NFL Betting Predictions: Week 5 Opening Line Report and Picks
On Monday, we saw the longest suspension for an on-field incident in NFL history as the league has banned Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict the rest of the season for his brutal and ridiculous helmet-on-helmet hit on Colts tight end Jack Doyle in Sunday's game. It was 100 percent a deserved suspension as Burfict, while a good player, is probably the dirtiest there is. He received 13 suspensions and fines in seven seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals before signing with the Raiders as a free agent this offseason. Somehow, he was voted a team captain with Oakland. Burfict will appeal but not likely he wins that or gets it reduced. He could have killed Doyle. Yet another great idea by Jon Gruden, also the guy who signed arguably the dirtiest offensive player in the NFL in lineman Richie Incognito and traded for Antonio Brown.
Speaking of suspensions, some guys who were dinged four games in the offseason for PED use or the like will be available this week. For example, Eagles receiver Golden Tate, Browns wideout Antonio Callaway, Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson, Jets tight end Chris Herndon and Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan.
Here are some Week 5 early lines that caught my eye. We won't touch on Thursday's game (Rams at Seahawks) or Monday's (Browns at 49ers) because we will be previewing them individually here at Doc's. The Lions and sad-sack Dolphins are on the bye.
Bears vs. Raiders (+4.5, 41.5): There's a vs. here instead of an "at" because it's a neutral-site game in London, although Oakland is the home team. Most of these London games are played at 9:30 a.m. ET, but this is a 1 p.m. ET kickoff (shame as those morning starts are great) and from the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Two big story lines here. The first is that the Bears will almost surely be without starting QB Mitchell Trubisky. He injured his non-throwing shoulder on Sunday vs. the Vikings. No word yet on his status for the rest of the season, but with Chicago on the bye after this game there's pretty much no way he's playing. The second big story is Bears superstar linebacker Khalil Mack facing his former team for the first time since Gruden got two first-round picks for him (another mistake by Gruden; other picks were exchanged by both teams) on the eve of the 2018 season. That's a big price to pay, but the Bears would do it again in a heartbeat because Mack improved that defense from good to spectacular (he'll be amped up for this one). That initial Chicago first-rounder was No. 24 this past April and the Raiders took Alabama running back Josh Jacobs, who has looked good thus far. The Bears definitely want the Raiders to stink this year because Chicago gets Oakland's second-round pick next year as part of that Mack deal. Pick: Bears.
Jets at Eagles (-14, 44.5): Two teams on extra rest as the winless Jets were off in Week 4 - coaches hate bye weeks that early - and the Eagles were upset winners in Green Bay last Thursday. Big story line here is the expected return of Jets quarterback Sam Darnold. He hasn't played since Week 1 due to contracting mono (insert joke). Without Darnold, the Jets have scored a total of 17 points over the last two games. New York had all of 105 total yards against New England in Week 3 behind Luke Falk. The Jets became only the sixth team in the Super Bowl era, excluding the 1987 strike season, to use three different starting quarterbacks in the first three games. Overall, the Jets have one offensive touchdown, the first time in franchise history they have had only one touchdown from scrimmage (they have two defensive scores) after three games. If Jets don't win here, and I certainly don't think they will, they are staring at 0-6 at a minimum because they next two weeks they host Super Bowl contenders in Dallas and New England. Pick: Jets.
Colts at Chiefs (-9.5, 57): The Sunday nighter. Who would have guessed the last game that Andrew Luck would play in the NFL - tend to think he returns next year, but he's the kind of bright, cultured guy one could see walking away for good without a second thought - was the Divisional Round of last year's playoffs in Kansas City? That one was never much in doubt as the Chiefs scored on their first three possessions to win 31-13 - the team's first playoff home victory in 25 years. Luck was just OK, going 19-for-36 for 203 yards and a score. Patrick Mahomes had a rare game without a TD pass, but K.C. ran for 180 yard and four TDs. Indy comes off a surprising home loss to Oakland without top WR T.Y. Hilton (quad), while the Chiefs won late in Detroit. Mahomes didn't throw a TD pass in that one, either. Slacker. Pick: Colts.
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