For the first time this season I managed a winning week (marginally) with my overall picks (thank goodness for over/under bets to that point) but much more significantly, I’ve now had three winning weeks in a row on my Best Picks, bringing my winning percentage just shy of .700.
Hopefully you’ve been cashing in along with me with my betting odds preview every week.
Week 4 sees the advent of bye weeks, which is another trend factor to consider. Teams and/or coaches going into or coming off bye weeks may have winning or losing trends that you need to factor in when making your picks. That won’t really factor in this week, but in the coming weeks it most certainly will. This week, there are a number of teams that have gotten off to unexpectedly good starts who now face the challenge of being able to maintain that level of play heading into the fall months. While this results in a nice bundle of intriguing games, there are no top echelon match ups this week, you’ll have to find your winners among what, on the surface, look like a collection of mundane games.
Last Week’s Picks: 10-8 Best: 3-1
Season Totals: 25-28-1 Best: 9-4
Jacksonville (+9.5) @Indianapolis (Pinnacle)
The Colts managed to win (barely) against the Titans last week, but their problems haven’t gone anywhere. They can’t block, their offense has no chemistry, their defense is suspect, and if they didn’t have Andrew Luck, they’d be in danger of going 0-16 this year. Speaking of Luck, he didn’t practice this week, and there are rumors he won’t play at all. Although Jacksonville let me down trying to cover a big spread last week, that was against the Patriots. This is against a Colts team that has the added disadvantage of a short turnaround week since they play Thursday at Houston. I’m certain the Jags can handle this challenge.
Indianapolis Colts 28, Jacksonville Jaguars 21
Dallas (+4) @New Orleans (CG Technology)
While My Top Sportsbooks has the Cowboys favorite as a straight-up pick, I’m more than happy to get points with Dallas right now. New Orleans is nothing like what they’ve been in the past. They’re offense has been feckless, even with Drew Brees. They have no home field advantage right now. Tampa Bay came into their building and beat them. And the Cowboys looked quite good with Brandon Weeden at quarterback last week. Dallas is going to win this game, and the four points are a nice insurance policy.
Dallas Cowboys 30, New Orleans Saints 24
Houston (+7) @Atlanta (MGM Mirage)
The Falcons have won twice by coming from behind. The other time they only managed to win by 2 points. I like Atlanta at home, but I’m not anxious to give a touchdown to a Houston team that tends to keep games close.
Atlanta Falcons 23, Houston Texans 17
NY Giants (+5.5) @Buffalo (MGM Mirage)
There’s a trend here I think is worth following. The Bills are very poor against the spread following their games against the Dolphins. They cover just 20% of the time. There are a handful of these after-the-division game trends around the NFL and they tend to be pretty reliable. I think the Bills are good enough to win this game at home, but I think the Giants can cover a number that shouldn’t be this big.
Buffalo Bills 27, New York Giants 23
Oakland (-3) @Chicago (Westgate Superbook)
The Bears have quit. Their game plan last week was “don’t turn it over, it doesn’t matter if you don’t score or even move the ball at all.” Then they traded Jared Allen this week. The Bears are falling apart right in front of everyone’s eyes and they’re even doing it on purpose. The Raiders aren’t a great team, but they won last week at Cleveland, they can certainly win at Chicago.
Oakland Raiders 28, Chicago Bears 24
Philadelphia (-3) @Washington (Westgate Superbook)
I think the RacialSlurs are another team that had people momentarily fooled with their good performance against St. Louis. This is not a good team, and while I have been preaching that the Eagles are badly overrated this season, the Eagles are good enough to beat bad teams like the Jets last week and Washington this week.
Philadelphia Eagles 28, Washington RacialSlurs 24
Kansas City (+3.5) @Cincinnati (CG Technology)
Stay away from this one. Cincinnati has a substantial home field advantage. They’re one of the best home team in the NFL. But this is a sandwich game for the Bengals. They had division rival Baltimore last week and have the mighty Seahawks next week. Kansas City, meanwhile, is another team that is decent but has their backs against the wall following a bad start. At the end of the day, I’m not going against a Bengals team that is playing really good football and gets to play this one at home.
Cincinnati Bengals 24, Kansas City Chiefs 20
Green Bay (-8) @San Francisco (Westgate Superbook)
No matter how big this spread is, there are only two plays here. Take red hot Green Bay and give the points to a 49ers team that has looked as bad as any team in the entire league save Chicago, or don’t play the game at all. Green Bay is as good as advertised, but I do think the 49ers will rebound a bit at some point. It’s hard to believe they are THIS bad. But heading into this week, they are THIS bad and that spells trouble against a Packers team that is flying high.
Green Bay Packers 35, San Francisco 49ers 24
Minnesota (+7) @Denver (Westgate Superbook)
I certainly understand why Denver is a favorite here, but I’m not sure why the spread is all the way up at 7. The Vikings have looked very impressive to me, and this might, quite frankly, turn out to be the game of the week. These are two good teams. I like the Broncos by the standard home field 3 or maybe a point more, but seven? No way.
Denver Broncos 28, Minnesota Vikings 24
St. Louis (+7) @Arizona (Westgate Superbook)
Similar to the Green Bay game, you have only two choices here. Take the Cardinals or stay away. Even though I think this spread is quite high for a Rams team that is a divisional rival and plays good defense, the Cardinals have been playing out of their minds. You can’t bet against them until they cool off. Think of it this way, they’ve actually played better football than New England so far. I’d probably leave this game alone, but if you’re taking a side, it’s Arizona.
Arizona Cardinals 26, St. Louis Rams 17
Detroit (+10) @Seattle (Westgate Superbook)
It’s hard to imagine that a team with as much talent as Detroit is playing so badly, but they are. And they’re not going to suddenly get better playing a rejuvenated Seahawks team with a bloody-murder defense and possibly the biggest home field advantage in the NFL. Even at 10 points, I’m taking the home squad.
Seattle Seahawks 27, Detroit Lions 14
NY Jets (-2) @Miami (William Hill)
The Dolphins are a home team in name only here as the game is going to be played in London. Still, I am dumbfounded to see New York giving points on a neutral field. Personally, I think the paint is peeling off the Jets. They’re not cellar dwellers, but they’re still average at best, with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback. The Dolphins meanwhile have underachieved so far and need this game if they want to have any chance of being a playoff contender this season.
Miami Dolphins 20, New York Jets 17
Carolina (-3) @Tampa Bay (Westgate Superbook)
I’m amazed to see the Panthers just a field goal favorite against a wildly uneven Tampa Bay team. This is the same team that lost by 9 to a far less capable Houston team last week. Carolina is getting no respect despite their 3-0 start. That’s fine. Let them keep flying under the radar like this. I may take them every week.
Carolina Panthers 24, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14
Cleveland (+9) @San Diego (5Dimes)
San Diego has more than half of their offensive line sitting out this game with injuries. If there is one thing you need to win in the NFL it is decent o-line play. The world’s greatest skill players can’t do diddly squat if no one blocks for them. Accordingly, I’m taking Cleveland and the very generous spread of points in this game. The Chargers are clearly the better team, but without an offensive line, the Chargers’ offense is going to be in trouble against a Cleveland team that does play well on the defensive side of the ball.
San Diego Chargers 22, Cleveland Browns 17