Overreaction is my favorite promoter of value. Like a sheepdog, overreaction gets the entire public going one way, and those who err on the side of it are invariably slaughtered. Some, maybe even made into a nice coat I could buy with my winnings.
That scenario will be the case in many instances this week. So come now. Let's go buy some more coats.
[SpreadSHREDDER Week 4 ATS: 2-1]
[Overall Record ATS: 8-4 (67%)]
New York Jets (+8) over Houston
Monday night's potential baptism of Tim Tebow sets up like a bettor's dream come true. The Houston Texans are the consensus choice as the best team in the AFC through four weeks of play, and rightfully so. They now have the seemingly delectable task of preparing to take on the resident NFL grease fire New York Jets. To the naked eye, this matchup should be a walkover for Houston, hence the inflated line.
But look closer.
The Texans will be battling inflation coming off back-to-back 30-point games—an unsustainable rarity in the NFL—not to mention an emotionally-draining beat down of a division rival with their 38-14 drubbing of the Tennessee Titans.
Houston's blowout win will also contribute to an alarming point swing of 58 points when their margin of victory is added to the Jets' 34-point margin of defeat following an embarrassing loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
And if that Texas-sized balloon isn't blown up big enough for you, consider the fact that the Texans have covered the spread at an astounding 18-points better than the Jets (using an established spread-range handicapping model), which is another unsustainable figure. This puts value squarely on the shoulders of Gangrene.
Expect the Jets to go through an intense week of practice after being humiliated at home, only to return to MetLife Stadium as an underdog on a national stage, which will be further motivation for the Jets to over achieve.
The not-so-remote possibility of Tim Tebow taking over at quarterback at some point in the game will only help the cause as the Jets would receive an emotional and competitive boost under the direction of a new quarterback who the Texans did not prepare for. Either way, this is the value pick of the year to this point.
Prediction: New York Jets, 20-17
St. Louis (+1.5) over Arizona
The Cardinals are fresh off of an emotional overtime victory where Kevin Kolb only threw for under five yards per attempt. Compared to Ryan Tannehill's robust 8.7 YPA, this would be defined as a classic phony win, which translates to an overvalued Arizona Cardinals team traveling across two time zones on a short week to kick off Week 5.
Under the new direction of painfully underrated head coach Jeff Fisher, the St. Louis Rams have been cashing tickets left and right as an undervalued underdog in every game this season.
Look for the Rams to pick up the intensity as an underdog yet again, this time of the nationally televised variety. St. Louis should be in prime position to take advantage of what will be a flat, emotionally-spent Arizona Cardinals team coming off a string of potentially overachieving victories.
Prediction: St. Louis, 22-14
Tennessee (+6.5) over Minnesota
Minnesota's inevitable back-to-earth game will come against the Tennessee Titans as Tennessee will see a quarterback switch to veteran Matt Hasselbeck, who has been significantly more efficient than injured sophomore Jake Locker in his career with Tennessee.
At a measly 3.6 yards per attempt, Christian Ponder was the model of inefficiency last week as he had the second-lowest YPA among starting quarterbacks who attempted 25 or more passes in Week 4. The Vikings still managed to eek out an augmented win over division rival Detroit on the strength of two special teams touchdowns.
With their running game struggling for most of the first quarter, the Titans have adopted a pass-first identity. An formidable passing attack could prove to be tricky for a Vikings pass defense that still ranks in the middle-of-the-pack, and will have to contend with a steady diet of throws once Minnesota's front four shuts down Chris Johnson.
A suddenly-struggling Vikings offense that could only muster six points against one of the worst defenses in the NFL has no business being favored by more than a touchdown against anybody.
Prediction: Tennessee, 26-16
[Lines from Sportsbook.com via VegasInsider.com]