NFL Lines Week 4: Difficult Spreads You Want to Avoid

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistSeptember 25, 2013

FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 16:  Mike Glennon #8 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throws a pass against the New England Patriots in the first half during the game at Gillette Stadium on August 16, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

While it is never easy to pick games against the spread, a few teams are making it impossible heading into Week 4 of the NFL season.

In most cases, the question is: Will the favorite win and will it be by enough to cover the spread? However, a few unpredictable teams could easily win or lose by 20, and neither result would be surprising. 

If you are making bets for this week, it might be a smart move to avoid these games altogether, because picking would be too hard.

Note: All spread info courtesy of Vegas Insider as of Sept. 25.  


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5) vs. Arizona Cardinals

NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 22:   Carson Palmer and  Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrate after a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 22, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The Buccaneers are 0-3, have scored the second fewest points in football and are starting a rookie third-round pick at quarterback this week, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter:

Despite all of this, the team is somehow favored to beat the Arizona Cardinals.

In reality, Mike Glennon does provide some serious arm strength that could open up the offense. The change under center could also boost the team after a terrible start, similar to what Brian Hoyer did to the Cleveland Browns last week.

On the other hand, you have no idea what to expect out of Glennon in his first career start. The young player struggled in his decision making last year at North Carolina State as well as in the preseason when he got onto the field.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals are led by a quarterback who is equally inconsistent. Carson Palmer has been progressively worse in each game this year.

It is hard to guess what you will see out of either player, which makes this a nearly impossible game to predict.


Pittsburgh Steelers (-2) vs. Minnesota Vikings

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 16:  Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts after making a catch in the second half against the New York Jets during the game on September 16, 2012 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Steelers defeated
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Have these teams inspired enough confidence so far that you should pick either of them to win? Not at all.

The Steelers have started 0-3 because the offensive line cannot block anyone. As a result, Ben Roethlisberger has been under constant pressure, while the rushing attack has been nonexistent.

Of course, he might finally have some success against a Vikings defense that allowed 31 points and more than 400 yards to the Browns, who were playing without Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden for the first time this season.

Additionally, these teams rank second and third in the NFL in giveaways, which is certain to create an ugly game between them.

Finally, this contest will be played in Wembley Stadium in London, giving neither side a home-field advantage. 

The Steelers have looked slightly better in the past few weeks and would be the pick if you needed to make one, but you are better off avoiding this game entirely.


Washington Redskins (-3) vs. Oakland Raiders

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 23:   Terrelle Pryor #2 of the Oakland Raiders thows a second quarter touchdown pass against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 23, 2013 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Terrelle Pryor has been a rare bright spot in an otherwise poor start for the Raiders this season. He has been great with his arm and his legs. He is tied for the most 20-yard runs in the NFL, along with teammate Darren McFadden.

The downside is that he took a hard hit against the Denver Broncos on Monday and is now questionable with a concussion. He tweeted this the day after the game:

Whether his lack of memory was a joke or not, his availability against the Redskins remains in doubt. His absence would leave the team in the hands of Matt Flynn, the high-priced backup who has failed to earn a starting role despite getting multiple opportunities.

That being said, it is also hard to trust the Redskins to play well. The defense has given up the most yards in football, while Robert Griffin III still looks rusty after missing the entire preseason.

Washington is better than it has played to start the year, but you should not trust a turnaround just yet.


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