We kept the good times rolling last week, as teams highlighted in this article went 4-1 while the public averaged only 1.9 wins from those same five games in NFL pick ’em pools. Cincinnati, San Francisco, Atlanta, and the Jets all won, and Carolina was the only loser. We’re not satisfied with 4-1, though, so we’re back with expert tips on five potential Week 5 NFL picks that could give you a big edge in confidence or pick ’em pools.
The public is still often overreacting to early-season results, so Week 5 once again presents some opportunities to go against popular picks with the odds on your side.
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How we identify NFL Week 5 value picks
Making good predictions is only part of the story when it comes to maximizing your edge in football picks pools. You also need to consider how your opponents are expected to pick each game. After all, you can only move up in the standings if you score points that your opponents miss. Two general strategies can help achieve that goal:
Look for unpopular picks that might be worth an educated gamble
Avoid trendy upset picks that aren’t worth the risk
The picks listed below provide some of the best opportunities to differentiate your Week 5 picks by taking on little or no additional risk. However, that doesn’t mean you should pick all of them — the upset picks especially. Read our football pick ’em strategy to find out why.)
Note: Win odds and estimated pick popularity data below may change between publication time and kickoff time. If you want the latest numbers, our product updates multiple times per day.
New Orleans Saints vs. Seattle Seahawks
Point Spread: -5.5Pick Popularity: 62%Category: Value favorite
The Saints are a value favorite this week facing Seattle at home. The Saints have lost three in a row, while Seattle is coming off a road win at Detroit, so the public is a little less enthused about the Saints than the typical 5.5-point favorite.
You may also be curious how teams have done playing the week after a London trip. There are only a handful of cases where a team returned from London and played the next week, but those teams are a perfectly neutral 2-2-1 against the spread so far.
We’ll be watching the injury report for this one. The Saints held QB Jameis Winston (back), WR Michael Thomas (toe), and RB Alvin Kamara (ribs) out of the London game, and their status for this week is still to be determined. If Winston is playing, though, we expect this game could be a value opportunity.
New England Patriots vs. Detroit Lions
Point Spread: -3.0Pick Popularity: 55%Category: Value favorite
Our second value favorite is New England, as they likely face the Lions with rookie QB Bailey Zappe. The Patriots fell to 1-3 with their close OT loss to Green Bay, and the public is currently down on New England.
That presents a little value in just sticking with the betting favorite in this one. The five other favorites of between 2.5 and 3.5 points this week are being picked by at least 73 percent of the public, so Detroit is the most preferred public upset pick this week. Avoiding that temptation gives you some value.
Washington Commanders vs. Tennessee Titans
Point Spread: +2.5Pick Popularity: 15%Category: Value gamble in weekly contests
Washington is showing up as the biggest value upset play this week when they host the Titans. The Commanders are an underdog of less than a field goal right now, but they have similar popularity to Carolina (a 6.5-point underdog to San Francisco) and are far less popular than Arizona (a 5.5-point underdog against undefeated Philadelphia).
That makes for a great value play in weekly contests where you are getting a team with 3x win odds compared to its popularity, and Washington should be a higher-leverage play in those types of pools.
San Francisco 49ers @ Carolina Panthers
Point Spread: -6.5Popularity: 85%Category: Larger favorite at higher confidence
The honeymoon appears to be over for Panthers QB Baker Mayfield, as Carolina fans were booing him after another poor performance last week. They’ll get another chance, and at least some public picks are giving Mayfield the benefit of the doubt.
San Francisco does have higher popularity, but it’s not nearly as high as other teams who are similarly favored by a touchdown this week. That makes it a potential differentiator in confidence point pools where the public is more down on the Niners relative to others with the same risk profile.
We currently project the Niners with the fourth-best win odds this week, but they are the seventh-most popular choice and public entries are about two-three times more likely to pick the Panthers to pull the upset compared to teams like the Giants, Bears, and Texans.
Indianapolis Colts @ Denver Broncos
Point Spread: +3.0Popularity: 19%Category: Value gamble in weekly contests
The Colts and Broncos grace us with the Thursday Night opener. These two teams are last (Colts) and third-from-last (Broncos) in points scored so far, roughly in the same territory as the Bears. Yuck.
Both teams will also probably be without their starting running backs. Denver lost Javonte Williams for the season with an ACL tear, while Indianapolis could be without Jonathan Taylor after an ankle sprain, especially on a short week.
That makes for plenty of variability in how this game could go. However, the public is strongly leaning in the Broncos’ direction, with over 80 percent of the picks on Denver. That makes for a decent upset leverage play on the Colts in this potentially ugly affair.
MORE POOLGENIUS: Week 5 survivor pool advice (coming soon)
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Good luck in your pools this week!