Week 4 for a mixed bag in the NFL and that was also the case in this particular column. On the bright side, we avoided full-fledged disaster with a couple of correct sides but, for the most part, it was a grind and that sometimes occurs in a league where betting lines are often spot-on.
Still, we are undeterred and the prospect of winners exists for Week 5 and beyond. Before we bring the winners for Week 5, let’s take a look at where we stand for the season.
- Week 4: 2-2-1
- 2018 Season: 12-7-1
Come get these winners.
Miami Dolphins (+6.5) over Cincinnati Bengals
The Dolphins were absolutely atrocious last week and that is fresh in the minds of everyone as they approach this particular game. On the flip side, the Bengals have looked good this season, including a last-second victory over the Falcons on the road. It should be noted that the Bengals do appear to be the better team but, in all honesty, this line is probably two or three points too high. Miami is better than they showed last week and it might be time for some Bengals regression, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. Take the candy.
Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens UNDER 23.5 points in the first half
There is a great temptation to take the Browns at home, especially with the number getting to three. However, the under is my favorite side and the first half is even better. These are two of the top five defenses in the NFL according to DVOA and, while I enjoy the Baker Mayfield experience, a case could be made that neither quarterback is overly trustworthy at this moment. I would fully endorse a full-game play but the first half is preferable in that fewer of the hysterics that can occur late in the game (with the Browns involved) are actually in play. Hopefully we’ll be at the window by 2:30 pm ET.
Detroit Lions (+1) over Green Bay Packers
I’m not going to enjoy this one any more than you are but the Lions are the right side. In a not-so-stunning twist, most of the tickets are on the Packers and, in general, it is more fun to bet on Aaron Rodgers than Matthew Stafford. Still, the Lions are likely playing for their season in this spot and I expect something of a “kitchen sink” game at home. For good measure, the line is off by a point or two, as the Packers are better than the Lions but, if home field is worth three points are they a full four points better? I don’t think so. Home underdogs forever.
Atlanta Falcons and Pittsburgh Steelers UNDER 57.5 points
This is probably insane. The Falcons are absolutely decimated on the defensive side of the ball, with injuries everywhere. That leads to a bottom-five defense at the moment and, while the Steelers are better in preventing opponents from scoring, Pittsburgh isn’t exactly dominant. However, this is basically a principle play at this point, as 57.5 points in the NFL is a rather insane total and one that I just can’t get away from. All of the bets are on the over and the house will need the under. We like to be with the house.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+3) over Kansas City Chiefs
We got to the window betting against the Chiefs last week, albeit on the strength of a good number. Still, this is kind of a perfect setup in that the public still loves the Chiefs as an undefeated team and we were able to see some of their weaknesses. Make no mistake, Patrick Mahomes is special and it won’t be fun to be on the other side once again. With that out of the way, the Jaguars have the best defense that he’s seen and, perhaps more importantly, Kansas City’s defense is still (very) bad. Take the points and pray.