Nostrathomas Predicts: Roller Coaster Spread Week

Week 5 in the NFL is shaping up to be the strangest one of this season. Point spreads and point totals are getting pushed around in a wave pool. Every time Nostrathomas checks, updated numbers have gone up on the board.

Also, Covid-19 is inserting itself deeper into the game. An outbreak among Tennessee Titans players caused their Week 4 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers to be postponed until Week 7. Their game this week against the Buffalo Bills was pushed to Tuesday night. The New England Patriots, who had three positives last week, had their Week five games against the Denver Broncos pushed from Sunday afternoon to Monday night.

Fortunately, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the latest tests for Tennessee and the New England Patriots have come back negative so there should be no issues with those games being played.

Nostrathomas was buried with real world issues for Week 3 and was seriously ill with a cold last week, which thankfully came up as a negative Covid-19 test, so there was no Football from A to Z picks. However, on the @tjpollin Twitter feed last week we told you that the Cleveland Browns were primed to pull an upset in Dallas against the Cowboys so that is going in as a documented winner.

Overall, Nostrathomas is a documented 21-11 straight-up for the 2020 season and 16-17 against the spread. The crystal beer mugs are out, filled and ready to be peered through. Let’s see what they say for Week 5.

Game of the Week

Indianapolis Colts -1 vs Cleveland Browns (4:25PM ET; FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, OH)

This is going to be a battle fought in the pits. The Cleveland Browns have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL and they’ll be going up the Indianapolis Colts fast, smart defensive front.

The Browns ran the ball down the throat of the Dallas Cowboys defense last week, finishing with 307 yards, and that was after Nick Chubb left the game in the first quarter due to injury. That ground game will be put to the test this week though. Indianapolis is fourth in the league on defense in rushing yards per attempt.

The Colts defense isn’t one dimensional though. They top the league in defensive passer rating, defensive points per drive and net passing yards per attempt allowed.

With strength against strength, this game comes down to quarterback play. Philip River’s skills are in decline but Nostrathomas is betting that his experience trumps Cleveland’s young Baker Mayfield.

The Colts have won and covered in three straight games. Make it four when this one is in the books. Also, the Over/Under for this game is currently at 48. This is one game where the under would be the smart bet.

Indianapolis Colts 25 Cleveland Browns 17

Best Bets

Carolina Panthers +2 vs Atlanta Falcons (1PM ET; Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA)

This game opened with the Falcons favored by -3.5, dropped to -1 and seems to have settled in with the Atlanta Falcons favored by two.

The Falcons have won and covered in the last five games of this series but opponents have been going into games against Atlanta smelling blood in the water. This team is a mess. Head coach Dan Quinn seems to be strapped firmly into the ejector seat after six seasons in the big chair and his team is playing like they know it.

Quarterback Matt Ryan is falling far short of his usual Pro Bowl production this season. We’ll see whether or not Ryan still has enough skills to pull out of his nosedive.

Meanwhile, the Carolina Panthers have tightened up on defense after surrendering 65 points in their first two games. It’s also appearing that new head coach Matt Rhule and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater have developed a tight relationship that has Carolina’s offense on the rise.

The Falcons are probably favored because they’ve won and covered the last five games in this series. Normally, Nostrathomas would say that the trend is your friend but not in favor of a team that’s coming apart at the seams against a team that is beginning to find itself.

Carolina Panthers 34 Atlanta Falcons 20

L.A. Rams -7 vs Washington Football Team (1PM ET; FedEx Field, Washington DC)

This game opened with the Los Angeles Rams favored by 9.5 but that number has dropped to seven as of Saturday night.

The Rams are currently fifth in Football from A to Z’s Power Rankings and are in the top 10 in 17 of the 26 statistical measures that Nostrathomas uses to analyze games.

For the Football Team, “Riverboat” Ron Rivera dropped former starting quarterback Dwayne Haskins to third on the depth chart. Former Carolina quarterback Kyle Allen will start with Alex Smith listed as backup.

Allen got off to a hot start last season after being called on to fill in when Cam Newton was declared out for the season but opposing defenses soon figured him out. In his last four starts he threw four touchdown passes and seven interceptions.

Los Angeles is 7-1 straight-up and against the spread in their last eight games. Meanwhile, Washington is 3-7-1 against the spread in their last 11 games at FedEx Field.

This time, the trend is your friend. The Rams haven’t shown a weakness when playing in the Eastern Time Zone and are far superior to the Football Team.

Los Angeles Rams 30 Washington Football Team 10

Minnesota Vikings vs Seattle Seahawks -7 (Sunday Night Football, CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA)

The spread for this game inexplicably dropped from an open of -9.5 to its current number. Minnesota seems to be getting a lot of play from betters despite being 1-3, with their only win coming last week against an uninspired Texans team.

The Vikings do have a strong defensive line but Russell Wilson is tough to catch and can still dime receivers when he’s on his game, which he usually is.

Seattle is currently No. 2 in the Football from A to Z’s Power Rankings. Take the Seahawks and the gift of only giving seven points.

Seattle Seahawks 35 Minnesota Vikings 27

Philadelphia Eagles vs Pittsburgh Steelers -7 (1PM ET; Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA)

As of Saturday night, 86 percent of public money was being bet on Pittsburgh -7 and that line has stayed steady all week. That says the sharps aren’t impressed by the Eagles Week 4 win over the Nick Mullens led San Francisco 49ers. For that matter, neither was Nostrathomas.

Take the Steelers to win and cover at home after taking an involuntary, early bye week.

Pittsburgh Steelers 28 Philadelphia Eagles 20

Best of the Rest

Cincinnati Bengals vs Baltimore Ravens -12.5 (1PM ET; M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD)

Joe Burrow is for real but Baltimore is still too much team for Cincinnati. The Ravens have averaged a point differential of 18 points per game in their three victories.

Baltimore Ravens 36 Cincinnati Bengals 20

Arizona Cardinals -7 vs New York Jets (1PM ET; MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ)

The Cardinals have struggled in their last two games but the Jets have been the cure for whatever ails their opponents this season. New York will also have Joe Flacco starting at quarterback.

Arizona Cardinals 32 New York Jets 16

Las Vegas Raiders vs Kansas City Chiefs -11.5 (1PM ET; Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO)

Kansas City has won last five, 4-1 against the spread, against the Raiders. The Chiefs will also be getting back cornerback Bashaud Breeland and defensive lineman Chris Jones. Another negative for Las Vegas, they can’t stop anybody on defense.

Kansas City Chiefs 38 Las Vegas Raiders 20

Jacksonville Jaguars +5.5 vs Houston Texans (1PM ET; NRG Stadium, Houston, TX)

Houston should be re-energized this week with Romeo Crennel taking over as head coach. The problem is, overall the Texans are still undermanned all over the field.

Give Houston the victory in Crennel’s first game as head coach but not by more than three.

Houston Texans 26 Jacksonville Jaguars 23

Miami Dolphins vs San Francisco 49ers -9 (4:05PM ET; Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA)

Miami has some trends going their way. The Dolphins are 11-5 in their last 16 games against the spread and are 6-2 as a road dog during that stretch.

The problem for Miami is that quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and running back Raheem Mostert returned to practice last Wednesday. They won’t be facing the quarterback duo of Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard.

San Francisco is too much team for the Dolphins to handle and they will be looking to wash the taste of last week’s home loss to the Eagles out of their mouths.

New York Giants +8.5 vs Dallas Cowboys (4:25PM ET; AT&T Stadium, Dallas, TX)

The Dallas Cowboys have one of the most high-powered offenses in the NFL, when the team goes down at least two scores. Their defense isn’t capable of stopping a high school offense.

Daniel Jones is not the answer at quarterback for the G-Men but if he’s going to look like one at any time this season, it will be this week.

Giants are 2-0 as road dog this year and 11-3 in that role since 2018. Dallas has yet to cover a spread this year. Dallas wins to right the ship but won’t cover the two-score spread.

Dallas Cowboys 29 New York Giants 23

Los Angeles Chargers vs New Orleans Saints -7.5 (Monday Night Football, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA)

The New Orleans Saints might not be the NFL powerhouse they were a couple of seasons ago but their still a force in the NFC playoff picture. The Chargers have too many  injuries for rookie quarterback Justin Hebert to keep this game close.

New Orleans Saints 31 Los Angeles Chargers 19

Keep These Games in Quarantine

Denver Broncos vs New England Patriots (Monday, 5:05PM ET; Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA)

First, it’s a toss-up as to who will play quarterback for both teams. Second, New England’s practice facility was closed Wednesday and Thursday while the team waited to see if Stephon Gilmore was their only player with Covid-19.

Take the Patriots to win but there’s no use betting a spread on this game.

Buffalo Bills vs Tennessee Titans (Tuesday Night, 6PM ET; Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN)

Josh Allen  is playing like a franchise quarterback which makes the Bills dangerous any week. Meanwhile, Tennessee is finally recovering from the worst Covid-19 outbreak in the NFL this season.

The Titans are a good team in their own right but it’s tough to see how their offensive and defensive groups will be coherent with all the time they’ve had to spend away from the team facilities.

Take the Bills to win but don’t bet a spread, if one does get established.

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