NFL Week 5 Betting Trends: Cowboys-49ers Most Anticipated Matchup, Bills Popular in London

Gamblers hedge over a Thursday night dog in Chicago , heavily back three weekend favorites, and greet the first byes. Here’s our NFL Betting Trends for Week 5.

Amid these contrasts, one of the year’s top games dawns with the Dallas Cowboys  visiting the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. It will be the most heavily-wagered game of the week and perhaps the season.

Here are some midweek highlights for gamblers perusing sportsbook bonuses on moneyline, spread, and prop-bet wagering. Caesars Sportsbook offers a welcome bonus of up to $1,000 back as site credit if the first bet loses. Use Caesars promo code TODAY1000 when signing up to claim the offer.

Also read: Super Bowl odds | NFL MVP odds

Where Bettors Split and Agree

The host Washington Commanders launch the slate at -6  Thursday against the Chicago Bears with split wagering. Bears money knocked the line down from 6.5 and while Washington holds more tickets, the Bears have been climbing on the handle, now nearly 50-50.

The Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions, and Miami Dolphins are strongly supported across the board in their respective matchups against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Carolina Panthers, and New York Giants.

The Los Angeles Chargers, Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Seattle Seahawks get the league’s first set of byes. Each team has at least one banged-up starter who will be happy to rest.

Bears-Commanders: Bigger Bettors, Public, Go Opposite Ways

Winless Chicago has only 26% of the tickets, but 47% of the money, indicating the rising handle backing the Bears. Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, adds his perspective on betting trends.

“The Bears were denied their first victory last week against the Denver Broncos,” Avello said, “and this  is the type of team they can have a good game against.”


Bettors don’t care that these clubs have lost their last six games. They both nearly won last week and a game is a game.

Washington dropped an emotionally draining 34-31 overtime battle to the Philadelphia Eagles after being throttled by the Buffalo Bills 37-3 a week earlier.

Chicago tries to shake off surrendering a 28-7 third-quarter lead in the loss to Denver. Chicago’s heartbreak became a +600 romp for DraftKings gamblers who took Denver in-game at 28-7.

Just as Denver rebounded from a 50-point drubbing one week earlier, Chicago tries to obtain the victory that slipped away last week.

London Jags, Buffalo Jet Lag

Is there a sleeper angle with the Jaguars +5.5? 

Buffalo is one of the league’s most popular plays with 89%  of the early handle and 88% of the DraftKings tickets. But the Jags have what may be termed a “home country” advantage for perhaps the first time ever in the NFL. They play a second consecutive game in London, having dismantled the Atlanta Falcons there 23-7 in Week 4.

“They didn’t even have to come home,” Avello said regarding Jacksonville staying in England between games.  “They are acclimated. They are rested. That part of the equation is good for them.”


The Dolphins, a sizable -11  against the New York Giants, commanded 94% of the handle and 91% of  tickets. Avello said the line moving from 9.5 to 11 on Tuesday hinted that the Giants will sit injured running back Saquon Barkley for a third straight game.

They should. We suspected he would miss at least three weeks after he suffered a sprained ankle in Week 2. There is no percentage rushing him back here, but he’s listed as questionable, so bettors will have to consider the chance he may play.

A third heavily-supported team, the Detroit Lions, host the Carolina Panthers at -9 with 90 percent of the handle and 76% of the tickets.

It is Detroit’s first game as an NFC North leader at 3-1.

Niners, Philadelphia Eagles Drop to Medium Chalk

The NFL’s two lone unbeaten teams had tall orders last week. San Francisco covered -14 in beating the Arizona Cardinals 35-16. The Eagles got a win-but-no-cover overtime triumph at -8.

Both teams are favored by little more than a field goal this time.

The Niners opened at -3 and its backers pushed the game to -3.5. This is an enticement for Dallas, as bettors have been given the hook.


San Francisco, a perfect 4-0 on the moneyline and spread, generated 86% of the DraftKings handle. That’s impressive, considering Dallas coming off a 38-3 thumping of the New England Patriots.

Philadelphia is 4-0 without steamrolling their opposition. They are 2-1-1 against the spread and are only -4 against the revitalized Rams, a gritty 2-2 ML and 3-1 ATS. Some could see this as the Rams being overdue for a home victory (they are 2-1 on the road, 0-2 at home) and the Eagles sagging after outlasting the Commanders.

Jets Expectations Rise After Close Loss to Chiefs

Playing the Kansas City Chiefs tough brought New York Jets bettors to the table when they visit the Denver Broncos. The Jets have 83% of the money at +2.

Both teams are 1-3.


Injury Update for Bettors

Kenny Pickett

The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback sustained a bruised left knee in the team’s 30-6 loss to the Houston Texans.

The Steelers face a swarming Baltimore Ravens defense and have a Week 6 bye. The logical move is to sit Pickett here.  If he plays, gamblers will weigh the impact of him at less than 100%.

Pittsburgh has a small drop-off with Mitchell Trubisky in the wings. Avello said the line moved from Baltimore -2 to -4,  giving Pickett credit for about two points to the spread.

Tight end Pat Freiermuth is lost for 2-3 weeks with a hamstring injury and this is damaging news to Pittsburgh. He has been one of the team’s unsung under-the-radar stars for  a couple years.

Tee Higgins

Two words: pain management. The Cincinnati Bengals’ wide receiver suffered a fractured rib against the Tennessee Titans in Week 4. He hasn’t suffered a long-term injury and didn’t rule himself out against the Cardinals in Week 5.

The 1-3 Bengals need him but one bad hit in that area could finish his season. Tough choices for a team that hopes to beat Arizona and the Seattle Seahawks and then mend with a Week 7 bye.

Cincinnati remains slightly favored against Arizona.

Jimmy Garoppolo

Gaining the extra day for a Monday night start against the Green Bay Packers may help Jimmy G with his concussion protocol. If he doesn’t go, Aidan O’Connell played a serviceable first game for Las Vegas last week and would pick up the reins. A slight, but not large, drop-off.

Jonathan Taylor

Zack Moss prop bettors will be on alert. Taylor, the disgruntled Indianapolis Colts running back, was scheduled for his first practice on Wednesday.

Once a dominant back, he hasn’t played this year and his request for a trade did not materialize. Now Taylor  must suit up for a team he doesn’t want to play for and one which did not grant him a contract extension.

Moss, meanwhile, had 18 carries for 70 yards in Week 4. If Richardson returns this week against the Tennessee Titans, Moss’ production will decline.

For prop bettors, an emerging Taylor would create a platoon system making the Indy backfield almost unplayable.

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Seven-Figure Sweat Beads

Multiply betting anxiety by 25 states and millions of dollars

That’s what happened with DraftKings, set up in 25 states, last week.

The book got one bad, expensive break. Zach Ertz dropped the pass that would have given Arizona a covering score against San Francisco, which had most of the money.

Another tough outcome was the favored Los Angeles Chargers topping the Las Vegas Raiders 24-17 at -7.

“All the money leading up to the game was 4.5, 6, 6.5, and finally 7,” Avello said. “The initial money was on the Chargers,  which we paid out. And then we had to give back the late money with Las Vegas plus 7. That was no good. We got sided on that game,” he added, describing the net effect of paying out on one side and having a push on the other.

Being sided is better than being “middled”, in which a book pays out both sides. That did happen when the Niners’ 30-23 triumph over the Los Angeles Rams meant books had to pay out San Francisco -6.5 and Los Angeles +7.5 in Week 2.

Being sided is painful to a book, but high nationwide online betting volume helps mitigate the impact.

The book gained one major break. It’s biggest write of the season occurred in the Kansas City Chiefs-New York Jets on Sunday night.

The Chiefs, at -8.5, had nearly all the money.

They also had 3rd and 8 from the Jets’ 11 with less than two minutes left and a 23-20 lead. Patrick Mahomes scrambled to get a first down inside the 3 and then slid, avoiding a likely covering TD while wrapping up the game.

Mahomes then took victory formation.

“He did the right thing,” Avello said. “The game is over once he gets that first down. You don’t want chance the Jets returning the next kickoff for a touchdown and then getting an  onside kick or somebody on your defense getting hurt. That one was real good for us.”

So was the Bengals being blown out in Tennessee and Buffalo dominating Miami, which had heavy betting support.

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Bettors Go High on the Over, Low on the Under

It’s happened all year.

Week 5 is no exception. The Chiefs-Vikings have the highest total, at 53. They also have a 77% of the tickets, tops in this category at DraftKings. Handle is a different story with 53%. This will be good jockeying battle to watch.

The New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints, at 38.5, are the lowest total on the board. The Under has 69%  of the handle and 70% of the bets.

Betting Highlights

You can’t go wrong betting $10. And sometimes you can go quite right.

One DraftKings bettor turned $10 into $26,428.04 by unfurling a 15-legged parlay. Fourteen of them were moneyline plays.

The ticket:

  • Jacksonville, -170
  • Denver, +166
  • Buffalo, -142
  • Tennessee, +130
  • Baltimore, +114
  • L.A. Rams, -112
  • Tampa Bay, +150
  • Minnesota, -218
  • Philadelphia, -475
  • L.A. Chargers, -278
  • San Francisco -950
  • Dallas, -265.
  • Kansas City -456
  • Seattle, -130
  • Stroud, 275 yards, +225

What a ticket.

The Eagles being tied on the last play of the game provided one overtime sweat ball.

And then the Rams had to deliver in OT.

Denver’s miracle comeback from 28-7 down was also needed on this ticket.

A gambler needs luck to hit them 15 legs,  just as a team would to go undefeated.

When the luck happens, a little becomes a lot.

Futures Action at BetMGM and FanDuel

BetMGM NFL Insights: Super Bowl

Line movement (Last week to Current)

  • 49ers +700 to +500
  • Chiefs +600 to +550
  • Bills +900 to +700

Highest Ticket%

  • Eagles 9.3%
  • Bengals 9.2%
  • Chiefs 8.6%

Highest Handle%

  • Bills 11.1%
  • Chiefs 9.9%
  • Eagles 9.0%

Biggest Liability

  • Steelers
  • Jets
  • Lions


  • Favorite: Chiefs +260
  • Highest Ticket%: Chiefs 13.2%
  • Highest Handle%: Bills 18.5%
  • Biggest Liability: Steelers


  • Favorite: 49ers +200
  • Highest Ticket%: Lions 39.9%
  • Highest Handle%: Lions 38.3%
  • Biggest Liability: Lions

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FanDuel Divisional Betting Odds

Now it’s a horse race in the AFC East.

The Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins both have reasonable betting odds after Buffalo thumped Miami 48-20 and each team has one loss.

Buffalo is the -120 frontrunner. Miami is +115. Bettors can place any wager on them with faith. 

The Patriots, at +2400, and the Jets, at +2600, are for bargain hunters only.

The AFC South is an excellent wide-open agenda.

The four teams are all 2-2, with fair prices.

  • The Jacksonville Jaguars are +150.
  • The Tennessee Titans are next at +190.
  • The surprising Houston Texans are +480.
  • And the Indianapolis Colts are +510.

These are great betting odds for four teams that have demonstrated the ability to contend.

The NFC South is also competitive, and attractive.

The New Orleans Saints have come down to  +170 chalk after losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa is next at +195.

The Atlanta Falcons are a viable +200 in third and the winless Carolina Panthers are +3100.

In the NFC East, the Cowboys have strong value at +160, in the second position behind the pacesetting Eagles.

But it could get even better. If gamblers believe the Cowboys will lose in San Francisco and the Eagles will get by the Rams, this number could exceed +200 by early next week. And the Cowboys are expected to be in this race until the end.

About the Author
Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo is an award-winning writer and broadcaster, who has covered the sports industry since the 1970s. He won the Sam Taub Award for Excellence in Boxing Broadcasting by the Boxing Writers Association of America in 1997, and is in the New Jersey and Atlantic City Boxing Halls of Fame. Bontempo has broadcast major fights all over the world. The advent of legalized sports wagering shifted his focus to this exciting new industry in 2018.

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