The PFN Betting returns in Week 5, employing our many different strategies to find you some NFL over/under best bets to increase your bankroll. Week 4 saw me go 2-0-1 on totals bets, winning the Colts/Bears and Rams/Giants under bets and pushing last week’s best bet on Seahawks/Dolphins over 54. As always, I will be using my analytical model as well as some non-analytical intuition to find some over/under winners in Week 5. Bookmark the PFN betting team for all of our completely free content to help you cash during the 2020 NFL season.
NFL Week 5 Over/Under Best Bet: Ravens vs. Bengals over 51 -110 | 3 units
Thus far, in the 2020 season, we have seen over bets have an overall record of 37-24-2. As the year of the over continues in the NFL, I have increased my attention to finding overs as my best bets. This Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals game meets all the criteria of an over/under best bet as it features two high-powered offenses whose strengths align with the weaknesses of the opposing defenses. The model puts this total right around 56, giving us great value on the over 51. Let’s dive into why this play is this week’s NFL Week 5 best bet below.
Lamar Jackson and Co. continue to prove critics wrong
Outside of a slight hiccup versus the very formidable Kansas City Chiefs, these Ravens have carried their offensive dominance from the 2019 season into the 2020 season. While critics spent the offseason writing about how the blueprint on how to stop this Ravens team was out following a tough playoff loss to the Tennessee Titans, this Ravens team schemed up an even more dynamic offense to stay ahead of the curve. They continue to find new ways to highlight Lamar Jackson’s many strengths, creating a dynamic run-first offense that most NFL teams are not built to stop.
Jackson continues to be incredibly efficient both on the ground and through the air, making him one of the most difficult players to stop in the NFL. He has completed an impressive 68.4% of his passes for 769 yards, seven touchdowns, and just one interception. His favorite targets Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews, have been the biggest beneficiaries of Jackson’s efficiency.
Jackson also is running for 6.0 yards per carry and is part of a highly-skilled group of runners for the Ravens. In addition to Jackson, the Ravens feature a three-headed monster at running back with Mark Ingram, J.K. Dobbins, and Gus Edwards that are averaging 5.65 yards per carry as a unit. I expect this run game to feast on a Bengals run defense that we will dive into more later.
Ravens defense as elite as they appear?
This Ravens defense came into the 2020 season with a lot of hype, and for the most part, they have lived up to that hype thus far. They picked up tremendous talents in Marcus Peters, Calais Campbell, and Patrick Queen to add to an already uber-talented squad. It has resulted in them allowing a mere 18.3 points per game, fourth in the NFL.
However, I believe this defense has benefitted from some luck in the scoring department, as they have actually been just a middle of the road team in terms of yards allowed, giving up the 16th most yards per game with 365.25. The weakness, if there is one, on this Ravens team has been upfront. Against the run, they are not bad, allowing four yards per carry, eighth in the league. However, they are really struggling to get to the passer, highlighted by their pressure rate of 15.5%, just 26th in the NFL. This secondary is very talented, but it will not matter if they allow an above-average quarterback to have all day to read the field.
Bengals offense: Both Joes living up to the hype
This Bengals offense has been towards the bottom of the league for years now, but this offense seems completely revitalized with the arrival of first overall pick Joe Burrow. Burrow has exceeded many expectations for him, completing 65.5% of his passes for 1,121 yards, six touchdowns, and two interceptions. He displays poise in the pocket that takes most QBs years to establish and looks well beyond his years in his rapport with his talented receiving core that features A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, and Tee Higgins. Look for Burrow’s poise to be on full display versus this Ravens defense that has struggled to get to the quarterback.
Joe Mixon also looks rejuvenated this year now that the threat of the passing game has emerged. Crazy how that works, right? He really burst onto the scene in Week 4, where he garnered 151 yards and three touchdowns against the Jaguars. He provides the top-tier running back this team needs to obtain ideal balance and is a crucial piece of this offense that has improved each week. Though they get an increase in difficulty versus this Ravens defense this week, I expect them to zoom by their implied total of 18.5 points.
Bengals rush defense woes continue
While the Bengals offense has dramatically improved in 2020, the Bengals defense has displayed the same ineptitudes that plagued them in 2019. They have allowed the fifth-most yards on the ground through these first four weeks. Yes, it is an improvement from the NFL defense that allowed a league’s worst 6.1 yards per rush in 2019. However, when teams have wanted to run the ball on this Bengals team, they have found success.
On paper, this defense looks like they should be able to stop the run with the pieces they have in their front seven, but as a unit, they have been run over consistently. This is bad news when you have the NFL’s most prolific rushing offense in the Baltimore Ravens as an opponent. I expect the Raven’s to gash this Bengals rush defense with ease, much like the Cleveland Browns did on the way to a 35 point outburst in Week 2. Look for the Ravens to score even more this Sunday.