Week 5 Picks For NFL Pick'em Contests
This article was written by TeamRankings
Last week was a wild one in the NFL, as teams that closed as underdogs in the betting market won nine out of 15 games outright. It’s only the 10th time since 2008 that a single NFL week has had more underdogs win than lose, and it generally wreaked havoc in game winner based NFL pick'em contests.
Of the four relatively unpopular favorites we highlighted last week (Ravens, Colts, Bears, Broncos), only one won, with Denver yielding a last-second field goal to lose to Jacksonville. On average, the public only yielded 1.2 wins from those games, though. So Denver's inability to close was the difference between our slightly worse week vs. the public on those four games, vs. a solidly better one. The value gamble (Washington) sucked up the joint, but that's also why we call it a gamble—the Redskins' win odds going in were just under 40%. Long term, though, winning less than half of those value gambles can still pay off handsomely in weekly prize pools.
Now let's take a look at where the value lies in NFL Week 5 picks for pick'em contests and office pools. Just keep in mind that for our full pick recommendations, customized for your pool and using all the latest win odds and pick popularity data, check out our Football Pick'em Picks product. (You can also get a free three-day premium trial if you want to look around and see what we have to offer.)
Week 5 Value Picks For NFL Pick'em Contests
Below are five teams that float to the top of the value board for 2019 NFL Week 5. As a reminder, we are primarily looking at two factors here: A team’s chance of winning, and how popular it is nationally as a pick.
This week there are multiple value opportunities on some modest favorites because the public's willingness to pick upsets appears to have increased after last week’s upset fest. What’s more likely, though: That the betting market has suddenly gotten dumber about who should be favored or that last week was more of a random blip? We'll make an educated bet on the latter.
Keep in mind that we are not blindly recommending you make all of the picks below—the upset picks especially. Factors like your specific pool's size, rules, and prize structure all impact how risky vs. conservative you should be overall with your Week 5 picks. But you should certainly think twice about picking against the ones that are favorites because much better upset opportunities lie elsewhere.
Note: Win odds and estimated national pick popularity data below may change between publication time and kickoff time. If you want to see the latest numbers, our product updates multiple times per day.
No. 1: Tennessee Titans (vs. Buffalo Bills)
Win Odds: 60% (14th-best in Week 5)
Pick Popularity: 49% (15th-lowest in Week 5)
Has the public been burned by Tennessee being so unpredictable? Probably. The Titans have won twice as underdogs and lost twice as favorites, so the public has averaged getting 0.6 picks right in games involving Tennessee this year. The Titans are a three-point favorite here, yet the public has swung the other way and is taking the Bills 52% of the time. Buffalo put up a fight against New England in Week 4, which likely made an impression with the public. But Bills quarterback Josh Allen did sustain a concussion on Sunday and his status for this game is still to be determined, though he is more likely to miss this game. That doesn’t seem to be impacting the public so far, but it’s something to keep an eye on once there is an official decision.
No. 2: Minnesota Vikings (at New York Giants)
Win Odds: 69% (6th-best in Week 5)
Pick Popularity: 69% (9th-highest in Week 5)
The Vikings were a popular choice last week to beat the Bears on the road, and lost. The Giants were a popular choice to beat Washington, and won. So it’s pretty easy to see why the public is relatively down on the Vikings this week and high on the Giants. The Vikings, though, are a 5.5-point favorite and have a 69% chance of winning, according to our models. The public is picking Minnesota 69% of the time, so you are getting a pretty solid favorite being picked at a slightly lower rate than their odds to win.
That may not sound like a huge value, but consider this for perspective: There have been nine other games so far this season in which a team was favored by 5 or 5.5 points. On average, the public picked the favorite 89% of the time, and never less than 84% of the time.
No. 3: Cincinnati Bengals (vs. Arizona Cardinals)
Win Odds: 61% (13th-best in Week 5)
Pick Popularity: 55% (14th-highest in Week 5)
Cincinnati looked really bad in primetime on Monday night, and they turn around and are the betting favorite against another winless team this week in Arizona. It’s easy to see why the public would be a little hesitant about trusting the Bengals after their Monday night showing against the Steelers. That just means some value, though, for a team that has been installed as a 3.5-point favorite. Getting an edge in pick'em pools often means trusting the numbers and the betting markets over your eyes, and this game is probably a prime example.
No. 4: San Francisco 49ers (vs. Cleveland Browns)
Win Odds: 65% (8th-best in Week 5)
Pick Popularity: 64% (11th-highest in Week 5)
The Browns rebounded in Week 4 with a big win over Baltimore, and it looks like the public is now ready to re-embrace Baker Mayfield and company after their Opening Week shellacking by the Titans. Meanwhile, San Francisco was on bye last week. The public has a short memory, and out of sight often means out of mind, so it’s easy to forget that San Francisco is 3-0 and playing at home. The 49ers are favored by 3.5 points and our models give them a 65% chance of victory, while the public is picking San Francisco 64% of the time. Again, that may not seem like a huge value, but relative to how the public normally treats favorites, it definitely makes Cleveland an unwise upset pick compared to other options this week.
No. 5: Dallas Cowboys (vs. Green Bay Packers)
Win Odds: 64% (10th-best in Week 5)
Pick Popularity: 65% (10th-highest in Week 5)
The Cowboys are just one of several favorites more fairly valued than usual and are being selected by the public at lower rates than similar favorites in recent weeks. (An upset loss to the Drew Brees-less Saints in primetime on Sunday night is likely one reason why.) Dallas is a 3.5-point favorite at home, our models give them a 64% chance of winning, and the public is picking them 65% of the time. On average, the public is picking about one more upset in Week 5 than they have until now, so it makes sense to favor playing more favorites like Dallas this week.
Which Of These NFL Week 5 Picks Should You Make?
Once you know the best value opportunities of Week 5, you can often increase your odds to win your NFL pick'em pool by making some educated gambles on them.
Perhaps you bump up the number of confidence points you assign to a pick like Minnesota or Tennessee or Dallas. But there are a lot of potential decisions to make, and not all of them will make sense for your specific pool.
We built technology to do all the number-crunching needed to make the smartest decisions. Our Football Pick'em Picks product recommends the best weekly picks for your pool based on all the strategic factors that matter, like your pool's size, rules, and prize structure. You answer a few questions about your pool, and it recommends the Week 5 picks that maximize your edge.
We invite you to give it (and all our other premium NFL tools) a try for free.
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