NFL Week 4 Picks: Against the Spread
Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
Last week: 7-8-1. Season totals: 28-17-3, Pct. .615. Best Bets: 4-5, Pct. .444.
Home team in capital letters; point spreads (opening line) in parentheses after underdog team; selections with point spreads in bold.
BALTIMORE 17, Cleveland 7 (+12)—Baltimore has beaten the Browns eight consecutive times, but the home team has dropped the last five games against the spread. The Ravens might be vulnerable to a letdown after avenging last January's AFC title game loss just four days ago, and just how many points will they need to score to beat Brandon Weeden?
San Francisco 31, N.Y. JETS 14 (+3 1/2)—Darrelle Revis' season-ending ACL injury could prove to be the game changer in the AFC East, and the 49ers have simply owned the Jets with wins and covers in seven of their last nine meetings after the first two both ended with San Fran winning but not covering (in 1971 and '76).
New England 33, BUFFALO 17 (+5)—The aforementioned injury is a huge break for the Patriots, who have beaten the Bills in 16 of the last 17 games, with even a 11-5-1 spread record in the 17 games.
ATLANTA 31, Carolina 16 (+9)—Talk about consistency against a particular opponent: The Falcons have scored exactly 31 points in each of their last four games against the Panthers (both winning and covering in all four), who since 2008 are 5-14 against the spread on artificial turf and 4-10-1 pointwise indoors.
DETROIT 23, Minnesota 17 (+4)—Once upon a time you could make a lot of money betting against the home team when two indoor teams played each other—but not recently, as home teams have gone 14-7 against the spread in "dome on dome" games in 2011-12. This line is available only on a limited basis due to Matthew Stafford's hamstring, which has him questionable at this writing, so you might want to be careful before getting down, so to speak.
Seattle 30, ST. LOUIS 13 (+1)—Sam Bradford is back in bust mode, and the Seahawks don't figure to need any unsolicited aid from scab officials to beat a team they're 13-1 straight up against since 2005.
HOUSTON 28, Tennessee 17 (+13)—Five of the last six Titans vs. Texans games in Houston have been decided in overtime or by three points or less, the lone exception occurring when no-hoper Rusty Smith started at quarterback for Tennessee in 2010. And the Texans are prone to a letdown coming off their first road win over Peyton Manning in franchise history.
KANSAS CITY 30 (+1), San Diego 16—The home team in this one has won five straight, and the Chargers were exposed as the mediocre team that they are by the Falcons last week.
Cincinnati 24, JACKSONVILLE 14 (+1)—Since the Jaguars rather obviously won't be in the playoffs this year, it's perfectly safe to pick the Bengals.
DENVER 30, Oakland 27 (+6)—Maybe Peyton Manning doesn't make that great a difference after all, and the Raiders have covered six in a row in Denver, so why not take the points?
ARIZONA 24, Miami 20 (+7)—Not ready to jump on the Arizona bandwagon just yet, and the Cardinals could very well be looking ahead to next Thursday night's game at St. Louis in the suddenly wide-open NFC West. Reggie Bush (knee) might even play.
TAMPA BAY 23, Washington 13 (+3)—You know the Redskins couldn't be much if the Bengals beat them—and they've never been much in Tampa where they're 1-7 straight up and 2-5-1 against the spread in their last eight. Best bet.
GREEN BAY 42, New Orleans 24 (+9)—It would be the height of irony if the Saints were to emerge from "Bountygate" getting to select the first defensive player in the 2013 draft. And they're 2-9 both ways in Green Bay or Milwaukee and 4-9 against the line outdoors since 2010.
N.Y. Giants 28 (+1), PHILADELPHIA 23—Andy Reid has stated that Michael Vick is his starting quarterback "for now" and the he will "evaluate" things from here on. That sounds pretty ominous, and the home team's recent spread record in this series is pretty ominous too: only one cover in the last five games, two in the last 10, and three in the last 14.
Chicago 20 (+3 1/2), DALLAS 17—Funny how no one's talking about what an enfant terrible Jay Cutler is any more. Not impressed with how the Dallas offense sputtered against a defense that Eli Manning lit up for career numbers the week before.
BEST BETS: SAN FRANCISCO, KANSAS CITY, TAMPA BAY
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