NFL expert Tom Selwyn (@Tom_Selwyn) shares his expert opinion on the best bets available from Sunday's action on Week 5.
Los Angeles Rams @ Seattle Seahawks | Sunday 7th October 2018, 21:25
Is there any team more fun to watch than the Rams right now? Their offense just seems so far ahead of any team bar the Chiefs and they now face a Seahawks team that, despite a 2-2 record, has struggled to get it going in 2018.
With Earl Thomas out for Seattle I can’t see Los Angeles’ offense slowing down in this game, so I’ll be backing the Rams -7 (19/20 Coral).
A couple of seasons ago, there would never have been a team coming into Seattle that was a TD favourite, but both the Seahawks team and the home field advantage has deteriorated significantly in the last year or two. The offense no longer seems to click with Russell Wilson having to try and do everything by himself, as well as the defence no longer having its core group of stars.
With Thomas now gone for the season, there is nothing left of what was once the “Legion of Boom”.
The Rams have covered or matched a TD line in each of their games so far this season and it’s not hard to see why. They put up the most yards per-game (468.5), are second only to the Chiefs in points (35) and they average a huge 7.4 yards a play, which is the best in the league.
I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that if the Rams had an elite TE like Gronkowski or Kelce they would be nigh on impossible to stop.
These stats seems crazy after we saw Jared Goff floundering under Jeff Fisher in the All or Nothing series a couple of years ago, but under Sean McVay, Goff and the Rams are soaring. Such is my confidence in their offense, I haven’t even mentioned LA’s fearsome DL that could terrorise what’s been another poor Seattle OL – 16 sacks given up already.
Even if Donald, Suh and Brockers don’t play up to their usual standard, I’m struggling to envision a largely ineffective Seahawks offense (28th in the league) being able to keep up with the Rams.
Baltimore Ravens @ Cleveland Browns | Sunday 7th October 2018, 18:00
An AFC North showdown now, with the Ravens taking on the Browns.
The Browns sit at 1-2-1 coming into this game, but they could honestly be anything from undefeated to winless such has been the erratic nature of their match-ups so far. They haven’t come up against a good defence yet though and that’s what Baltimore will be bringing to town.
I like the Ravens here and will be backing them -3 (19/20 888). The Ravens come into this game with the league’s second ranked defence, giving up just under 276 yards a game and are coming off a dominant second-half performance against the Steelers, where they shut out Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh.
The Steelers have not put it all together this year, but that’s still quite a statement from the Ravens.
I like Baker Mayfield and where the Browns are headed, but this could be a very tough match-up for the rookie who, as you would expect, has had his share of struggles and mistakes.
The teams he’s faced so far have had the 12th, 24th, 27th and 30th ranked defences, yet Cleveland has only come away with a win in one of those (strangely against the best of those defences). Certainly none of them are as good as the Ravens, who could make life very difficult for Mayfield.
These aren’t the Ravens of the last few years on offense either. This year Joe Flacco and company are playing very well. Whether it’s the added incentive of having his starting position under threat or his back being finally healed, but Flacco looks locked in so far this season and has Baltimore’s offense in the top 10 for the first time in a while – and that’s with an underperforming running game.
He’ll be going up against a Browns unit that has looked good in spurts, but still ranks 25th in the league. With a decent match-up on offense and very good defence, I think the Ravens easily cover the FG line.
Miami Dolphins @ Cincinnati Bengals | Sunday 7th October 2018, 18:00
Finally, I’ll be looking at another AFC North team as the Bengals welcome the Dolphins.
It’s Cincinnati on both sides of the ball that I’ll be focussing on as they are both putting up and giving up a lot points this season. Through the first four weeks, they are scoring an average of 31.5 points a game and allowing an average of 28.5 a game.
Given these big numbers, I think the points line of 48.5 is one to take on so I’ll be backing this game to Over at 19/20 (Marathon).
The main concern for this line would be Miami’s offense that put up an absolute stinker of a performance against the Patriots last week, where their only points came in garbage time from Brock Osweiler! There’s reasons to believe this was an aberration however, as the Dolphins had been putting up a respectable 25 points a game prior to the New England game.
I think we’re more likely to see the good Miami offense this week as Cincinnati has not looked great defensively. Even with Vontaze Burfict returning this week to shore up the run defence, they still seem to be a vulnerable unit. They are 28th against the pass and joint 22nd against the run, yet have only really faced one great offensive team (the Falcons).
It’s on the other side of the ball that gives me the most confidence though – they are putting up a nice amount of points regardless as to who they’re playing and what injuries they’ve suffered.
No Joe Mixon recently? Giovani Bernard steps in. No Tyler Eifert this week? I expect C.J. Uzomah to fill in seamlessly.
Cincinnati are playing really well on offense this year no matter the situation and with Mixon likely to be back this week, I see no reason why this won’t continue against a Dolphins team that ranks a lowly 26th defensively.