Week 5 NFL Best Bets: Let’s Go Dumpster Diving With Buy-Low, Sell-High Spots

Written By Eli Hershkovich on October 10, 2021
Week 5 NFL Best Bets

There are plenty of intriguing matchups on the slate, including Seahawks vs. Rams, Bengals vs. Packers, Chargers vs. Browns and Chiefs vs. Bills. But on brand, I’ll be plugging my nose after placing my Week 5 NFL best bets.

Let’s break down where the value lies after the betting market has made a dent.

Miami Dolphins @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

We’re betting the Buccaneers.

Just kidding.

Tampa Bay could be without a majority of its starting secondary from the beginning of the season. That includes Carlton Davis (quad strain), Pro Football Focus’ seventh-ranked coverage cornerback. In turn, Todd Bowles’ unit is allowing the sixth-highest dropback success rate (SR).

For a pass to be considered successful, it must gain:

  • 50 percent of the yards needed to move the chains on first down
  • 70 percent of yards to gain on second down
  • 100 percent of yards to gain on third or fourth down

Lacking faith in quarterback Jacoby Brissett is understandable, as Tua Tagovailoa isn’t expected back until Week 6. Not only have the Dolphins tallied the third-lowest dropback SR, but they also rank dead-last in yards per pass attempt (5.3 YPA).

Plus, Miami wide receiver Will Fuller (broken finger) is considered day-to-day, limiting the Dolphins’ ability to stretch the field with a proven playmaker. Brian Flores’ offensive line even possesses the league’s second-worst pass blocking unit (via PFF).

But as a double-digit underdog, Brissett can keep this game within two scores if Miami employs a similar game plan to what we saw from the Patriots on Sunday night: quickly-timed routes against Bowles’ Cover-2 zone.

Can You Trust the Dolphins’ Defense?

On the other side, Miami cornerback Byron Jones (quad) could practice later this week after he was banged up in the Week 4 loss to the Colts. Despite the poor performance overall, Flores’ defense ranks No. 11 in dropback SR. Defensive tackle Raekwon Davis (knee) could return off injured reserve too.

The Dolphins are generating the NFL’s second-highest blitz rate and, contrary to popular belief, have amassed an above-average pressure rate as a result. Pinning Tom Brady on his back will be critical in disrupting the Buccaneers’ explosive attack.

After an emotional win in New England, I’ll back the team in a buy-low spot for the first of my Week 5 NFL best bets.

Eli’s Pick: Dolphins +10.5; wouldn’t bet beyond +9 (FanDuel — placed at noon ET on Tuesday, Oct. 5)
Best Available Line: Dolphins

Philadelphia Eagles @ Carolina Panthers

I hit on this game with in my NFL Week 5 underdogs piece. With Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (hamstring) listed as doubtful, I locked it in.

Eli’s Pick: Eagles +3; wouldn’t bet beyond +3 (DraftKings — placed at noon ET on Friday, Oct. 8)
Best Available Line: Eagles

San Francisco 49ers @ Arizona Cardinals

The final score doesn’t tell the whole story about the 49ers‘ Week 4 loss to the Seahawks.

For one, San Francisco was forced to throw rookie signal caller Trey Lance into the fire without a full week of prep after Jimmy Garoppolo (calf) went down. Kyle Shanahan’s team also fumbled a kickoff return and played without a healthy placekicker, as Robbie Gould suffered a groin injury in warmups.

Garoppolo will be reevaluated on Wednesday while starting left tackle Trent Williams (shoulder) is considered day-to-day. On a positive note, speedster Elijah Mitchell (shoulder) could return to the 49ers’ backfield after missing their last three games.

The Cardinals (4-0 straight-up, 3-1 against the spread) are understandably going to take plenty of public money following their win at the Rams. In fact, the spread has moved 6.5 points towards Arizona since the preseason look-ahead line.

Moreover, BetMGM has Kliff Kingsbury’s team, led by MVP favorite Kyler Murray, as its second-biggest Super Bowl liability.

Hence, it’s time to sell-high on the Cardinals.

How Will San Francisco Attack Arizona’s Defense?

Whether Shanahan employs Garoppolo or Lance, the 49ers will aim to operate at methodical pace in attempt to keep Murray on the sidelines. Arizona’s defense ranks No. 29 in rushing SR and No. 19 in expected points added per carry (EPA/carry). EPA is determined by expected points scored based on the down, distance, and field position at the start of a play — juxtaposed with the aftermath.

Even if neither Garoppolo nor Williams suit up, Shanahan should have a refined selection of run-pass option (RPO) packages cooked up for Lance, while also propelling him outside of the pocket to help create space for the ground game.

The 49ers are tied for the ninth-highest rushing percentage on RPO play-calls (via Sharp Football Stats), and that would continue with Lance’s ability to find lanes with his own legs.

Let’s back another road underdog above a key number for the second of my Week 5 NFL best bets.

Eli’s Pick: 49ers +5.5; wouldn’t bet beyond +4 (PointsBet — placed at noon ET on Tuesday, Oct. 5)
Best Available Line: 49ers

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Eli Hershkovich

Eli Hershkovich is a lead sports betting writer with TheLines and Catena Media, formerly with Audacy and The Action Network. His goal is to provide you with data and information to lead you to winning bets. Eli is an avid college basketball gambler — among many other sports — and still hasn't forgiven Virginia for ruining his 2018-2019 Texas Tech futures.

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