NFL Week 5 Preview: Schedule Stuffed with Big Point Spreads

Posted on: October 10, 2020, 07:00h. 

Last updated on: October 10, 2020, 06:39h.

Of the 63 games played in the NFL this season, 45 have been within one score in the fourth quarter, tied for the third-most in NFL history through the first four weeks. Perhaps this week will be the exception.

Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson shoves aside a Washington Football Team defender en route to a 50-yard touchdown last week. Jackson and the Ravens are the biggest favorites in Week 5 of the NFL season, -12 vs. the Cincinnati Bengals. (Image: Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports)

Big point spreads, as exemplified at DraftKings, litter the 14 games scheduled to be played on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. At Baltimore, the Ravens are 12-point favorites over the Cincinnati Bengals. At Kansas City, the Chiefs are 11.5-point favorites over the Las Vegas Raiders.

The host San Francisco 49ers are 9-point favorites over the Miami Dolphins. The host Dallas Cowboys are 8.5-point favorites over the New York Giants. On Monday night, the New Orleans Saints are 8-point favorites over the Los Angeles Chargers.

“The power ratings show that there’s quite a disparity because one team is much better than the other. But, with all that being said, it’s the NFL and surprises do happen,” said Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, to

Dominant Chiefs

The undefeated Chiefs moved out front in the Super Bowl chase by blasting the Ravens a couple weeks ago. The Raiders, meanwhile, have dropped two straight after a 2-0 start.

You look at these two teams, one team won the Super Bowl, one team is getting better,” Avello said. “The Chiefs over the last five years have dominated against the division, with only three losses. They’ve beat the Raiders 10 of the last 11. The Raiders are getting better, but the Chiefs are one of the better teams, if not the best, in the NFL.”

At FanDuel, bettors interestingly are going with the big underdogs on the spread.

As of Saturday morning, 55 percent of the spread money has gone on the Raiders against the Chiefs, and 68 percent of the spread money has gone on the Bengals against the Ravens.

Several other games have touchdown-plus spreads, too. The visiting Los Angeles Rams (3-1) are 7.5-point favorites over the Washington Football Team (1-3). The host Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0) are 7-point favorites over the injury-plagued Philadelphia Eagles (1-2-1). The woeful New York Jets (0-4) are safe from COVID-19 after a false positive, but are 7-point underdogs at home to the Arizona Cardinals (2-2).

This time, the bettors like the favorites. At FanDuel, 83 percent of the spread bets have gone on the Rams, 69 percent of the spread money has gone on the Steelers, and a resounding 96 percent of the spread money has gone on the Cardinals.

New Coach, New Result?

In perhaps the most compelling game on Sunday’s slate, it’s the Indianapolis Colts at Cleveland Browns in a clash of 3-1 teams. At DraftKings, the Colts opened as 1-point favorites. The spread went to 2, but is back at one. At FanDuel, 52 percent of the spread money is on Indy.

The Browns are putting a lot of points up on the board. They seem to have it going, but so do the Colts,” Avello said. “[Colts quarterback] Philip Rivers is one of those guys, to me, that’s always been a tough guy to bet, because he just comes up with some very poor decisions and poor games at times.”

The Houston Texans fired coach Bill O’Brien this week. After back-to-back AFC South championships followed by a strange offseason, they are 0-4 heading into a home game against the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3). Houston is a 5.5-point favorite under interim coach Romeo Crennel, down a point from the opening.

“Coming into this season, you’re thinking Houston is way better than Jacksonville,” Avello said. “Jacksonville is one of the bottom five teams in the NFL, but Houston’s just so disappointing. They can’t get a ‘W’ and they took it out on the coach. Somebody has to get the blame.”

The week will conclude with the Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night, Los Angeles Chargers at New Orleans Saints in the regularly scheduled Monday night game, Denver Broncos at New England Patriots in a game rescheduled for Monday night, and Buffalo Bills at Tennessee Titans in a game rescheduled for Tuesday night.

COVID tests came back negative again for the Patriots and Titans on Saturday morning. That is two consecutive good days of results for the Titans, who had 23 positive bests between players and staff over a span of about two weeks.