We’re all set to get going with the Week 4 odds for NFL this week at Bang the Book, as there are a plethora of games that we are going to be focusing in on that are going to have some huge impacts on the entire season.
After a week where we had not just one, but two teams favored by more than two touchdowns, both of which covered, we only have one game on the docket with more than a seven-point spread in what very well could be one of the closest weeks in NFL history.
Remember that last week, the third of the double digit favorites, the San Francisco 49ers were beaten by 20 points on their home field. No one figured that this team would be just 1-2 after two games (with the one win being over a 1-2 Green Bay team, no less), and now, they have to go on the road, halfway across the country on a short week of preparation without arguably their best player, LB Aldon Smith, who has left the team for the time being. The Niners have to take on the St. Louis Rams, who proved last year that they had the answers for QB Colin Kaepernick and company by managing a tie on the road at Candlestick Park. Now, QB Sam Bradford and the gang are just +3 at home against the team that was theoretically supposed to be at the top of the NFC West all season long.
The one double digit favorite that we have is not surprisingly the Denver Broncos. The teams that have run into the Broncos have all ended up on the wrong side of the cover line, though at least it was mildly interesting for the first time on Monday Night Football. Denver has won 14 straight regular season games, setting a franchise record along the way, and it is going to be giving 11 to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles though, have not played a game on regular rest this season, and not only are they getting regular rest, but they’re getting extended rest as well after playing on Thursday Night Football last week at home.
Aside from that, we have a heck of a lot of close games for one reason or another. There is only one example where a pair of 0-3 teams are playing against each other, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are taking on the Minnesota Vikings in that one. The Steelers are laying a point, but this could be a game where time literally just stops, the football is so bad. Neither of these teams have any traction at the moment.
Of course, there is only one game between a pair of teams that are undefeated as well, and that game comes on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. The Miami Dolphins have already beaten a pair of teams that were in the playoffs last season, and now, they get to take on a team that is very likely to be in the playoffs this season. The New Orleans Saints started off last season at 0-4 and rallied to go 7-5 in their last 12 games, and they are now 3-0 to start off this year with Head Coach Sean Payton back in the fold. New Orleans is giving six, and it should be a great game to end the week.
One of the games between the New York Giants and the Kansas City Chiefs is the only one where we have one team at 0-3 and one team at 3-0. Of course, had you asked us at the outset of the year which one of these teams would be 3-0 and which would be 0-3 by now, we definitely would have gotten it wrong. The Chiefs are the 3-0 team, and they are already up to -4 on the NFL betting lines this week at home against a Giants team that is coming off of one of its most embarrassing defeats in franchise history, a 38-0 loss that was never even remotely close against Carolina.
What we really don’t have a lot of are divisional games. In fact, after Thursday, there are only three other divisional tussles all week long. The big one pits the Chicago Bears up against the Detroit Lions. Here’s a chance for Detroit to prove that it has a team that can contend for a division title this year, as a victory puts it in a tie for first place with the Bears. A loss though, and Chicago is two games clear having already played one of its horrid divisional road games in Motown. The Lions are -3 to start off the week, and they should be in line for a great game in this one.
The resurgent Cleveland Browns are going to be at home for the first time without RB Trent Richardson, who is now playing for the Colts after getting traded there last week. Cleveland is +5 in a game where we expect to see QB Brian Hoyer starting. The Cincinnati Bengals flexed their muscles last week, beating the Green Bay Packers and becoming the first team in NFL history to win a game after allowing 30 consecutive points under any circumstance. Now, the Bengals can open up a bit of a lead in the division with a win and some help from the Baltimore Ravens losing. The Ravens are -3.5 on the road against rookie QB EJ Manuel and the Buffalo Bills.
The last divisional game that we have yet to speak looks to be a blowout in the making. The Indianapolis Colts are coming off of a huge win in the Bay Area, and they are going to be taking on the hopeless Jacksonville Jaguars, who really seem to be a threat to go 0-16 on the season. QB Andrew Luck and the gang are -7 road favorites.
The best game on the docket very well could be the game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Houston Texans. This is a very sharp spot to be backing Houston, knowing that the Seahawks have to come on the road after posting a big win over San Fran followed by a blowout over Jacksonville. The oddsmakers and the public bettors have to feel all high and mighty over the fact that Seattle is destroying everything in its path at the moment, but we aren’t so sure that’s the case. The Texans are coming off of their worst game of the season, a blowout loss in Baltimore, and they know that they are going to have to win this one if they want to keep their lead in the suddenly very close AFC South. Houston is +3, but many sharps are already tabbing this game as an upset.
The good news for the rest of the games that we have yet to discuss is that they are all figuring to be relatively close and very difficult to handicap. The Arizona Cardinals are +3 on the road across the country against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while the New York Giants are +4.5 at the Tennessee Titans. The Dallas Cowboys are going to the West Coast to take on the San Diego Chargers and are -2.5 to show for their work. San Diego is 1-2, but its two losses have both come in the dying seconds of the game, and it just as easily could be a 3-0 side.
Finally on Sunday Night Football, the disappointing Atlanta Falcons are taking on the New England Patriots. This is the first time all season long that QB Tom Brady and the gang are taking on a team that should be able to stay on the same field with them. Atlanta is -2 in this one, and this is going to be a game that it has to have. The Falcons have all sorts of problems right now, and they are just 1-2 after a pair of relatively close losses.
In regards to ‘totals’, we have one of the highest on the board that we have ever seen in that Denver/Philly game. The number to beat is 57.5, and between QB Peyton Manning throwing an NFL record 12 TD passes in three games and the way that the Eagles are going to try to run up and down the field, we don’t doubt that this one could get there, and possibly get there in short order.
While we have a game that is one of the highest ‘totals’ that we have ever seen and the highest number of the season, we also have the lowest number of the season on the board as well at 38. The Jets and the Titans are featuring this low number, and it is a game that could be ugly. There were only 24 points and just over 500 yards when these two teams met last year, and 94 of those yards came on an RB Chris Johnson scamper.
|Thursday, September 26|
|8:25 PM||NFL||San Francisco at St. Louis||SF -3||42|
|Sunday, September 29|
|1:00 PM||CBS||Baltimore at Buffalo||BAL -3.5||44|
|1:00 PM||CBS||Cincinnati at Cleveland||CIN -5||41|
|1:00 PM||FOX||Chicago at Detroit||DET -2.5||48|
|1:00 PM||FOX||NY Giants at Kansas City||KC -4||44|
|1:00 PM||FOX||Arizona at Tampa Bay||TB -3||40.5|
|1:00 PM||CBS||Indianapolis at Jacksonville||IND -9.5||43|
|1:00 PM||FOX||Seattle at Houston||SEA -3||43|
|1:00 PM||CBS||Pittsburgh at Minnesota||PIT -1||42|
|4:05 PM||CBS||NY Jets at Tennessee||TEN -4.5||39|
|4:25 PM||FOX||Washington at Oakland||WAS -3||46|
|4:25 PM||FOX||Philadelphia at Denver||DEN -11||58|
|4:25 PM||FOX||Dallas at San Diego||DAL -1||45.5|
|8:30 PM||NBC||New England at Atlanta||ATL -1||47|
|Monday, September 30|
|8:30 PM||ESPN||Miami at New Orleans||NO -6.5||47|
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.