NFL Week 4 Picks Against the Spread: Vikings squash Bears, Panthers take down Texans as road underdogs roll – CBS Sports

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Not going to lie here, folks. I’m scorching hot on these best bets right now. For that reason, I’m not going to spend a bunch of time with an intro of sorts. I’m going to simply point out four quick things and get to the picks.

One, you can see my bets from last week here. 4-1 against the spread, although we lost the ML parlay and the outright parlay. 

Two, go listen to the new Sturgill Simpson album “Sound & Fury.” There is no one doing music like he’s doing right now. Best thing going. He’s a country music singer who just penned a psychedelic rock album that serves as the soundtrack to a Netflix anime film. How the bleep is that even possible? At various points, Simpson utilizes synthesizers blended with up-tempo country rock and ’80s heavy metal riffs to create a totally unique sound that also manages to have an enthusiastic vibe to it. If he comes near your town on tour, do not miss his shows. Trust me.

Three, my record for the season on our podcast best bets — which are all included below but somehow have not featured all the over/unders here to date — is 12-4-1. 75 percent! Our podcast best bets show also features R.J. White crushing over 60 percent of his best bets on the season. You can watch it every Thursday on YouTube

Four, speaking of the podcast, you can listen to it in the player below. Do it. We’ve got locks. And make sure and subscribe to the podcast while you’re at it. We do eight shows — EIGHT!! — a week and they’re all a blast. I promise you won’t regret it. 

To the picks!

Panthers +4.5 at Texans

Consider me all aboard the Kyle Allen bandwagon. From what I’ve seen and from what I’ve heard, this young man is capable of carrying the Panthers to a couple of surprising victories this season. Allen’s four touchdown day against the Cardinals in Week 3 probably inflates the public perception of him, but he adds two elements that an injured Cam Newton does not bring: accuracy and a downfield attack.

Newton’s shoulder and foot injuries derailed his mechanics and prevented him from making even the easiest of throws. Allen is a motivated, surprisingly mobile, undrafted free agent with a pedigree who slipped through the cracks at the college and pro level because of a variety of factors. He’ll get a second homecoming of sorts this week, having attended college at Houston for one year, where Major Applewhite benched him after three weeks in 2017. (Related? Major Applewhite was fired less than two years later.) Allen can hit D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel and Christian McCaffrey on the short satellite routes that Norv Turner loves to use and they can challenge the Texans deep.

My biggest concern here is how the revamped Texans offense line could look — if they protect Deshaun Watson, the Texans QB could have a field day against Carolina’s secondary. I’ll still take the points.

What picks can you make with confidence in Week 4? And which Super Bowl contender goes down hard? Visit SportsLine to see which NFL teams are winning more than 50 percent of simulations, all from the model that is up over $7,000 on its top-rated NFL picks. 

Redskins-Giants Over 49

I say “Giants and Redskins” and you say what? The answer would probably be “boring terrible football game.” I have no problem with that assertion, but I’ll fight back a little bit, because instead of being two awful offenses going against two decent defenses, the Skins/G-men matchup in 2019 is actually more about two fairly competent offenses going against two horrible defenses. It flaunts convention for this matchup.

Through three weeks the Redskins rank 27th in defensive DVOA at Football Outsiders and 27th in pass defense DVOA. The Giants are even worse, checking in at 31st in both categories. I might be worried about Washington finding points if they were starting Dwayne Haskins, but at this point of the week it looks like they’re going to roll with Case Keenum, who practiced on Thursday after being spotted in a walking boot on Wednesday. Washington is coughing up 260.7 passing yards per game, 8.1 yards per pass play and just carved up by Mitchell Trubisky at home in prime time. That would be embarrassing, except the Giants are giving up 332.3 yards per game through the air and an almost inconceivable 10.5 passing yards per play. That’s a first down every time the opposing quarterback throws the football! The Giants have essentially turned the quarterbacks they played through the first three weeks into a higher octane version of Patrick Mahomes

Keenum is legitimately a great fantasy option and a DFS sleeper this week. Stack him with a pass-catching option or two and reap the profits. Bang the over here and do the same.

Patriots-Bills Under 42.5

Wouldn’t be surprised to see this get to 41 or 40 by the time Sunday rolls around, so I would advise hitting it now. It’s the polar opposite of the Washington-New York game, as these two teams are two of the best defenses in football. New England ranks as Football Outsiders’ top overall defense and the best unit against the pass in the league. Buffalo is no slouch either, as the Bills are the sixth-best defense and fourth-best defense against the pass according to VOA metrics.

These Pats-Bills games tend to be grinders in the first place, so basically what we’re looking to avoid is a slew of defensive touchdowns. I don’t think either Tom Brady or Josh Allen will come out of the gates firing and try to test their respective opponent’s defense with shots down the field. New England is short-handed with receiving weapons and loaded with running backs. The Bills offense is better than people think but they haven’t opened it up yet and shouldn’t here against a great pass defense. Both teams are top half in the league in terms of time of possession per drive — it’s perfectly reasonable to expect a bunch of grind it out drives. I like Buffalo here too in a correlated play with the under; I also think you can tease this under. 

Seahawks-Cardinals Over 48

The Cardinals and Seahawks, like the Redskins and Giants, might have a reputation for being defensive stalwarts. Fiction can be fun, but I find the reference section much more enlightening. Seattle is 15th in defensive DVOA and 17th in pass defense through three weeks, despite playing Mason Rudolph and Teddy Bridgewater for six-plus quarters. The Cardinals, recently carved up by the aforementioned Kyle Allen, are even worse, ranking 22nd and 23rd in those categories, respectively. Seattle is giving up seven yards per play through the air and Arizona is giving up 8.5. Brian Schottenheimer might want to #EstablishTheRun, and it’s very possible to run against the Cardinals, because they’re just not good on defense. If Kyler Murray gets swamped by Jadeveon Clowney and Co. and is averaging less than five yards per pass attempt in this game, I’ll be worried about the points production. But Kliff Kingsbury should be able to dial up enough downfield throws to keep the offense rolling. If the Cardinals can prod Russell Wilson into a shootout — he’s thrown 85 times the last two weeks! — then we could see them hang 60-plus points in this matchup. 

Cowboys -2.5 at Saints

Don’t like betting against a home team like the Saints in a place like the Superdome on prime time, but I’m going to be here for the Cowboys this season, even if they are a public darling when it comes to the betting market and even if this line is begging me to take Dallas. I’m done trying to play the games with the numbers; Dallas is simply a better football team than New Orleans right now. Kellen Moore is scheming up some really smart stuff to take advantage of Dak Prescott’s skillset, Ezekiel Elliott is already cooking and usually doesn’t really ramp up until Week 4 or so. The Dallas defense isn’t getting its due, but they’re a bad matchup for the Saints with Teddy Bridgewater under center because of how New Orleans will need to rely on Alvin Kamara in the short passing game. Sean Payton is a very smart dude and probably gets more amped than usual for matchups against his old employer (not to mention the annual “trade for Sean Payton” option because of his time spent there under Bill Parcells). I just think we see Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith excel in pursuit of the sneaky MVP candidate (yes Kamara is one, so is Christian McCaffrey).

Vikings +1.5 at Bears

Revenge is on Mike Zimmer’s mind this week as he heads to Chicago after laying an egg last year late in the season with a chance at the postseason on the line. The Vikings are a better team now, a team that is focused heavily on running the ball. Mike Zimmer continued to pound the rock against Green Bay despite being down 21-0 (it seemed insane at the time but it nearly worked and after seeing the Packers on Thursday night maybe it was smart).

I also have a couple teasers and parlays for you to check out, including the official Pick Six Podcast Parlay of the Week between me, Prisco and White. Check it out here.

Week 3 best bets ATS record: 4-1, +3u
2019 best bets ATS record: 11-4, +7u

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