NFL Week 5 odds, picks: Panthers top Falcons, Seahawks roll over Vikings and more of Tom Fornelli’s best bets


I don’t know if I should be mad at Tom Brady, or thankful. You see, I went 2-0-1 in this column last week, a week after going 3-0. The only thing that stopped me from a perfect 6-0 stretch over the two weeks was Tampa Bay pushing at home against the Chargers.

On the one hand, the push doesn’t happen if Tom Brady doesn’t throw a pick-six early in the game. Odds are, without that play, the Bucs cruise to a win and a cover. But that play happened, but Brady recovered to lead Tampa back from a 24-7 deficit to salvage a push. So am I mad at him for putting the Bucs in that position to begin with, or grateful that he dug them out of it and kept us from losing?

Or maybe I should be mad at myself for not paying down to Bucs -6.5? I don’t know, but I’m glad I’m trying to figure it out after a 2-0-1 week rather than an 0-3 week.

1. Panthers at Falcons: Panthers +2 (-110)

Yeah, there’s nothing in the world that could make me want to back the Falcons as a favorite right now. We’re talking about a team that is 0-4 on the season with a horrendous defense. A team that’s only proven to be good at one thing and that thing happens to be blowing games. The Panthers aren’t exactly juggernauts, but losing Christian McCaffrey hasn’t had as large an impact on the team as I suspected it would. I guess running backs really don’t matter after all. Either way, we’re on the Panthers here because Teddy Bridgewater is 19-5 ATS as a dog (14-2 ATS as a road dog), and the Falcons are only 18-33 ATS as a favorite under Dan Quinn. Panthers 30, Falcons 24

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2. Jaguars at Texans: Jaguars +6 (-110)

Some might suspect that since the Texans fired Bill O’Brien, things will magically improve. I am not one of them. Sure, we might see a dead coach bounce this week as the Texans finally got the BOB weight off their back, but it’s not like the roster is any different. While not spectacular, Bill O’Brien’s gameday coaching is not what put the Texans in this mess. It was the roster he put together (or deconstructed). Nothing I have seen from the Texans in 2020 makes me comfortable with the idea of taking them as nearly a touchdown favorite in this spot. They might get their first win of the season on Sunday, but it won’t be a comfortable one. Texans 24, Jaguars 20

3. Vikings at Seahawks: Seahawks -7 (-110)

Any chance to fade Kirk Cousins in a primetime spot is a chance I’m willing to take. The world is well aware of Cousins’ problems on Monday Night Football. He’s 0-9 ATS on Monday nights, but those struggles aren’t limited to Mondays. Hell, they’re not even limited to night exactly. In his career, Cousins has started 37 games that kicked off after 4 pm ET. In other words, spotlight games. In those 37 games, his teams have gone 12-25 ATS. Whether you want to attribute those struggles to the pressure of playing in big spots, or simply the fact you’re usually going against a good team in those time slots, I don’t care. What matters is that Cousins blows it more often than not. And against Russell Wilson? C’mon, this is easy. Seahawks 31, Vikings 17

Record

Units

Last Week

2-0-1

+2.0

Season

8-3-1

+4.7





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