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Week 5 NFL betting preview: Bryce Young, unlucky Panthers visit Detroit

We had a good sweat watching the Chicago Bears narrowly cover our +3.5 number last week after enjoying our “luck-trend special” Jacksonville Jaguars pick cover easily.

The main game this week is not among the “must-watch” offerings on the NFL menu, but it can be a tasty option if it lands as a winning bet.

We’ll push to make a case that the two quarterbacks in this matchup are not so different from each other.

We have a primary play, along with a pair of bonus bets for Week 5.

THE HEADLINER

Panthers at Lions, 1 p.m. ET Sunday

The line: Lions -10.

The public numbers backing the Detroit Lions continued to rise this week, as sentiment grew after a decisive Lions victory in Green Bay last Thursday night.

Though Jared Goff has thrown one interception in each of the past three games after avoiding a pick for 383 consecutive throws, there is a great deal of point-spread forgiveness as it relates to the quarterback.

Goff has had a roller-coaster career but he’s been strong this season — and is particularly effective at home. It’s understandable how this line has reached double digits, especially considering the high performance from the running game with David Montgomery and rookie Jahmyr Gibbs.

The key to this play is whether to believe Carolina rookie QB Bryce Young is improving.

Averaging only 167.7 yards passing per game, Young has the built-in excuse of a weak offensive line and a less-than-stellar set of receiving options. But he’s the No. 1 overall pick, and more is expected of him.

The bet here is that his game-over-game improvement is no mirage and that Young does enough to keep winless Carolina close.

More than 85 percent of the public money is on the Lions, driving up the spread. That bloated line represents a value opportunity and, when considering the “Luck Rankings” we’ve referenced on prior winning wagers, this feels like a play.

The Panthers are 24 spots lower on the Action Network luck scale than the Lions. And, according to Action Network, “the Panthers also fit the road unlucky team trend that is 54-21-3 (71.2 percent) ATS since 2018.”

Young has to be looking at fellow rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud’s electric start for Houston and finding additional motivation.

At least enough to cover 10 points.

The pick: Panthers +10.

THEY SAID IT

“You just got to be smart with it. I’ve had three (interceptions). Two of them were bad throws, one was a bad decision. … But yeah, I just got to take care of the ball better and really limit that. It’s something I’m focused on.”

–Lions quarterback Jared Goff

BONUS COMBO

Another chance to take advantage of the Dallas Cowboys’ national fan base comes Sunday night in San Francisco.

Cowboys at 49ers, 8:20 p.m. ET Sunday

The line: 49ers -3.5.

San Francisco is perfect through four games; Dallas dominated dour Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots last week by a 38-3 count.

Best of all, the betting number puts the two teams virtually even (given the two- or three-point advantage most bookmakers assign to the home team). The Dallas fan base generally pushes the number a little unreasonably toward “America’s Team.”

The opportunity here is to capitalize on the eye test. The Cowboys showed vulnerability in their Week 3 loss at Arizona, while the 49ers — even with the Dallas game on deck — thoroughly took care of business last week against the Cardinals.

For San Francisco, key playmakers are healthy, or in improving health (receiver Deebo Samuel), while Dallas is likely overthinking this matchup.

“You live to play in these kinds of games,” Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said this week. “You dream about it. You don’t want to make it bigger than it is, but the reality is it’s not just another game.”

Honesty is a fine policy, but McCarthy basically spelled out just how he’ll finish second on Sunday — too much emphasis on desperately wanting to win this matchup.

The Niners carry the advantage just about everywhere and, with pass rusher Nick Bosa ready to measure up against Cowboys star and Defensive Player of the Year favorite Micah Parsons, the scene is set for a San Francisco party on Sunday night.

The pick: 49ers -3.5.

PROP CORNER

With Deebo Samuel likely to play, 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (20-for-21 last week) continues to enjoy an embarrassment of riches.

Brandon Aiyuk hauled in six catches for 148 yards against Arizona, and with Samuel back on the field, opposing defenses can’t blanket one or the other.

The prop play: 49ers receiver Brandon Aiyuk over 56.5 receiving yards.

–Field Level Media

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