For the first time all season, NFL betting underdogs suffered a losing week against the spread in Week 4. Oddly enough, it came in the same weekend when three dogs of at least 4.5 points managed to win their respective matchups outright. Two of those teams that won outright were underdogs of more than a touchdown, including the New York Jets who were featured in this very NFL betting picks column last week. While backing dogs ATS has been very profitable thus far, there have been a handful of surprising moneyline upsets each week as well. Nothing comes easy in the National Football League. Expect that sentiment to hold true in Week 5.
The following looks at three NFL betting favorites who are officially on upset alert ahead of their Week 5 matchups including the Las Vegas Raiders, Minnesota Vikings and Carolina Panthers.
**Author’s Note: The New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Chargers are two other favorites that are officially on upset alert in Week 5. However, with those games having point spreads smaller than three points, they are not featured in this column.
3 Teams on Upset Alert for Week 5 | NFL Betting Picks
Oddly enough, the Chicago Bears have managed to be featured in this NFL betting picks column every week thus far, albeit on different sides of the equation. This week, they are back playing the role of a 5.5-point underdog in a road matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders. The Bears are coming off a home win in which they looked markedly improved offensively. Perhaps Matt Nagy should permanently cede play-calling responsibilities to offensive coordinator, Bill Lazor. Rookie quarterback Justin Fields wasn’t spectacular by any stretch, but he made a number of nice throws in earning his first career victory. Of course, the Bears bring a solid defensive front to the table as well. That front seven could prove to be a real problem for the Raiders this week.
Speaking of the Raiders, Las Vegas is coming off of their first defeat of the season last Monday night at the hands of the Los Angeles Chargers. While the final margin was only two touchdowns, the game was never close. The Raiders’ offensive line proved to be no match for the talented Chargers’ pass-rushers. There’s a real possibility that the Bears are able to generate a steady pass rush and fluster Derek Carr in a similar manner on Sunday. Las Vegas also struggled defensively in their Week 4 defeat. While the defense has been better than many NFL betting analysts anticipated coming into the year, a combination of injuries and inexperience see the Raiders ranking no better than league average in adjusted efficiency. Chicago’s offense hasn’t been great by any stretch. That said, last week certainly marked a step in the right direction.
Bears vs Raiders NFL Betting Picks
Nothing figures to come easy for the Raiders offensively in this NFL betting matchup. Furthermore, if the Bears can continue to progress their own offense and build on last week’s performance, they should have no trouble hanging around on Sunday. The loss of running back David Montgomery hurts, but backup Damien Williams is more than capable and really should have a Super Bowl MVP award on his resume. Expect Jon Gruden and Co. to have their hands full in this one.
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The bottom two teams in the NFC North Division go head-to-head this week. For the Detroit Lions, Sunday’s matchup against the Minnesota Vikings marks their fifth attempt at earning their first win of the year. The Lions were a public NFL betting underdog last week against the Bears, only to lose by double-digits. This week, the line has actually moved against them a full point from opening. Make no mistake about it: Detroit’s defense is atrocious. They rank 31st in overall adjusted efficiency according to Football Outsiders. Making matters worse, the Lions also lost one of their best pass rushers last week, Romeo Okwara, to an injury. Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson and the Vikings’ passing attack could be in store for a big game this Sunday.
While the Lions may have a hard time slowing down the Vikings’ offense, there is actually quite a lot to like about Detroit’s own offense. Quarterback Jared Goff hasn’t been spectacular thus far, but he hasn’t been horrible either. The Lions have a solid offensive line anchoring the unit. They also bring one of the best RB tandems in the NFL to the table in D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams. That tandem could spell trouble for a Vikings defense that has struggled against the run through four weeks. In addition, pass-catchers Quintez Cephus, Amon-Ra St. Brown and T.J. Hockenson provide Goff with an underrated arsenal of weapons.
Lions vs Vikings NFL Betting Picks
The Vikings outfit has become rather synonymous with a strong defense during Mike Zimmer’s tenure as head coach. However, this year’s D is a far cry from previous seasons. Sure, Minnesota only surrendered 14 points in last week’s loss. They can thank the horrendous quarterback play of Baker Mayfield for keeping that final score respectable. This NFL betting matchup has the makings of a shootout. They may be winless on the year, but the Lions have a legitimate shot at springing a massive upset on the road in this spot.
Eagles vs Panthers (-3.5)
We round out this week’s upset alert NFL betting picks with an NFC showdown between the Philadelphia Eagles and Carolina Panthers. Despite not having won since the opening week of the season, the Eagles have seen a slight line move in their favor ahead of this Week 5 tilt. Meanwhile, the Panthers have been a pleasant surprise for many through the first four weeks. Carolina made more headlines this week by acquiring former NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Stephon Gilmore, in a trade with the New England Patriots. Gilmore joins a defense that ranks fourth in adjusted efficiency. However, the Panthers are yet to face a dual-threat quarterback the caliber of Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts.
Speaking of dual-threat QBs, Carolina’s Sam Darnold was all the rage on social media after scoring two more rushing touchdowns in the team’s Week 4 loss. Darnold may be able to execute lavish read-options in the red zone, but his decision-making as a passer remains very suspect. One other factor to note here is the Panthers’ offensive line. It was a rough outing for the unit last week as they surrendered five sacks against a Dallas Cowboys defense playing without its best pass-rusher. For as weak as the Eagles are in the secondary, they have done a decent job of getting pressure this season to the tune of 2.0 sacks per game. If Darnold is forced to face steady pressure, he could be very prone to committing costly mistakes.
Eagles vs Panthers NFL Betting Picks
Based on the respective public perceptions of these two teams through four games, it sure feels like the NFL betting spread for this matchup should be a bit larger. Instead, it has trickled down slightly, a sign of sharp money backing the underdog. When it comes down to it, so long as Sam Darnold is their quarterback, the Panthers remain capable of losing outright on any given Sunday.
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