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DraftKings is offering up a new free-to-enter pool for the 2022 NFL season. It runs for the first 17 weeks of the season, and users are allowed to pick their five favorite spreads each week. You’re also allowed one self-appointed bye week, meaning each player will pick 80 games by the end of Week 17. The players who do the best will have a chance to take home part of a $100,000 prize pool, plus millions in bonus prizes.
Let’s take a look at my five favorite picks for NFL Week 5.
The Pick: Giants +8.5
I faded the Packers last week against the Patriots, and I’m going right back to the well in Week 5. This time, the Packers will square off with the Giants, and they’ll lose the benefit of home-field advantage. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have historically thrived at Lambeau Field, so losing a home game for a neutral site game in London is a big deal.
The Packers’ offense also continues to struggle to put teams away. Rodgers’ numbers are way down compared to last year’s MVP campaign. He’s averaged 1.7 fewer adjusted yards per attempt, and he’s down 2.5 yards from his mark in 2020-21. He’s also thrown three picks through the first four weeks after throwing just four in 16 games last year.
The Giants are dealing with a plethora of absences at receiver, but that shouldn’t be a huge deal vs. the Packers. Their defense has been vulnerable against the run this season, allowing an average of 5.0 yards per carry. That’s great news for Saquon Barkley, who currently leads the league with an average of 5.5 yards per attempt. He should be extremely busy in London, and he should do enough to keep the Giants close.
The Pick: Texans +7.5
The Jaguars are undoubtedly better than most people thought they would be this season. They’ve won two of their first four games – including a demolition of the Chargers in Los Angeles – and they led the Eagles 14-0 last week before collapsing.
However, they’re still far from a juggernaut. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence regressed badly last week vs. the Eagles, finishing with five turnovers. The Texans’ defense isn’t nearly as good as the Eagles, but I remain unconvinced that Lawrence is an above-average NFL quarterback.
Additionally, there’s a big difference between being better than expected and being a team that’s supposed to cover more than a touchdown. That’s a huge number, especially for a team that was as bad as the Jaguars were last year. Those teams have unsurprisingly struggled to cover: Teams that won four games or less the previous season have historically posted a record of 33-48-5 against the spread when favored by at least a touchdown.
I’ll grab the 7.5 with the Texans in this spot.
The Pick: Buccaneers -9.5
The Buccaneers have had a tumultuous start to the year. They suffered a ton of injuries along the offensive line and at receiver, and Mike Evans getting suspended for a game didn’t help. Add in some uncertainty surrounding Tom Brady, and there were some serious questions about the Bucs’ offense.
However, last week’s contest vs. the Chiefs was a massive improvement. Brady racked up 385 yards and three touchdowns, and he’s completed nearly 75% of his passes over the past two weeks. The Chiefs’ defense has also been impressive to start the year, so it was an excellent performance.
The big issue last week was that their defense couldn’t stop Patrick Mahomes. There’s no shame in that – Mahomes is one of the most talented quarterbacks in league history – but the Bucs’ defense entered last week first in Football Outsiders defensive DVOA. They should bounce back in a big way against the Falcons, especially with Kyle Pitts and Cordarrelle Patterson out of the lineup. The Falcons aren’t exactly brimming with talent to begin with, so losing two of their top playmakers is a big blow.
Overall, this seems like the perfect get-right spot for the Buccaneers. I expect them to win this one going away.
The Pick: 49ers -6.5
We’ve reached the point where the Panthers are almost an automatic fade for me. Their overall roster isn’t terrible – particularly on defense – but they’re just not going to be competitive with Baker Mayfield at quarterback.
Baker is coming off his worst performance of the year last week vs. the Cardinals. Their defense has been exploitable all year, yet Baker still managed just 3.53 adjusted yards per attempt. He had two interceptions and a lost fumble in that contest, and things aren’t going to get any easier against the 49ers. They made life miserable for Matthew Stafford last week, racking up seven sacks.
Offensively, the 49ers are going to do what they do: establish the run, set up play action, and wear you down. It may not be the most exciting brand of football, but it’s typically effective: They’ve scored at least 24 points in two of three games with Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback.
If they can reach that level of offensive success vs. the Panthers, I have no clue how the Panthers keep up.
The Pick: Cardinals +5.5
The Eagles have been the most impressive team in the NFC to start the year. They’ve won each of their first four games, and they’ve moved to +800 to win the Super Bowl on DraftKings Sportsbook. That trails only the Bills and Chiefs, so they’re now the favorites to represent the NFC.
I’m not quite there yet. Don’t get me wrong, the Eagles are definitely good. They have an awesome defense, and Jalen Hurts has shown major improvement as a passer. They’re definitely going to be in contention all year.
However, are wins over the Lions, Vikings, Commanders, and Jaguars really all that impressive? None of those teams are really that good, and their two toughest games have been played in Philadelphia.
The Cardinals aren’t a huge step up in weight class, but they still have Kyler Murray. Murray is capable of making magic happen, even if he’s not getting much help from his receivers.
Ultimately, I’m not sure if the Eagles have reached the point where they deserve to be road favorites of nearly a touchdown. I’ll grab the points.
Year-to-Date Results: 18-2 (5-0 last week)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.