In this week’s NFL Home Dog Alert, a trio of home teams are underdogs with backup quarterbacks at helm. The Pittsburgh Steelers, NY Giants, and Washington Redskins are all getting points as home dogs in Week 5. Washington Redskins rookie QB, Dwayne Haskins, is expected to make his first career start against the New England Patriots. Meanwhile, the Oakland Raiders will be listed as the home team against the Chicago Bears in the first London game of the season.
Yes, the London games are here. This Raiders/Bears game will be played in the early evening London time, so you don’t have to wake up super early to sweat this gem. The Raiders are getting +5.5 points against backup QB Chase Daniel after Mitch Trubisky went down with a dislocated shoulder and labrum tear.
NFL WEEK 5 HOME DOGS:
Pittsburgh Steelers +3.5
NY Giants +5.5
Washington Redskins +15
Oakland Raiders** +5.5
** London game
Two rookie quarterbacks will get starts in Week 5. The Giants are home dogs, with Daniel Jones getting his third start. Haskins, from Ohio State, came off the bench last week, but he’s about to get his first start.
In this week’s Thursday Night Football matchup, the Seahawks opened as a slight home dog against the limpy LA Rams before money came in on the Seahawks. Now, Seattle is a 1.5-point favorite against the Rams.
Last week, home dogs went 1-4 straight up, but went 3-2 ATS in Week 4.
Steelers +3.5: L-Jax Comes to Town
Those NFC North battles are always tough. The Baltimore Ravens might be the best 2-2 team in the NFL, which is why they opened as a 4.5-point favorite. Early money jumped on the on Steelers, and the bookies moved the line a full point.
“Lively game and a lot of action on this one,” said bookmaker Bob Scucci from Boyd Gaming.
The Cleveland Browns showed up to play in Week 4. They crushed the Ravens by doing two things… 1) running the ball, and 2) blitzing Lamar Jackson. Once Freddie Kitchens decreased the number of Mayfield-ODB plays in favor of feeding RB Nick Chubb, the Browns offense suddenly sprang to life. On defense, the Browns send the kitchen sink at Lamar Jackson, and forced him to make big passing plays.
Pittsburgh only scored 3 points with Big Ben in Week 1. Overall this season, the Steelers average only 19 points per game, compared to almost 34 with the Ravens. Backup Mason Rudolph is doing the best he can, but it looks like Jaylen Samuels might see more time in Wildcat formations.
Redskins +15: Dwayne Haskins the Savoir in DC?
Another double touchdown dog this week in the NFL. The 0-4 Washington Redskins are getting +15 points at home in DC. QB Haskins is probably getting the start after Case Keenum got benched last week. At least he’ll have more reps in practice this week. Not that they will help, because he’s going up against the undefeated New England Patriots. Bill Belichick has been breaking down game tape on Haskins going back to his pee-wee days.
The Patriots failed to cover the last two weeks, but you figure they’re due. The NY Jets back-doored a cover in Week 3. Last week, the Patriots struggled to defeat the Bills in Buffalo, even though they knocked out Josh Allen with a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit.
The Pats offense looked awful last week. You know Belichick lit them up in the film room, especially Tommy Boy Brady. They’ll be much sharper against a team they should beat by 20.
NY Giants +5.5: Danny Dimes vs. Cousins
Danny Dimes getting points in the Meadowlands. The Giants enter Week 5 as a live home dog. The rookie QB from Duke is getting tons of love compared to Kirk Cousins in Minnesota.
Cousins gave a weak-ass apology to Adam Thielen for missing him multiple times last week. The problem with two Alpha wideouts in Minnesota is that if you favor Stefon Diggs, it comes at the expense of Adam Thielen. If you focus on Thielen, then Diggs gets snippy. And if you pass too much, then you’re ignoring the sensational Dalvin Cook at RB. How do you keep everyone happy? Vicodin and balance. Then again, if you light it up on the scoreboard, there will be plenty of balls to go around.
Jones is 2-0 since replacing Eli Manning as a starter. Then again, the Giants beat up a Tampa Bay Bucs team in flux, and an atrocious Washington Redskins squad. Jones got off to a hot start, but he’ll be tested this week against a real defense. If the Vikings didn’t have their share of problems, the Giants would be a home dog by a touchdown or more.
The Vikes (e.g. Kirk Cousins) might have lots of internal issues on offense, but the defense has everything locked down. The Vikings allowed only 15.8 points per game. The run D stuffed opposing running backs, and they allow only 94.3 yards per game on the ground. With Saquon Barkley still out with a sprained ankle, backup RB Wayne Gallman is going to have his hands full this week.
Raiders +5.5: Da Bears Invade London
Last year, the Oakland Raiders had an ugly trip to London. They got their asses kicked, and Chucky almost traded Derek Carr on the flight home. After the loss, Gruden sent Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys for a first-round pick.
What will happen this year in London for the Oakland Raiders? They come into Week 5 as a +5.5 dog.
Typically, these London games display poor offense, which is a shame, as the NFL is exporting a watered-down product for European fans. Everyone likes to blindly bet the under. The bookies factor the travel headache into their lines. All the best value in the under has already been taken. The total opened at 41.5 at Pinnacle, and has been bet down to 40.5. If you want to jump on the under bandwagon, do it ASAP before that total dips below 40.
The Chicago Bears lost Trubisky last week with a banged-up shoulder. Daniel gets his first real start of the season. Snarky Bears fans are wondering if Daniel is an upgrade because Trubisky played like crap thus far. Then again, it doesn’t matter who’s at QB for Da Bears. With their defense, they can roll out Rex Grossman and still win this game by a touchdown (ho hum, at least by two field goals).