The Backdoor Cover - Week 4 NFL Picks
By: Josh Gamble
*All lines accurate as of Thursday morning*
Normally, I would be ecstatic about going 4-1 in last week’s five picks but I can’t help but feel a little disappointment. Don’t get me wrong, I am certainly happy with last week’s outcome; however, the Titans loss sticks out to me. The likely cause is that I felt it was the best bet last week (hence the 2 units). Sometimes the correct bet loses and we still ended the week up roughly 2 units. Enough with focusing on the past, let’s look to find some opportunities to make some money in this week’s slate.
Broncos @ Jets (-1) – Over/Under 41
The Jets are a brutal football team. The only team that may be worse is the Giants. The Jets are so bad that Vegas only has them as a 1-point favorite at home to a team that is starting their third string quarterback. Personally, I don’t think the Jets are quite that bad and the Broncos generally don’t play as well on the road as they do in Denver. I do see some value in taking the Jets to cover the one point or moneyline to win (-120). The total has also remained flat since the open so there may be an opportunity as it is on the extreme low end. Too many questions on Denver’s offense with a young quarterback for me to bet the total.
Colts (-2) @ Bears – Over/Under 43
It will be interesting to see what the Bears offense will look like for a full game with Nick Foles as their quarterback. They seemed to be rejuvenated last week after the benching of Mitchell Trubisky. The Colts have looked good the past couple of weeks; however, one of those was against the Jets and the other against the Vikings that visibly struggled to start the season. This should be one of the closer games this week and I do see some value in the Bears moneyline at +120. If you don’t feel comfortable on the moneyline, I would take the points. It’s hard to bet against an undefeated team at home that just made a switch at quarterback that should make their team better.
Saints (-4) @ Lions – Over/Under 54
The Lions are coming off a big road win against the Cardinals. That being said, the inconsistency of the Lions this year makes them a tough bet each week. (Other than our nice moneyline hit last week!) The Saints need to hope that Michael Thomas is ready to play so they can rely on someone other than Alvin Kamara. I do not see a ton of value in the spread on either side of this game. The only bet that is possibly intriguing is the total. I know that 54 is a lot points, but the total has actually dropped 2 points since its open. I won’t be taking the over, but the point decrease certain makes it a value play to consider.
Cardinals (-3.5) @ Panthers – Over/Under 51.5
The public likes the Cardinals in this game and the sharps like the Panthers. 3.5 is always a tough line for me to bet on either side. If we get any movement down below a field goal based on the amount of cash coming in on the Panthers, then I would snatch that up. As of right now, the spread and the total both look unplayable to me.
Jaguars @ Bengals (-3) – Over/Under 49.5
This game has been teetering back and forth between a field goal (current line) and 3.5. I just do not see a whole lot of value on either side with the line as it sits. The Jaguars came crashing back down to Earth last week. Without more data, it is hard to know if last week is more indicative of Minshew and the Jaguars than the previous 2. Joe Burrow has been impressive but he is still a rookie with a bad offensive line. I would stay away from this game completely.
Browns @ Cowboys (-4.5) – Over/ Under 56
The Cowboys, the trendy preseason pick to win the Super Bowl, have not looked great to start the season. On the flip side, the Browns are not an overly impressive team either. Stay away.
Photo courtesy of startribune.com
Vikings @ Texans (-4.5) – Over/Under 54.5
It’s not often that you get this exciting of a matchup between two teams that do not have a win through three weeks. There is a pretty even split on cash and tickets on each of these teams. I think both teams are better than a winless one. The Vikings offense started to click last week and began to look like the team everyone expected to start the season. Over 54.5 is the second highest total this week but has done nothing to deter bettors. It does not deter me either. Stay away from the spread, take the over, and root for points from both sides.
Seahawks (-6.5) @ Dolphins – Over/Under 54
The Dolphins are one of the hardest teams to figure out on a week to week basis. Generally, 6.5 points are lot to lay to the home team. Regardless, cash and tickets are skewed greatly toward the Seahawks. Personally, this is not a game that I would put my money on. Too many questions and too many points to give to the home team.
Chargers @ Buccaneers (-7) – Over/Under 42.5
Everyone likes to talk about Tom Brady and the Bucs offense, but the defense has been one of the stoutest in the league thus far. Adding to that, they likely get to face a backup quarterback for the second week in a row. The majority of the money has been on the Bucs and has caused the line to move from 6 to 7. This is hovering right around the line where there could be opportunities on both sides. If the line stay at 7, I do not see a whole lot of value. While not likely at this point, if it drops below the 7-point threshold, there could be some value in betting the Buccaneers. I do think that the Bucs will cover; however, not one of the games that I would recommend to bet.
Photo courtesy of nytimes.com
Ravens (-13) @ Football Team – Over/Under 45
This is one of two double digit point spreads this weekend. Normally, I would tell people to stay away from anything in the double digits but I do like the Ravens in this one. The betting public clearly does as well. The Ravens have gotten over 90% of both the cash and the tickets so far this week. You would have to think that the Ravens are bothered by the loss they took last week against the Chiefs and would be ready to come out guns blazing. The Redskins defense is average at best and Dwayne Haskins has a difficult time not giving the ball to the other team. Lay the points and take the Ravens.
Giants @ Rams (-13) – Over/Under 48
This game opened at 9 and has skyrocketed to 13 in a few days based on massive amounts of cash on the Rams and rightfully so. The Giants have been arguably the worst team in the league through 3 weeks. As I said previously, it is really tough to get behind numbers that are this big. In this situation, I think there is an argument to do so. The Rams’ offense is clicking and I just do not see the Giants offense coming close to keeping pace. My pick in this game is the Rams to cover.
Patriots @ Chiefs (-7) – Over/Under 52.5
This is an intriguing matchup between two playoff caliber teams. Betting aside, I am interested to see what happens in this game. I think this will be another test for the Patriots to see if they are a legitimate contender or not this season. Bettors have been hammering the Patriots in this game and it is hard to argue against them. Laying a touchdown to any team coached by Bill Belichick seems foolish. I would expect this line to eventually migrate down below the touchdown mark by the time this game kicks off. Call it the Belichick factor but take the Patriots and the points while it is still at 7.
Bills (-3) @ Raiders – Over/Under 53
Josh Allen and the Bills’ offense is appearing more and more legit as each week passes. The Raiders have shown flashes of looking good and then falling flat elsewhere. Three-quarters of the cash are on the Bills to cover while there is a slight edge in tickets to the Raiders. Both cash and tickets are heavily on the over 53. If there was a bet to be made in this game, I would lean towards taking the over as opposed to betting the spread. With that said, this is a game I am choosing to keep my money in my pocket.
Eagles @ 49ers (-7) – Over/Under 46
The Eagles are a bad football team right now. They have certainly not been helped by the mounting injuries on the offensive side of the ball. There is a lot of blame being thrown around in Philadelphia right now and rightfully so. Jimmy Garoppolo has not been officially ruled out. Nick Mullens looked impressive last week, but he was playing against the Giants so take that for what it is worth. I just see too many questions for both teams to have any confidence in either side. The line has moved in favor of the 49ers by a few points already. If it moves any more and gets to the 7.5 mark, think about taking the Eagles and the points. Otherwise, I would stay away from this game.
Photo courtesy of sports.yahoo.com
Falcons @ Packers (-7.5) – Over/ Under 56.5
At one point this week, the total had ballooned up to an insane 58 points. It has come back down to Earth a little and resting at 56.5 currently. The high point total has not really deterred bettors much from taking the over. The high point total does not scare me either. And what is more fun than rooting for a bunch of points on Monday night? The Falcons cannot seem to win a game to save their lives, but they are still putting up points. The Packers appear to be unstoppable offensively at the moment. Take the over and watch the fireworks.
Bears moneyline +120
Vikings/Texans over 54.5
Falcons/Packers over 56.5