Gambling is never easy.
Not only because of the emotional and financial stress it can cause, but also because there is always more information to know. Any time you think you have a great read on a game, it’s likely best to go the other way. If a bet is too good to be true, it probably is, and there is someone is Las Vegas eager to take your money if you don’t realize it quick enough.
Sadly, to my knowledge, it is impossible to predict the future. We analyze trends and make our best guesses, but one guarantee about football is that you can’t know how a game is going to end until the final whistle blows.
All of that to say — this is an extremely tough week to bet on football.
But while other bettors might want to use this week to play it slow, that’s not an option in our quest to win $1 million in the Westgate Las Vegas SuperContest.
Through four weeks our picks are sitting at an admirable 11-9, but in order to take home the top prize, we need to keep grinding out winners week after week.
This weekend, I’d be fine with going 3-2. It’s dangerous out there.
Below are our best bets for Week 5 of the NFL season.
SuperContest Pick 1: Philadelphia Eagles (-3) over Minnesota Vikings
This is a tough spot for the Eagles, as Minnesota is riding two straight losses and rather desperate for a win, but Philadelphia tends to rise to the occasion at home.
While the team had to scramble to beat the Colts during their last home stand, the 16 points they ceded to Indianapolis was the most they had given up in Philadelphia since Week 9 of last season.
Further, the Eagles offense, despite not being able to seal the deal against Tennessee, feels like its finding its groove. Expect tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert to both be heavily involved in the passing game, and with Alshon Jeffrey back in the fold, hopefully the Philadelphia attack can get back to looking like Super Bowl champions.
SuperContest Pick 2: Oakland Raiders (+4.5) over Los Angeles Chargers
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The Oakland Raiders win over the Browns last weekend might not have been wholly convincing, but it was enough to give bettors faith that Derek Carr and company can at least get points on the board.
Meanwhile, the Chargers had to pull off a late comeback to beat the C.J. Beathard-led 49ers in a game that was much more grueling than it should have been.
But the main reason we’re backing the Raiders in this spot is their home-field advantage. While this game is technically being played in Los Angeles, the Chargers have a habit of letting opposing fans invade their territory, as has happened time and time again over the past two seasons.
With Oakland just a drive away, and with Los Angeles already full of citizens of Raider Nation, the Black Hole should be in full force on Sunday. The Chargers apparently know what’s coming, even prepping for crowd noise to be a factor despite playing what is supposed to be a home game.
The Raiders should at least be able to keep this one close.
SuperContest Pick 3: Buffalo Bills (+3.5) over Tennessee Titans
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Betting on the Buffalo Bills can feel a lot like jumping through a flaming table: you know it’s going to hurt, but given the circumstances (an especially animated Bills tailgate, in this case) it feels like the right thing to do.
First and foremost, you always want to lean in the direction of the home underdog. While the Bills are considered by many to be the worst team in football so far this season, their defense is not bad, and if Josh Allen can reel in his cannon of an arm to make just one or two accurate throws, Buffalo can get on the board.
Further, the Titans are coming off of wins over the Eagles and Jaguars — two of the final four teams playing postseason football last year. If there was ever a spot for a let-down game, it’s here.
And even if Tennessee does prevail in the game, there’s still hope for our bet. The Titans are 3-1 on the season, but all three of their wins have come by exactly three points — if the trend continues, the half-point hook will be enough to swing our bet to victory.
It’s a plan so crazy it just might work.
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