Banking on the NFL: Week Four

David CohenSenior Analyst ISeptember 26, 2008

Week 2: 2-0, +1.4 units

(49ers +8 @ Seahawks, Cardinals -5.5 v. Dolphins)


Overall: 3-0, +2.2 units

Last week was a tough week to pull the trigger on anything, so I didn’t play any games in week three. I used it as an evaluation week. Now it’s time to double down to make up for lost time.

Vikings @ Titans (-2.5)

The Vikings finally realized that Tarvaris Jackson is the worst mechanical full-time starting quarterback since the invention of the forward pass. Too bad their contingency plan is on a mediocre veteran.

The Titans do one thing well: take away your strength. Against the Vikings, that means Adrian Peterson. They will force the Vikings to beat them, and since the Vikings don’t have a lot of individual talent at receiver, the Titans can basically play man to man and bring a safety up to stop the run.

Tennessee is always a tough team at home, and with Kerry Collins they do have a quarterback that can fling it when necessary. Look for Chris Johnson to have a big day as a receiver as Tennessee’s balance exploits the Vikings weak pass defense.

The Play: Titans -2.5 -120 for 1.6 units; to get back 2.95 units


49ers (+6) @ Saints

It appears to me at least that the 49ers are the team Vegas is undervaluing all year long. I nearly played them against the Lions and I am backing them here.

They have faced Arizona, Detroit, and Seattle, so they are used to these pass-first offenses. On top of that, they don’t have to worry about two number one caliber receivers like they did against Fitzgerald-Boldin and Williams-Johnson. The Saints injuries are the key in this one.

With Marques Colston and Jeremy Shockey out, it will allow the 49ers to hone in on Reggie Bush. They should be able to stop him from running the ball and contain him in the flat. David Patten is also questionable, and the Saints certainly give up their share of sacks. New Orleans can be turnover prone and the 49ers will use that to their advantage.

The 49ers on offense are throwing the ball extremely efficiently. And the best kept secret in the NFL is the fact that Mike Martz is actually running the football with Frank Gore.

The Saints have one of the worst secondaries in the league, and the 49ers balanced offense should make more than enough plays.

Just like the Seattle game, the 49ers are an attractive money line game and, quite frankly, should win this game outright.

The Play: 49ers (+6) for 1.3 units; to get back 2.55 units

Other lines and why I’m passing

Broncos (-9) @ Chiefs – Kansas City is bad, but the Broncos haven’t stopped anyone yet. With Damon Huard returning and Larry Johnson due for a big game, maybe the Chiefs keep it close.

Browns @ Bengals (-3.5) – good luck picking the Ohio toilet bowl.

Texans @ Jaguars (-7) – need one more week of the Texans to know who they are for sure.

Cardinals @ Jets (-1.5) – The Jets will have a chance to run the ball and win this game, but they probably lose because they can’t stop both Fitzgerald and Boldin. As a Jets fan, I just can’t bet against my team. If I could, there would’ve been an article last week with the play being the Chargers -9.

Falcons @ Panthers (-7) – Just when you think the Panthers are back, they throw up an egg. The Falcons have shown that if you let them run the ball, they will dominate you. Coach Smith has already instilled Jaguar football in A-Town. Don’t know which Carolina shows up here.

Packers @ Bucs (-1.5) – The Packers should win this game, but the Bucs could contain Aaron Rodgers. A toss up game.

Bills (-8) @ Rams- The Rams are in disarray, but the Bills are a young team and could fall to the trap of thinking they just have to show up, like they did a week ago.

Chargers (-7) @ Raiders – the Chargers should win this easily but the Raiders are back to running the ball and playing defense.

Redskins @ Cowboys (-10.5) – The Redskins would be a play but they can’t get pressure on the quarterback right now.

Eagles (-3) @ Bears – if the Eagles had a healthy McNabb and Westbrook, I would’ve played them.

Ravens @ Steelers (-5.5) – If the Ravens had a quarterback with some experience under center and some receiving threats, they could be a play here. The Steelers without Willie Parker and a banged up Ben Roethlisberger aren’t steady enough to wager on.

Hopefully my streak against the spread continues. Including the preseason, the streak is currently at ten.


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