This week it was the home teams who dominated, as all but three home teams won in week five. Our ATS power ranking top ten teams continue to rack up the wins each and every week, both as favorites and underdogs. Remember, this isn’t your typical power rankings, I don’t care which teams are winning the games, I care which teams are cashing tickets! Let’s get started!
1. Kansas City Chiefs
2018 Straight Up (5-0) 2018 ATS (5-0) 2017 ATS (10-6) Last Week’s Rank: 1
New week, same number one team! For the fourth consecutive week, the Kansas City Chiefs come in at the number one spot in my ATS NFL power rankings. The Chiefs continue to rampage through the NFL, led by new quarterback Patrick Mahomes, and have an undefeated record both straight up, and against the spread.
And this week’s win was the biggest yet for KC, as they hosted the Jacksonville Jaguars and their top-ranked defense and Mahomes and company torched the Jags for 30 points in a blowout victory, easily covering the -3-point spread at home. Despite looking like the best team in the NFL right now, the Chiefs will be +3-point underdogs next week as they head to Foxboro for a showdown with the New England Patriots. Will Tom Brady and the Pats be able to knock the Chiefs from their thrown?
2. Cleveland Browns
2018 Straight Up (2-2-1) 2018 ATS (4-1) 2017 ATS (4-12) Last Week’s Rank: 4
The Cleveland Browns move up two spots this week to number two in the rankings with an impressive performance against the Baltimore Ravens. Cleveland remains an elite ATS team this season as they are 4-1 against the number, but this week they won outright as home underdogs. In true Browns fashion, the game was sloppy and ugly, and it looked like it would end in a tie before Greg Joseph drilled a 37-yard field goal with two seconds left in overtime to seal the deal for Cleveland.
When you look at this Browns team’s record, they are one or two bounces in the wrong direction away from being undefeated on the season. Baker Mayfield is growing up quickly as the rookie threw for over 300-yards in this one, and this team is looking more and more like a contender each week. The Browns are a pick ‘em next week against the Los Angeles Chargers at home in a matchup of two somewhat surprising squads.
3. Chicago Bears
2018 Straight Up (3-1) 2018 ATS (3-1) 2017 ATS (8-6-2) Last Week’s Rank: 3
I feel somewhat bad for letting the Browns jump the Bears in the rankings even though the Bears didn’t play a game this week as they were on bye, but the Browns don’t win too many games outright, so when they do, I make sure to pay attention. Chicago remains idle here at number three with a post-bye week matchup with the Miami Dolphins on tap for week six. The Bears are -3-point road favorites against a suddenly struggling Dolphins team that has lost two straight games after starting the season 3-0.
This will be the key for this Bears team this year, can they win on the road? Mitchell Trubisky had the best game of his career in his last game, throwing for 354 yards and six scores. Can he recapture that magic or was that just a fruitions matchup with a dreadful Tampa Bay Bucs defense? We find out in week six in Miami.
4. Los Angeles Rams
2018 Straight Up (5-0) 2018 ATS (3-2) 2017 ATS (9-7) Last Week’s Rank: 2
The Los Angeles Rams are victims of their own success right now. We knew coming into the season that they were going to be very good, but we also knew that the books would be charging a huge premium to back them. In what I mentioned last week as a shocking number, the Rams were -7.5-point road favorites against the Seattle Seahawks in week five. Not shocking at all, they didn’t cover.
If the numbers are going to continue to be outrageous on the Rams, you will see them quickly fall out of my top ten. While their 5-0 straight up record has them atop most traditional power rankings, their 3-2 ATS record has them on the verge of dropping out of my rankings completely. The Rams have another ridiculous inflated number next week as they play the Denver Broncos as -7.5-point road favorites. Laying more than a touchdown on the road is a recipe for disaster for any team, be on upset alert!
5. Detroit Lions
2018 Straight Up (2-3) 2018 ATS (4-1) 2017 ATS (8-7-1) Las Week’s Rank: 8
In my rankings last week, I mentioned that the Lions line would likely close out with them as home dogs as the Packers always garner a ton of public action late in the week. And that is exactly what happened as the squares all jumped on the Packer bandwagon. As is usually the best course of action, I positioned myself on the other side of the betting public and picked up a nice win as the Lions won the game outright 31-23.
Mason Crosby for the Packers gets the Lion’s share of blame in this one as the veteran kicker missed five, count ‘em five! Combined field goals and extra point attempts. The Packers outgained the Lions 521-264, but somehow, the Lions came away victorious. Detroit now has an elite 4-1 record ATS and is quickly becoming one of my favorite teams to back as underdogs. The Lions take next week off and will head to Miami the following week, in a game they are very likely to once again be underdogs.
6. New England Patriots
2018 Straight Up (3-2) 2018 ATS (3-2) 2017 ATS (11-5) Last Week’s Rank: 10
The New England Patriots reminded everybody that they are the Patriots this week as they hammered the Indianapolis Colts 38-24. And really, it wasn’t even that close as the Pats had a 38-17 lead before Andrew Luck threw a desperation, garbage time touchdown, with just over a minute left in the game. The Pats easily covered what I thought was an inflated double-digit number and are back to above .500 on the season ATS at 3-2.
The Patriots host a huge matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs this week and will try and do something that no other team has even come close to doing, and that is, slowing down Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes. The number is sitting at Pat’s -3 right now and the books hate to move off of a key number like three, but don’t be surprised if the KC hype pushes this line towards the Chiefs. It the Patriots win and cover against the Chiefs you will see them shoot right back up into my top five.
7. Cincinnati Bengals
2018 Straight Up (4-1) 2018 ATS (4-1) 2017 ATS (9-7) Last Week’s Rank: Not Ranked
Ok, Ok, I am admittedly a week or two late on the Bengals. After ignoring their hot start to the season through the first several weeks, I can no longer ignore that fact that this team is playing great football and the wins are starting to pile up, both straight up and ATS. The Bengals used an insane second half to pull away from the Dolphins last week, including a 24-0 fourth quarter.
AJ Green racked up 112 receiving yards, and the Bengals loved to see running back Joe Mixon back on the field as he had missed time with an injury. This Bengals team is all set for a huge home matchup with a Pittsburgh Steelers team that has been shaky at best this season. If the Bengals win and cover in that one, currently they are -1-point home favorites, it will be time to start discussing this team as a legit contender.
8. Baltimore Ravens
2018 Straight Up (3-2) 2018 ATS (3-2) 2017 ATS (8-7-1) Last Week’s Rank: 7
In last week’s rankings, I mentioned that I wasn’t completely sold on this Ravens team just yet as their offense was a bit too one dimensional for my liking as their running game had looked anemic. And what did they do this week? Lost outright on the road against the Cleveland Browns as -3-point road favorites. Their leading rusher was Alex Collins who managed just 58 yards on twelve carries.
The AFC North looks down this year as the Steelers are struggling, and the Browns and Bengals still haven’t done enough to show me that they are elite, so the Ravens should see this division title as ripe for the picking. We will see where the roller coaster stops next week for this very up and down Baltimore team as they are -2.5-point road favorites against the Tennessee Titans. Road favorites against a solid Titans team? Something smells fishy.
9. Tennessee Titans
2018 Straight Up (3-2) 2018 ATS (3-2) 2017 ATS (8-7-1) Last Week’s Rank: 6
Speaking of the Tennessee Titans, they clock in here at number nine, falling three spots this week. The Titans had amassed a whole bunch of hype heading into week five as they had won three straight games, including big wins against the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Philadelphia Eagles, and they found themselves as big -5.5-point road favorites against the hapless Buffalo Bills.
I guess they forgot to bring their offense with them to Buffalo as they lost 13-12 in a snoozer. Marcus Mariota and the Titans struggled to get anything going all afternoon long and lost the game on Steve Hauschka’s 46-yard field goal as time expired. Talk about how much difference a week can make! Last week the Titans were the IT team of the NFL, with people wondering if this team should be considered a Super Bowl challenger, and then one loss to the Buffalo Bills later, they are home dogs to the Baltimore Raven, ouch.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars
2018 Straight Up (3-2) 2018 ATS (3-2) 2017 ATS (9-7) Last Week’s Rank: 5
Speaking of a team that had a big drop, that leads us to our number ten team, the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags had the biggest drop of any team on the countdown this week as they fell all the way from number five to number ten. Why you ask? Well, before last week we all “knew” that while the Jags offense was going to be hit and miss, but that their defense was truly elite and could shut just about anybody down. Then Patrick Mahomes, making his sixth career start, stomped all over that theory as he blitzed this Jags defense for over 300 yards through the air and posted a thirty spot on them. What do we “know” about Jacksonville now?
I am not going to overreact to one bad week and say this team isn’t good, they certainly are. But they just might have been exposed by Kansas City this week. We will find out more next week as the Jags head out on the road to play the Dallas Cowboys and their struggling offense. The Jags are -2.5-point road favorites, and they need a win if they want to keep pace with the Texans and the Titans in a very competitive AFC South.
And here it is folks, this week’s top ten! The top four remained unchanged, just a little shuffled up, and we saw the Cincinnati Bengals make their first appearance of the year in the top ten, coming in at number seven. We have a couple of huge matchups on the horizon for week six that are certain to shake up the rankings, and I look forward to another exciting week of NFL action. Be on the lookout later this week for my specific game picks where I give you my top three ATS NFL picks of the week. Good luck and happy betting!