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!

Welcome back to another week of Beating the Spread. As always, I’m Jake Roy and I’m joined by Brennan Rampe and Tyler Gentile. We’ll be here every Friday throughout the season, posting our picks along with some analysis.

I took a metaphorical bath in week three, bringing me to a not-so-respectable 5-10 on the season. My work is cut out for me the rest of the way. Brennan had an excellent week, taking him back over 50% at 8-7, while Tyler continues his streak of 3-2 weeks to lead the way at 9-6.

You can play along in the comments or find us on Twitter (@Jake3Roy, @808Paperboi, @phdinnfl). Assuming -110 odds we need about 53% to break even, let’s see if we can hit that magic number for the season and come out with some profit. So, without further ado, here are the lines we’ll be using for Week 3!

 

Week 3 Betting Lines
Away Home Line O/U
Vikings Saints Vikings -3.0 43.5
Bills Ravens Bills -3.5 52.0
Bears Giants Giants -3.0 39.0
Browns Falcons Browns -1.5 50.0
Jaguars Eagles Eagles -6.5 48.0
Chargers Texans Chargers -4.5 44.0
Jets Steelers Steelers -3.5 40.5
Seahawks Lions Lions -4.5 50.0
Titans Colts Colts -3.0 42.5
Commanders Cowboys Cowboys -3.0 42.5
Cardinals Panthers Panthers -1.5 42.5
Broncos Raiders Raiders -2.5 45.5
Patriots Packers Packers -10.0 40.5
Chiefs Buccaneers Chiefs -2.0 45.5
Rams 49ers 49ers -2.0 42.0

 

Staff Picks
Jake Roy (@Jake3Roy) Brennan Rampe (@Phdinnfl) Tyler Gentile (@808PaperBoi)
Pick #1 Raiders -2.5 Bills/Ravens over 52.0 Bills/Ravens over 52.0
Pick #2 Cowboys -3.0 Eagles -6.5 Broncos/Raiders under 45.5
Pick #3 Patriots +10.0 Packers -10.0 Cowboys -3.0
Pick #4 Chiefs/Buccaneers under 45.5 Chiefs -2.0 Cardinals +1.5
Pick #5 Buccaneers +2.0 Rams +2.0 Chargers -4.5
Record 5-10 8-7 9-6

 

Analysis

 

Jake Roy

 

One win and four losses last week for yours truly. In a season with less scoring than ever, I can’t even manage to pick under correctly. In gambling, you can only lose if you quit while you’re down or if you run out of money, and because gambling isn’t legal in my state (yet), I’m going to continue to throw darts and see if I can climb out of the hole. None of that is serious advice, don’t chase your losses and seek help if you need it.

I hate the board. I really hate it. I have absolutely no feel for it at all right now, but I’m going to power through. The Raiders haven’t won a game yet this season. They need a win desperately, or their season could be over before it ever got off the ground. Hungry dogs run faster, though, and Derek Carr and company should come out firing at home against a divisional opponent. Josh McDaniels doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence as a head coach, but it’s hard to have a worse start to your coaching career than Nathaniel Hackett. Hackett manages to say and do the exact wrong thing at every turn. It’s a miracle the Broncos have two wins. I’ll take the Raiders to cover the small number and get their first win of the season at home. LV -2.5

The Cowboys don’t really jump off the page as a good team, especially with Cooper Rush at quarterback. The offense is lackluster with the departure of Amari Cooper as well as injuries to Michael Gallup and the offensive line. The defensive line, however, is a bear. Micah Parsons is a game wrecker and moves all over the formation, while Demarcus Lawrence comes off the edge. The Commanders, for some reason, still employ Carson Wentz. What’s worse is that they ask him to play quarterback. He’s already been sacked 15 times this season, and I don’t anticipate Sunday being any more comfortable for him. The Commanders are allowing over 27 points per game this season; if the Cowboys get to 27, they should cover this spread with ease. DAL -3.0

This is a dumb pick. I’ll preface it by saying that I am a Patriots fan, so there may be some bias here. Aside from my bias though, ten points is a ton with these two teams. Yes, the Packers’ offense started to put it together against the Bucs, but they still don’t have a ton of weapons. The Patriots’ defense is solid, despite the Ravens scoring over 30 on Sunday. If they want any chance at winning the game, it will have to be in a low-scoring, grind-it-out game. With Brian Hoyer at quarterback, expect the Patriots to do their best to keep the clock moving and their defense off the field. The Patriots have lost a few games big, but in large part due to turnovers. Hoyer will likely be very conservative and have instructions to take care of the ball. I trust Belichick to cook up a solid game plan and keep this one within a touchdown or so. NE +10.0

Primetime under have been money this season. That’s all there is to this pick. As I said, I don’t have a feel for the board at all right now, so I might as well follow the trend. The Buccaneers’ defense is very solid and has had a few looks at Patrick Mahomes over the past few years. On offense, they’ve struggled to move the ball while they’re missing some of their receiving threats. The Chiefs have shown they can survive without Tyreek Hill, but they don’t have the offensive firepower they once did. The weather may also play a factor with the game staying in Tampa Bay. Hurricane Ian may have passed by game time, but the field will likely be in rough shape. I’ll go with another prime time under on Sunday night football. KC/TB under 45.5

Last pick, based on very little fact. Hurricane Ian is tearing through Florida, donate some money if you can. If you can’t donate, why are you reading this article about gambling picks? Take the money you would bet this week and send it to the Red Cross or something like that. Back to the football – if you are gambling, take the Bucs. Teams rally around their cities; there might not be numbers to back it up, but it’s a fact. The Red Sox won the World Series after the Boston bombing, the Astros won it after Hurricane Harvey, and the Saints won the Super Bowl after Katrina. Tampa Bay getting points when the city needs something to take its mind off the destruction and loss of the hurricane? Automatic bet. TB +2.0

 

Brennan Rampe

 

After a horrible 1-4 performance Week 2, I rebounded and went 4-1 this past week. Hopefully I can keep this up, but this looks like a very challenging week!

The Bills suffered their first loss against their divisional rival Dolphins despite Buffalo dominating time of possession and Josh Allen throwing for 400 yards. They fought until the very end, and they are still a Super Bowl-caliber team. Two clock-management errors also contributed to Buffalo’s defeat. The Ravens won a shootout against the Patriots, with Lamar Jackson throwing four touchdowns and rushing for one. The defense made plays when they had to, but this hasn’t been the dominant defense people were imagining it would be. This is the third time 2018 NFL Draft classmates Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson are going up against each other and both are looking like early MVP candidates. The past two meetings have been rather low-scoring, but I think this game will be a shootout. Inside the Numbers: The Bills and Ravens are both averaging over 30 points a game this season and both squads are dealing with defensive injuries. BUF/BAL over 52.0
The Eagles destroyed their divisional rival Commanders 24-8 and sacked their former quarterback Carson Wentz nine times in the victory. Jalen Hurts has been playing very well this season, and Philadelphia looks like the best team in the NFC East. The Jaguars destroyed the Chargers on the road, but Justin Herbert appeared to have been playing that game hurt, and the Chargers lost several players to injuries during the game. Jacksonville’s other victory was against their divisional rival Colts, but the Colts were without their top two wide receivers. In my opinion, the Jaguars haven’t played any great teams yet. The Eagles are the only undefeated team in the NFC, and I think they will keep it going against their old coach, Doug Pedersen. The Jaguars may hang around in this one, but I think the Eagles will win by a touchdown.  Inside the Numbers: Since 2020, the Eagles are 4-3-1 against the spread as home favorites with an average margin of victory (MOV) of 7.1 points. PHI -6.5
This looks like a very challenging week, but I’m pretty confident about this one. The Packers got the road win against the Buccaneers despite being without Sammy Watkins and Christian Watson. The defense was dominant all game long. Despite giving up a touchdown at the end, they stopped the two-point conversion to win 14-12. The Patriots lost to the Ravens at home in a high-scoring game, but tragedy struck at the very end. Quarterback Mac Jones suffered a high ankle sprain and will be out a while. The Patriots are going to start career backup Brian Hoyer on the road against Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau Field, and I don’t think that’s going to end very well. The Packers have only lost two regular-season games at home under Matt LaFleur, which is an unbelievable statistic. The Packers will most likely win this one in a blowout.  Inside the Numbers: The Packers are 19-9 against the spread as home favorites with an average MOV of 9.9 points. GB -10.0
The Chiefs surprisingly lost to the Colts, but they only have themselves to blame. Rookie wide receiver Skyy Moore muffed a punt that set up an Indianapolis touchdown, and defensive tackle Chris Jones had a key unsportsmanlike conduct penalty late in the game that extended a Colts drive. The Buccaneers lost a defensive battle to the Packers, but they were without their starting left tackle and their top three wide receivers. Mike Evans will be back after his one-game suspension, but it’s unknown if Chris Godwin or Julio Jones will play. Tom Brady hasn’t been looking like his usual self through three games, and it’s the defense that’s been winning games. This defense will face their toughest test yet, and I think the Chiefs are going to bounce back.  Inside the Numbers: The Chiefs are 29-20 as away favorites under Andy Reid with an average MOV of 9 points. KC -2.0
The Rams won a divisional battle on the road against the Cardinals, winning 20-12. It was a defensive game, and the Cardinals never scored a touchdown. The Rams are once again playing a divisional rival on the road, as they are now facing the 49ers. San Francisco also played in a defensive game, losing 11-10 to the Broncos. A couple of injuries are starting to take place for the 49ers. They’re going to be without two of their running backs, Elijah Mitchell and Tyrion Davis-Price, for a while. They are also going to be without left tackle Trent Williams as he suffered a high ankle sprain. The 49ers have won six straight regular-season games against the Rams, but I think that streak will end.  Inside the Numbers: the Rams are 10-4 as away underdogs under Sean McVay with an average MOV 0f 0.9 points. LAR + 2.0

 

Tyler Gentile

 

The best game on the board this week has the highest total as well, but that’s not scaring me away from taking the over here. Led by Lamar Jackson’s incredible play, the Ravens are producing better than anyone on offense and lead the league in yards per play; however, they are also allowing the second most yards per play on defense. If the Patriots and Mac Jones were able to put up 26, then I’d guess Josh Allen and the Bills are scoring 52. Simple math, really. Buffalo has an extensive injury report on the defensive side of things, particularly the secondary, and will be without Tre’davious White and Micah Hyde once again. They had to sign Xavier Rhoades from free agency to get some depth back there. The weather is a bit of concern here, so keep that in mind, but this should be a shootout between two of the best quarterbacks in the game. BUF/BAL over 52.0

Shockingly my Broncos found a win last week. Un-shockingly, the total sailed under once again. The under is 3-0 in Denver games this year with an average of about 27 points per game. Granted, these games have featured some of the weakest offenses in the Seahawks and Texans, but the 49ers are no slouch, typically, and the Raiders’ offense hasn’t been flowing by any means either. They’re averaging 22 points per game, and are 26th in red zone scoring. The Broncos have the best red zone defense in the league and are 5th in defensive DVOA. Quality of opposition has likely contributed to that ranking, but this defense has some legitimate pieces including budding star Patrick Surtain III who should shadow Davante Adams this week. The flaws of the Denver offense are very obvious, and it’s hard to fathom them turning it around just yet on the road. Is Danger-Russ toast? I hope not, but keep fading him and the Broncos until they show anything on offense. DEN/LV under 45.5

I typically avoid divisional matchups as they tend to be very close, but the edge is pretty clear here and it lies in the trenches. Michah Parsons and company might have ten sacks on Sunday facing that Commanders’ offensive line which has allowed the second most sacks (15) so far this season. Here are some geekier stats to back the edge up: the Cowboys are fourth in pass-rush win rate, while Washington is tied for 27th in pass-block win rate. Here is another way to explain why Dallas will cover: the Commanders are terrible. They are 29th in yards per play and 28th in opponent yards per play. Cooper Rush is a competent quarterback, and maybe the Cowboys aren’t out of it just yet. They should win and cover against a divisional opponent once again. DAL -3.0

This is a stinker of a game, but if it’s a toss-up between two ugly defenses, give me the better quarterback in Kyler Murray. One thing that should fluster Baker Mayfield is the consistent blitz-heavy approach defensive coordinator Vance Joseph will bring. The Cardinals have blitzed at the 8th highest clip so far this year (3rd highest last year) and have the best pass-rush win rate% in the early going. Mayfield has looked awful with Carolina so far and has looked particularly bad against the blitz since last year. There are also some rumblings that Christian McCaffrey might not play either. Kyler Murray is leagues better than all of the QBs the Panthers have faced so far, and this looks like a get-right spot for him and the offense. Honestly, this is a much better 6-point teaser look (my favorite teaser leg of the week with this low total too), and probably not worthy of a bet, but this is a tough week, and we’re forced to take 5 for the article, so I’m rolling with Arizona! ARI +1.5

Close your eyes and fade one of the worst teams in the NFL. It’s no secret that the Chargers are banged up, but as long as Justin Herbert plays, and I think he does, then the Chargers should find a win and cover against the Texans despite last week’s drubbing. As poorly as they played, the Jaguars also showcased that they might be a decent side this year. The AFC South is a mess, and the Jags might be a value buy right now at around +225 to win the division. The bottom-feeders of that division are the Texans and they are 32nd in yards per play and are bottom ten in opponent yards per play. Even without Joey Bosa, the Chargers’ defense should still feast against Davis Mills. LAC -4.5

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

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