Upset Watch Week 5 NFL picks

Welcome to Upset Watch, our weekly selection of the games most likely to yield an underdog victory in week 5. With 31% of NFL games ending in an outright victory for underdog teams, this column uses data and trends as a guide to which teams will beat the odds.

Upset Watch

6 Oct, 2021

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Season Record: +$841

 

Upset wins Predicted: 13-11 (+$770)

 

Underdog Covers Predicted: 6-3 (+$71)

 

Last week we had another strong week, maintaining what has been a good start to the 2021 season. When picking underdogs, we get great odds, so if 50% of the underdogs you pick win, then you’ll make a profit. We were also extraordinarily unlucky not to finish with 4 wins as the Falcons threw away a relatively easy victory against Washington.

 

But that’s why Upset Watch is so successful, because betting on NFL favorites is a surefire way to lose a lot of money, while betting on selected underdogs will give you a big return. You just have to be able to pick them...

 

Week

Wins

Covers

Wins profit

Covers Profit

Total Profit

Parlay Profit

1

5

1

$560.00

-$6.00

$554.00

$4,674.15

2

2

2

-$190.00

$88.00

-$102.00

$648.00

3

4

1

$300.00

-$6.00

$294.00

$2,522.81

4

3

1

$100.00

-$5.00

$95.00

$1,240.25

Totals

14

5

+$770.00

+$71.00

+$841.00

$9,085.21

 

As you can see, we have had only one week where a $100 bet on every game we’ve selected as a potential upset has not returned a profit, and for the season, we’re up by some big amounts. Think you can do better? Go for it, but Upset Watch doesn't simply pick every underdog to win, we have to avoid the banana skins and red herrings to ensure we maximize our chances of winning.

 

Parlays are a great way of combining a few picks together. I’ve had a great deal of success using combinations of between 2 and 4 underdog picks to combine into a parlay with greater odds. It’s rare that you’ll get a clean sweep, but if you do, that could be a huge payout.

 

Week 5 - Number of Upsets and Covers

2013-2020 Week 5 upset win rate: 36%

2013-2020 Week 5 underdog cover rate: 45%

 

Week 5 usually represents the start of the general trend towards less underdogs winning each week as the season progresses. It also marks the point where we begin to think in percentages of games, rather than a number.

 

There are two reasons for this. One is that bye weeks begin to have an impact at this time of year, which means that while the percentage of upsets may remain the same, the number of games played varies. In 2020, for example, there were only 14 games played in week 5.

 

Covers take a dip in week 5, and again, the context of less games often being played is important. The cover rate is still 45%, and that equals 7.2 covers per week.

 

As it happens, there are no teams with a week 5 bye in 2021, so we have a full slate of games, and that means we’ll be picking 6 underdog winners and 7 covers.

 

Free Pick:

 

Each week I’ll be giving away one Upset Pick just before our paywall. There is a lot more analysis in our full article, and you’re going to maximize your chances of a profit by knowing all of the picks, but I want to give non-subscribers a flavor of Upset Watch. Here’s this week’s selection:

 

Philadelphia (+3.5) at Carolina

 

Who are these two teams? They have both lost to their common opponent - the Cowboys - on the road, yet they have opposite records. The 3-1 Panthers have been the league’s surprise package, while the Eagles have been a 1-3 enigma. 

 

Interestingly, the Eagles had a projected team win total of only 4.0 in the preseason. Their convincing 32-6 obliteration of the Falcons in week 1 suggested this was a gross underestimation, and even in their defeat to the 49ers in week 2, their defense looked capable of holding it’s own.

 

Meanwhile, the Panthers stumbled over the line against the Jets, but then performed very well against the Saints and Texans, before succumbing to the relentless Cowboys in a slightly flattering 28-36 defeat last week.

 

The story here is that the Eagles have played likely playoff contenders in the 49ers, Chiefs and Cowboys. Meanwhile, the combined records of the Panthers’ opponents is 7-9, and includes the hapless Jets and Texans.

 

The Eagles match up well with the Panthers. They have a very strong passing defense, and I think it’s interesting that the Eagles notched 4 sacks of Dak Prescott, while the Panthers didn’t manage any.

 

In fact, the Panthers’ defense - as I noted last week - is a beneficiary of games against teams whose rookie QBs - Zach Wilson and Davis Mills - were thoroughly out of their depth. In weeks 1-3, the Panthers faced the 28th, 29th and 31st ranked passing offenses, before the 8th ranked Cowboys made short work of any notion that the Panthers defense was legitimate, dropping 36 points on them.

 

The 9th ranked Eagles will pose a very different challenge, and I like them to win.

 

You can read the full article with all SIX underdog picks and get all Pro features for just $5.99 for the first month or $22.50 for a whole year by using the code UPSET25 at the checkout!

 

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