NFLbets’ week 4 picks: Going against the Giants, pushing the AFC South, counting on the Chiefs
Now the picture is coalescing in the NFL a little further, and these lines are starting to make more sense. (Well, except for that Jacksonville-Denver ’spread this week…) As such, NFLbets has a few Picks of the Week for your week 4 NFL betting; we’re taking a few chances this time out, but a couple of key gambles (Lions! Bengals!) saved our bacon enough so that we’re still trying to make up for our week 1 foolishness. Here’s what we’re ponying up betting cash for this weekend.
Washington -3 at N.Y. Giants, over/under 49 pts
Washington will be looking to pull off the upset and pick up their first win of the season when they hit the road to take on the division rival New York Giants in one of their two annual regular season meetings in Week 4. The Skins are as healthy as they have ever been all season with the exception of losing Jordan Reed who has yet to play a game due to concussion protocol. He’s only 29 so I do see him back in a couple weeks as that is his intention, he wants to play. The week 3 MNF game vs the Bears was pretty much a throw away game. They lost it in the first half at a 28-3 start and showed life in the 2nd half finishing with a 31-15 loss to the Chicago Bears.
Case Keenum hasn’t been as good as Washington would have liked. He’s a cheaper version of Kurt Cousins and if he doesn’t pick it up he’ll be on the docket for replacement next season. While Washington has gone 5-2 ATS in their last seven road games, they are an uninspiring 1-5 ATS in their last six against their NFC East division rivals and 1-6 ATS in their last seven games against their NFC counterparts.
Conversely to Keenum, the sky is the limit for New York’s Daniel “Danny Dimes” Jones. Although he’s only replaced E. Manning as starter for one game, Jones has lots of upside. Recent history may be taken with a grain of salt, as Jones is but 1-0 SU/ATS, but the Giants are an 5-2-1 ATS in their last eight games against NFC teams.
The G-Men are feeling good right now: Jones had one hell of a debut against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, building on a strong preseason to lead an 18-point comeback win. Even with Saquon Barkley sidelined during the game, this offense looked better in the second half than it had in quite some time. Jones impressed during the preseason and could be able to move the ball against this subpar unit.
But here’s the thing: Exciting new quarterback or no, these are mostly the same old New York Giants. Jones last week was sacked five times, once leading to a short-field fumble, thanks to a deadly combination of tissue-paper OL and a lack of living WRs. Sterling Shepard may again fleetingly be a fantasy football waiver-wire darling after bagging 7 catches for 100 yards and a TD, but NFLbets is here to make money and gives precisely zero fucks about fantasy.
O, and you may have heard: The Giants will be playing without Barkley for 4-6 weeks with his ankle injury.
On the defensive side of the ball? Well, last week, the Giants D gave up 31 points and allowed Jameis F. Winston to complete consecutive passes of a combined 64 yards to set up a field goal attempt most NFL kickers would have converted. And New York produced just one turnover out of the Buccaneers, last season’s “leader” in the statistical category.
Another question is how well Washington can contain TE Evan Engram – or how much they’ll need to after a statistically fluky 75-yard TD reception. Rookie QBs tend to lean on the tight end as a safety valve (particularly on teams with gaunt receiver corps and the Giants like we said), and Engram may now become a key weapon in the Barkley-less offense. Through three games, Washington ranks 12th and 14th in receptions and yardage allowed, respectively, to TEs.
In the final analysis, we’re not so much betting *on* one side or the other as against the New York Giants, who have still well too shaky a roster to trust, and for certain regressions to the mean. We’re saying take Washington +3 at the New York Giants. Additionally, precisely because these two teams are both bottom-3 in points allowed – guess who’s the third – we’re advising NFL bettors to take the under on an O/U of 49 points.
Indianapolis Colts -7 at Oakland Raiders
The best reason to bet this game? Jon Gruden’s Raiders are involved. But you knew that.
Um, OK. The *second-* best reason to bet this game: because just one AFC South team is playing. The South’s four teams are an early-but-impressive 4-1-1 ATS combined against all others. With Jacoby Brissett getting Frank Reich’s offense going in Indianapolis and the Jacksonville Jaguars rallying behind the wonderful Garnder Minshew II, this division has once again morphed into a round-robin eliminator pool.
The Houston Texans, for example, could easily finish first or third in the South, with a playoff home game or no postseason at all. And either outcome would seem justifiable: On the one hand, DeShaun Watson-to-DeAndre Hopkins could well be the NFL’s best QB-WR hookup in 2019; on the other hand, rarely does a team in among the bottom 5 in pass protection see much success late in the season.
Similar narratives may be constructed for the Jaguars and Colts. As for the Tennessee Titans, wellllll, they always, likesay, keep things competitive.
So until further notice, NFLbets is staying away from intra-divisional AFC South games and taking long hard looks at these teams’ other games – particularly against the Raiders, Dolphins and that ilk. This may not be much in the way of deep analysis, but how much more do you need? Oakland/Las Vegas is a bottom-5 team in offensive yards and points scored and bottom-10 in yards allowed and points surrendered. Come on, now… Take the Indianapolis Colts -7 at Oakland.
Carolina at Houston, Jacksonville at Denver
NFLbets will also double-down (or maybe that should be “triple-down”) on the AFC South this week and take the Houston Texans -4½ vs Carolina and most definitely take the Jacksonville Jaguars +3 at Denver – yes, we know all about the homefield and time zone advantages of Denver, but have you seen that offense? Going under-38 would also be pretty damn tempting if we weren’t afraid of multiple pick-sixes from Joe Flacco.
Detroit Lions +7 at Kansas City Chiefs, over/under 55 points
From Monday to Friday, this spread has slowly progressed from Lions -5½ and with good reason. This is one of those lines that can wrap your optic nerves in knots from staring. Why set the line so relatively low, only to encourage lots of money on Kansas City? Seriously, what nonpartisan NFL bettor is backing the Lions here?
Just on a mundane level, the Chiefs are currently on a run of 22 consecutive Patrick Mahomes starts – every one of his NFL career, to be blunt – in which the team scored *at least* 26 points. (Of course, they’ve surrendered an average of 25.4 points per game in those 22; we’ll get back to this.) Meanwhile, in Matt Patricia’s tenure as head coach, the Lions have topped 27 in just three of 19 games. In 2018, Detroit was 2-4 ATS (1-5 SU) versus playoff teams, including losses in the last four such games by an average differential of 11.75 points.
Whether or not the 2019 Philadelphia Eagles are a playoff team remains a matter of conjecture (NFLbets’ guess: probably not), but we surely all agree the 2019 Chiefs sure look like one. The conclusion is obvious: Take the Kansas City Chiefs -7 vs Detroit.
As for that over/under – Finally, we’ll make a fun recommendation! At 55 points, that’s a projected final score of 31-24. The Lions, even under Patricia, can occasionally punch their weight on offense, and the Chiefs’ point-a-minute offense is matched only by its point-a-minute-allowed defense. Matthew Stafford can still throw deep, and he will early and often against an accessible secondary. Take the over on an O/U of 55 points.
NFLbets’ Picks of the Week last week: 3-3.
NFLbets’ Picks of the Week this season: 4-5.