Biggest Point Spread NFL Picks for Week 4

Matthew Jordan

Saturday, September 27, 2014 3:28 PM GMT

This NFL handicapper had a solid 3-1 record in Week 3 with the biggest spread picks, hitting on the Bengals/Titans, Colts/Jaguars & Saints/Vikings, missing Patriots/Raiders. Here are his Week 4 picks.

As going by my belief that a big spread is only a touchdown or more, just three games meet that criteria, all on Sunday of Week 4. You may notice a trend here: all three top underdogs on NFL odds are on the road and likely to have new starting quarterbacks than they did in Week 3.

 

Tennessee Titans vs. Indianapolis Colts (-7.5)
It appears that struggling Jake Locker will take a seat for this game, due to a wrist injury. I'm not convinced that head coach Ken Whisenhunt would be all that upset about it. Locker was good in the Titans' opening win over Kansas City, but he has regressed badly since. He was just 17 of 34 for 185 yards with two interceptions in last week's loss in Cincinnati. Locker, the No. 8 overall pick in 2011, almost surely will not be a Titan next year. The team chose not to exercise his option for 2015, making this a make-or-break season for the injury-prone Locker. Presumably that means "Checkdown" Charlie Whitehurst will get the call -- given that nickname because he seems afraid to throw the ball more than five yards. Whitehurst hasn't thrown a regular-season pass since 2011 with the Seahawks. In nine seasons, he has four starts and 84 completions. The Colts will take it. They opened the season with close losses to Peyton Manning and Nick Foles, but beat Chad Henne/Blake Bortles last week and now probably get Whitehurst. The Colts swept last year's series but both easily could have gone the other way.

The Free NFL Pick: Colts. Get it now at 7.5 because this line is climbing. I've seen it at 9.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (-7.5)
Could the Josh McCown Era be over in Tampa after about two-and-a-half games? McCown injured his thumb in last Thursday's 56-14 loss in Atlanta and all signs are that second-year Mike Glennon will get the call in Pittsburgh. McCown had never been very good in his career as a journeyman backup but was excellent filling in for Jay Cutler for nearly half a season in 2013. Perhaps that was just the coaching of Chicago's Marc Trestman or the fact the Bears might have the best receiving duo in the NFL. McCown is 43 of 68 for 420 yards, two touchdowns, four interceptions and two fumbles this year. His rating of 65.8 is last in the NFL with Minnesota's Matt Cassel, who is done for the season. By comparison, Glennon had a rating of 83.9 last year in 13 games as a rookie. The Bucs expect the return of running back Doug Martin, who has missed the past two games. However, Martin hasn't been a good player since his rookie season of 2012. Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy also could return after missing the last game. He's one of the best at his position.

The Free NFL Pick: Tampa. Not to win as a moneyline NFL pick, but to cover the spread. The Bucs aren't this bad, and the Pittsburgh defense is injury-ravaged.

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Jacksonville Jaguars vs. San Diego Chargers (-13.5)
The Jaguars have failed to cover yet in 2014, but, hey, so have the Denver Broncos. Jacksonville has lost all three games by at least 17 points and has been outscored 119-27 since leading the Eagles 17-0 at the half of Week 1. QB Chad Henne was pulled with the Jaguars down 30-0 at home at the half last week against Indianapolis and No. 3 overall pick Blake Bortles got his first NFL regular-season action. Keep in mind this was all garbage time, essentially, but Bortles was 14 of 24 for 223 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Not bad, and he will start Sunday. Bortles also played really well in the preseason. The Jags are going to have to score plenty to stay close as their defense rank last  against the pass, rush and in points allowed (39.7 ppg). Nowhere to go but up. The Chargers won 24-6 in Jacksonville last season, but they lost running back Danny Woodhead and linebacker Manti Te'o to injuries last week. In addition, No. 1 tailback Ryan Mathews remains out. The pointspread pick: Jaguars, although I hope this line jumps at least a half point (I'd buy a full point probably). This could be a trap game for the Bolts after back-to-back impressive wins over Seattle and at Buffalo. 

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