Mike Carlson reckons he's found not three but four promising bets for the NFL week five, including in the Bears v Oakland match-up on this side of the pond ...
"Even without Denzel Ward, the Chargers' secondary can make plays, and this week they should have Melvin Gordon back at running back... "
Week 4 of the NFL season was a nightmare for betting, so let's get straight into how things stand now.
You have only three teams unbeaten at the quarter pole (KC, NE and the surprising 49ers, who didn't play in week four) while six teams have yet to win (Miami, Jets, Cincinnati, Denver, Washington and Arizona; though the Cards have a tie).
You have one division (AFC South) where all four teams are 2-2, another (NFC North) where the only 2-2 team is in last place. This sort of bizarre parity makes picking bets even more difficult, and one way to realise that is so is to see the number of games where a 'value' bet, which I usually count as being an evens or better playoff, has been had to find on offer with the spreads. This indicates that there's a built-in margin of error on the spreads; the only way you'll get odds on is chasing dogs on the moneyline, which I am going to avoid doing for another week.
Chargers can cover against chaotic Broncos
This one has moved already from 6, which indicates money was coming in on LA, and that is why I like this as a smart bet, while it stays below 7. Even without Denzel Ward, the Chargers' secondary can make plays, and this week they should have Melvin Gordon back at running back to complement the under-appreciated Austin Ekeler. Against Miami, Philip Rivers used his legs to keep plays alive, and they covered the -15 spread much to my chagrin. The Broncos are all over the place, and they've lost pass-rusher Bradley Chubb. Von Miller will pose problems for what is a mediocre offensive line, but still 'LA' ought to be good enough offensively to cover.
Arizona represent value in ugly game
This is the only bet off the moneyline at evens, but I think it makes sense anyway, as I can't see these two teams getting into a shootout even though both have some offensive firepower. Because this has the potential to be such an ugly game, I might go on Arizona to score first also, which is also evens.
Bears' D can stop Raiders in London
It's a little bit hard to tell how teams travel to London; they have been known to come out flat and take too long to play their way into the game, but I think the Chicago defense is so strong that Oakland could come out sharp and still have trouble moving the ball, so I am going with the Bears. I also think they have a better shot in this game with Chase Daniel at QB than they would have with Mitch Trubisky, even though Trubisky has the much better arm. Daniel reminds me of Kyle Orton, Trubisky of Rex Grossman, and remember the Bears rode a good D all the way to a Super Bowl with those two.
If you want another one, I like the Steelers to beat the Ravens. You could take them getting 3.5 points at 20/23, which is a good outside bet as far as I can see, but on the moneyline they are 6/4 to win, which makes it both an outside bet and a value bet.