In a season defined by underdogs reigning supreme in spread betting – dogs are 36-26-2 against the closing line – favorites held serve in Week 4 by reeling off an 8-6-1 ATS record.
And per the latest odds posted by online sportsbook Bovada, bettors looking for that trend to continue have several juicy opportunities awaiting in Week 5.
The Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2-1) host the Atlanta Falcons (1-3) in a game which will see the loser’s playoff hopes slashed.
And if current trends continue, that losing team will likely be done in by one of the weakest defenses in the league. Atlanta is surrendering a whopping 403.0 yards per game, but Pittsburgh is even worse at 420.5 yards allowed on average.
Those are the fifth-worst and third-worst defenses in football, and with top notch offensive duos like Matt Ryan and Julio Jones dueling Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown, stops will be at a premium all Sunday.
The Steelers are (-3) favorites in this one, with the comfortable confines of Heinz Field providing the only separation.
The Kansas City Chiefs (4-0) are the league’s last remaining undefeated team, but they’ll face their toughest test of the young season when the Jacksonville Jaguars (3-1) come to Arrowhead.
Both teams played their way into the 2017 postseason, but the Jags lasted longer – reaching the AFC Championship Game and nearly dethroning the Patriots dynasty before blowing a fourth-quarter lead.
That upstart Jacksonville squad was fueled by the arrival of Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, defensive standouts in the secondary who make life miserable for opposing quarterbacks.
They’ll face a tough test this Sunday in Pat Mahomes, the Chiefs sensation who has taken the NFL by storm with a 14-touchdown barrage to just one interception. Mahomes has simply been brilliant in his first year as a starter, but he’s also never faced a defense like this before.
Accordingly, the Chiefs are just (-3) home favorites, meaning these two AFC powerhouses would be a pick’em when playing on a neutral field.
The Tennessee Titans (3-1) visit the Buffalo Bills (1-3) as (-3.5) road favorites, while the defending champion Philadelphia Eagles (2-2) are (-3) home favorites hosting the Minnesota Vikings (1-2-1).
The first game of the week used to be appointment viewing for fans of elite passers, but these New England Patriots (2-2) and Indianapolis Colts (1-3) have newfound questions at quarterback.
At age 41, Tom Brady has looked like a mere mortal through four weeks. He’s still better than most signal-callers in the league, but at his current pace, Brady would miss all five performance-based incentives in his current contract.
The Pats’ passing game has been hampered by a truly lackluster cast of wide receivers, but that could change when Julian Edelman returns to Foxboro from a four-game PED suspension. If a gimpy Gronk is good to go, New England’s status as heavy (-10.5) favorites certainly makes sense.
As for the Colts, the return of Andrew Luck from more than a year off is surely welcome for Indy fans, but he hasn’t looked quite like his old self as of yet. Luck says he can still make all the throws, but the stats show him among the league “leaders” in dinking and dunking.
If the Patriots bring the same heat they used to demolish the Dolphins in a 38-7 laugher last Sunday, the Colts may just need Luck to sling it around Foxboro. And if he can’t make that happen – remember, the Indianapolis coaching staff already pulled Luck from a Hail Mary situation this season – the Colts could become the latest double-digit cover on Bill Belichick’s mantle.