NFL Week 5 Bet Now, Bet Later: Elite Defenses Throw Down

Looking ahead at Week 5, we've pinpointed a few lines to jump on right away and a couple of others worth waiting for. Don't let the explosive offenses fool you, the Cowboys vs. 49ers will be a defensive showcase that could act as a playoff preview.

Oct 4, 2023 • 13:57 ET • 4 min read
Javon Hargrave San Francisco 49ers NFL
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Blink and you'll miss it, but we’re already into NFL Week 5 odds

October is here and with it comes a clearer idea of what teams are truly made of. It also means the oddsmakers’ are sharpening their edges with fewer imperfections on the board and in their power ratings. 

Getting the best number is betting basics and it’s what I focus on every Sunday night with my "Bet Now, Bet Later" lines. 

Here are some NFL picks to tackle right away and others you can let sit in the slow cooker to soften as the week goes on.

Week 5 bet now, bet later picks

Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Philadelphia Eagles (-5) at Los Angeles Rams: Bet Now

The Philadelphia Eagles didn’t look great in Week 4, needing overtime to escape a loss to Washington as 10-point home chalk. 

Philadelphia has shown some flaws in the first few weeks yet continues to come out victorious. But books are sticking the Eagles under the key number of six for this Week 5 trip to La-La Land.

The Los Angeles Rams also needed an added frame to avoid a Week 4 loss. They blew a big lead at Indianapolis and are returning home for just their second stop in SoFi Stadium this season. 

Los Angeles scored just 23 points in regulation against the Colts and attempted five field goals — making three of those kicks. The Rams offense has had a tough time replicating its Week 1 output and now faces an Eagles team that attacks on both sides of the ball.

Veteran Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford was visually hobbled in the win over the Colts and is battling through a hip injury. He told the media he’s planning to play against the Eagles in Week 5 but faces a defense that drums up a ton of pressure and gets to the quarterback repeatedly.

Best odds to bet Eagles -5 right now

Houston Texans at Atlanta Falcons (-2.5): Bet Later

For those who slept in Sunday morning, you missed a truly dreadful performance from the Atlanta Falcons in London. Atlanta couldn’t get anything going on offense in the 23-7 loss to the Jaguars and QB Desmond Ridder was the least popular guy on the Atlanta sideline.

The Falcons don’t get the customary bye week after playing internationally and are instead coming back to the ATL to host a red-hot Houston Texans team. Books opened the Falcons as big as 3-point favorites but that spread instantly fell from the key number to -2.5.

The Texans have won back-to-back games behind the play of rookie QB C.J. Stroud, who was the opposite of Ridder in Week 4. Houston thumped the visiting Steelers 30-6 — the second straight 30-plus scoring effort from the upstart Texans. 

Atlanta was a sharp darling this summer, drawing a lot of respected play on its futures and props. It was also a popular point-spread pick in the opening weeks. But after losses of 23-7 and 20-6, the shine is off this team and this spread is swinging the other way.

If you aren’t bailing on the Dirty Birds just yet, wait it out and see if you can get this one closer to the pick’em as action stacks against Atlanta in Week 5.

Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers (Under 45.5): Bet Now

The Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers have been on a collision course since the schedule came out in the spring, and both have roughed up weaker offenses along the way before finally butting heads in Week 5. 

This Over/Under total opened at 45.5, but we’re seeing the vig shaded to the Under, with some books dealing this total at 45 points. 

There’s plenty of firepower on the field for both sides, but these defenses rank among the elite in most advanced metrics. And then there’s the curious case of the Cowboys offense.

Dallas can’t score in the red zone. Over the past three contests, the Cowboys are a pitiful 4-for-15 inside their foes' 20-yard line, including a 1-for-4 day in the RZ versus the Patriots on Sunday.

These teams have battled in the playoffs the past two years and while those games were fueled by postseason stinginess, Dallas and San Francisco stayed well below totals of 46.5 and 51 points. This game is also being played on the slower natural grass surface of Levi’s Stadium.

I’m grabbing the Under 45.5 now expect more playoff-like posturing from these defenses in Week 5.

Best odds to bet Under 45.5 right now

Carolina Panthers at Detroit Lions (Under 44): Bet Later

The Detroit Lions’ firepower was on full display this past Thursday, lighting up the rival Packers for 34 points in a Week 4 prime-time pantsing. That will be front of mind for bettors looking at this total for the first time.

Detroit has a mini bye before taking on the Carolina Panthers at home in Week 5, with this total opening as low as 43.5 and climbing to 44.5 on Sunday night. 

Carolina is coming off an ugly loss versus Minnesota, in which it failed to score an offensive touchdown in the 21-13 defeat. The Panthers averaged just 3.4 yards per play against a Vikings defense that sits middle of the pack in EPA allowed.

Overshadowed by the offense is Detroit’s improving defense. The Lions' defensive line is among the best in the league and the stop unit ranks No. 8 in EPA allowed per play, boasting 13 sacks behind a pressure rate of 27.7% without needing to bring extra blitzers.

This is a total to keep an eye on. It’s flirting with the key number of 45 points at a few books but will need early Over money to get there. It is being played inside the fast track of Ford Field, so we could see an uptick in Over action. If it hits 45, buyback on the Under is live.

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