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Betting Against the Spread: NFL Picks For Week 4


Bye weeks have begun in the NFL although it's just the Titans and Patriots for Week 4. The cream has risen to the top with the Packers, Cardinals and Patriots separating themselves from the pack. Meanwhile the winless club lost a few members in the Colts and Eagles although both fan bases can't feel great about how they won. That said, a win is a win and both teams have a decent shot to make it to two wins and .500 on the year. 

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Record: 6-3-1 (2-0-1 last week)

Oakland Raiders (2-1) at Chicago Bears (0-3)

The Raiders are favored for just the second time in their last three seasons. For a point of reference, they have been a road favorite of three points or less just 15 times since 1992. This is a solid Oakland establishment led by Derek Carr and Amari Cooper. The offense has some balance with Latavius Murray on the ground. Chicago's offense struggled last week in Seattle and may do so again with Jimmy Clausen at the helm. The Bears have not thrown for more then 230 yards in any of their three games. They are pretty much relying on Matt Forte to do his thing although Alshon Jeffery should play in this one. It's an odd statistic with the Bears allowing 35 points per game, but only on 331 yards of offense. This is the second straight road game for Oakland which means the Raiders could struggle with the early kickoff time. I don't think I can back the Bears in this one even though it seems like the right side. SELECTION: Under 44.5

Philadelphia Eagles (1-2) at Washington Redskins (1-2)

As I've noted in past articles, I am an Eagles fan and a highly critical one at that so play this at your own risk. Yes Philly won a game, but the offense was unspectacular once again. They are managing just 64.3 yards per game on the ground and 221 yards per game through the air. Washington's defense has been real good especially against the run. It's quite the opposite for the Skins, who can run it real well, but struggle with the aerial attack. Kirk Cousins threw it 49 times against the Giants and that's not a recipe for success. Weather could be a real issue with this one in that rain and wind from the hurricane could be in play. With that, we'd see a lot of running plays with two good rushing defenses. The under has hit in five of the last six home games where the Skins were three point underdogs or less. I say get in this early before the weather takes the total lower. SELECTION: Under 45

Kansas City Chiefs (1-2) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-0)

Kansas City has the quick turnaround after a poor effort in Green Bay on Monday night. The biggest thing to come out of that one was the end of the WR touchdown-less streak. The other area that stood out was how awful the Chiefs' defense looked. This is a unit that got gashed by Aaron Rodgers to the tune of 325 passing yards and 38 points. The Bengals are capable of doing the same, as they are coming off an effort at Baltimore where they put up over 450 yards of offense. Cincinnati's defense should be able to key in on Jamaal Charles and Travis Kelce, which effectively limits KC. The Bengals are a very good ATS team especially at home where they have covered 13 of their last 17. SELECTION: Bengals -4

Minnesota Vikings (2-1) at Denver Broncos (3-0)

The Vikings' defense has been stellar this season allowing just 50 points in three games against the Niners, Lions and Chargers. Both teams of these teams have already faced and beaten the Lions, with the Broncos' victory coming in Detroit last Sunday night. Denver's offense has done enough to win despite not getting anything from the ground game. The Broncos will have to keep Minnesota honest as the Vikes have a solid secondary and a young nucleus. The big question is how Minny will move the ball as you have to figure the Broncos will stack the box against Adrian Peterson. Teddy Bridgewater has been disappointing statistically and will be asked to do more in this one. There should be plenty of FGs in this one. SELECTION: Under 44


- "Thursday Night Football" gives us one of the best rivalries in football. It also gives us our first look in awhile at Michael Vick the starting quarterback. There's concern about how well he will run this offense, but with weapons like Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, he won't have too much to worry about. Vick's problem has been with turnovers, which he can't do in this game. Baltimore is a desperate bunch after the tough loss to the Bengals at home. Joe Flacco should have some success moving on this vulnerable Pittsburgh defense. Still, I don't know if I'm ready to lay the points on the road in this one. I think the play is Pittsburgh at home or nothing at all. 

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- We get our first London game with the Jets and the Dolphins at 9:30 ET on Sunday morning. Last year Miami played the Raiders in Wembley and won 38-14. This year's version would love to play that well as they are 1-2 and have looked absolutely awful at times. The defense was supposed to be a strength, but instead they've allowed nearly 400 yards per game as a unit. The Jets came back down to earth a bit against the Eagles, but they are still in better shape then their opponent. The under seems like a solid play although there has been a team that has scored 30 points or more in five of the last six London games. 

- Sometimes in handicapping you get feelings that aren't based on any numbers, but playing a hunch. The Packers have been rolling while the 49ers have been awful since Week 1. San Francisco has won two straight in this series, which will probably fuel Green Bay more. Still, the 49ers' offense is capable of more than the seven points and 156 yards they put up against Arizona. This is a big spread for a reason, but I'm not quite ready to hand it over to the road team. As I said, sometimes you just get these feelings and I have a hunch San Fran gets up for this one and covers the spread. Green Bay is 8-9 ATS the last three seasons on the road.

— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.