I think it’s now time to start looking at win/loss records. Make sure you look at the opponents because there are at least one weak 3-0 team out there (Ravens).
I’ve been treading water so far this season. I’ve been hovering around .500 every week, but have fell victim to some bad beats and half-point losses. I still feel like I have a good grasp of these teams right now and I’ll start hitting some big weeks soon.
We pick every NFL game against the spread and throw out a few upsets in Week 4 of the 2016 NFL season.
Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals (-7.5) – My pick is Miami Dolphins
Andy Dalton misses wide receivers Mohamed Sanu, Marvin Jones and currently-injured tight end Tyler Eifert. Sanu and Jones left via free agency, but there’s a shot Eifert could suit up on Thursday, but he’s currently listed as doubtful. Dalton still has superstar receiver A.J. Green, but he needs more options to be as productive as he was last season. The Dolphins won their first game last week after almost losing to Cleveland’s third-string quarterback. Teams often come out rusty on short rest, so I find it hard to bet on any spread over a touchdown. I’m taking the points.
Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars (+2.5) – My pick is Indianapolis Colts
This game is being played in London, so there’s always a bit of variable with games played there. The Colts had injuries in the secondary their first two games and now their offensive line is banged up. It’s a huge issue since QB Andrew Luck has been nursing a shoulder injury. He has already taken a beating early this season. I worry about Jacksonville’s non-existent running game. I don’t think Jacksonville QB Blake Bortles can do it all on his own. He has been forcing passes and turnovers have been an issue. I think the Colts win and cover on the neutral field.
Seattle Seahawks at New York Jets (+2.5) – My pick is Seattle Seahawks
I know Seattle has been historically average on the road, but Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick threw six interceptions last week. He is bound to throw a couple against the talented Seattle secondary. Seattle’s offense is struggling, but I have a feeling their defense will put the offense in good field position on Sunday.
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots (-7) – My pick is Buffalo Bills
The Pats are currently being cheeky about their quarterback situation. They said they will not announce their starting QB until warm-ups. This line opened up at -3.5 and has been bet up. Rex Ryan-coached teams have been pretty good against the spread in games against New England. The Bills benefitted from four interceptions last week in their big win over Arizona. They should force a few bad passes from whomever quarterbacks for the Patriots. I’m going to take the points.
Cleveland Browns at Washington Redskins (-7.5) – My pick is Washington Redskins
I’d love for the Browns to have the same or even more success as they did last week…but I think it’s just a little too much to ask of a team with so many injuries. WR/QB/S/Jack of All Trades Terrelle Pryor was last week’s MVP in their overtime loss to Miami. Washington had a comeback of their own last week against the New York Giants. It was the second week in a row that Washington let the opposing team’s best receiver to run roughshod over them. Cleveland doesn’t really have a true #1 receiver (sorry Pryor), so I think the Redskins will cover this spread.
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (+3) – My pick is Carolina Panthers
This is either a sucker bet or easy money. I know Atlanta is 2-1, but their wins came against Tampa Bay and New Orleans. Carolina is a much better overall team than Atlanta. The Falcons defense has given up an average of over 300 yards in the air each game. Carolina QB Cam Newton should have plenty of time in the pocket and his receivers should be fairly open. I’m taking Carolina to cover on the road.
Oakland Raiders at Baltimore Ravens (-3.5) – My pick is Oakland Raiders
I said it last week and I’ll say it again, Baltimore is the worst undefeated team so far this season. They’ve won all three games by less than a touchdown…and those games were against teams that will be picking very high in next year’s draft. Oakland is a solid road team and have impressed me a lot this season…even if their secondary is below average. I’m taking the points and possibly laying down some jellybeans on the Oakland moneyline.
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans (-5) – My pick is Houston Texans
I think this line would probably be -7.5 if Houston was more competitive last week’s shutout loss to New England. I still have faith that they are a legit playoff contender. They have smoked Tennessee in recent memory. Houston outscored them 54-12 in their two wins against Tennessee last season. I am aware that J.J. Watt could be gone for the season and that is a huge blow, but he hasn’t been an impact player early this season. My pick does come with a little hesitation since Tennessee is getting more confidence in their running game, most notably an increase in overall carries. It could come into play, but I’m picking Houston to cover.
Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears (+3) – My pick is Detroit Lions
I hate the Chicago Bears right now. They look directless and the injuries keep piling up. Bears RB Jeremy Langford will miss four-to-six weeks with a badly sprained ankle. This comes on top of QB Jay Cutler, LB Danny Travathan, WR Alshon Jeffery and CB Kyle Fuller. The Lions have their share of injuries as well. RB Ameer Abdullah was put on IR with a foot injury. I think Matthew Stafford will have a banner day against the beleaguered Bears defense. I’m taking Detroit to cover on the road.
Denver Broncos at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3) – My pick is Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos have played a monster schedule so far this season. Carolina, Indianapolis and Cincinnati were all picked to finish near the top of their divisions. They arrive in Tampa Bay undefeated with QB Trevor Siemian, who many never thought was not good enough to play in the NFL. Siemian has looked great and could be Denver’s future. Tampa Bay started off great in Week 1 by defeated Atlanta on the road, but then they were thrashed in Arizona 40-7 and then lost to the Rams 37-32. The Rams hadn’t scored a single touchdown before that game. The Broncos and Bucs aren’t even in the same league. I’m taking the Broncos to cover.
Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers (+3) – My pick is Dallas Cowboys
What’s with all these +3 home underdogs? I feel like a lot of these games should be +3.5 or greater…but I’ll take it! Dallas WR Dez Bryant may not suit up due to a hairline fracture in his knee. They hope he can play through it, but we will know more by game time. The 49ers have some talent on both sides of the ball, but the depth isn’t there. They need to think about playing for next season. I think they would be more competitive with QB Colin Kaepernick instead of Blaine Gabbert, who I feel inflated his numbers late last season against teams running out the clock until the end of season. I’m taking Dallas to cover.
Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals (-8) – My pick is Arizona Cardinals
Arizona come into this game 1-2, but I still feel like they are one of the best teams in the NFC. The Bills just exploded early in last week’s game and the Cardinals had to play catch up. Arizona QB Carson Palmer had a stinker of a game throwing four interceptions. I will chalk it up to him having a bad day. I think he will rely more on RB David Johnson this game. I hate picking all these covers, but I’m seeing a lot of favorable match-ups for the favorites.
New Orleans Saints at San Diego Chargers (-4) – My pick is New Orleans Saints
Man, both of these teams are riddled with injuries. The Saints are 0-3 heading into this game, but they could have easily been 2-1. They were smoked last week at home against Atlanta, so they must play better defense this week. San Diego needs their running game to open up their passing game. If Melvin Gordon can’t get going against the porous Saints defense, they could fall behind early in this game. The Saints are better than their record, so I’m taking the points.
Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers (-5) – My pick is Kansas City Chiefs
The Steelers blowout loss the Eagles made people start to look at Pittsburgh a little closer. They were one of the preseason favorites in the AFC, but they have depth issues at receiver and linebacker. Injuries and suspensions have really thinned out both positions. If WR Antonio Brown is double-teamed, Big Ben doesn’t have the faith in the other receivers. He will often still throw the ball in Brown’s direction. I think Kansas City will be able to hang with Pittsburgh, especially if their running backs can get into the second level of Pittsburgh’s defense. I’m taking the points in this game.
New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings (-4.5) – My pick is Minnesota Vikings
I can’t wait to watch this game. I want to see how New York’s receivers can hang with Minnesota’s talented secondary. That battle will most likely win or lose this game. Vikings secondary were already able to stymie the receivers of Carolina and Green Bay. I also think Minnesota safety Harrison Smith is one of the best run-stopping safeties in the league. Teams will have issues against Minnesota all year. I think they will cover at home.
*These picks are for entertainment purposes
Sweetbob’s NFL picks against the spread record in previous seasons:
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob