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Week 5 of the NFL season is upon us. Only the Arizona Cardinals remain undefeated. Only the Detroit Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars remain winless. It seems like some elite teams are more flawed than we expected and it seems like there are some surprising teams that might actually be very good.
Early line movement often highlights some of the sharper action for the upcoming week. Which games are seeing their lines move early in the week?
Market prefers Jimmy G to Trey Lance
The online fanbase has been calling for San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan to make a quarterback change since the start of the preseason. Jimmy Garoppolo's limitations are obvious and Trey Lance definitely offers a higher ceiling.
However, early in the week, it's rather obvious that the betting market thinks Garoppolo gives San Francisco a better chance of winning games now than his rookie backup.
The market opened with the 49ers as a 3.5-point road underdog against the undefeated Cardinals. However, as it's become more and more likely that Lance will start the game due to Garoppolo's injury, the line has shifted noticeably. Currently, the Cardinals are 5.5-point favorites.
The total has also seen movement due to the likely impending quarterback change. The total opened very high at 53.5 points, but it's dropped all the way to 50, which is where it currently sits.
Rookie quarterbacks haven't been overly impressive to open the NFL season. Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Mac Jones and Justin Fields all looked pretty lost for their first few starts before flashing their ability this past weekend. While Lance might be the more exciting option for football fans, the market thinks Garoppolo is the better option when it comes to actually winning the game.
Rams getting love on Thursday night
We've got a great game on Thursday night this week, and the betting market appears to be picking a side.
The Los Angeles Rams are currently 2.5-point road favorites against the Seattle Seahawks. The week opened with the Rams as only 1-point favorites.
Los Angeles is in the unenviable position of playing a divisional opponent on the road and coming off a loss on a short week. This isn't scaring bettors off backing Matthew Stafford and Co.
Seattle is coming off arguably its best performance of the season in a win over the 49ers. The Seahawks will also have the backing of their home crowd in a prime-time spot.
Los Angeles has seen all four of its games go over the total. The total for Thursday night is up to 54.5 points after opening at 53.5. This game definitely has potential to be a shootout.
The second-best game of the weekend
The Chiefs-Bills game will receive all of the love as the best game of the weekend, but there's another AFC matchup that I am personally very excited to see. The Cleveland Browns head to California to face the Los Angeles Chargers in what should be a tremendous game.
After opening as a 1-point favorite, the Chargers are currently 2.5-point favorites at home over the Browns. The total for the game has dropped three points. After opening at 49.5 points, the current total is down to 46.5 points.
I think the line movement is due to two factors. We saw the Chargers on Monday night and they were impressive on both sides of the football while handing the Raiders their first loss of the season. On the other side, there's concern over the health of Baker Mayfield. Mayfield was banged up in Week 2 after making a tackle against the Texans, and his play over the past two weeks has been subpar. He played one of the worst games of his career in the Browns' win over the Vikings in Week 4.
Entering the season, there was a lot of hype about the Browns defense and now we're seeing why. Over the last two and a half games, the Browns have conceded just 20 points. Justin Herbert poses their stiffest challenge to date, but this defense has been electric. On the other side, all four Chargers games have gone under the total.
Respect for the New York teams?
The New York Jets and New York Giants are both coming off their first wins of the season. In Week 5, early indications are that the market is giving respect to both teams.
The Jets will travel to London, where they are currently 3-point underdogs against the Atlanta Falcons. The line opened with the Jets getting 4-points, but that number is long gone.
The Giants opened as 7.5-point underdogs against the Dallas Cowboys, but the number has slightly moved in their favorite. Currently, the line is a flat 7, so your opportunity to get the hook is gone.
Not only are the Jets and Giants getting support, but it seems like there might be some respect for their quarterbacks as well. The total for Falcons-Jets opened at 43.5 points, but it's now up to 46 points. The total for Cowboys-Giants currently sits at 52 after opening at 49.5 points.
Daniel Jones has been very good for the Giants this season in an under-the-radar type of way, while Zach Wilson flashed last week, showing why he was the second overall pick in the draft. Maybe both quarterbacks continue to grow and their teams improve along with them.
Other notable movement
Detroit-Minnesota: The Vikings are now 9-point favorites after opening as 7.5-point favorites. This might be a form of protection against teasers for oddsmakers.
Philadelphia-Carolina: The total has dropped to 45 after opening at 46.5. Both Sam Darnold and Jalen Hurts have been relatively impressive to open the season, but the Carolina defense has also been a story.