NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS) Week 4

Raise your hand if you've figured things out so far

Raise your hand if you had the Miami Dolphins being in first place in the AFC East entering their Week 4 matchup at New England. The same number of hands raised for that statement are the ones who picked the Bills to go into Minnesota and be up 27-0 at halftime over the Vikings.

 

It was a wild Week 3 in the NFL with Matt Patricia picking up his first win against his former team as a massive underdog. Results like this show how hard it is to predict on a week-to-week basis. Anything can happen and that's part of the reason why we tune in every Sunday (and Thursday and Monday too).

 

Record: 10-5-1 (53-32-3 last year)

 

Note: All times are ET and all games are on Sunday, Sept. 30 unless indicated.

 

Here are this week's best NFL picks against the spread:

 

Miami Dolphins (3-0) at New England Patriots (1-2), 1 p.m.

We couldn't be getting the Patriots any lower then we are this week. New England is coming off a 26-10 loss at Detroit in which Bill Belichick's team looked really anemic and slow. The Patriots managed just 120 passing yards while allowing more than 400 total yards to the Lions. Typically, a bounce back always comes and it will on Sunday. Josh Gordon should make his New England debut, which will open things up for everyone else. Miami is 3-0 and I'm glad for it because I've been on the Dolphins all season long so far. The thing is, they've done it with just enough offense and stops on defense. The defensive line took two hits with William Hayes and Andre Branch both getting injured. The Fins have thrown for more than 250 yards just once while allowing their last two opponents to crack the 300-yard mark through the air. Last year, New England won this game at home 35-17 while falling down in Miami 27-20. The Patriots have covered 17 of their last 27 meetings against the Dolphins at home. I think that trend continues as I just don't see the Dolphins being able to skate by against the Pats. SELECTION: New England -6.5

 

Detroit Lions (1-2) at Dallas Cowboys (1-2), 1 p.m.

The Lions are feeling good after their Sunday night win over the Patriots. In that one, they showed a rare run game with Kerryon Johnson finally putting an end to Detroit's drought of 100-yard rushers. That success on the ground took some pressure off of Matthew Stafford, which is a good thing. The defense has stood tall so far this season as no one has gone over 200 passing yards. That streak should continue considering the Cowboys' own offensive struggles. If they are smart, they'd give the ball to Ezekiel Elliott 35 times and force teams to have to deal with that pounding. Dallas has actually played pretty good defense, but the unit still needs some help from the offense. Sean Lee is dealing with a hamstring injury, but this defense has reached a point where it can survive without him. All three Cowboys games have gone under the total thus far and I think that trend continues. Dallas has gone under in 22 of its last 36 games overall. The Lions came back to earth, but the Cowboys' offense continues to be stuck in the mud. SELECTION: Under 43.5 points

 

Philadelphia Eagles (2-1) at Tennessee Titans (2-1), 1 p.m.

Carson Wentz gets his first road game of the season as the Eagles head to Nashville to face the Titans. Tennessee has held opponents to 16.7 points and 337 yards per game. Philadelphia is getting healthier, as running backs Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles are closer to returning to action with wide receiver Alshon Jeffery not too far behind. Until this offense is whole and on the same page, don't be surprised if the Eagles continue to struggle. Fortunately the defense has continued its high level of play. It'll be very difficult for the Titans to run the ball against a unit that has given up 185 rushing yards total so far. Marcus Mariota should get the start, but he's not 100 percent so it's tough for me to see Tennessee putting up a bunch of points either. This figures to be a field position game that I think the Eagles will end up winning. Neither team scares me right now. Philadelphia also has Minnesota up next so there could be a slight look-ahead factor as well. SELECTION: Under 41.5

 

Baltimore Ravens (2-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1-1), 8:20 p.m.

The Steelers picked up a 30-27 win on Monday night 30-27 on the road against the Buccaneers. I think a victory like that helps with confidence especially with the Ravens coming to town. Ben Roethlisberger had a rare strong performance away from Heinz Field while the defense forced four turnovers and harassed Ryan Fitzpatrick all night. Fitzpatrick did his share of damage as well, and Pittsburgh has some issues in the secondary that need to be addressed. Baltimore's offense has been better in the early going, but I'm not really a believer just yet. The Ravens rely on a mediocre group of running backs to go along with their revamped WR corps. The defense fared well at home, but was gashed through the air in the Week 2 Thursday night road loss to Cincinnati. This starts a stretch of three straight and four of five road games for Baltimore. The Browns and Chiefs at least threatened the Steelers with a running game, which might be a challenge for the Ravens to mimic. Pittsburgh is the better team right now even though Baltimore has the better record. I think the Steelers get the win at home. I may be wrong, but I'm not that scared of the Ravens' offense. SELECTION: Pittsburgh -3

 

Kansas City Chiefs (3-0) at Denver Broncos (2-1), 8:15 p.m. (Mon.)

It's gutsy to get in front of the Chiefs right now considering they are putting up almost 40 points per game. Still, I think the run ends on Monday night. Their defense is allowing nearly 500 yards per game. This is the third road game over the first four weeks for the Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes is putting up incredible numbers and I'm not going to take that away from them. But this is the best defense Kansas City will have faced to this point. Denver's secondary has been a little bit disappointing, but Bradley Roby and Chris Harris Jr. are one of the best cornerback tandems in the league and they have solid safeties complementing them. I think Case Keenum and the offense can move the ball on the Chiefs and I think the Broncos can play just enough to defense to make things interesting. I'm concerned about the coaching advantage that the road team has, but I just think home dogs on Monday night are worth a look often. If Denver can run the ball with some success that will keep Kansas City's offense off of the field. SELECTION: Denver +5.5

 

NOTE: I came really close to playing Oakland (vs. Cleveland) and Dallas (vs. Detroit) this week, but I couldn't pull the trigger at the key number of three. It won't be an official play, but if at some point the line goes down to 2.5, I'd consider jumping on. I think the Raiders and Cowboys will play better at home, but I want the number where I feel more comfortable. It probably won't dip, but keep an eye on it throughout the weekend.

 

— 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.

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