NFL Week 4 Betting Previews and Picks
It’s Week 4 in the NFL, which means that we’re approaching the quarter-point of the season. So far, it’s been a wild ride. The first month has been very topsy-turvy and the NFL’s official Facebook page described it best with a Monday status update:
“Miami and Kansas City are undefeated. Minnesota and Washington are 0-3. And the Jets have a better record than SF. Just like everyone predicted.”
Speaking of predictions, here’s a look at ours for Week 4:
Baltimore Ravens @ Buffalo Bills
Game Line: Ravens -3.5, 44 O/U
The Ravens continue to get little respect on the NFL odds. One week after being an NFL point spread home dog to the Houston Texans, who the Ravens proceeded to pummel 30-9, Baltimore is now a miniscule road favorite over the Buffalo Bills, who have looked fairly weak this season.
Although the Ravens defense was throttled for 49 points in Week 1, they’ve now gone back-to-back games without allowing a touchdown. They’ll make life miserable for Bills rookie quarterback EJ Manuel.
Free Pick: Take the Ravens -3.5 and under. Ravens 27-14.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns
Game Line: Bengals -5, 41.5 O/U
The Browns are literally trying to give games away. Last week, they tried to throw up the white flag by trading their best offensive player and starting a third string quarterback. This week has started with trade rumors for receiver Josh Gordon, who had a breakout game in Week 3 (10 receptions, 146 yards), and conjecture that the Browns are genuinely trying to throw in the towel.
Cincinnati’s defense won’t be as giving as the Minnesota Vikings was last week. Those who bet on the NFL should see the Browns come back to Earth. The Bengals will win and cover on the NFL lines.
Free Pick: Take the Bengals -5 and the under. Bengals 20-3.
New York Jets @ Tennessee Titans
Game Line: Titans -5, 38.5 O/U
Maybe it’s time to start having faith in the New York Jets. If they can clean up a few mistakes (read: 20 penalties, 168 yards in Week 3), they might just be a fringe playoff contender.
Quarterback Geno Smith has looked fearless so far and while he’s still played like a rookie at times, he’s also given the Jets passing game a spark. Why I like them on the road in this spot is because the Jets defense has been excellent against the run (6th in yards-per-carry allowed) and the Titans tend to struggle when they can’t get their ground game going. The Titans will have a tough time covering five points if explosive runner Chris Johnson is bottled up.
Free Pick: Take the Jets +5 and the over. Titans 23-20.
Dallas Cowboys @ San Diego Chargers
Game Line: Cowboys -2, 45 O/U
The Chargers are a few plays away from being 3-0 but the reality is a bit harsher. They are just 1-2. Now they have to host a confident Cowboys team in Week 4 and likely won’t be at full strength. The Chargers played without five starters last week and could be without more this week. Most notably, wide receiver Malcom Floyd is out with a neck injury and it’s really hampering the Chargers downfield passing game.
Look for the Cowboys to pound away on the ground and rely on DeMarco Murray to guide the way for a road win.
Free Pick: Take the Cowboys -2 and the under. Cowboys 23-16.
New England Patriots @ Atlanta Falcons
Game Line: Patriots -1, 49 O/U
The Patriots are a 1-point road favorite on the NFL betting odds but I’m not sure they’re worth the price. They’ve beaten three mediocre teams in my eyes (Buffalo Bills, New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and they could have easily lost two of those games. The passing game is way down this year as Tom Brady is averaging just 217.7 passing yards per game compared to the 301.6 he averaged last season.
The key here is that the Falcons weakness on defense is their secondary but the Patriots won’t be able to expose that. Take the Falcons to get the job done and even up their record.
Free Pick: Take the Falcons +1 and the under. Falcons 24-17.
Home Dog with the Best Chance to Win is…
The St. Louis Rams. The 49ers were the preseason NFC favorite and a lot of people handing out NFL betting tips picked them to win the Super Bowl. However, this team is nowhere close to that right now. Colin Kaepernick has just 277 passing yards and four interceptions in his last two games (offense has scored 10 points), the running game is nowhere to be found, the run defense has allowed a league-worst six rushing touchdowns (after giving up just seven all of last season) and injuries are a big factor. There’s still no Michael Crabtree; Patrick Willis and Vernon Davis are banged up and Aldon Smith is suspended indefinitely. You can’t take four Pro Bowlers off a team and expect the same production.
Many NFL online betting handicappers forget that the Rams gave the 49ers all they could handle last season in two overtime games, winning one meeting and tying the other. That trend will continue into 2013.
Home Dog of the Week: Take the Rams +3.5.
Most Important Injury of the Week is…
Patrick Willis. The latest news is that he’s expected to miss the Thursday night game and with the 49ers defense already slipping, they can ill afford to lose him. Dating back to last season, the 49ers have allowed 173 points in their last six games, which boils down to an average of 28.8 points per game.
As mentioned above, Smith is also out (expected to miss about a month), which leaves the 49ers very thin in the heart of their defense.
7-Point Teaser of the Week: Colts PICK & Bengals-Browns Under 48.5
Alright, we’re rolling with the teasers with connections on back-to-back weeks. Let’s see if we can keep it going.
The first pick is going to be the Colts at a pick. The Jags have been awful this season and it’s not likely to get better in Week 4. The Colts will be challenged here as they are coming off an emotional, impressive win in San Francisco. However, Jacksonville re-inserting Blaine Gabbert back into the starting lineup is a direct bet-against. Take the Colts to win.
The second pick will be the under in the Bengals and Browns affair. The Bengals defense is one of the better units in the NFL and they aren’t going to allow the Browns depleted offense to get much going. However, the Browns unit has also showed some resolve, so this contest figures to be a defensive showdown.