Our Week 4 locks won you money — as did the rest of our ATS picks, on the whole — but Sascha and I will not rest until our advice is filling your wallet the same way Kareem Hunt is filling the statsheet.
We’ll have a new podcast with picks for every Week 5 game imminently. For now, loyal listeners, here are our locks* for Week 5.
*Remember, “lock” doesn’t mean guarantee. There are no sure things in sports-betting. But these are the teams we’re most confident putting our own hard-earned money on.
New England Patriots at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+5.5)
Do you remember the last time the Patriots started a season 2-2? Allow me to jog your memory: the year was 2014 … Taco Bell had finally added a breakfast menu, LeBron James went back to Cleveland, and the Patriots had their a**es handed to them in a Week 4 Monday night tilt with the Chiefs, dropping their record to 2-2. The football world began questioning whether Tom Brady had any gas left in the tank, and doubted Bill Belichick’s ability to solve his team’s defensive woes.
No one is questioning the former right now, but the Patriots’ 31st-ranked scoring defense is under heavy scrutiny. Do you remember what happened in Week 5 of 2014? New England came out and played one of their best games of the season, hammering a good Cincinnati Bengals team, 43-17.
Since 2003, the Patriots are a stunning 36-13 ATS after a loss. The Bucs are in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Pick: PATRIOTS (-5.5)
Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans (+1.5)
No team is playing better football than the Kansas City Chiefs right now. Alex Smith has managed to push the ball downfield without committing any turnovers, and rookie sensation Kareem Hunt has been remarkable toting the rock. Andy Reid is far too creative with his offense to allow the Texans defense to bottle-up Hunt the way they did DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry last week.
Deshaun Watson and the Houston offense won’t benefit from the defense generating five turnovers this week, and will not be able to carve up the Chiefs’ secondary the way they did New England and Tennessee the last two weeks.
Pick: CHIEFS (-1.5)
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears (+3)
Forget what Case Keenum did to the Bucs defense in Week 3 (369 passing yards, three TDs). In his other two starts, Keenum has completed 53.7-percent of his passes for 386 yards and zero touchdowns. Now without the threat of explosive rookie Dalvin Cook in the backfield, the pivot is going to need to shoulder more of the offense. And that’s not something we’re confident in against a Bears defense that’s allowed 40 points in two home games against the powerful offenses of the Falcons and Steelers.
It can be tough putting your faith in a rookie QB making his first start — especially against an upper-echelon Minnesota defense — but Mitchell Trubisky looked solid in the preseason, and this Bears team played both Atlanta and Pittsburgh tight while getting subpar QB play from Mike Glennon (76.9 passer rating). If you need a trend to make you feel better about this pick, the Bears are 6-1 ATS as home underdogs since 2016.
Pick: BEARS (+3)