After hovering around the .500 mark for the first three weeks of the season, I finally had the week I was looking for. I went 10-3 ATS with all of my picks this week, and 3-2 ATS with my recommended bets. In weeks like this I wish I had bet on all the games, but I know that that’s a losing strategy in the long run.
Anyways, without further ado, here were my thoughts from Week 4.
Patriots @ Bills
Closing Odds: Patroits -4.5, total 48.5
Predicted Outcome: Bills 27, Patriots 24
Actual Outcome: Patriots 52, Bills 28
I’m not really disappointed with the way that I handicapped this game. The Bills were dominating the Patriots early on and had C.J. Spiller not lost a fumble at the goal line late in the first half, the Patriots would have been facing a three touchdown deficit. Spiller’s fumble completely changed the complexion of the game. New England proceeded to score six touchdowns in the second half en route to a blowout victory. Ultimately, the Patriots played the better game and deserved to win but I really think that a lot of wind would have been taken out of their sails if the Bills could have taken a three touchdown lead. Congratulations to the 99% of bettors that had New England in this game. Keep on betting those road favorites and see how things work out (yes, I’m bitter).
Vikings @ Lions
Closing Odds: Lions -4, total 48.5
Predicted Outcome: Lions 31, Vikings 20
Actual Outcome: Vikings 20, Lions 13
OK, my picks actually do get better than this at some point, but this was a horrible play. The Lions are a complete debacle of a football team. Seriously, who gives up two special teams touchdowns in back-to-back weeks? Jim Schwartz was obviously hanging out at Norv Turner’s cottage this offseason. I’m not going to spend too much time on this one. Detroit makes more mistakes than the U.S. Ryder Cup team in singles play—they’re going nowhere. Meanwhile, I’m still not sold on Minnesota. They could be a good team, but I can’t get over the fact that they lost to the Colts in Week 2. We’ll see how they fair when they’re favored over the Titans next week.
Panthers @ Falcons
Closing Odds: Falcons -7, total 48
Predicted Outcome: Panthers 24, Falcons 23
Actual Outcome: Falcons 30, Panthers 28
Aside from getting the outright winner wrong, I pretty much pegged this game perfectly. Atlanta is a solid team and they should still be considered the favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, but this was a predictable flat spot for them. They were coming off of a blowout win and facing a division rival that got embarrassed on national TV. I’m actually pretty upset with myself that I didn’t put any money down on Carolina. A good friend of mine that loses nearly 100% of his wagers (that’s not an exaggeration) loved the Panthers this week and that really scared me away. Anyways, how the hell did the Panthers manage to lose this game? With the Falcons pinned at their own 1-yard line with no timeouts remaining, the Panthers’ defense allowed a 59-yard completion to Roddy White. What’s really mind boggling about this play is that White basically had to catch a jump ball against a safety with no other defenders in sight. It was truly laughable. Oh well.
49ers @ Jets
Closing Odds: 49ers -4, total 41
Predicted Outcome: 49ers 23, Jets 13
Actual Outcome: 49ers 34, Jets 0
This is a direct quote from my Week 4 NFL betting preview: “I’ll take the 49ers to cover, but I won’t bet it, and I’ll probably regret that I didn’t at 4:30pm ET on Sunday”. The only thing that was untrue about that quote is that I was regretting that I didn’t make that wager at approximately 3:00pm. The Jets are a complete abomination. Mark Sanchez is the worst starting quarterback in the league right now and it’s not even close. New York hosts Houston on Monday Night Football next week and I can’t envision any way in which the Jets keep the game within two touchdowns. As for the 49ers, their loss to the Vikings last week was obviously just a blip on the radar. San Fran will have their hands full with the Bills next weekend and will look to avoid the same flat spot that the Falcons faced this week.
Chargers @ Chiefs
Closing Odds: Chargers -2.5, total 43.5
Predicted Outcome: Chargers 37, Chiefs 20
Actual Outcome: Chargers 31, Chiefs 17
No surprise here. The Chiefs “upset” the Saints last weekend, but New Orleans isn’t very good so most people read too much into that win. I expected Kansas City to have a good season and I really thought that they had a chance to win the AFC West, but at the end of the day Matt Cassel is a loser and the Chiefs aren’t going anywhere with him under center. As for the Chargers, they’re a good team with a much improved defense. Their blowout loss to the Falcons last week was disappointing, but they should definitely be considered as an upper echelon NFL team. I truly believe that they should be favored in New Orleans next weekend.
Titans @ Texans
Closing Odds: Texans -13.5, total 45
Predicted Outcome: Texans 27, Titans 9
Actual Outcome: Texans 38, Titans 14
Wow, Houston is good…really good. After Texans’ safety Glover Quin decapitated Jake Locker with a huge hit, the Titans didn’t really stand much of a chance. Matt Hasselbeck is a proven veteran but struggled considerably against a dynamic Texans’ defense. The thing that makes Houston so dangerous is that they can beat opposing teams in so many different ways. I’m comfortable saying that they’re the best team in the league right now, and it’s not even close. As for the Titans, they’d be 0-4 if it weren’t for a pair of special teams touchdowns against the Lions last week. Chris Johnson finally got on track rushing for 141 yards on 25 yards, but Tennessee still lost by 24 points. That’s about all you need to know about the Titans’ prospects this season.
Seahawks @ Rams
Closing Odds: Seahawks -2.5, total 39
Predicted Outcome: Rams 16, Seahawks 12
Actual Outcome: Rams 19, Seahawks 13
I just don’t understand why people refuse to realize that the Seahawks consistently suck on the road. Seattle’s won six road games in the last three seasons, but for some reason, the betting public was lining up to bet them as a road favorite. Seattle continues to be one of the easiest teams to wager on in football—they win home games and lose road games. It’s really that simple. And just a thought… the Seahawks may also want to find a quarterback that can see over his offensive line. As for the Rams, they’ve played hard for new head coach Jeff Fisher this season and they will continue to be one of the best bets in football as the year wears on. It also helps when you’re kicker is able to nail two field goals of 58+ yards in the first half. It appears as though the football gods rightfully spited Pete Carroll for his ridiculous celebration at the end of Monday Night Football. I’m not sure I can bet on the Seahawks again this season now that Carroll has angered the gods.
Dolphins @ Cardinals
Closing Odds: Cardinals -4, total 39.5
Predicted Outcome: Dolphins 17, Cardinals 16
Actual Outcome: Cardinals 24, Dolphins 21 (OT)
This game really chapped my ass. I didn’t have any wagers on the Dolphins but I wanted them to win so badly after my other big upset pick, the Panthers, blew it earlier in the afternoon. Miami nearly pulled this one out, but the game was nowhere near the defensive struggle that I had thought it would be. I’m still baffled as to how the Arizona defense surrendered over 400 yards passing to Ryan Tannehill, including 253 yards through the air to Brian Hartline. Despite the solid numbers, Miami did what bad teams eventually do, and proceeded to shit themselves in the second half. The Cardinals were in a predictable flat spot here but still managed to pull out the victory, so credit to them. I’m actually somewhat interested in the Thursday Night Football matchup between the Cardinals and the Rams this week.
Raiders @ Broncos
Closing Odds: Broncos -6.5, total 47
Predicted Outcome: Broncos 31, Raiders 21
Actual Outcome: Broncos 37, Raiders 6
This just in: The Raiders suck. Aside from their starting quarterback being a steaming pile of garbage, their secondary is atrocious. I know Peyton Manning is good, but the Raiders made it look like the year was 2004 instead of 2012. Manning carved up the Raiders’ defense all afternoon and now we’ll be forced to endure countless hours of Manning vs. Brady talk ahead of next weekend’s Broncos-Patriots matchup. Thanks Oakland. The Raiders have a bye next week and then travel to Atlanta in Week 6—good luck with that. Anyways, this game unfolded pretty much as I saw it unfolding except Oakland was actually more inept than I predicted.
Bengals @ Jaguars
Closing Odds: Jaguars -1.5, total 45.5
Predicted Outcome: Bengals 30, Jaguars 20
Actual Outcome: Bengals 27, Jaguars 10
The Bengals are another easy team to figure out—they win against bad teams and lose against good teams. Whether they’re the home team or away team never really seems to matter. If you think Cincinnati is playing a team that will be in the playoffs, bet against them—if not, bet on them. It’s been an effective strategy for two straight years now so I won’t stray from it in upcoming weeks. As for Jacksonville, as long as Blaine Gabbert is their quarterback, they’re going nowhere. I realize I’ve probably called at least three different quarterbacks the worst quarterback in the league by this point, but Gabbert definitely takes the cake. The Bengals were predictably able to stack the box and limit Maurice Jones-Drew even though literally half of their cornerbacks missed this game due to injury. The fact that Gabbert couldn’t stretch the field against a group of practice squad cornerbacks proves his worth. Blaine will have his hands full with the Bears’ defense next week. Meanwhile, Cincinnati hosts Miami, so they’ll probably win comfortably.
Saints @ Packers
Closing Odds: Packers -7.5, total 54
Predicted Outcome: Packers 38, Saints 17
Actual Outcome: Packers 28, Saints 27
I can’t sum up the way I feel any better than this. Screw you Jeff Tripplette. From this point forward, any games officiated by Tripplette and his cronies will be off limits for me. Even though there were some terrible calls in this game, it’s occurred to me that the Packers just aren’t the team that I’m expecting them to be. There hasn’t been a game this season where their offense and defense have both performed well, and that’s concerning through four games of the season. They should have rolled the Saints. If Green Bay can’t beat the Colts by double-digits next week I’m officially writing them off as a Super Bowl contender. As for the Saints, they’re going nowhere without Sean Payton. Best case scenario for New Orleans is that they completely tank this season and get some defensive help at the top of next year’s draft.
Redskins @ Buccaneers
Closing Odds: Buccaneers -2, total 45
Predicted Outcome: Redskins 23, Buccaneers 17
Actual Outcome: Redskins 24, Buccaneers 22
How is Billy Cundiff still kicking in the NFL? Yes, I’m aware that he made the game winning kick in this game, but this game was only close because he missed three field goal attempts earlier. Mike Shanahan should really look to sign a new kicker before it’s too late. Robert Griffin III looked solid again, but try not to read too much into any good games against the Bucs’ defense considering they give up an average of 900 yards per game through the air. The Redskins now sit at 2-2 and they’ll probably finish somewhere in the realm of .500 this season. The Bucs, on the other hand, won’t finish anywhere near .500 because they’re pathetic. Josh Freeman actually resembled an NFL quarterback at points in the second half, but ultimately, his terrible performance in the first half left Tampa Bay with too a big a deficit to overcome. Freeman is showing no signs of being a franchise quarterback. The Bucs may have to look elsewhere in the draft this season.
Giants @ Eagles
Closing Odds: Eagles -1.5, total 46.5
Predicted Outcome: Eagles 27, Giants 20
Actual Outcome: Eagles 19, Giants 17
This game really could have gone either way. The officiating crew, headed by Ron Winter, who always looks like he’s a deer in the headlights, decided that they really wanted to make things interesting in the final two minutes. In that two minute span, the refs missed an obvious facemask call against the Giants, called a bogus pass interference on Eagles’ cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, and finally called the worst offensive pass interference call I have ever seen against Giants’ wide receiver Ramses Barden. After the slew of penalties there were 15 seconds left on the clock and the Giants attempted to go for a game winning 54-yard field goal. Lawrence Tynes proceeded to hook his kick further left than Tiger Woods was hooking tee shots at Medinah. Fortunately for the Giants, Andy Reid being the stupid asshat that he is, decided to call a timeout to ice the kicker, and the moronic officiating crew decided to award him the timeout even though the ball had already been snapped. I was fully expecting Tom Coughlin to run his offense back out onto the field and try one quick sideline pass to make the field goal try a little bit shorter, but evidently, Coughlin is just as inept as Reid. Tynes lined up for his second field goal try from 54-yards out and knocked this one right down the pipe—but a good five yards short. Who the hell rosters a kicker that can’t kick the ball 54 yards? This isn’t 1974. At the end of the day, this game took roughly two years off of my life from the stress I endured. The entire NFC East is overrated so I’ll be looking to bet against both of these teams in the near future.
All in all, Week 4 was terrific. I definitely caught a lot of breaks to finish with such a strong record, but I feel that I was also unlucky in a couple of games. Hopefully I can run my Monday Night Football picks to two straight winners after unrightfully cashing on the Seahawks +3.5 last week.
Monday Night Football pick
Before I give a quick breakdown of the Bears-Cowboys game, I feel that it’s appropriate to point out that I’m a diehard Cowboys fan. I try to be as impartial as possible when breaking down Cowboys’ games but it can obviously be tough at times. Proceed with caution.
This game is incredibly difficult to predict because both teams are a complete mess offensively. On paper, the Cowboys and Bears should have two of the league’s best offenses, but they’re both mired by untimely miscues. Neither team can pass protect, both teams commit frequent pre-snap penalties, and both teams have had issues with drops to start the season. Through three weeks of the season, both offenses have been nearly identical.
Neither the Bears nor Cowboys would be 2-1 right now if it weren’t for their defenses. Chicago possesses one of the best defensive lines in football and is able to generate consistent pressure by rushing only four defenders. This allows the Bears to drop seven defenders into coverage and really limit big plays. The Cowboys’ offensive line won’t be able to hold up against the likes of Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije, so I’d fully expect Chicago to be able to prevent big plays down the field. Dallas has struggled consistently in the past when they’re forced to dink and dunk their way up the field.
On the other side of things, Dallas should be able to generate consistent pressure on the quarterback as well. Unlike the Bears, the Cowboys don’t regularly rush four defenders, instead choosing to send massive blitzes to get to the quarterback. With Brandon Carr moving to safety to accommodate for injuries, Chicago’s receiving duo of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery will have to win their one-on-one matchups with Dallas’ cornerbacks Morris Claiborne and Mike Jenkins. Jay Cutler is notoriously bad against the blitz, so if the Cowboys’ corners can provide good coverage on the outside, the Bears will struggle to move the ball.
Neither team’s running game has been very good this season as both teams are tied for 23rd in the league averaging 3.5 yards per carry. With both quarterbacks having little time to throw the ball, this game may ultimately come down to which team can run the ball better. Matt Forte will be a game-time decision for the Bears, but I wouldn’t expect him to be a huge factor even if he does play, as ankle injuries are historically tough to rebound from. The Cowboys figure to have the best running back on the field in DeMarco Murray, but the interior of Dallas’ offensive line is so putrid that it’ll be tough for the former Oklahoma product to find any running lanes.
In the end, this figures to be a tight battle from start to finish. Since Dallas has moved to the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium, they’ve really lost a lot of their home field advantage. The Cowboys are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 home games and just 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games versus NFC opponents. Meanwhile, the Bears are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 Monday Night Football games.
With my allegiance to the Cowboys, there’s no way in hell I’ll be betting on this football game, but I think that the Bears +3.5 are the play here. I also like the UNDER 42 at SportsInteraction. 42 is a key number in totals (6 touchdowns + successful extra points), so don’t settle for a 41.5. This also may be a good game to play a 7-point teaser and take the Bears +10.5 and UNDER 49. Bears 17, Cowboys 14
Just for the record, I’ll be rooting for a Cowboys win. I sincerely hope anyone who puts any money down on the Bears loses their money in devastating fashion.
Week 5 Early Lines
Last but not least, the early lines for Week 5 have been posted. Here are my thoughts:
Arizona @ St. Louis +2 – St. Louis isn’t a big enough home dog to generate any action on them. The public will be betting heavily on Arizona on Thursday Night Football.
Atlanta @ Washington +3 – You know where the action will be here. The public loves Robert Griffin III, but they’d also bet Atlanta -3 against any team in the league right now. The Falcons will be one of the biggest public plays next Sunday.
Philadelphia @ Pittsburgh -3.5 – Pittsburgh is coming off of their bye so this line is justified. I think you’ll see close to 50/50 action here.
Green Bay @ Indianapolis +7 – No one will be betting on the Colts. Green Bay isn’t the team that they used to be but they will be pounded by the public at this line.
Cleveland @ NY Giants -10 – People aren’t usually lining up to bet double-digit underdogs so I imagine the Giants will get the majority of the action. It won’t be a landslide because of Cleveland hanging tight with Baltimore last Thursday.
Tennessee @ Minnesota -5.5 – This will probably generate 50/50 action. Most people don’t realize how bad Tennessee really is right now, so they may look enticing as an underdog with a veteran quarterback under center.
Miami @ Cincinnati -5 – The Dolphins almost pulled off the upset against the Cardinals, but I don’t think that’s changed the public perception of them. Cincinnati will take heavy action in this game.
Baltimore @ Kansas City +4.5 – Kansas City just got dismantled by the Chargers, so most people will think that there’s no way they could possibly keep it close against the Ravens. Heavy action on the road favorite here—that’s always dangerous.
Seattle @ Carolina -3 – People are finally starting to realize that Seattle is terrible on the road, and the Panthers almost pulled off an upset over the Falcons. Carolina will probably take two thirds action.
Denver @ New England -7 – I can see this being close to 50/50. With both quarterbacks heading into this game coming off a huge performance, I think this line is bang on.
Buffalo @ San Francisco -9 – Who the hell is going to want to bet on the Bills this week after they got shitkicked at home by New England? The 49ers will be heavily bet as big favorites.
San Diego @ New Orleans -3 – I think this’ll be close to 50/50. Most people still want to believe that the Saints are a good team even though they’re 0-4.
Houston @ NY Jets +7.5 – This line could have been Houston -14 and they’d still take in 75% of the action. Everyone will be betting the Texans.