Green Bay Packers wide receiver Romeo Doubs (87) celebrates with...

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Romeo Doubs (87) celebrates with fans after catching a 13-yard touchdown pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash) Credit: AP/Morry Gash

Balance. It’s what we all strive for, even in picking NFL games. You usually don’t want to pick too many favorites or too many underdogs in one week, but what if you really don’t see many underdogs covering? That's the predicament for me this week. The best advice is to trust your first instinct. 

Underdogs went 7-8-1 against the spread (ATS) in Week 4 and are now 32-31-1. One thing to keep an eye on this week and going forward are how teams perform the week after their London games (Minnesota and New Orleans). Gone are the days of automatic byes the next week.

My most confident picks ATS are Dallas, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Green Bay. Stay away from Detroit-New England and L.A. Chargers-Cleveland.

GAME OF THE WEEK

SUNDAY NIGHT 

CINCINNATI (2-2) AT BALTIMORE (2-2)

TV: NBC, 8:20 p.m.

Baltimore by 3.5; O/U: 47.5

This should be a back-and-forth, high-scoring game between two teams off to weird starts. The Ravens lost both of their home games despite trailing for just 14 seconds in the first one (42-38 loss to Miami) and not until the final play in the second one (23-20 to Buffalo). Their secondary is beatable, and the Bengals scored 41 points in both wins last season. All that and I still lean Lamar Jackson and the hosts. The Bengals haven’t looked super, and I’m not sold they’re fine after two so-so wins over the Jets and Dolphins. Jackson is 10-5 in prime-time games. If Baltimore gets out to another early lead, can it hold it?  

The pick: Baltimore

LONDON GAME

GIANTS (3-1) VS. GREEN BAY (3-1)

TV: NFL Network, WABC, 9:30 a.m.

Green Bay by 8; O/U: 40.5

The Giants’ reward for a surprising 3-1 start? A trip across the pond at the worst time. Even if Daniel Jones was 100%, I wouldn’t like this matchup for banged-up Big Blue. Aaron Rodgers and his two running backs will have their way against an undermanned and overmatched defense. Green Bay can lock in on Saquon Barkley and a one-dimensional offense. According to BetSided, favorites in London games are 22-8-1 straight up and 19-12 ATS. Expect both trends to continue. 

The pick: Green Bay

1 p.m. games

MIAMI (3-1) AT JETS (2-2)

TV: CBS

Miami by 3; O/U: 45.5

The Jets are consistently inconsistent: Loss. Win. Loss. Win. The two defeats (24-9 and 27-12) were at home. The Jets are 4-15 at home since the start of the 2020 season, the worst record in the NFL. They’ve also lost 12 division games in a row. Teddy Bridgewater has experience and Miami’s Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are big mismatches for the Jets’ secondary. According to the Action Network, Bridgewater is 42-21 ATS as a starter and 24-6 ATS on the road. The Jets’ banged-up offensive line won’t stop the Dolphins’ blitz-happy defense.

The pick: Miami 

PITTSBURGH (1-3) AT BUFFALO (3-1)

Buffalo by 14; O/U: 46.5

After back-to-back thrillers (21-19 loss at Miami, 23-20 win at Baltimore) Buffalo returns home as the biggest favorite of the season. Don't be scared off by the big number. I can think of about 30 other stadiums I'd rather make my first NFL start if I was Kenny Pickett.

The pick: Buffalo 

DETROIT (1-3) AT NEW ENGLAND (1-3)

New England by 3.5; O/U: 45.5

Detroit has scored the most points (140). The catch: It has allowed the most points (141). The Lions, back in their usual underdog role, could very well win this game if the Patriots start their third-string QB. But I keep going back to this: Is a Dan Campbell-led team really going to go into Foxborough and drop a Bill Belichick-led team to 1-4?

The pick: New England 

L.A. CHARGERS (2-2) AT CLEVELAND (2-2)

Los Angeles by 2.5; O/U: 47.5

There have been 23 games decided by three points or fewer this season, a record for the first four weeks. This one feels as if it fits that bill, so side with the home team getting points. Which aggressive coach will make the costlier decision?

The pick: Cleveland 

TENNESSEE (2-2) AT WASHINGTON (1-3)

Tennessee by 2.5; O/U: 42.5

The Titans have righted the ship after an 0-2 start and will dominate this game at the line of scrimmage. Carson Wentz has been sacked an NFL-high 17 times. 

The pick: Tennessee 

HOUSTON (0-3-1) AT JACKSONVILLE (2-2)

Jacksonville by 7; O/U: 43.5

The Jaguars had a 14-0 lead at Philadelphia last week before wilting in the rain. Expect a bounce-back performance and remember that they beat the Colts (24-0) and Chargers (38-10) in their two games before that.

The pick: Jacksonville

ATLANTA (2-2) AT TAMPA BAY (2-2)

TV: Fox

Tampa Bay by 10; O/U: 46.5

The Falcons are the only team 4-0 ATS, but this will be tough after they put their best player, Cordarelle Patterson, on IR. Tom Brady is 9-0 against Atlanta, including 4-0 since he joined Tampa Bay. The last three wins were by 17, 23 and 13 points.

The pick: Tampa Bay 

CHICAGO (2-2) AT MINNESOTA (3-1)

Minnesota by 7.5; O/U: 44

Minnesota could have a London letdown. Then again, if Chicago falls behind, it will need to pass, something it rarely does (Justin Fields has 67 pass attempts through four games). He’s also been sacked 16 times.  

The pick: Minnesota 

SEATTLE (2-2) AT NEW ORLEANS (1-3)

New Orleans by 5.5; O/U: 46.5

How about this stat: In its last 15 games kicking off at 10 a.m. PT (dating back to 2018), Seattle has won 14 of them, including last week's 48-45 barnburner at Detroit. 

The pick: Seattle 

4 p.m. Games

LOCK OF THE WEEK

DALLAS (3-1) AT L.A. RAMS (2-2)

TV: Fox

Los Angeles by 5.5; O/U: 43.5

When I looked at the Week 5 schedule before the Week 4 games had been played, this matchup jumped out at me. When I looked back again and saw the point spread, it really jumped out at me. Vegas knows bettors will back the Rams in the belief that the defending champs can’t possibly start 2-3, but giving nearly a TD to the team that's playing much better?  The Rams are not very good right now. Their makeshift offensive line can't protect Matthew Stafford (16 sacks after 30 all last season), they can’t run the ball (third-last with 68.5 yards per game) and their secondary has struggled. They’ve also been outscored 44-3 in the fourth quarter. Dallas’ defense is tied for the second-most sacks (15) and leads the NFL with 65 quarterback pressures. Micah Parsons will live in the backfield. Cooper Rush is 4-0 (3-0 this year) filling in for Dak Prescott. Take the points in what is an absolute steal of a line, as the Cowboys win outright. 

The pick: Dallas

PHILADELPHIA (4-0) AT ARIZONA (2-2)

Philadelphia by 5.5; O/U: 48.5

Play the Eagles’ first-half line: They’ve outscored opponents 92-35 before halftime; Arizona has been outscored 66-16. Philly’s defense is stingy in the second half, too, allowing 0, 8 and 7 points the last three weeks. This is a total mismatch. The only way Arizona covers is if the NFL's lone 4-0 team has an eye toward next week's prime-time rivalry matchup against Dallas.

The pick: Philadelphia 

SAN FRANCISCO (2-2) AT CAROLINA (1-3)

San Francisco by 6.5; O/U: 38.5

When the 49ers are on, like they were in Monday night’s 24-9 win over the Rams, they’re one of the most complete teams. San Francisco allows an NFL-low 11.5 points per game and is tied for first in yards allowed (234.5). Carolina’s offense is last in yards per game (262.3).

The pick: San Francisco

MONDAY NIGHT

LAS VEGAS (1-3) AT KANSAS CITY (3-1)

TV: ESPN, 8:15 p.m.

Kansas City by 7.5; O/U: 51.5

Kansas City won both matchups last year (41-14 and 48-9) and all signs point to Patrick Mahomes improving to 8-1 against the Raiders. But the spread is enticing considering this could be a classic trap game for KC, which is off an emotional revenge win at Tampa Bay and next week hosts Buffalo in a rematch from last year’s playoff thriller.

The pick: Las Vegas

STAFF STANDINGS AND PICKS

(all picks against the spread; best bets in bold)

JOE MANNIELLO

36-27-1 overall, 1-3 best bets

Last week: 8-7-1

Denver Green Bay Miami Buffalo

New England Cleveland Tennessee Jacksonville

Tampa Bay Minnesota Seattle Dallas

Philadelphia San Francisco Baltimore Las Vegas

TOM ROCK

29-34-1 overall, 1-3 best bets

Last week: 11-4-1

Denver Green Bay Miami Buffalo

Detroit L.A. Chargers Tennessee Jacksonville

Atlanta Minnesota Seattle Dallas 

Philadelphia Carolina Cincinnati Kansas City

AL IANNAZZONE

32-31-1 overall, 2-2 best bets

Last week: 9-6-1

Denver Green Bay Miami Buffalo

New England L.A. Chargers Tennessee Jacksonville

Atlanta Minnesota New Orleans L.A. Rams

Arizona San Francisco Baltimore Kansas City

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