Week 5:
A tough spot for the Denver Broncos
It feels as though it’s been hammered into our brains that we should fade West Coast teams playing on the East Coast, especially during early kickoffs. It’s a lazy cliche that hasn’t proved much of anything statistically in favor of the East Coast team over the years.
The Broncos fall into this situation on Sunday when they travel to take on the New York Jets, but this one is more complex than your typical cross-country trip. It isn’t so much about the Broncos’ body clocks having to adapt to what will feel like an 11 a.m. start as it is the recent string of travel the players have had to endure up to this point.
The Broncos ventured to Baltimore in Week 3 for an early start, traveled back to the thin air of Denver for a Week 4 Monday nighter against the Kansas City Chiefs, and now head back to the East Coast for a 1 p.m. ET start. That three-week travel spot will cover around 5,000 miles, nearly one-third of the Broncos’ total travel distance for the entire season.
It’s an extremely small sample size, but the Broncos are 0-5 in early starts on the East Coast, being outscored 33.2 to 14.6 on average. To top it all off, the Broncos are 0-9 against the first-half spread in their last nine road games.
Denver is coming off a tough loss at home on national television and will now head across the country on a shorter week.
What can go wrong? Plenty.
Spotting potential overreactions in Week 5 through lookahead lines
Here are the biggest discrepancies between the 2018 lookahead lines made over the summer and the current odds for Week 5:
Los Angeles Rams (at Seattle)
Lookahead line: LA -1
Current line: LA -7
Baltimore Ravens (at Cleveland)
Lookahead line: BAL +2.5
Current line: BAL -3
Cincinnati Bengals (vs. Miami)
Lookahead line: CIN -2.5
Current line: CIN -6.5
Arizona Cardinals (at San Francisco)
Lookahead line: ARI +7
Current line: ARI +4.5
Patriots + prime time = points
The New England Patriots have been an over machine when playing on prime time in recent years. Accounting for Thursday, Sunday night, and Monday night games, the Patriots are on a 25-12 run to the over.
Thursday’s total between the Patriots and Indianapolis Colts opened up at 53.5 but has since dropped to 50.5 in most shops. The two teams have flown over the total in the last eight meetings.
The Drew Brees bounce-back game
I’ve made a conscious effort through the season to emphasize that trends are non-predictive. With that being said, they’re undoubtedly interesting. And this may be the most mind-boggling one of all time.
You can keep Brees down, but not for long. Since operating under head coach Sean Payton, Brees, after posting a QB rating under 80.0, has covered the spread in 28 of the 31 games the week after.
Last week against the New York Giants, the Saints were held in check during the first half, settling for four field goals inside the red zone. A bulk of the Saints’ offensive production came on the ground, as Brees finished 18-for-32 for just 217 yards and a QB rating of 77.2.
That sets up the veteran quarterback for a potentially huge turnaround on Monday Night Football when the Saints take on the Washington Redskins. New Orleans is currently -6.5 chalk with the total at 52.5.
The Steelers know how to respond
The Atlanta Falcons meet the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday in a battle of two teams plagued by slow starts. And now, one of these teams will enter Week 6 with just a lone win, as the Falcons sit 1-3 and the Steelers are 1-2-1.
In deciding which team to back following last week’s home losses, Pittsburgh might be the better bet based on recent history. The Steelers have covered their last five games after a straight-up loss, and they’re outscoring opponents 26.6 to 12.8 on average in these situations. Pittsburgh most recently got into the win column in Week 3 following a loss to the Chiefs, beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road as a short underdog.
The Steelers are laying 3.5 points on Sunday to the Falcons, who are 1-4 against the spread in their last five road games.
Alex Kolodziej is theScore’s betting writer. He’s a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 11 years. He can quote every line from “Rounders” and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AlexKoIodziej.