Seattle Seahawks at New York Jets: 2016 Week 4 NFL Pick

Seattle Seahawks (2-1) at New York Jets (1-2)

I’m torn on this one. The Jets turned the ball over a ridiculous 8 times last week, but still were in the game against Kansas City until late. In fact, they only allowed one offensive touchdown all game. The Seahawks have played well so far this year and enter this game 2nd in rate of moving the chains differential, but the Jets are easily the toughest opponent they’ve faced thus far, after starting the season with Miami, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Their offense has made major problems through 3 games, thanks to a weak offensive line and Russell Wilson being at less than 100% with some injuries. Wilson is still playing hurt and the offensive line is still a mess, but he also has the best receiving corps he’s ever had and, if Christine Michael can continue to run like he did last week, it’s going to go a long way towards keeping this offense on schedule. This line is under 3, so I’d have to be confident they’d win if I took the Jets. I’m not, so I’m taking the Seahawks, but this is a no confidence pick.

Seattle Seahawks 17 New York Jets 13

Pick against the spread: Seattle -2

Confidence: None

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Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers: 2016 Week 4 NFL Pick

Kansas City Chiefs (2-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1)

The Steelers lost last week in Philadelphia 34-3, their biggest loss since 1989. It was also just the 15th time since 2003 that a favorite lost by 31 points or more. Obviously, the Steelers should not have been 4 point road favorites in Philadelphia, but that’s more so because the Eagles have been an underrated team all year, rather than Pittsburgh being a bad team. In fact, Philadelphia +4 was my Pick of the Week last week for that exact reason. The Steelers should be able to bounce back this week against Kansas City, especially with arguably the best running back in the NFL, Le’Veon Bell, returning from suspension this week. In fact, teams are 91-54 ATS off of an ATS loss of 28 or more since 2002. Teams tend to be overlooked, underrated, and embarrassed in that situation.

Unfortunately, this line still reflects that the Steelers should be able to bounce back this week. Despite the big loss, this line only moved from 6 to 5 in the past week. If this line were 4 or fewer, I’d be comfortable putting money on the Steelers, but it’s hard to be confident in them as 5 point favorites, as about 3 in 10 games are decided by 4 points or fewer. Bell is coming back this week, but they’re missing a key starter on both sides of the ball with guard Ramon Foster and linebacker Ryan Shazier expected to be out for this one. They should still be the right side, but this is a low confidence pick.

Pittsburgh Steelers 24 Kansas City Chiefs 17

Pick against the spread: Pittsburgh -5

Confidence: Low

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Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears: 2016 Week 4 NFL Pick

Detroit Lions (1-2) at Chicago Bears (0-3)

Both of these teams enter this one incredibly banged up. While the Lions are missing two of their top three defensive players, linebacker DeAndre Levy and defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, the Bears’ injuries are more numerous. Not only are they missing quarterback Jay Cutler, but they’re also missing top cornerback Kyle Fuller, top pass rusher Pernell McPhee, talented middle linebacker Danny Trevathan, talented nose tackle Eddie Goldman, and valuable reserve LaMarr Houston. Talent wise, they’re one of the few worst teams in the entire league without those guys.

That being said, the Lions might not be justified as 3.5 point road favorites in Chicago without Levy and Ansah. The Lions’ defense is built around those two and top cornerback Darius Slay and looked predictably overmatched without them last week against Green Bay. Chicago obviously doesn’t have the same kind of offensive firepower, but about 1 in 4 games are decided by a field goal or less so I like the Bears’ chances of at least getting a backdoor cover late, especially since the public is all over Detroit. I love fading the public whenever it makes sense, as they always lose money in the long run. This is a no confidence pick though and I might switch sides at 3.

Detroit Lions 27 Chicago Bears 24

Pick against the spread: Chicago +3.5

Confidence: None

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Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons: 2016 Week 4 NFL Pick

Carolina Panthers (1-2) at Atlanta Falcons (2-1)

This line was 4 a week ago on the early line, but has since fallen to 3. That’s significant because about 1 in 6 games are decided by exactly a field goal. The line movement makes some sense, as the Panthers lost at home to the Vikings last week, while the Falcons won in New Orleans. However, the Panthers still moved the chains at a higher rate than the Vikings, something they’ve done against all 3 opponents thus far this season. The Falcons won that battle against the Saints as well, but the Saints are far from a tough opponent this season. I think we’re getting a little bit of line value here with the Panthers.

There’s not enough here to be that confident in Carolina, but, as long as this line is at 3, they should be the right side. There’s a good chance the Panthers win by a field goal and this line pushes, but, as long as all they have to do is win by at least a field goal, I think they should be able to do it. If you’re taking the Falcons here, you’d have to be confident that they have a good shot to win straight up and I’m not. The Falcons are a solid opponent and the Panthers aren’t quite what they were last year, but they’re still one of the top few most talented teams in the league and have a major talent advantage over the Falcons, who once again have one of the worst defenses in the league.

Carolina Panthers 26 Atlanta Falcons 20

Pick against the spread: Carolina -3

Confidence: Low

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Denver Broncos at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2016 Week 4 NFL Pick

Denver Broncos (3-0) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-2)

One of my favorite things to do as a bettor is go against significant week-to-week line movements. In this game, the Buccaneers were 1.5 point home underdogs last week on the early line, but now are 3 point home underdogs. That’s significant because 1 in 6 games are decided by a field goal or less. It’s understandable why the line moved. While the Broncos got an upset victory in Cincinnati, the Buccaneers lost at home to the Rams. The Broncos win was impressive and they’ve actually been very impressive as a team this year, more so than last year when they relied on many close victories to get to the Super Bowl.

Their offense has been much improved through 3 games, as Trevor Siemian has been an upgrade over both Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler, while running back CJ Anderson and the Broncos’ offensive line are both playing much better in their second year in head coach Gary Kubiak’s system. The defense isn’t quite as good without Malik Jackson, Danny Trevathan, and now DeMarcus Ware, who is injured, but they’ve done a good job of keeping a trio of solid offenses in check, Carolina, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati. They’re a more talented team than they were a year ago.

However, this line might still be a little bit too high, as the Buccaneers’ home loss last week was not as bad as it seemed. In fact, they won the first down battle by 12 against the Rams and moved the chains at a significantly better rate (79.07% to 73.33%). Despite that, the public is all over the Buccaneers and I love fading the public whenever it makes sense because they always lose money in the long run. The Buccaneers are not a great team and I couldn’t be confident in them at all, especially without top pass rusher Robert Ayers, but I would pick the points here if I had to, as long as you get the full field goal. Less than a field goal, I think I would actually change my pick. There’s also a very good chance this one pushes. A field goal Denver win seems like a strong possibility.

Denver Broncos 19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17

Pick against the spread: Tampa Bay +3

Confidence: None

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New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings: 2016 Week 4 NFL Pick

New York Giants (2-1) at Minnesota Vikings (3-0)

The Vikings are the most overrated of the remaining undefeated teams. They’ve played a tough schedule, including wins over Green Bay and Carolina, but they haven’t won the rate of moving the chains battle in any of their three games. In fact, they enter this game 27th in rate of moving the chains differential. Their defense has played very well, but their 43 first downs are the fewest of any team in the league. They haven’t been able to run the ball all year and lack another receiving threat besides Stefon Diggs. They’ve been winning games thanks in large part to a +8 turnover margin and a +3 margin in return touchdowns. In fact, their offense has only scored 3 touchdowns all year. Half of their touchdowns have come on returns. That’s not sustainable. They have one of the best defenses in the league, but their offense could easily limit them all year.

For that reason, this line is way too high at 5.5. About 3 in 10 games are decided by 4 points or fewer, so I’d put money on the underdog Giants as long as this line was 4.5 or higher. The Giants are banged up in the secondary, likely missing two of their top-4 cornerbacks, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Eli Apple, as well as starting safety Darian Thompson. However, they are a very deep team at cornerback and Thompson was struggling before getting hurt anyway, so he’s not a huge loss. On top of that, the Giants are a great road team, going 62-41 ATS on the road since 2004. They’re the right side here.

Minnesota Vikings 17 New York Giants 16

Pick against the spread: NY Giants +5.5

Confidence: Medium

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Oakland Raiders at Baltimore Ravens: 2016 Week 4 NFL Pick

Oakland Raiders (2-1) at Baltimore Ravens (3-0)

This line was as high as 5 earlier this week, but a ton of sharp action on the underdog Raiders drove the line down quickly and now it’s at 3. We’ve lost a lot of line value. That being said, I’m still on the Raiders and I think a lot of sharp bettor still are as well. The Ravens are 3-0, but Oakland is a much tougher opponent than Buffalo, Cleveland, or Jacksonville. On top of that, despite the easy early schedule, the Ravens only have a +12 point differential and could have easily lost to either Cleveland or Jacksonville. Their defense has been good, but their offense has struggled both through the air and on the ground and lacks any standout skill position players.

The Ravens get edge rusher Elvis Dumervil back from injury this week, but they’re expected to be without rookie left tackle Ronnie Stanley. The Raiders are without right tackle Austin Howard, but overall have the much more talented roster. I had the Raiders as a 10 win team coming into the season and the Ravens as an 8 win team and I haven’t seen much from either team to suggest I overrated or underrated either team. I wouldn’t put money on this line at 3, but the money line at +140 isn’t a bad play. This game should be much closer to a pick ‘em.

Oakland Raiders 17 Baltimore Ravens 16 Upset Pick +140

Pick against the spread: Oakland +3

Confidence: Low

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