Week Four Totals
Straight Up Picks - 8-8
Picks vs Spread - 7-9
Over/Unders - 10-6
"Bankroll" - Up 0.5 Units
Season To Date Totals
Straight Up Picks - 39-25
Picks vs Spread - 31-30-3
Over/Unders - 32-31-1
"Bankroll" - Down 4.1 Units
My first week up! Even if it is just half a unit, I've been picking decently so far this year and have just been losing vigs off the "bankroll", so it felt good to end the week up.
I'm going to hold off on including any upset specials for another week, partially because I was up on the week, and partially because I don't have any upset specials in mind on this weeks slate of games. That means the format stays the same here this week, though feedback is always welcome in the comments...
Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts (-2) O/U 38.5
How can you pick this game with any kind of certainty? I'm shocked that it's not simply Colts minus three, as I can't say that the Chiefs are any better than the Manning-less Colts at this point. Curtis Painter looked good.... Well at least more alive out there than Kerry Collins. I'm still worried though because it's just one game, and there has to be a reason the Colts went with Collins to begin with. Fortunately for him, I don't think much of anything of the Chiefs at this point, as they can't run the ball well, and have only beaten Donovan McNabb so far. I'm taking the Colts because they are home, and would have taken the Chiefs if it were in Arrowhead.
Prediction - Colts 24 Chiefs 20
Picks - Colts -2 and Over
Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings (-3) O/U 45
I understand that the numbers say they have been good, but I don't understand how the Vikings are favored against anyone right now. The Cardinals aren't very good, but they can run the ball, and Kevin Kolb seems to be competent enough at quarterback to make teams unable to load up against the run without getting burned by Larry Fitzgerald. The Cards should be able to score enough points to win this game, and should have no problem stopping the corpse of Donovan McNabb out there.
Prediction - Cardinals 24 Vikings 10
Picks - Cardinals Straight Up and +2 and Under
Philadelphia Eagles (-3) at Buffalo Bills O/U 49.5
This game is harder to predict as the two that precede it on this list, but for a different reason. The problem with the first two games was that it was hard to figure out which team was worse, but here we are trying to figure out which of the two teams is actually good. I was starting to get sold on the Bills until that loss against the Bengals last week, and the Eagles have started off 1-3, and haven't looking good in any of those games. I'm going to take the home team getting the three points here, but I'm no more confidant in this game than the two bad ones.
Prediction - Bills 28 Eagles 21
Picks - Bills Straight up and +3 and Under
Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans (-5.5) O/U 48.5
I've had success riding both of these teams early in this young season, so this pick is going to pain me. The Raiders have been running the ball exceptionally well so far this season, and the Texans are going to be without Andre Johnson, which would have me thinking Oakland if not for the Texans run game. The Texans outright dominated on the ground against Pittsburgh(!!!!) last week, and Arian Foster looks to be all the way back from the hamstring injury, and the running game as a whole might have looked even better than last year. I'm taking the Texans here, and the over even on the inflated total.
Prediction - Texans 31 Raiders 20
Picks - Texans -5.5 and Over
New Orleans Saints (-6.5) at Carolina Panthers O/U 51
The Cam Newton train is going to come off the rails at some point, and I think it's going to be this week here against Gregg Williams and the Saints defense. They are going to blitz him all day long, and they are strong enough on the back end to take care of Steve Smith and the Panthers' tight ends. On the other side of the ball, the Saints' offense had it's lowest scoring game on Sunday when they put up 23 against the Jaguars. They will score plenty on the Panthers, and win this game easily.
Prediction - Saints 31 Panthers 17
Picks - Saints -6.5 and Under
Cincinnati Bengals at Jacksonville Jaguars (-1) O/U 36.5
Andy Dalton and A.J. Green are well ahead of where you would expect them to be that this point after the lockout, and it's put the Bengals in position as one of the better bad teams. On the other side, Blaine Gabbert hasn't impressed me yet, and the Jaguar defense looks vulnerable. It's a bit of a worry because it's a road game for Cincinnati, but Jacksonville has one of the worst home field advantages in the league. The Bengals should be able to win this game pretty easily, even if the final score is close.
Prediction - Bengals 20 Jaguars 13
Picks - Bengals -1 and Under
Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) O/U 39.5
The Steelers offensive line has been awful, and that's what brought this line down from 6.5 to 3 points already. The Titans have looked good through three games even in spite of the injury to Kenny Britt and the ineffectiveness of Chris Johnson. Even though it's a bad price now, I've still got to take the Titans here. The Steelers are expected to be better, but I think this might be an off year for them. It happens to all the great teams once and a while.
Prediction - Titans 27 Steelers 14
Picks - Titans -3 and Over
Seattle Seahawks at New York Giants (-9.5) O/U 43.5
I don't understand why this line isn't higher. I mean, it's Tarvaris Jackson on the road going west coast to east coast, playing against the Giants' fierce pass rush. It's Eli Manning at home on a hot streak going up against a Seattle defense that has given up 33 points to San Fran and then 24 to a not good Pittsburgh offense on the road in the first two games. I'd lay the full two touchdowns here no problem.
Prediction - Giants 30 Seahawks 14
Picks - Giants -9.5 and Over
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Francisco 49ers (-2.5) O/U 41.5
I'm not sold on this San Francisco team. They beat up Seattle week one, but that was on the back of a pair of return touchdowns. They then let Tony Romo lead a comeback on them with a broken rib in week two, which is a bad mark given two of Romo's other three games so far this year. Week three it was a win over the Bengals, but it was a 13-8 ugly game that the Bengals nearly won before a miscommunication between Andy Dalton and tight end Jermaine Gresham led to an interception that was almost incomplete. The Eagles then let them come back in week four, but I'm also not sure that this Philly team is very good, with just a win over the 0-4 Rams as a positive on their resume. All in all I think that the 49ers might be a mirage at 3-1 and the Buccaneers shouldn't be getting points, even on the road after a Monday night game. The Buccaneers should win a close one in San Fran.
Prediction - Buccaneers 24 49ers 21
Picks - Buccaneers Straight up and +2.5 and Over
New York Jets at New England Patriots (-7.5) O/U 49
The Jets looked awful on Sunday Night. Nick Mangold should be back, but I don't think it will help the fact that Mark Sanchez is awful. While I think the line would have been higher if the Patriots had a real pass rush, I still think the Patriots should be able to clean up the Jets here at home. Their offense has been so high powered, that I don't think Sanchez has a chance to keep up with them. The Jet defense can't slow down all the weapons. Even if it's Danny Woodhead beating them, it will be someone.
Prediction - Patriots 27 Jets 14
Picks - Patriots -7.5 and Under
San Diego Chargers (-3.5) at Denver Broncos O/U 45.5
I'm surprised by the line here. The Chargers have been great statistically, but haven't put up the points to go with their expected offensive output so far. The Broncos meanwhile, just let the Packers put up 49 on them. I think it could be a similar result here on Sunday, with the Chargers putting together their first complete game of the year and just blowing the Broncos out of the building.
Prediction - Chargers 35 Broncos 17
Picks - Chargers -3.5 and Over
Green Bay Packers (-5.5) at Atlanta Falcons O/U 53
This game had me go back an forth a few times. I'm not sold that the Falcons are great, but I think the Packers are going to have to lose a game some time this year, and on the road in Atlanta makes sense. Atlanta is going to be up for this game after losing at home to the Packers in the playoffs last season, and the Packers have looked vulnerable on the defensive side of the ball early this season. I think it will be a shootout, but the Falcons should be able to get a win at home here.
Prediction - Falcons 31 Packers 28
Picks - Falcons Straight up and +5.5 and Over
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions (-5) O/U 47.5
I don't think this Chicago team is prepared for what is going to happen to them on Sunday. I don't see a way the Bears win, unless they somehow turn their whole offensive line into all pros this week. Otherwise, there is no way that the Lions won't dominate this game defensively with their front seven. On the other side of the ball, Calvin Johnson is literally uncoverable right now, as long as Matthew Stafford is healthy and that will be enough for the Lions to score enough to cover this spread.
Prediction - Lions 31 Bears 14
Picks - Lions -5 and Under
That's it for the day. As always, feedback is welcome below in the comment section, and if you want to reach me for any reason, you can leave a comment or email me at bigderfsports at gmail dot com.
-Fred "Big Derf" Tobin