Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019 | 2 a.m.
Casino executives around town owe bookmakers at least an employee of the month nod after Week 4 of the NFL season.
The house cleaned up on the NFL last Sunday, likely pocketing one of its biggest wins of the season. Sports books saw the two biggest decisions of the day fall in their direction — the Patriots beating the Bills but failing to cover minus-7 in a 16-10 win and the Chiefs succumbing to the same fate as 7.5-point favorites in a 34-30 win over the Colts — but they weren’t the only successes.
The side with the fewer number of tickets wagered at William Hill sports books also won in seven of the other 11 games, helping knock out high-payout parlays prematurely.
I had a successful week too, going 9-6 picking every game to improve the season-long record to 40-22-1. Don’t let the books get too comfortable; let’s win back some money collectively on Week 5.
Read below for picks on every game, separated into three confidence categories. Lines are the best currently available in Las Vegas on the chosen side.
San Francisco 49ers minus-3.5 vs. Cleveland Browns The 49ers' pronounced coaching advantage should play an even bigger role considering they’ve had more than two weeks to prepare for this Monday Night Football game off a bye week. Jump on San Francisco now while there’s still some unwarranted skepticism in the market.
Los Angeles Rams plus-1.5 at Seattle Seahawks This is a perfect setup to buy low on the better team, as the line shifted 3.5 points from last week’s lookahead of Los Angeles minus-2. The Rams lost to an underrated Buccaneers team 55-40 while the Seahawks beat up on an overvalued Cardinals team 27-10. Those results did not deserve this market reaction.
Minnesota Vikings minus-5 at New York Giants The Bears’ defense makes most quarterbacks look outmatched, so let’s settle down before totally trashing Kirk Cousins for the Vikings’ no-show in a 16-6 loss at Chicago. Cousins’ efficiency numbers were only slightly worse than what Aaron Rodgers did against the Bears in week 1. Meanwhile, the Vikings’ defense will represent the first real challenge for Giants quarterback Daniel Jones.
Carolina Panthers minus-3 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Laying 3 points requires paying minus-120 but it’s worth it. Despite starting the season with an injured Cam Newton, the Panthers are at a net of 1 yard per play. The Jaguars lag relatively far behind at plus-0.4, indicating this spread should be a few points higher.
Chicago Bears minus-4.5 vs. Oakland Raiders in London The Raiders have bungled travel to London before, and even though they made different arrangements this year, they’re still in an unenviable situational spot — especially as the less talented team. They’ve racked up 7,500 miles of travel since Week 3 — about 3,000 more than the Bears.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers plus-3.5 at New Orleans Saints Most prominent offshore books have already moved this number to minus-3, so grab the hook on the Buccaneers while it’s available. Tampa’s offense has drawn all the attention the last two weeks, but its defense is also better than perceived, ranking sixth by Football Outsiders’ DVOA.
Pittsburgh Steelers plus-3.5 vs. Baltimore Ravens Despite a mediocre opening schedule that’s included two of the worst teams in the NFL in Miami and Arizona, Baltimore’s defense rates last in the league in giving up 7 yards per play. The unit is too big of a liability for the Ravens to lay more than three points on the road in a rivalry game.
Green Bay Packers plus-3.5 at Dallas Cowboys If the Packers offense can stay anywhere near as efficient as it was against the Eagles — averaging better than 6.7 yard per play — then Green Bay deserves to take Dallas’ spot as the current NFC favorite. This line looks fair on the surface, but I’m looking to buy on the Packers through every possible avenue.
New York Jets plus-14 at Philadelphia Eagles The Eagles went all-out for a Thursday Night Football win over the Packers but remain one of more banged-up teams in the NFL. If Sam Darnold returns for the Jets — and there seems to be a fair chance that he does — then this number holds irrefutable value.
Tennessee Titans minus-3 vs. Buffalo Bills If fading the Bills every week ultimately proves fatal, then so be it. They are still a team that’s performed near the top of their expected range through the first quarter of the season. Regression should be expected, and if it strikes, it could get to the point where their current high power rating looks comical in hindsight.
Atlanta Falcons plus-5 at Houston Texans Number looks spot-on from a performance perspective. But the Falcons still have one of the more talented rosters in the NFL, one that should be too good to get this many points against a middling team.
Kansas City Chiefs minus-10.5 vs. Indianapolis Colts The Colts are giving up 1 yard more per play than they gain with their roster decencies beginning to show up as injuries mount. The Chiefs’ offensive explosiveness makes laying double digits more reasonable than with any other team.
Cincinnati Bengals minus-3 vs. Arizona Cardinals Gulp hard and consider betting the over 47.5 points considering both teams would prefer to play at an above-average pace. As far as the side, I’m just blindly swinging on a more attractive number with the home team in a game where both teams are struggling equally.
New England Patriots minus-15.5 at Washington Redskins In addition to his own coach repeatedly stating he’s not ready to play, Dwayne Haskins is also set up to fail behind a heavily injured Redskins offensive line. Washington is not a team that can be backed right now, even at an astronomical price like this one.
Los Angeles Chargers minus-6.5 vs. Denver Broncos Full transparency: I have no idea what to do with this game and have flip-flopped my pick at least 25 times. The Chargers are getting a bit healthier, however, while injuries and general discontent compound with the Broncos.