NFL Pool Picks Cheat Sheet: Week 5 Pick Em Contest Leverage Plays

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Written By Jeffrey Schreiber on October 5, 2023

NFL Pick ‘Em pools continued to roll on in Week 4. However, only a select few underdogs won outright. There were four upsets last week across NFL pool picks. Among the notables were the Houston Texans defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tennessee Titans destroying the Cincinnati Bengals. For Week 5, let’s dive deep into matchups to help make more strategic NFL picks. We’ll also use moneyline data from the best NFL betting sites to help determine teams with the highest implied winning probability.

Looking at pool game theory, we will highlight some of the most popular picks in straight-up pools and against the spread pools for NFL Week 5. Keep reading to stay up to date and compare spreads, moneylines, and totals across NFL betting sites.

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Week 5 NFL Leverage Play Pool Picks: Straight-Up

A straight-up pick means that you are picking the winner of the game. No spread is considered in this type of contest.

One of the ways you get leverage in NFL Pick ‘Em pools is by capitalizing on underdogs with a legitimate chance of victory, yet your peers are not selecting. These undervalued and often ignored underdogs can be a goldmine in these pools and are often termed leverage plays. If correct, it’s the fastest way to move up the standings.

Teams coming off terrible losses the week before can be value picks. Teams that were big favorites the week before and teams that knocked people out of Survivor pools are also worth eyeing. Public perception can create overreactions week to week. Therefore, making bets that can seem uncomfortable can be critical.

Atlanta Falcons vs. Houston Texans

The Texans’ offense heads into Week 5, having dropped 30+ points in consecutive games despite multiple injuries, especially on the offensive line. Rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud has thrown for 1,212 yards, second most in league history for a QB through his first four NFL games. Houston’s future star QB didn’t take a sack in Week 4 and still hasn’t thrown an interception this year. As the Texans are becoming a public darling, the Falcons hype is all but dead after back-to-back blowout defeats.

Let’s not rush to conclusions and present the facts before jumping on the Texans bandwagon. Atlanta’s defense has been excellent thus far. The Falcons have yielded the NFL’s sixth-fewest yards per pass attempt (5.6) and rank best by rush defense EPA.

Atlanta was blown out the last two weeks because they couldn’t establish the run. Falcons HC Arthur Smith relies heavily on running the football to win games. What’s positive for the Falcons is this matchup against the Texans lines up well for potential rushing success. Houston’s defense is struggling to defend the run in 2023. The Texans are 28th in rushing defense DVOA and 25th by rush defense EPA. Playing the Falcons in this spot may be a prime leverage spot.

Week 5 NFL Leverage Play Pool Picks: Against The Spread

A spread pick means that you will make your picks based on the difference in points between the two teams. For example, you might predict that your chosen team will win by at least a six-point margin.

With spread picks, the spread is supposed to be an attempt to get even action on both sides. Seeing a spread get overwhelmingly bet on one side usually means a price that won’t last. In this context, fading the highest-picked spreads can provide value. If these teams fade out, you gain massively on the others in your pool by gaining a game when so few did.

This only applies to games where the pool and Vegas spread are aligned. This isn’t a leverage spot with a line moving due to a potential quarterback change. The line at sportsbooks can be blown out because of an injury. The reason is that picking the team not on the injury side is getting points of value.

Carolina Panthers vs. Detroit Lions

The Panthers travel to Detroit not having scored more than 17 points in Bryce Young’s starts, while the Lions look great coming off back-to-back wins. Expect Detroit to be a popular selection in NFL survivor pools this week. Carolina built up an early lead over the Vikings but couldn’t string along anything offensively to pull off the upset at home, dropping them to 0-4 on the year. 

The public seems to be out on the Panthers after four weeks and with good reason. While Carolina is considerable underdogs to win this game, the spread is past the key number of seven, opening up a path for them to cover. Carolina’s defense also has been an under-the-radar success. They currently rank 8th best by pass defense EPA. Detroit has scored 21 or fewer points in two of the four games this year and is outside the top 10 in both EPA/play and Success Rate offensively.

Best of luck navigating NFL picks for your Pick ‘Em pools in Week 5!

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NFL Week 5 Odds

You can use the table below to browse moneylines across sportsbooks in your area. The more negative the number, the bigger the favorite that team is. You can also toggle to spreads to browse who are the biggest favorites there. Again, the more negative the number, the bigger the favorite. For example, a team that is -4 is a more significant favorite than -2.