Week Four of the NFL season might have the most competitive slate of games, thus far, in 2013. More than half of the games feature a betting line that is three points or less. Only one point spread is in the double-digits.
Last week, the underdogs covered in eight of the 16 games. Seven of the favorites, ended up losing outright. Below are picks against the spread for every contest in Week Four.
San Francisco 49ers (-3) at St. Louis Rams
It’s not easy to read the 49ers, who started the year as a Super Bowl favorite, but have lost their last two games by a total of 46 points. Colin Kaepernick threw no touchdowns and four interceptions in those losses. He’s too good for this trend to continue, especially against the Rams, who are average at best.
Prediction ATS: San Francisco
Pittsburgh Steelers (-2.5) at Minnesota Vikings
After losing their first three games, the Steelers haven't given many reasons why they should be favored away from home. The Vikings are 0-3 as well, but twice they were beaten in the final seconds. Minnesota has a good chance to cover the spread and win their first game of the season.
Prediction ATS: Minnesota
Baltimore Ravens (-3) at Buffalo Bills
E.J. Manuel reminded everyone in Week Three that he’s still a rookie, completing just 19 of 42 pass attempts. The Ravens have bounced back from their loss to the Broncos in the opening game and should be able force the quarterback to make a few mistakes in just his fourth ever game.
Prediction ATS: Baltimore
Cincinnati Bengals (-4) at Cleveland Browns
The Bengals would be undefeated if they hadn’t blown an 11-point lead in their first game against the Bears. Cleveland proved they can be dangerous with a win at Minnesota, but Brian Hoyer won’t be able to get away with throwing three interceptions against the Bengals.
Prediction ATS: Cincinnati
Indianapolis Colts (-8.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars are the worst team in the NFL and haven’t proven they can remain competitive against any decent opponent. Following their big win in San Francisco, the Colts should have an easy time of it in Jacksonville.
Prediction ATS: Indianapolis
Seattle Seahawks (-2.5) at Houston Texans
As a legitimate Super Bowl contender, it’s unusual to see the Texans as underdogs at home. The Seahawks have the best defense in football and appear to be the team to beat in the NFC. However, they’re much better at home and almost lost to the Panthers in Carolina. Houston could have trouble scoring if a leg injury keeps Andre Johnson out, but it’s hard to bet against the Texans when they’re getting points at home, no matter who they’re playing.
Prediction ATS: Houston
Arizona Cardinals (+2.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Before losing big in Week 3, both clubs had played two close games. Mike Glennon will get his first ever start with Greg Schiano’s decision to bench Josh Freeman. It might be hard for the rookie to play worse than Freeman has, but the Cardinals have the clear advantage at quarterback. Tampa is at home and has the better defense, but the disparity between the two signal callers could be enough to help Arizona the win.
Prediction ATS: Arizona
Chicago Bears (+3) at Detroit Lions
A three-point spread indicates that both teams would be evenly matched on a neutral field, but the Bears have proven to be the better team, thus far. The Bears are undefeated, while Detroit lost to Arizona and beat two winless teams. The Bears have continued to force turnovers this year, and they should be able to take advantage of a few Matthew Stafford mistakes. In his career, the Lions quarterback is 1-23 against winning teams.
Prediction ATS: Chicago
New York Giants (+4.5) at Kansas City Chiefs
The teams appear to be heading in two different directions. Kansas City’s three wins is already more than what they had in 2012, and New York is still looking for its first victory. Justin Houston could have a field day against an offensive line that allowed Eli Manning to be sacked seven times last Sunday. The Giants may be getting more respect than they deserve because of their recent history, and their season could essentially be over at the end of Week Four.
Prediction ATS: Kansas City
New York Jets (+3.5) at Tennessee Titans
The biggest surprise of the early season may be that one of these teams will start at 3-1. Geno Smith made a few big plays against the Bills and the Jets defense will keep most games close. New York might not win, but if they lose it likely won’t be by more than a field goal.
Prediction ATS: New York
Dallas Cowboys (-2) at San Diego Chargers
No matter who wins, the game should be close. The Chargers are 1-2, but all of their contests have been decided by three points. Phillip Rivers only had four incomplete passes last week, but San Diego had trouble moving the ball on the ground. It won’t get any easier for them against the best rushing defense in the NFC. The Cowboys should have enough to improve to 3-1.
Prediction ATS: Dallas
Washington Redskins (-3) at Oakland Raiders
Robert Griffin III clearly hasn’t fully recovered his offseason knee surgery, leaving the Redskins without a win. Washington has also allowed more yards than another defense. Oakland might be one of the worst teams in the AFC, but Terrell Pryor hasn’t played poorly enough for the Raiders to be home underdogs against a 0-3 team.
Prediction ATS: Oakland
Philadelphia Eagles (+10.5) at Denver Broncos
No team has come close to slowing down Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense. They’ve scored at least 37 points in every game and won all three contests by two touchdowns or more. Opposing defenses seem to have figured out Chip Kelly’s offense after the first half in Week One, and this game shouldn’t be close.
Prediction ATS: Denver
New England Patriots (+2) at Atlanta Falcons
It’s not often that the Patriots are underdogs, but they’ve had a lot of success when that’s been the case. They’ve covered six of the last seven betting lines that have seen them getting points on the road. New England has been decimated by injuries on offense, but could get back Rob Gronkowski on Sunday. Either way, Tom Brady should be able to have success against a below-average Falcons defense.
Prediction ATS: New England
Miami Dolphins (+6.5) at New Orleans Saints
The Dolphins should be a contender in the AFC for the whole season, but they’ll have their hands full in New Orleans. In 2011, the Saints went 8-0 against the spread at home, and they’re perfect this season. Drew Brees should have a big game, leading his team to a win by at least a touchdown.
Prediction ATS: New Orleans