LAS VEGAS -- One of the biggest criticisms of any sports poll/ranking is that it's posted too early, before anyone knows how good or bad the current teams are. For instance, most NFL rankings out there had the Green Bay Packers as the top team heading into Week 1. They promptly lost their opener. That put the New England Patriots into the top spot, before they lost in Week 2. And then the widely anointed San Francisco 49ers lost in Week 3.
When we launched the Vegas NFL Bettor's Poll last week, we tried to avoid that by having at least three games under every team's belt.
So far, so good, as our three top teams -- the Houston Texans, Patriots and 49ers -- justified our love over the weekend with dominating performances. They were upgraded by half a point in this week's power ratings, but the biggest improvement ended up being from the Washington Redskins after their 24-22 upset win at Tampa Bay, with the Minnesota Vikings getting a one-point bump off their 20-13 road win at Detroit.
The biggest drop this week came from the New York Jets, as their stock plummeted two full points after their 34-0 loss to the 49ers, while the Dallas Cowboys also took a 1.5-point dip off their lackluster loss at home to the Chicago Bears on Monday night.
The Bettor's Poll includes the NFL power ratings from handicappers Teddy Sevransky, Sal Selvaggio and yours truly, Dave Tuley. Each of our scales is different, but I converted them all to where the midpoint would be 21. The poll is meant to compare the relative strength of the teams as they're performing right now, and how we'd set a line for the teams meeting on a neutral field. The goal is to compare the numbers and find value against the lines at your disposal.
Remember, there are a variety of factors you should weigh when betting games each week. But we hope that the Bettor's Poll is one tool you'll consult, along with your other systems.
Here is the Week 5 Vegas NFL Bettor's Poll: