Week 5 BALLER Model: Best Bets to Cover the Spread (Fantasy Football)

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This article series covers BALLER*a machine-learning betting model that predicts which team will cover the spread in each NFL game.

Through four weeks, it has gone 18/34 (52.9%) on its selected ‘Best Picks’ (‘Best Picks’ are determined through a combination of model confidence and outside football intuition).

This is not an official Fantasy Footballers betting model* but hopefully a useful tool to make your decisions for fantasy and leans on certain spreads and who could cover. For the full array of betting material, find season-long and weekly props in the DFS Pass and tune in every week to the DFS & Betting Podcast.

In this article, I will break down the model’s best picks for Week 5 (eight games) — let’s dive in!

Week 5 BALLER’s Best Bets

Keep in mind a couple of key points with this model:

  • It is still using data from last season to predict these games — it will be better adjusted to each team with more data from the 2023 season.
  • It focuses on the spread of the home team.
  • It is applied primarily on which team can cover the spread, NOT “use this xSpread” the model spits out.

Carolina Panthers (+10.0):

The BALLER model only puts the Lions as 1.7-point favorites. As the biggest difference of the week, Carolina to cover looks like a strong bet.

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Houston Texans (+1.5):

C.J. Stroud and the Texans’ offense have been ROCKING, averaging over 350 yards per game in their last five. Coming into Atlanta hot against a struggling Falcons team offers them a prime opportunity to cover the spread.

Baltimore Ravens (-4.5):

The Ravens are racking up nearly 100 more yards per game than the Steelers. The 4.5-point spread shouldn’t be much for them to cover against a team that has looked lost offensively to start the year.

Tennessee Titans (-2.5):

Indianapolis has averaged -11 total EPA (expected points added) in their last five matchups. While they’ve shown flashes of greatness, the veteran-filled Titans should have no problem covering the spread.

New York Jets (+2.5):

The BALLER model has been high on the Jets all season–this could be the week that it pays off. The Broncos have averaged two turnovers in their last five games, giving the incredible Jets defense a chance to capitalize and take the pressure off Zach Wilson, who looks…good now?

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Las Vegas Raiders (-1.0):

The Raiders have lost three straight, but still average 5 EPA per game–with what seems to be a regressing Jordan Love, this -1.0-point spread looks great.

Buffalo Bills (-5.5):

The Bills have absolutely dominant since their Week 1 loss to the Jets. Averaging 31 points and three takeaways in their last five games, it is unlikely the Jags can keep up enough to cover the spread.

Arizona Cardinals(+3.0):

The Cardinals face an anemic Bengals offense in Week 5, with a chance to seemingly end their playoff hopes once and for all. Arizona has averaged 2 EPA per game this season to the Bengals -4. Look for the Cardinals to take advantage of this 3-point spread!


Sven Venema says:

@analytacist Exciting work! Is there a link available to a (github) repo? Would love to dive into the technicalities

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