Regardless of whether you won big, took a hit or completely avoided the one-sided Thursday Night Football contest between the San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams, it’s now time to put that in the past and start focusing your betting efforts on the remaining slate of games.
The action is a bit limited, and the lines are a bit tighter with the first round of bye weeks already here, but that won’t stop a handful of juicy spreads from sticking out like a sore thumb.
Let’s take a look at the latest odds for every contest, make some predictions against the spread on each one and then highlight some of the top plays of Week 4.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (+9.5) over Indianapolis Colts
This isn’t as crazy of a play as you may think. The Jaguars were admittedly trounced and failed to cover the 20-point spread on the road in Seattle, but they should be able to keep this home contest against the Colts much closer.
Remember, the Indianapolis offensive play-calling is notoriously tight, and the team will be content to run the ball until the wheels fall off. Considering the Colts are in possession of two quality workhorse backs—Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw—you can expect to see plenty of the ground attack this Sunday.
That should almost guarantee that the Colts don’t completely run away with this one and instead allow the Jags to remain somewhat close throughout the afternoon.
As long as Blaine Gabbert, who is returning under center after an injury, is able to orchestrate a touchdown drive late in the game when the score is out of reach, Jacksonville should be able to sneak in a backdoor cover against this large spread.
New England Patriots (+2.5) over ATLANTA FALCONS
The Pats aren’t often underdogs in a prime-time matchup, but most members of the general public have lost their faith in this team. New England disappointed in back-to-back weeks before a convincing win in Week 3 over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Perhaps the only more disappointing team in the NFL right now is the Atlanta Hawks, a 1-2 squad that couldn’t score when it counted against the Miami Dolphins last week and paid the price.
Expect the Dirty Birds to go into full desperation mode when they drop to 1-3 after yet another home loss in the Georgia Dome, this time on Sunday Night Football.
Remember, the Pats passing game finally looked to be in some sort of rhythm against the Bucs. Kenbrell Thompkins has emerged as a possible No. 1 and caught two touchdown passes in the contest, which should help considering Rob Gronkowski is expected to miss at least one more game.
Regardless, Tom Brady will likely be able to carry his newfound rapport with his receivers through practice and into Sunday night’s matchup. The Falcons defense has been vulnerable against the aerial attack and could give up a handful of crucial scores.
As long as New England plays bend-but-don’t-break football on the other end, it should be in fine position to walk away from this one undefeated.
Miami Dolphins (+7) over NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
The ‘Phins are another 3-0 AFC East team looking for a straight-up win as an underdog this week. Unfortunately, their road to an undefeated record is a bit tougher than New England’s.
New Orleans presents a tough challenge, as the high-flying offense has been impossible to stop this year, and Drew Brees seems hell-bent on making it back to the postseason.
Add in a revamped defense and the return of head coach Sean Payton and you are looking at the recipe for a quality team. However, that doesn’t mean that Miami won’t be able to keep it close.
This is a legit squad that made a number of key offseason adjustments. The Dolphins have the personnel required to beat the toughest foes, including an offense that can hang points on anyone and a defense ready to make critical stops.
That’s exactly what happened in Week 3, when the ‘Phins held the Falcons to just two touchdowns and won the game in the final moments.
This matchup could easily come right down to the wire, which makes taking the points a no-brainer play that will pay dividends.