Welcome to The Contrarian: Against All Odds, NFL Week 5 edition. After witnessing Tom Brady’s episode of on-field Alzheimer’s during a potential game-winning drive vs the Bears on TNF, anything’s possible. When the game is on the line and the GOAT forgets it’s fourth down, there springs hope eternal for underdogs everywhere.
I’m projecting three road dogs to buck the NFL odds, scratching and clawing their way to victory in hostile environments. These three undervalued teams are not only predicted to win against the spread, but to win the games outright. Rooting for the underdog is the most exhilarating experience in sports betting! Let’s go for a ride.
Panthers at Falcons
Sunday, Oct. 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET on FOX
Underdog Betting Vitals
Point Spread: Panthers +1½ (-110)
Look out for the Carolina Panthers (2-2), who are surging despite losing all-world RB Christian McCaffrey for an extended period. The Panthers pounced on two stellar opponents in a row, defeating the Chargers and Cardinals in Weeks 3 and 4.
RB Mike Davis has performed quite well in McCaffrey’s absence. Over the last two weeks, Davis has gained 130 yards on the ground and caught 13 passes for 72 yards. Davis has scored two touchdowns along the way, and has been a pleasant surprise for Carolina.
The Teddy Bridgewater-Robby Anderson connection is developing beautifully thus far. Anderson’s 28 catches for 377 yards and a TD, provide a glimpse into the bright future ahead for this tandem. Expect Bridgewater and Anderson to have huge games against the Falcons’ second-to-last ranked passing defense.
The Atlanta Falcons (0-4) are the diseased team that no NFL betting enthusiasts want to touch. Atlanta has adequate talent, but their coaching leaves much to be desired and it’s been costing the Falcons wins. The most recent odds to win the division show the Panthers (+1000) as much more likely to win the NFC South than the Falcons (+3000).
Yet and still, our sportsbook currently lists Atlanta as 1½-point favorites in this NFC South contest. Carolina’s offense will move the ball and score on Atlanta, no doubt about it. The Panthers’ seventh-ranked passing defense should stifle an already struggling Matt Ryan, who threw for 285 yards and zero TDs last week vs the Packers.
The Falcons’ receiving corps are hurting, with WRs Julio Jones (hamstring) and Calvin Ridley (thigh/knee) both recovering slowly. Ridley has a better chance to play than Jones, but neither are a guarantee to suit up. Carolina has Atlanta beat on both sides of the ball this week. Panthers 38, Falcons 33
It’s Raining Ducketts: Free NFL Pick ATS, Carolina Panthers +1½
Dolphins at 49ers
Sunday, Oct. 11 at 4:05 p.m. ET on FOX
Underdog Betting Vitals
Moneyline: Dolphins +350
Point Spread: Dolphins +9 (-110)
The Miami Dolphins (1-3) have only lost by more than nine points once this season: Week 1 vs the Patriots. The Dolphins were defeated 21-11 in Foxboro, during a rust-riddled week of NFL action. Cam Newton and Stephon Gilmore both played for New England, and Miami kept the game respectable.
Other than Week 1, the Dolphins haven’t been beaten on the scoreboard by more than one possession’s worth of points. The Fins lost to the Bills 31-28, walloped the Jaguars 31-13, and fell to the mighty Seahawks 31-23. Overall, Miami has improved quite a bit as the season has progressed.
So, what makes San Francisco so special? Nothing. The Niners just got beaten by the low-flying Eagles last week, and their roster resembles an infirmary. The starting quarterback for the 49ers is unknown, and the defense is severely hobbled.
Ryan Fitzpatrick will pick apart the remaining remnants of the Niners’ stingy second-ranked pass defense. San Francisco is in survival mode, and still are slated as huge favorites against Miami. Offering the Dolphins +9 is a gift, and we should open it right now before the line shifts.
It’s Raining Ducketts: Free NFL Pick ATS, Miami Dolphins +9
Miami Dolphins Moneyline +350
Giants at Cowboys
Sunday, Oct. 11 at 4:25p.m. ET on CBS
Underdog Betting Vitals
Moneyline: Giants +320
Point Spread: Giants +9½ (-110)
NY Giants (0-4) offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is the key to this matchup. Garrett, the former head coach for the Dallas Cowboys (1-3), has the intel necessary to short circuit the enemy’s offense. The Giants’ passing D is ranked sixth as it is, but this advantage of information and familiarity is paramount.
The Cowboys can be run on, and the Giants gained 136 yards on 25 carries against the Rams last week. NY only lost that game by eight points, so winning ATS in this situation is not only realistic, but probable. The G-men even have a decent chance of upsetting the Cowboys here, thereby providing a measure of satisfaction to Garrett.
Head coach Joe Judge is still searching for his first win, as well. NY has a lot to fight for, and Dallas is absolutely vulnerable. The reality for the Cowboys is this: they should be 0-4 right now. If not for an inexplicable implosion by the Atlanta Falcons, Dallas would be winless. The Giants will come out of the shadows swinging hard, and this will prove to be the Cowboys most painful loss of the season.