Are there any edges to be had in the final week of the preseason, when teams usually try to work out any final kinks and does this mean the 14 games should skew to the Under?
Let’s look at all the Week 4 Preseason Odds, talk about some games where a perceived edge might be had and make some NFL picks from the slate of games which actually seems to have some spots where savvy gamblers can take advantage.
The final week of the NFL Preseason is a funky mix of caution, qualifying talent and getting Offensive, Defensive and special Team units into some kind of flow and after three battering, injury-filled weeks of the stuff, it seems maybe two teams—the Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings—can really feel good about themselves at this particular point in time. So we’ll go through these final dress rehearsals on Thursday night, which do seem to actually provide some decent betting opportunities despite the meaningless of the results of the actual games. Why Thursday? Time to rest, heal, travel and get organized for Week 1 games that really do matter, with 9 days of Rest for 30 of the league’s 32 teams but only 6 days (Friday-Saturday) for the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers, who will be meeting in the NFL Regular Season lidlifter on Thursday, September 10 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts (NBC, 8:25 p.m. ET/5:25 p.m. PT). So let’s look at all the fresh NFL Preseason Week 4 lines which include a number of rare Regional rivalries and matchups that won’t be repeated in the coming 2015/16 Regular Season.
Preseason Week 4 Schedule—Thursday, September 3, 2015
Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT; Odds: Bengals -1½, Total: 39, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook): If it were the Regular Season, there’s no way this game would be a Pick at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, but with the Colts and Head Coach Chuck Pagano’s general apathy toward the Preseason—the Horseshoes had L7 straight before Saturday night’s 24-14 win over the Rams in St. Louis—and QB Andrew Luck having just 1 TD so far and the Bengals 2-1 this Preseason and the Defense having only allowed 10 (Giants), 11 (Buccaneers) and 10 (Bears) in the first three games, this one may be a good Under play with both HC’s wanting to be a safe as possible with key players heading into Week 1 next week.
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Jets (NFL Network, Directv 212; 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT; Odds: Eagles -4, Total: 44, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook): The Eagles (3-0, 115 PF-53 PA) have been the darlings of the Preseason—and rightfully so—putting up points like an Arena Football League team in their first 3 games and moving up the oddsmakers’ fourth favorite team to win the Super Bowl at 7/1 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook; Philadelphia opened up 25/1) on Monday morning. Here at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, this should be an entertaining affair which probably can’t help go Over—Eagles’ Preseason Overs have W9 straight dating back to 2013 now—the Total points with the pace HC Chip Kelly’s team sets and with such a deep Roster with many guys making desperate efforts to simply make the team. Pick: Over 44 (5Dimes).
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Miami Dolphins (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT; Odds: Dolphins -3½ Total: 38, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook): This Sunshine State, south Florida showdown might have some greater meaning and zest in in the Regular Season, but since it’s in Week 4, expect, like most games this week, many hungry players trying to make the Roster but getting limited touches and minutes on the gridiron. It happens every year but many guys cut will make CFL and NFL rosters somewhere down the line as the numerous injuries involved with the sport means all teams need uber-depth. The reality of so many players coming in and out with specific plays designed for them to try to strut their stuff ASAP often leads to choppiness, and with both of these teams (Miami Dolphins—53 points, Tampa Bay Buccaneers—48 points) being very tepid on Offense so far and the precipitous remnants of Tropical Storm Erika possibly making its presence known at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, the Under (38½) would be the semi-strong lean for this potential snoozer.
New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT; NFL Odds: Saints -1½, Total: 39½, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook): The Green Bay Packers underdogs at Lambeau Field? Has QB Aaron Rodgers joined the Peace Corps? Have the oddsmakers dipped into the Brown Liquor before September Billy? Nope, just the Numbers Guys’ reaction to a sluggish Packers side which has seen WE Jordy Nelson (ACL) already be lost for the season and his sidekick, WR Randall Cobb, suffering a huge scare last weekend, suffering a minor AC joint sprain in his Shoulder in Green Bay’s 39-26 loss to the Eagles on Saturday. And as soon as Packers HC Mike McCarthy saw that Cobb was injured, he wisely had WR Davante Adams sit out. So with questions on the OL and some serious injuries and scares before the Regular Season has even started, expect supreme caution here from Green Bay against the Saints. One team may treat this as a Dress Rehearsal, the other like a Competitive Scrimmage. And the line here tells you which one’s which.
Baltimore Ravens at Atlanta Falcons (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT; Odds: Falcons -1, Total: 40, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook): The Georgia Dome in Atlanta is the site of the Preseason Week 4 inter-conference game between the visiting Baltimore Ravens (1-2, 60 PF-98 PA) and the Atlanta Falcons (1-2, 62 PF-67 PA). Ravens QB Joe Flacco has looked good in his teams’ two Home games and average in their one Road game, and Common Sense says HC John Harbaugh will be really careful with his starting QB in this Preseason finale in Hotlanta. Three injured Baltimore starters—OT Eugene Moore (Bruised arm), G Kelechi Osemele Achilles’ Tendon) and CB Lardarius Webb (Hamstring) reportedly returned to practice on Monday but four of the team’s 10 DL were not practicing including DT Timmy Jernigan, so this, like many others now, is a team with injury concerns. No opinion here.
Buffalo Bills at Detroit Lions (7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT; Odds: Lions PK, Total: 38½, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook): This inter-conference meeting at Ford Field in Detroit may feel like a Home game for the Bills who played a snowed-out game here last season (Jets) and won, 38-3. But Motown is home to WRs Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate and this should be a tight affair, probably played with some apathy, with Bills RB LeSean McCoy out and new HC Rex Ryan probably wanting to be a little safe with QB Tyrod Taylor (Probable)—whom Ryan named his starting QB on Monday—who has been impressive so far for this team which now seems to possess three very serviceable and maybe startable QBs in Free Agent-signee Matt Cassel (Vikings), EJ Manuel and Taylor. This one’s a tough call, a stay away in my mind with the Under being the only play worth consideration.
New York Giants at New England Patriots (7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT; Odds: Patriots -2½ Total: 39½, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook): With the news Monday morning that there was no settlement reached in the Patriots appeal of Tom Brady’s 4-game suspension for his part in Deflategate—a final decison is now reportedly expected on Friday—the defending Super Bowl champs will likely play Brady some and continue to give backup Jimmy Garoppolo maximum minutes in this Super Bowl XLII and XLVI rematch against the New York Giants at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro on Thursday night. Undefeated (8-0) at Home in the Regular Season last year, expect HC Bill Belichick to get his boys in line and get used to winning, meaning backing the Pats on the Moneyline seems like a logical approach in this one. The Giants and HC Tom Coughlin have their share of injuries, including WR Victor Cruz who may miss Week 1 it was announced on Monday. Pick: Patriots Moneyline.
Carolina Panthers at Pittsburgh Steelers (7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT; Odds: Steelers PK, Total: 40, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook): Both teams should be really tentative here at Heinz Field in the Steel City with major injury and suspension concerns (RB LeVeon Bell, WR Martavis Bryant, C Maurkice Pouncey, Steelers; WR Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers) with both teams. Pittsburgh (1-3, 67 PF-99 PA) have looked poor and allowing 33.0 ppg and Carolina (2-1, 72 PF-71 PA) a bit scared of key injuries, expect a sluggish game with both teams probably more intent on scoring talents with cuts coming, staying injury free and using the last Preseason game as effectively to gauge what needs to be done in Week 1 of the Regular Season—which will come quick (7 days) at Pittsburgh when they face Tom Tom Club and the Patriots at Gillette in the season lidlifter September 10 (NBC, 8:25 p.m. ET/5:25 p.m. PT; Odds: Patriots -3½, Pinnacle). Unless you’re a Steelers or a Panthers fan, this seems like a good game to avoid both at the betting window as well as on the Boob Tube. Not every game has to be bet or provides a perceived clear edge, especially in the humid and dank jungles of the Preseason.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Washington Redskins (7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT; Odds: Redskins -4½, Total: 40, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook): There is an in-depth preview of this game here at Sportsbook Review of this game upthread in my story stream but the skinny here is that the Redskins—who named Kirk Cousins starter for Week 1—are 3-0 this Preseason and the Jaguars have L12 straight on the Road both in the Regular and Preseason dating all the way back to 2013. The prescription here at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland is to take the Washington Redskins on the Moneyline and just ask for them to win the game against a talented Blake Bortles-led Jacksonville Offense. It should be close, therefore laying the 4½ seems way too risky. Pick: Redskins Moneyline -215 (5Dimes).
Minnesota Vikings at Tennessee Titans (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT; Odds: Titans -2½, Total: 38½, 5Dimes): The Titans did win their one Preseason Home game so far against the Rams (27-14), but Tennessee is a hard team to bet on and a pretty good one to bet against (3-12-1 ATS in 2014, 21-38-5 ATS L4 seasons, 1-2 ATS Preseason). So why not simply take the Minnesota Vikings (4-0, 88 PF-45 PA) who have looked great so far this Preseason? We will give you a point-and-a-half for your “troubles” here at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee, kind sir. Toss in the fact Minnesota HC Mike Zimmer is now 8-0 SU in the Preseason and we have a bet here brother. Sold. And Tennessee Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt said on Monday that he’s now mulling the idea of sitting out Rookie QB Marcus Mariota (Oregon)—who has been knocked around some in an average Preseason—out for this one. Sounds smart, but a little bit scared too. Pick: Vikings +2½ (5Dimes) BEST BET.
Kansas City Chiefs at St. Louis Rams (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT; Odds: Rams -3 Total: 39, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook): The Edward R. Jones Dome in St. Louis is the site of this meaningless Battle of the Show Me State which seems like a good Under play at first look. Why? Both teams prefer to run the football and St. Louis is worried about the health of its Round 1 Draft pick Todd Gurley (Georgia, Torn ACL) as well as 2014 3rd Round pick Tre Mason who hurt his Hamstring and may miss the season opener against the Seahawks in the Gateway City in Week 1 (Seahawks -3½, Total: 42½, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook). So, Rams HC Jeff Fisher may have to go with RB Benny Cunningham to start the season, meaning this game will likely be played with maximum caution and giving Kansas City 3 points seems like a stretch in an inter-conference game it can definitely win. Under (39, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) if anything.
Houston Texans at Dallas Cowboys (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT; Odds: Texans -4 Total: 39, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook): So, you shipped your near-2,000-yard RB to the Eagles, in the same division (NFC East) and are now wondering where the Rushing yards will come from? Welcome to Jerry World, a 365/24/7 Gridiron Circus which has catered to a very talented but a very precocious WR (Dez Bryant) and now has to hope QB Tony Romo can possibly work a miracle...again. Here at AT&T Stadium in Dallas in this Lone Star State inter-conference tango is seems the oddsmakers are barking at us that the Cowpoke sort of suck. The Texans will be without RB Arian Foster for possibly the entire season but Houston (2-1, 61 PF-37 PA) and DL J.J. Watt have really shown up this season, having allowed an average of just 12.3 ppg while Dallas is still winless (0-3, 27 PA-68 PA) now worried and in desperate need of getting the Offense going (9.0 ppg) before the real season kicks off in a little over a week.
Cleveland Browns at Chicago Bears (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT; Odds: Bears -1 Total: 38, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook): These two Midwest teams seldom meet, but Week 4 in the Preseason provides the perfect chance for the Bears and Browns to get together at Soldier Field in Chicago for one last run-through before the Regular Season gets underway. The Bears will likely be giving QBs Jay Cutler, Jimmy Clausen and David Fales all some snaps, but with #1 Pick, WR Kevin White (West Virginia, Torn ACL) already hurt and WRs Alshon Jeffery, Eddie Royal and Marquess Wilson also nursing injuries—although Jeffery and Royal might be available for Week 1 against the rival Green Bay Packers here in the Windy City (Packers -6, Total: 50, Pinnacle)—new Bears HC John Fox (Broncos) will exercise caution. Expect more Martellus Bennett 7 receptions, 45 yards on the menu here against the Cleveland Browns in a game probably best left alone in your head, wallet and TV screen for we will all definitely be Jay Cutlered-out soon enough.
Arizona Cardinals at Denver Broncos (FOX/ABC, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT; Odds: Broncos -6, Total: 38, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook): Sports Authority Field in Mile High is the site of this inter-conference meeting between the Cardinals and QB Carson Palmer and the host Broncos and future HOF QB Peyton Manning. Both Palmer and Manning have been fairly suspect this Preseason and with Denver and new HC Gary Kubiak looking to establish more of a ground attack with Manning the Elder likely on his last leg and losing zip on his passes, this could be a sloggy game with both teams not wanting to get key players hurt while scouting others who will either barely make the squad or be cut before Week 1. With both Manning and Palmer probably wanting to fine tune their arms and get some confidence in their Passing games, it’s too tough to recommend the Under here in a properly lined game.
San Diego Chargers at San Francisco 49ers (NFL Network, CBS, MeTV, Directv 212; 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT; Odds: 49ers -3 Total: 37, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook): Chargers QB Philip Rivers banged his throwing hand in last Preseason game so expect minimal risk from Chargers HC Mike McCoy with his precious signal caller at the new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. And with San Francisco such a mystery with so many players gone from last season’s Roster, as well as HC Jim Harbaugh (University of Michigan), this should be a cautious and boring, as the low Total (37) reveals. A mini-lean to the Under, but not worth a betting recommendation in this Golden State affair between the Sans.
Oakland Raiders at Seattle Seahawks (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT; Odds: Seahawks -3½, Total: 38, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook): In CenturyLink Field in the Emerald City, the Seattle Seahawks will host the penalty-addicted Oakland Raiders in an old AFC West matchup which has now just become a once in awhile thing with Seattle moving to the NFC years back. The defending NFC champs have problems, with DB Kam Chancellor still holding out and threatening to do so the entire Regular Season; QB Russell Wilson playing awful and possibly dealing with some effects from Concussion; and and OL which looks less stable than last season, with C Max Unger heading to the Big Easy in the trade for highly talked-about TE Jimmy Graham. But these are the Oakland Raiders (1-2, 53-PF-53 PA) we’re talking about and automatic blind fades of the Black and Silver (20-26-2 ATS L3 seasons) are never a bad thing baby and Seattle HC Pete Carroll really needs his Seahawks (1-2, 49 PF-51 PA) and QB Wilson to get a good game in under their belts before Week 1 quickly comes. When these two met in the Regular Season here in Seattle last year, the Seahawks won 30-24 but failed to cover as 13-point favorites. Just win. Pick: Seahawks Moneyline -170 (5Dimes).
NFL Preseason Week 4 Picks: New York Jets-Philadelphia Eagles Over 44, Washington Redskins -215 over Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots Moneyline, Minnesota Vikings +2½ over Tennessee Titans; Seattle Seahawks Moneyline -170 (5Dimes).