The 2023 NFL season passes the quarter mark in Week 5, which means the season is in full swing — for better and worse.
Fans of situational handicapping — also known as spot bets — have a bevy of angles to work into the equation this week, including my favorite letdown, look-ahead, and schedule spots for Week 5 odds.
Letdown spot: Jaguars vs Bills (-5.5)
The Buffalo Bills sent a message across the NFL with their huge Week 4 win over Miami. Buffalo flattened the Fins 48-20 with a remarkable two-way effort, reminding everyone it's the top dog in the AFC East.
Now, Buffalo has to avoid a letdown when the team heads to London to play the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 5. Jacksonville will have been in the UK for two weeks after defeating Atlanta at Tottenham Stadium this past Sunday, while the Bills have to travel, gameplan, and battle the time difference for this 9:30 a.m. ET kickoff.
On top of that, Buffalo has limited time to patch the massive hole in its passing defense after losing standout CB Tre'Davious White to a season-ending Achilles tear. The Bills’ secondary is already missing safety Jordan Poyer.
Between the looming letdown as well as the distractions and travel troubles of playing in the UK, Buffalo has plenty on its plate before it gets on the field in Week 5.
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Look-ahead spot: Ravens (-4) vs Steelers
The Baltimore Ravens would rarely look past the rival Pittsburgh Steelers whenever they show up on the schedule, but there are a few situational barbs waiting for Baltimore in Week 5. For the sake of this section, I’ll lean into the look-ahead spot.
First, the Ravens take on a Pittsburgh team likely playing without starting QB Kenny Pickett, after he left the Week 4 loss to Houston with a knee injury. That means backup Mitchell Trubisky gets the nod. This spread has moved off Baltimore -3.5 to -4 on Monday morning, but based on how Pickett and the offense were playing, how much of a dip in production is Mitch?
Beyond the Steelers is a trip across the pond to play the Tennessee Titans at London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. While the Bills avoided the UK look-ahead spot vs. Miami, teams are still 4-10-1 ATS and 7-8 SU the week before traveling to Europe since the international series started up post-COVID the past two years.
Adding to this situational soup is a schedule squeeze with Baltimore playing back-to-back road games and its third road game in four weeks. Sprinkle that with the usual laundry list of injuries for the Ravens and bettors beware of blinding backing Baltimore in Week 5.
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Schedule spot: Chiefs (-6) vs Vikings
The Week 5 schedule tests the might of the reigning Super Bowl champs, with the Kansas City Chiefs playing their second straight road game and third away tilt in four weeks when they visit the Minnesota Vikings.
Kansas City is coming off a super-hyped Sunday Night Football matchup in New York — and not for on-field reasons. The Chiefs nearly shat the bed as big faves against the Jets in front of Taylor Swift and a box full of A-Listers (the dudes were more excited for Wolverine and Deadpool). Will that circus travel to Minnesota?
The look-ahead line for this non-conference clash was K.C. -6 but early openers are down off the key number to Chiefs -5.5. Minnesota got off the schneid with its first win in Week 4 and now readies for a potential shootout, with this total touching 53 points on Monday morning.
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