The opening to this NFL season has undoubtedly been the most exciting and unpredictable in recent history.
Week 5 featured close contests across the board, with seven games decided by eight points or less, including four which featured game-winning field goals at the death.
Furthermore, for the first time since 1990 every team in the NFL has won at least one game through the first five weeks and 19 teams are either sitting on top of their respective divisions or within one win.
These tightly contested games haven’t been dour in nature either. Teams have been scoring for fun with NFL statistics revealing there have been 424 touchdowns and 3,739 points scored in the first five weeks, which is the most in NFL history.
The draft system is certainly coming into effect, creating the most level playing field in recent memory as the weaker teams from last season have strengthened, whilst the stronger teams have come back to the pack.
It’s been tough going for bettors, however this week's high profile clashes present opportunities to capitalise on the hidden value laced within the betting markets.
The game of the round hosts one of the biggest divisional rivalries in the NFL in front of a packed Cincinnati home crowd.
The Bengals have stamped themselves early as playoff contenders with some terrific performances to date.
Quarterback Andy Dalton is looking sharp once again due to an improved offensive line, which is finally giving him breathing space to find his receiving corps. Bengals wide-receiver A.J. Green really looks motivated this year and already has 5 touchdowns over the first 5 games.
Cincinnati’s defence will also receive a huge boost this week with the return of Vontaze Burfict. One of the leaders in the Bengals defensive line, Burfict is known for his brutal style of play, hitting hard and often.
Sparks have been flying for years between Burfict and the Steelers, first igniting when he knocked out Antonio Brown in 2016 with an illegal blindside helmet to helmet collision. If the Bengals are to win this contest, expect Burfict to be leading the line and trying to get in the head of his opposition.
The Steelers are coming into this game off their best performance of the year against the Falcons.
While their attack put up 41 points, it was their defence that was outstanding, sacking Matt Ryan 6 times on route to victory. If the Steelers defence repeats that effort in Cincinnati, they'll be tough to beat.
Ben Roethlisberger has had a very up and down season but looked sharp in Week 5 connecting with Antonio Brown well for the wide receiver's first 100 receiving yard game of the season.
On paper, the Bengals possess the better team, but until they prove they're mentally tougher than the Steelers, Pittsburgh have the edge.
Key NFL Betting Statistics
Pittsburgh leads the all-time series 62-35, have won the last 6 matchups, and 9 of the last 10.
The Steelers are 5-0 in their last 5 road games against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Pittsburgh are 23-5 moneyline and 20-7-1 'Against the Spread' in their last 28 contests at Paul Brown Stadium.
Free NFL Expert Pick: Steelers with the line +2.5 @ 1.92
Reasoning: Last week felt like a turning point for the Steelers and this is a must win game so they don’t lose ground on the Bengals for the division title. If they lose their season is starting to look very bleak.
The NFL makes its way to London this weekend for the first of three games to be held at Wembley Stadium as part of the NFL International Series.
Tipped by most to flounder towards the bottom of their division, the Seahawks have shown that they are a team on the rise, demonstrated in last week’s narrow loss to Superbowl favourites the LA Rams.
That game showed that their offensive line is capable of stepping up and will need a similar performance to take the win. It also bodes well for Seattle that Oakland no longer has any form of pass rush after they traded away Khalil Mack in the off-season.
If Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson has time to throw, and lanes are being paved for the competent backfield platoon of Chris Carson and Mike Davis, the Seahawks are going to be tough to stop.
Oakland are exactly where most had them- last in their division.
In good news for Raiders fans, Derek Carr is completing 71% of his passes, however his constant brain fades are costing his team. Cheap handovers and errors cripple any team, however they are compounded tenfold when a roster mirrors the quality of Oakland’s.
The interesting dynamic to this game is that Oakland’s Marshawn Lynch is facing his former team.
Lynch has had consistent performances this season, racking up 331 yards and three touchdowns on 77 carries in five games this year.
For Oakland to have any chance to win, they will be looking to him for a big performance.
Key NFL Betting Statistics
Oakland has only recorded 6 sacks through the first 5 weeks of the season, the lowest mark in the NFL.
QB Russell Wilson has 1,891 pass yards (315.2 per game) with 21 TDs vs. 5 INTs in his past 6 on road vs. AFC Teams.
Free NFL Expert Pick: Seattle to cover the line -3 @ 1.92
Reasoning: Seattle has all the favours in this game. The travel factor won’t have an impact at this early stage of the season and the Seahawks should be able to control the tempo of the game and grind out the clock to an easy win.
The Chiefs are currently the best team in the AFC, a title which has been on lock for the Patriots over the last decade. Rookie QB Patrick Mahomes continues to prove the critics wrong, coming up clutch when the team needs him most to pile the points on.
The Chief’s defence is a different story however. They leak points all too easily and are amongst the worst in the league.
The story of Kansas’ season is starting to look like a bomb waiting to explode and the question remains, how long can their high-scoring offense overcome their defensive shortcomings?
The Patriots have seemingly rebounded from their slow start, winning back-to-back games. The Chiefs will be a different proposition, and it will come down to Brady v Mahomes. This game could go either way so it will be best to stay away from any form of moneyline or line bet.
Key NFL Betting Statistics
After the bye, Chiefs Coach Andy Reid is 16-2 in his career, he’s also 2-1 against the patriots since coming to Kansas City.
Bill Belichick was 5-1 against the Chiefs pre-Reid and doesn't have a losing record against any of the other 30 teams since he came to New England in 2000.
Free NFL Expert Pick: Under 60 total match points @ 1.85
Reasoning: While both teams don’t possess the most flash defence, the bookmakers have overreacted here with the total match points line. To put it in comparison, this is the biggest O/U amount of the week by 8 points.
These two coaches know each other and their playbooks too well for there to be that many points scored. Take the unders with confidence.