Friday, September 30, 2011

NFL 2011 - Betting Lines - Picks To Win, Versus the Spread and the Over/Under: Week 4

I'm not much of a gambler, but I know many of you are!  So, this year I will be helping out my friends who like to make wagers versus the spread.  Here, I will give you my picks for every NFL game this weekend on who will win, versus the spread and the over/under.  Additionally, I'll give you some analysis on the logic behind the picks.  Making good picks is all about good information.  Week 3 of the NFL season was a big week for some key player injuries, so gauging picks and final scores will come down to key injury factors this week and the weeks to come.  Injuries are a part of the game and that's why you should be considering who is in and out of the games to make sound wagers.  Here is how I fared in Week 3 and my overall record to date:


Winner: 9-7
Winner w/ Spread: 7-8-1
Over/Under: 11-5

Trifecta: 4

Perfect Team Score Predictions: 0
Perfect Game Score Predictions: 0

*2011 Overall Record*

Winner: 31-17 (.646)
Winner w/ Spread: 21-24-3 (.467)
Over/Under: 27-19-2 (.587)

Trifecta: 10

Perfect Team Score Predictions: 6   [Week 1]: Atlanta, St. Louis, Detroit [Week 2]: Arizona, Tampa Bay, Minnesota
Perfect Game Score Predictions: 2   [Week 1]:Atlanta @ St. Louis  [Week 2]: Tampa Bay @ Minnesota

NOTE: The team with a negative number in parenthesis "(-3)" next to their name is the favorite to win the matchup and the number represents how many points the favorite has to score more than the underdog to count as a winning bet.  The over/under for the game is represented by a number in parenthesis with the letters o and u "(o/u 46)".  The number represents the amount of points you are wagering whether or not the two team's combined score will be in excess of or short of.  Official betting lines courtesy of

So, without further adieu, the picks and analysis for NFL game wagers: Week 4...

Detroit @ Dallas(-1.5)  (o/u 46)

Savant Spread Pick: Detroit to win ~ 27-16
Over/Under Pick: Under 

Result: Detroit 34  Dallas 30 / Total Score 64 /
Winner: +  Spread: +  O/U: -

Though the Cowboys have two big wins in the last couple of weeks, the team has been severely exposed in the process and pulled out wins in the waning moments against two teams that are not considered in the upper echelon of quality teams in the NFL in Washington and San Francisco.  Romo is still sore with broken ribs and DT Suh is going to be a terror in the backfield.  Look for a few sacks from the Detroit defense, possibly knocking out Romo, and a complete shutdown of the Dallas running game.

Dallas has injuries in the secondary and are being anchored by inexperience.  Calvin Johnson will have a huge day in the vertical passing game.  Lions will win running away, but a lack of Dallas offense will fall short of the 46 point o/u threshold.


Jacksonville vs. New Orleans(-7)  (o/u 45)

Savant Spread Pick: New Orleans and the points to win ~ 31-17
Over/Under Pick: Over 

Result: Jacksonville 10  New Orleans 23 / Total Score 33 /
Winner: +  Spread: +  O/U: -

This game is in Jacksonville, but the Jags have little to no home-field advantage in the NFL.  New Orleans is firing on all cylinders despite missing their top WR Marques Colston, who is due to return to the lineup this Sunday.  His return only makes that ridiculous passing attack even stronger.  The way they stretch the field with their speedy WR's gives tons of room underneath for lightning-bug, Darren Sproles, to catch the ball and gain big chunks of yards against a mediocre Jags D.

Jacksonville has their young buck QB, Blaine Gabbert, making his second start and it's not going to get any easier for him this week.  The Saints swallowed up Jay Cutler of the Bears with blitz schemes and they will do the same to the young QB.  MJD and the running attack for Jacksonville will be the only reason they will score a couple of TD's in the game.  This is a rout that ends up in the over because of the Saints' high powered offense putting up lots of points.


San Francisco @ Philadelphia(-9)  (o/u 44.5)

Savant Spread Pick: San Francisco with the points; Philadelphia to win ~ 21-17
Over/Under Pick: Under 

Result: San Francisco 24  Philadelphia 23 / Total Score 21 /
Winner: -  Spread: +  O/U: -

This is a game that Philly will win but it's going to be a lot closer than the spread is indicating.  In fact, if their is a game to bet on with the spread it is this one.  Michael Vick has proven that he is as fragile as we were all afraid he'd be in 2011.  He's only finished 1 of 3 games thus far.  He may make an early exit again this week if not at least have hindered play with his badly bruised non-throwing hand.

LeSean McCoy is a nice back between the 20's but the Eagles still lack that goal-line presence at running back you need when it's time to grind out the tough, red-zone yards.  The Eagles will likely score their points with big plays from DeSean Jackson or Jeremy Maclin.  The 49ers are an under-appreciated defense that will stop the run against Philly and will do some running of their own behind Frank Gore and facing the Eagles 32nd ranked rush defense.  49ers make a game of this, but come up a little short.  Good defense from the 49ers and some bad offense from the 49ers will keep this game in the under.

St. Louis vs. Washington(-1.5)  (o/u 43.5)

Savant Spread Pick: Washington and the points to win ~ 23-17
Over/Under Pick: Under

Result: St. Louis 10  Washington 17 / Total Score 27 /
Winner: +  Spread: +  O/U: + 


The Rams were supposed to be a stronger team this year but have failed to live up to the preseason billing.  With leading receiver Danny Amendola banged up and the offensive line giving up a near league leading 11 sacks, the passing game has suffered greatly.  This team will be better with their MVP RB Steven Jackson due to return and appears to be 100%, but it won't be enough to get the job done against a better-than-advertised Redskins team.  Rex Grossman is proving that he can be a solid pro QB in the NFL and his new favorite target, Santana Moss, has been making big plays alongside new standout TE Fred Davis.

St. Louis has done little to show it can win this game with an offense that is one-dimensional because of injuries to key skill position players and the defense was torched last week in the passing game to Joe Flacco and the Ravens.  The Skins new rushing attack behind the newly acquired Tim Hightower and that classic Mike Shanahan zone blocking scheme, the Skins should be able to move the ball down the field with little deterrence.  This game is more about what St. Louis will not do than what Washington WILL do.  Neither offense is explosive and neither have much TD success in the red-zone so this game will stay in the under because of several chip-shot field goals.

Tennessee @ Cleveland(-1)  (o/u 39)

Savant Spread Pick: Tennessee to win ~ 19-16
Over/Under Pick: Over

Result: Tennessee 31  Cleveland 13 / Total Score 44 /
Winner: +  Spread: +  O/U: - 

The loss of Kenny Britt for the season for Tennessee will be a major blow to the offense, but look for WR Nate Washington to pick up some slack in his absence.  He is a nice WR2 who can be a decent WR1 but won't fully fill those Kenny Britt shoes.  Chris Johnson has been pedestrian at best, but he is too good to be held down for this long.  He'll break out and have his first 100 yard rushing game of the season versus a marginal Cleveland defense that is worse in 2011 without former D-Coordinator, Rob Ryan, who took his talents to Dallas.

Cleveland's Colt McCoy is making small and steady strides toward being an effective game manager in the NFL at QB, but he is still a project underway and he's not ready to step it up just yet, especially against a Tennessee defense that is better than most realize.  The real sleeper here though has been Matt Hasselbeck, who was thought of as a 1 year replacement for Vince Young in 2011, but has two consecutive 300+ passing yard games for the Titans. The only thing that separates the Titans and the Browns for this game is one homerun play by Chris Johnson on a long TD run, which I anticipate we will see at least one of in this game.  I'm still taking the under though, because I don't see much consistent offense happening in this game.


Cincinnati vs Buffalo(-3)  (o/u 43.5)

Savant Spread Pick: Buffalo and the points to win ~ 28-24
Over/Under Pick: Over

Result: Cincinnati 23  Buffalo 20 / Total Score 43 /
Winner: -  Spread: -  O/U: - 


Buffalo is coming off of an emotional win to snap a 15 game losing streak against the Patriots so I expect a bit of a let down from the Bills this week against the Bengals, but it won't be enough to lose this game to a team that scored 6 points on offense last week against the 49ers.  The Bills defense has been a bit suspect in the last couple of games and I expect that Cedric Benson, Andy Dalton and A.J. Green will have some nice moments on offense, but it's going to come up just short against a Bills offense that is lighting people up right now with Ryan Fitzpatrick and his already 9 passing TD's in three games.  The Bills high powered offense and mediocre D will make for a decently high scoring game; enough to push it past the over.

Kansas City vs. Minnesota(-1.5)  (o/u 39.5)

Savant Spread Pick: Minnesota to win ~ 31-19
Over/Under Pick: Over

Result: Kansas City 22  Minnesota 17 / Total Score 39 /
Winner: -  Spread: -  O/U: -


A battle of two 0-3 teams, but only one of them has looked like a truly winless team and that is the Chiefs. Kansas City has been outscored by opponents, 109-27!   Meanwhile, the 0-3 Vikings have had a series of monumental collapses in the second half, blowing double digit leads in every game.  The Vikings are an extremely hard team to gauge because they look like a 13-3 type of team in the first half and a 3-13 type of team in the second half in 2011.  The common denominator for this game though is the league's most fearsome back, Adrian Peterson who I expect to absolutely torch the Chiefs defense without top tackling safety Eric Berry who was lost for the year against Buffalo.  Donavon McNabb will do enough to manage the game and not lose it for the Vikes and Peterson will have 25-29 carries en route to the blowout win which will catapult this game into the over.
Carolina @ Chicago(-6.5)  (o/u 42.5)

Savant Spread Pick: Carolina with the points; Chicago to win ~ 16-13
Over/Under Pick: Under

Result: Carolina 29  Chicago 34 / Total Score 63 /
Winner: +  Spread: +  O/U: - 

Cam Newton didn't wow last week but did pick up his first career win against Jacksonville on the road.  He had to come back to earth at some point and count on him staying grounded as his two game outburst will prove to be a complete anomaly as defenses get more tape on his tendencies and better expose his weaknesses.  If any team can ground a QB it's Chicago, especially at home.  You may remember they stifled Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense at home in week one.  They will do the same against Carolina.  

Chicago's biggest problem is that they still do not have a real number one WR on the team.  They can't go vertical all that well and Matt Forte has proven to be their only consistent offensive option running or receiving.  When your RB is your top receiver, who have major issues at WR.  Their offense won't do much, but it will be just enough to top the score that the vaunted Chicago D will hold Cam and Co. to on Sunday.  Great Chicago D and poor Chicago O will keep this game in the under.  

Pittsburgh @ Houston(-4)  (o/u 45)

Savant Spread Pick: Houston and the points to win ~ 26-21
Over/Under Pick: Over

Result: Pittsburgh 10  Houston 17 / Total Score 27 /
Winner: +  Spread: +  O/U: - 

The Texans, as good as they are, are even better a team at home than on the road and Pittsburgh has not done traditionally well traveling west to play on the road.   The Steelers have been showing signs that this is a defense that is going to need to be revamped after this season.  They are just not playing with the speed and discipline that they are accustomed to in Pittsburgh.  Houston can, and will, take advantage of the Steelers slower defense with their high powered receiver, Andre Johnson and they will be playing their fist game with last year's rushing champion, Arian Foster finally healthy from his hamstring tear.

The Steelers also showed a glaring weakness at offensive line where former pass rusher extraordinaire, Dwight Freeney looked like it was 2008 all over again the way he was dominating that pass blocking.  If an older Freeney can dominate the line against the Steelers, a younger, better version of Freeney, in Mario Williams, will have a field day sacking QB Big Ben and hitting RB Mendenhall in the backfield for losses.  Because of the high powered Texans offense and the expectation that Mike Wallace and Big Ben will connect on a homerun or two for a couple of TD's, this game nips the over.

vs. Atlanta(-4.5)  (o/u 38.5)

Savant Spread Pick: Atlanta and the points to win ~ 24-10
Over/Under Pick: Under

Result: Seattle 28  Atlanta 30 / Total Score 58 /
Winner: +  Spread: -  O/U: - 

Seattle managed to squeak out a win against the Cardinals last week, but you can count on that being one of the very few they have this season.  Atlanta should have no problem handling the Seahawks, even having to travel 2,500 miles for the game.  The far travel west would normally be a disadvantage to a team traveling but the Seahawks are just that bad.  There isn't much to say that isn't already known about these teams.  Turner will have a big game along with Ryan , White and Jones in that Atlanta offense and we all know how bad Tavaris Jackson is and that terrible running game with Marshawn Lynch and the porous O-line.  I can't name anyone on that Seahawk defense other than Lofa Tatupu, who has had a marginal season thus far.  Seahawks won't score enough to warrant taking the over, even at a low 38.5.

Arizona vs. New York(N)(-1)  (o/u 44.5)

Savant Spread Pick: New York(N) and the points to win ~ 24-13
Over/Under Pick: Over

Result: Arizona 10  New York(N) 17 / Total Score 27 /
Winner: +  Spread: +  O/U: -

The score prediction for this game has less to do with what I think of New York's offense and more to do with just how bad the Cardinals have been, especially with the expectations that bringing in QB Kevin Kolb made for this team.  It's been well documented just how bad the Seahawks are and they managed to beat the Cardinals last week 13-10.  How they are so bad, it's a bit of a mystery with the talent they have at WR, QB and RB.

The Giants, though decimated by injury, have good depth with the emergence of WR Cruz filling in for the injured WR Hixon, who was lost for the year two weeks ago.  Seattle had a good day running the ball against Arizona with their make-shift line and average RB.  With that though, what will the speedy RB Bradshaw and the big-man RB Jacobs do to this defense on Sunday?  I expect a rushing TD for both NYG RB's.  Arizona is bad, but they have enough capability to put up some points on the big play with WR Larry Fitzgerald.  They will do enough to help the Giants squeak out the over.


Miami @ San Diego(-7)  (o/u 44.5)

Savant Spread Pick: San Diego and the points to win ~ 26-13
Over/Under Pick: Under

Result: Miami 16  San Diego 26 / Total Score 39 /
Winner: +  Spread: +  O/U: +


Death, taxes and a slow start from the Chargers are all things in life it seems we can rely on happening every year.  They have looked very average against some mediocre teams but I think they break out a bit on offense against Miami, who has looked pretty bad in a couple of games, including a Tom Brady 500+ yard passing night in week 1.  As expected, Reggie Bush isn't handling a full work load, and the relief he's gotten from surging rookie RB Daniel Thomas won't be available to help alleviate the pressure on the Dolphins' running attack.

Last time I checked, the Chargers still have QB sensation Philip Rivers, WR stud Vincent Jackson and that dual threat running attack in Mike Tolbert and Ryan Matthews, who has started to fulfill last year's potential.  Miami will play with lots of desperation, which will keep the game close early and Brandon Marshall will have an impact, but San Diego will eventually pull away.  A desperate Miami team without Thomas won't be enough to help a powerful San Diego offense put up enough points for the over.

Denver @ Green Bay(-12.5)  (o/u 46)

Savant Spread Pick: Denver with the points; Green Bay to win ~ 28-20
Over/Under Pick: Under

Result: Denver 23  Green Bay 49 / Total Score 72 /
Winner: +  Spread: -  O/U: - 

Green Bay played a good game against Chicago last week but nothing warranting any consideration that they are playing their best football.  Last week was more about Chicago's inability to cover TE Jermichael Finley, who had 3 TD's.  Denver looked ok in a close loss to Tennessee.  QB Kyle Orton had a positive day with a couple TD passes along with a couple picks.  Green Bay has not been perfect on defense either, they can be exposed a bit in the passing game.  The Bears just didn't have the personnel at WR to threaten them.  Denver has under-rated, WR Brandon Lloyd back this week and will open up the offense for Willis McGahee and expect the run offense to have their moments.  In the end, it's not nearly enough to win, but the Broncos will be competitive enough to cover a 12.5 spread and they will play well enough on offense to push the over.  

Oakland vs. New England(-4)  (o/u 55)

Savant Spread Pick: Oakland to win ~ 35-28
Over/Under Pick: Over 

Result: Oakland 19  New England 31 / Total Score 50 / 
Winner: -  Spread: -  O/U: -

This game should play out to be one of the most explosive of the year.  Brady could end up with 400+ yards, TE Gronkowski could have 150+ and a couple of TD's and don't be surprised if Darren McFadden eclipses 160 yards rushing against a woefully bad Patriot defense.  Oakland is the real deal and that offensive line is crushing opposing front sevens.  McFadden should completely take over this game while Jason Campbell quietly has a 300+ yard passing game.  As you can see from the score prediction, I am predicting no field goals in the game.  I will be surprised if either team punts more than twice.  It will be an absolute shootout and it will be the Raider defense that contains the Pat offense just enough to outscore them behind McFadden and the punishing O-line.  The over is a given.  There will be little defense played in this game.

New York(A) @ Baltimore(-3.5)  (o/u 42)

Savant Spread Pick: Baltimore to win ~ 21-20
Over/Under Pick: Under
Result: New York(A) 17  Baltimore 34 / Total Score 39 /
Winner: +  Spread: -  O/U: -

This game will play out as the closest all week.  Games between these teams always play out very closely and are heavy on defense and punishing hits.  The Jets showed some chinks in their armor versus the Raiders in their run defense when they got torched by Darren McFadden.  The task won't be any easier this week facing an equally dominating back, RB Ray Rice.  Ravens' QB Joe Flacco has proven this far in the season that he's taken the next step to being an elite QB by improving his vertical passing game, especially with new standout WR rookie Torrey Smith, who had a 150+ yard game with three TD's last week.

Sanchez and company will make their share of plays for the Jets, but they will come up a play or two short.  Shonn Green isn't developing into the elite back he seemed destined to be and LT is just another year older.  Not that Tomlinson can't be an effective back, but the elite days are far over for him. Santonio Holmes should have a nice day but will mostly be held in check by S Ed Reed and that secondary.  This game will be so full of defense, they will bump up against the over but no chance they exceed it.

Indianapolis @ Tampa Bay(-10)  (o/u 40.5)

Savant Spread Pick: Tampa Bay and the points to win ~ 31-10
Over/Under Pick: Over

Result: Indianapolis 17  Tampa Bay 24 / Total Score 41 /
Winner: +  Spread: -  O/U: +

The most important thing to know about this game is that the Colts will be starting QB Curtis Painter, who has never before made an NFL start.  He looks good at times, but he makes more very bad mistakes as he just doesn't have the experience needed to lead an NFL offense.  Tampa Bay will be salivating at the opportunity to take the field against the young QB making his first start.

Joseph Addai will get his share of work, but that Tampa D will be stacking the box to stop the run and dare the inexperienced Painter to beat them throwing the ball.  Tampa Bay still has LeGarrett Blount at RB and expect him to have a big day running the ball.  Dwight Freeney and that pass rush may get after QB Josh Freeman of the Bucs a bit and cause a turnover or two, but this Tampa offense will roll on a weak Colts D that is better built to protect a lead than it is making a comeback.  The Colts poor offense behind Curtis Painter will create bad field position making for easy scores for the Bucs who are traditionally very difficult at home in recent years.  

I hope this guide proved to be helpful!  Look out for my NFL picks each and every week!

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