Beating the Spread: Week 4 Picks

Our Week 4 Beat the Spread column is ready to go for your consideration as you put in your weekly bets!

We officially have our first disruption of the NFL season due to COVID-19. The Titans and Steelers game will be postponed until later in the year as the Titans try to contain an outbreak on their team. This is a good reminder that we’re still living in the midst of a pandemic and that there are things more important than sports. Hopefully, all of the Titans players and personnel will recover quickly and they can get back to squeaking out close victories. We hope all of you are taking care of your health as well.

As for the betting results last week, we barely stayed above .500 as a group with Erik and I reaching 3-2 and Bryan learning how the other half lives with a 2-3 record. As we enter October, Bryan has the lead but is only up two games on Erik. It’s still way too early to call this one.

Special note here, we run the column on Friday but we send out lines Tuesday and while we don’t normally include Thursday games in the column, Bryan sent us a public notice that he wanted the under in the Jets-Broncos game. With a final score of 37-28, he is certainly cursing the big play touchdowns from Thursday night. All other lines are from Sunday and Monday games, per usual.

 

The following lines were captured on Tuesday. Betting lines can vary by site and move throughout the week so check yours to make sure that you have similar information.

Week 4 Betting Lines
Away Home Line O/U
Broncos Jets Broncos -2.5 41
Colts Bears Colts -2.5 45
Saints Lions Saints -4 54
Cardinals Panthers Cardinals -3.5 52.5
Jaguars Bengals Bengals -3 48
Browns Cowboys Cowboys -4.5 55.5
Vikings Texans Texans -3.5 54
Seahawks Dolphins Seahawks -6.5 54.5
Chargers Bucs Bucs -7.5 45
Steelers Titans PPD
Ravens Washington Ravens -13 47
Giants Rams Rams -13 47.5
Patriots Chiefs Chiefs -7 54
Bills Raiders Bills -3 52
Eagles 49ers 49ers -7 45
Falcons Packers Packers -7 58

 

Staff Picks

 

Analysis:

 

Jeff Berckes: The Saints aren’t as good as I thought they were going to be and a lot of that is the defense isn’t playing well. The Lions, despite their record, have a good offense. With Matthew Stafford getting Kenny G back in the lineup and the possibility of a Michael Thomas return for the Saints, I think this one has the potential for fireworks. Saints-Lions Over 54

I’m a slow learner but I still like the Cardinals. Coming off a tough loss against the Lions last week depresses this line against another cat team, the Panthers, this week. But the Lions aren’t as bad as we want to think they might be and the Panthers are in a full rebuild mode. I think Kyler Murray rights the ship this week and picks up a road victory. Cardinals -3.5

I don’t believe in the Raiders but I sure am starting to believe there’s something special about the Buffalo Bills this year. Josh Allen is playing as well as any QB in the league right now and I love their defense against Derek Carr. Sometimes, it’s as simple as riding the hot hand until it cools off. Bills -3

What, you think you’re going to scare me away from taking the Ravens against the Washington Football Team with a line of -13? Angry, coming off a big loss against the Chiefs? Against Dwayne Haskins? Please. This is a perfect bounce-back opponent for the Ravens. Haskins is playing like the worst QB in the league right now. I don’t think the nearly 2-TD spread should be an issue. Ravens -13

I watched Nick Foles throw 5 TD passes (3 that ultimately counted, 2 overturned) in less than a half of football against the Atlanta Falcons. I then heard that their best CB was put onto IR. I then looked at their next opponent, saw it was the Green Bay Packers, and immediately hit the over button. It’s a HUGE number (58) but Aaron Rodgers is playing like a fire-breathing dragon right now and Matt Ryan can still move the ball. I expect GB to get into the 40s and the Falcons to at least get into the upper 20s. Falcons/Packers Over 58

 

Erik Smith: I’m taking a bunch of underdogs this week where I think the lines are way too high, and the first is in the matchup between the Bucs and the Chargers. Tampa Bay enters Week 4 with the 14th ranked offense by points scored, but have produced the sixth-fewest total yards on the season. With the 8th-worst yards per attempt on the ground and the 13th-worst through the air, this offense hasn’t found its identity yet and could be without both Chris Godwin and Leonard Fournette. I respect both of these defenses, so I could take the under, but Vegas always seems to be a step ahead of me on the point totals. Chargers +7.5

I think this Bengals versus Jaguars matchup is a close one, and either team can win. I don’t really see much value in the three-point home-field advantage, even with the Bengals allowing 6,000 fans at this home game. While I like Joe Burrow better in the long run, Gardner Minshew II can certainly hang with him at this stage in their respective careers. I feel like I’m getting a free three points here in a game that I see as a toss-up. Jacksonville +3

I keep betting the Bills and they bailed me out last week after blowing a big lead, so I’ll stick with them again in Week 4. This Raiders offense loses a lot of explosiveness without rookie receivers Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards on the field, setting them back to the short passing attack that we watched all of last year. Buffalo can focus on Darren Waller and Josh Jacobs, and their offense can both play with a lead and come from behind. I expect the Bills to put the Raiders away by the fourth quarter and hold the lead this time. Buffalo -3

I know the Chiefs just looked completely unstoppable on Monday Night Football against the Ravens, but are we really giving Bill Belichick seven points? I’m not, especially with Cam Newton, who showed that he can compete in a shootout in Seattle already. The Patriots are getting more weapons back in the running game, with James White and Damien Harris set to return, and maybe the Chiefs are due a bit of a down game after playing at their best last week. Patriots +7

Here’s another line that I think is too high, as the football community just spent a week burying the Eagles after an admittedly pathetic tie against the Bengals last week. Meanwhile, the injury-depleted 49ers got to beat up on the equally depleted Giants and Jets over the last two weeks. Seven points are just too many for me here, as I think Philadelphia can keep this close even if they ultimately lose in the end. The Eagles need this one more, and although that doesn’t always have an effect on the play, I’ve got a hunch it does here. Eagles +7

 

Bryan Sweet: During the Monday Night Game, I sent Jeff a message something along the lines of, “If the Jets-Broncos line is anything higher than 37 I’m taking the under.”  Well, the line opened at 41 and was quickly bet down to 40.  The Jets have scored 17, 13, and 7 points so far while the Broncos have mustered 14, 21, and 10.  My initial thought was a final score something along the lines of 24-13 or 27-10 and that may be generous for either team.  Jets/Broncos Under 40

The Detroit Lions have held a lead at some point in each of their last five games and have built double-digit leads in four.  Ironically, the only game they won of those five, last week against Arizona, was the only one in which they didn’t hold a double-digit lead.  New Orleans is allowing an average of  31 points per game and has been content taking the short throws instead of attacking down the field.  I think the Saints get a much-needed win but Detroit keeps it close. Lions +4

Last week I thought the Bills had some poor wins and the Rams would be able to keep the game close it not win it outright.  Well, for 3+ quarters I was wrong about the Bills and they looked like legitimate contenders in the AFC.  The Raiders are banged up coming into this game and I don’t think they are as good as the Rams.  The Raiders surprised a lot of people in the way they handled the Saints opening Allegiant Stadium but the Bills ruin game number two.  Bills -3

It can be argued the 49ers have been blessed with their opening schedule given the injuries that decimated their roster as they’ve drawn arguably the two worst teams in the league the last two weeks in the Jets and the Giants.  Some might argue the Eagles belong in the conversation as they lost handily to a bad Washington team and struggled to a tie against the Bengals.  Kyle Shanahan has shown he can coach a solid offensive output regardless of the injuries and they are starting to get healthier.  49ers -7

Is anybody having more fun this season than Ryan Fitzpatrick?  Dude is nearing his 38th birthday, is on his eighth NFL team, and is keeping an undermanned Dolphins team in games so far this season.  His challenge this week?  Keeping pace with the frontrunner in the NFL MVP race in Russell Wilson.  This is a LONG trip for Seattle and their defense has been shaky throughout the team’s first three games.  Fitz-Magic might not lead his team to victory, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a chance at the end.  Dolphins +6.5


 

What are your favorite picks of the week? Put in your comments below to play along. We’ll be updating our records all season!

 

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

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