NFL Picks Against the Spread Week 4: Locks You Can Take to the Bank

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIISeptember 26, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrates after scoring in the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on September 22, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

The volatility of the NFL lends itself to a certain unpredictability, with very few games that are sure bets as to who will cover the spread.

Week 4 offers several virtual guarantees with regard to which teams will prove the betting experts to be correct, though. Using the lines from Topbet, two teams who steamrolled through last week's action are mortal locks to win handily enough to cover the difference projected by oddsmakers.

Here is a look at the safest bets for Sunday's slate—all of them on the road—along with a complete list of league-wide picks against the spread.


Indianapolis Colts (-9) over Jacksonville Jaguars

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - SEPTEMBER 15: Chuck Pagano the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts watches the game action during the NFL game against the Miami Dolphins at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 15, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Coming off of one of the biggest wins in Chuck Pagano's tenure on the road against the 49ers, the Colts are in for a classic "trap game" against what is widely considered the NFL's worst team.

Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star reports that Pagano put fake mouse traps in front of players' lockers to remind them not to get complacent and have a potential letdown after Week 3's monumental win.

The rotation of Ahmad Bradshaw and recent arrival Trent Richardson should give the Colts great offensive balance and complement quarterback Andrew Luck much better.

Richardson has a long run of just 10 this season so far, but the numbers say he is among the more elusive backs in football:

Colts play-caller Pep Hamilton should be able to wear Jacksonville down with a power running game, while the Jags offense should struggle even at home and with the return of QB Blaine Gabbert.

Prediction: Colts 34, Jaguars 17


Seattle Seahawks (-3) over Houston Texans

Texans star receiver Andre Johnson is dinged up on the regular, and this week is no exception. Johnson is likely to be a game-time decision on Sunday, per the Houston Chronicle's Brian T. Smith.

Limited by a sore shin, Johnson and the Texans offense could be in serious trouble against the best secondary in the league, which has helped the Seahawks allow just 27 points through three games:

That means more will be expected of promising Houston rookie DeAndre Hopkins, as he'll likely be the go-to target. Hopkins has the promise to be that someday, but not on this occasion in facing either Richard Sherman or Brandon Browner and possessing limited experience.

The Seahawks have the No. 1 pass defense even though they've only generated seven sacks as a team, which shows how effective the coverage is on the back end.

Houston's defense is strong in its own right, but the mobility of Seattle QB Russell Wilson is the X-factor here, and it will help push the Seahawks to 4-0 and remain alone atop the NFC.

Prediction: Seahawks 21, Texans 13


Arizona Cardinals (+2.5) over Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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 Image
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

The Bucs thought they had their franchise quarterback in Josh Freeman not long ago, but now that he's lost seven of eight starts, is the subject of trade rumors and had an apparent spat with head coach Greg Schiano, it's Mike Glennon's turn to take the reins under center.

Bad news for the home team, who will have to win this game with defense against Carson Palmer and the multitude of weapons Arizona's passing game has.

Between Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and Andre Roberts, the Cardinals are stacked in the receiving corps.

In spite of that, Tampa is still somehow 2.5-point favorites at home with Glennon, a third-round rookie, making his NFL debut.

Darnell Dockett, Calais Campbell and Sam Acho can all put pressure on Glennon, who will have to rely heavily on running back Doug Martin to shoulder the load.

The difference here will be the Cardinals' playmakers in the secondary in Tyrann Mathieu and Patrick Peterson, who can also impact the game on offense and special teams. This is a must-win for the Cardinals to get to 2-2 and keep pace in the NFC West, and they'll get head coach Bruce Arians his first road win in his Arizona tenure.

Prediction: Cardinals 24, Buccaneers 10