Sunday Scaries: The Week 5 bets you should avoid

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Illustration: Eric Barrow (Shutterstock)

Welcome to another installment of the Sunday Scaries where NFL Sundays are becoming, fittingly, scarier.

We’ve made it to Week 5 and the Titans almost have as many COVID cases as the White House. And the NFL shut down the Patriots facility again this morning after another positive test in New England. The shutdown puts tomorrow’s game against Denver in question.

There are still, as always, spreads you should stay away from. You want Vegas and your bookie to take your money… in THIS economy?

This week, you should choose your bets wisely. In case you need to know what games to avoid, we’ve got you covered.

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Raiders at Chiefs (-13)

Raiders at Chiefs (-13)

Illustration for article titled Sunday Scaries: The Week 5 bets you should avoid
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First off, you should probably stay away from this game because the Chiefs were in close contact with infected Patriots CB, Stephon Gilmore. As of this morning, no players have tested positive but one Chiefs staffer has. K.C. should still be wary though, infections can emerge days after contact. See: Tennessee Titans. The Raiders also put a player on the COVID-19 reserve list this week.

But from a betting perspective, this game should be avoided too. I know the Chiefs have won their last two games against double digits. And quarterback Derek Carr and Raiders are coming into Arrowhead with two straight losses. But a number this large should scare the recreational gambler.

In Week 2, KC was favored by over a touchdown and narrowly beat another AFC West opponent, the Chargers, in overtime. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs to win, sure. But who’s to say this game can’t be close?

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Jaguars at Texans (-5.5)

Jaguars at Texans (-5.5)

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Jacksonville and Houston are featured on this list frequently because they are, quite simply, bad.

But the Texans came into the year expecting to contend for their third straight AFC South championship. Four weeks later, without a win, Houston fired their head coach reportedly after a spat with defensive star J.J. Watt and named Romeo Crenell the interim.

At the same time, the Jags and Myles Jack come to town today with a three-game losing streak. Gardner Minshew has not created a second wave of mania and the Jacksonville defense led by Myles Jack leads the league in completion-percentage allowed.

So who will you go with? A Texan team that’s gone 0-4 and 0-4 against the spread? Or the Jaguars who have not held an opponent to under 30 points since Week 1? You’re not going to want to watch this game. I wouldn’t bet it if I were you, either.

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Giants at Cowboys (-8.5)

Giants at Cowboys (-8.5)

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The NFC east is a shitshow. Avoid these teams at all costs.

The Cowboys defense has been nonexistent through the first four weeks of the season, making the team the worst rated defense in football. Dallas’ sole win should be better known as a Falcons loss or implosion. The 1-3 ’Boys and Dak Prescott face the 0-4 Giants and the struggling Daniel Jones in a game that could determine second place in the lowly NFC. Yes, a 1-4 Giants team could still be in contention for the division crown by Sunday evening.

I know a chance to bet against the winless Giants is appetizing. But Dallas is 0-4 against the spread and New York is coming off a closer-than-expected loss in L.A. 8.5 points is a number I would stay away from. And with what we’ve seen from these two teams so far, how could you be confident in either pick?

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Colts at Browns (-1.0)

Colts at Browns (-1.0)

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Are the 3-1 Colts and 3-1 Browns as good as their records? I’m not sure. But they have played a bunch of bad teams. Indy and Cleveland have won three straight against teams with a combined record of 7-16-1.

Still, Vegas got the number right here. Expect a close game between two evenly-matched squads. But the winner is a coin flip, for me. You could make the argument that Odell Beckham Jr. is coming off his best performance in years and will continue to play at an elite level. At the same time, you could argue that the Colt defense is one of the best in the league. They rank first in the league in allowing the fewest yards-per-play, first in fewest points allowed per game, and first in fewest yards allowed per game. The Colts offense, however, is another story.

This is a tough game to gauge, I’d stay away.

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If you can’t resist…

If you can’t resist…

We’ve come to the point of the piece where I’ve explained why you should avoid these games... but I give you my picks anyway.

Like I always say, these games are scary to bet. I had my worst week last week, going 1-3. But I still have above a .500 winning percentage for the season (8-7). 53 percent is about as good as most professional gamblers.

With that, here are my picks.

  • This number has fluctuated all weekend, but 13 points are a lot to swallow. Kansas City may be the best team in the league, but I like the road dog Raiders to cover and keep it close. Hopefully Raiders coach Jon Gruden can keep the damn mask on this time.
  • 5.5 points is a little too much for me to lay on the Texans. The Jags suck, but they’ve been in three one-score games. I think Jacksonville can keep it close, and win, against a Texan team falling off a cliff.
  • The Cowboys are 0-4 against the spread for a reason. Vegas keeps overvaluing America’s Team and folks who bet against the Cowboys are getting rich. Let’s join them. 8.5 is, again, too big a number in this one. I’ll take the Giants to cover.
  • Indy vs the ’land really is a toss up. So I’ll take the point and give the edge to the better defense. The Colts will round out my Sunday picks of road dogs.
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