By Steve Marcuz (@sidskeat) and Shaun Meyer (@deadduck77)
Hey, we are nothing if not consistent. Unfortunately for us, that’s been consistently subpar to start this season. But it’s week four now and we are starting to get a much better feel about teams and how their performing. This is when we turn things around and get back on track for a winning year. We started slow last year too. We are the Seattle Seahawks of betting articles. So let’s see where we stand today:
And now, we’re on to Week four!
Washington (+7) @ Kansas City Chiefs
In a week full of surprises, it’s hard to overlook the way Washington handled Oakland, and not just the offense either. They looked like a dominant team but we’re gonna see if that was a fluke or not as they head into Arrowhead to face one of the best looking teams all season in the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs shocked the world when they beat the Patriots to open the season and haven’t looked back. What I like about Washington here is that they’re 12-5 against the spread (ATS) in their last 17 games and that includes a 5-1 ATS record in their last six road games. On top of that, the Chiefs are only 4-9 ATS in their last 13 games at home. I think Washington keeps it close or scores a garbage TD to make it look close. Washington loses the game but covers, 21-17.
Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos UNDER 47
If you saw Oakland on Sunday Night football then you should understand why I’m taking this under here. I know, I know I know. What we saw from that offense is not the norm, but it’s not like they’ve got any easier of a challenge this week as the Raiders head into Denver to face one of the league’s best defenses. Denver’s offense looked great in the first two weeks but fell back to normalcy last week when they traveled to Buffalo. I think that’s what this offense will resemble as the season wears on. Basically, I’m not expecting a shootout here and this number is about seven points too high. As each team tries to control the clock and get the win in this historic rivalry, the scoreboard operator should have some free time on his hands. Broncos win 24-17.
Cincinnati Bengals (-3) @ Cleveland Browns
The Bengals let one get away from them in Green Bay last week but it was encouraging to see the team playing much better. I think the anger from letting that game slip away is going to fuel them as they head into this week against Cleveland. The Browns aren’t surprising anyone being at 0-3 but they haven’t looked as hapless as the record indicates. Turnovers have been their issue (as well as a failure to sustain drives) but I don’t think this is the week it all comes together. Cincy is 5-0 ATS and straight up (SU) in their last five games against the Browns while Cleveland sports a 2-10-1 ATS in their last 13 overall. They’re also 3-12-1 ATS in their last 16 home games and three points just doesn’t seem like enough. Give me the Bengals to win this one easily 31-17.
Carolina Panthers (+9) @ New England Patriots
This is by far my riskiest pick of the week. I mean, you all watch football. The Panthers just got suckerpunched at home agianst the Saints last week while Cam Newton got benched for his terrible play. New England had to hold on as rookie QB Deshaun Watson rolled into town and gave them a run for their money. But this has a classic bounceback feel to me for Carolina. What I also like is that the Panthers are a good road team as they’ve gone 4-1 ATS in their last five away from Carolina. They also play the Patriots tough, going 5-1 ATS in their last six head to head matchups. On the other hand, New England is New England and they sport their own 9-2 ATS record in their last 11 games overall, including 5-2 ATS at home. I think we see a game similar to last week, with Carolina staying close and making it competitive throughout. Panthers lose the game, but cover with a final of 31-24.
Tennessee Titans @ Houston Texans (+1)
Houston hung tough with the Pats last week, making Brady beat them with a late 4th quarter drive 36-33. The Titans got up big early on the Seahawks before Russell Wilson and the gang got things going to close the gap late. Tennessee escaped with the win 33-27. Tennessee finally put together a solid offensive effort. Murray came back and erased the thoughts that Henry was about to supplant him as starting RB. Houston’s rookie QB Watson was very impressive vs Pats, although it's becoming clear that New England's D isn't what it was last year. The Texans are 10-2 SU in last 12 divisional games. While the Titans are 2-8 SU and ATS in their last 10 vs Texans. Tennessee is also 2-11 ATS against teams with losing records over the last three seasons. I'll take the rookie QB and the better D in this game and take the Texans. Houston wins 23-20
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens (+3)
Baltimore did not have a jolly good time in England, getting shellacked by the London Jaguars who are apparently a much different team than the team in Jacksonville. The Raven D relies heavily on turnovers and I thought there would be plenty vs the Jags. I was wrong. The Steelers did not fair much better, losing to the pitiful Bears in what would definitely qualify as a shocker. Something seems amiss in Steel City and now Big Ben and company are on the road where they tend to struggle anyway. The Ravens are 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS in their last six at home. The Steelers are 1-5 ATS in their last six after a loss. I think this resembles an old school Pittsburgh/Baltimore matchup, where both teams try to control the clock with the ground game. Three field goals may win it. Ravens win 16-13.
Philadelphia Eagles (+1) @ LA Chargers
The Eagles defeated their division rival New York Giants in a game that looked like it was headed to overtime. That is until their rookie kicker walked out and nailed a 61 yard FG as time expired. The Chargers failed to get anything going offensively against Kansas City, only managing 10 points and losing 24-10. The Chargers have disappointed thus far this year (off to an 0-3 start) and yet somehow are favored to beat the 2-1 Eagles. Sounds like a classic trap game but I'm falling for it. The Wentz led Eagles have been slinging it so far this season trying to utilize the new toys they spent for this offseason. I think the Eagles handle the West Coast trip fine, playing in front of the dozens of LA fans that bother to attend the game. I expect Rivers and the Chargers offense to continue to struggle although I think they will score some points this weekend. Give me the Eagles. Philadelphia wins 28-23.
San Francisco (+7) @ Arizona Cardinals
San Francisco is coming off a tough loss in a “game of the year” candidate against the LA Rams last Thursday. The Cardinals are on a short week losing in dramatic fashion to the Cowboys on Monday Night. The Palmer/Fitzgerald combo lit the Cowboys up but it was not enough to steal the victory. Since losing David Johnson, Arizona is a completely different team than we expected to see this year and I'm not sure they should be giving a whole touchdown to anyone at this point. Hoyer has been serviceable, heavily targeting trusty WR Pierre Garçon as expected. The surprise to me has been the consistent success of Carlos Hyde. He gave us a scare when he exited the Rams game in the first quarter but returned to net over 100 yards and two TDs. I like the Niners to keep this one close and it wouldn't shock me to see an upset in this game. Although the Cards have one the last four in the series give me the 49ers to cover. Arizona wins but SF covers 27-24.
Steve - Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns OVER 41.5
I’ve got nothing to support this pick. The UNDER has hit in six of Cincy’s last seven games. The UNDER has hit in eight of Cleveland’s last 11 games. The UNDER has hit in five of the last six times these teams have met up. Two words: AJ Green. GIVE ME THE OVER.
Shaun - Indianapolis Colts @ Seattle Seahawks OVER 41.5
Seattle went to Tennessee and fell behind big early to the Titans but eventually got things going to make it close late. The Colts finally got a “W” on the board albeit was against the lowly Browns. I could see this game going one of two ways. Seahawks may steamroll the Colts beating them 40-6 or they could get up big early, call off the dogs and give up some garbage points to win 23-20. Either way I like the over. The total has gone over in seven of the last eight Colts road games. The average combined score of those games are 53 points. Take the OVER.