Here is a 5-Pack of NFL value plays for this Sunday to build your bankroll on Week 4, highlighted by the late afternoon matchup between the Falcons and the Vikings.
Well, we are three weeks into the 2014 NFL season and we are currently sitting at 60 percent ATS, at 18-12 for +6.11 units after yet another winner Thursday night, as documented right in the Sportsbook Review Forum! Let us now hope we could continue that good fortune on Sunday of this Week 4 as, just like every week for the rest of the regular season, we are back again with another of our customary Friday 5-Packs of NFL picks.
We cruised to victory in a laugher Thursday with the Giants +3½, as those points were not necessary with New York blowing out the Washington Redskins outright 45-14 down in our nation’s capital. Eli Manning and the entire Giant offense are looking more and moiré comfortable in the West Coast offense brought in by new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, which bears watching in the future. That game easily went ‘over’ the closing total of 44½.
We have four sides for this coming Sunday, and those of you that have followed us in the past will probably not be surprised that all four sides are underdogs! Our fifth play is a total and it is an ‘over’, which is somewhat against the grain given our natural ‘under’ nature. As has become the norm for us, all NFL odds come from Pinnacle Sports.
Sunday, September 28th
Tennessee Titans +7½ (-105) over Indianapolis Colts (1:00 ET): The Colts dominated the Jaguars 44-17 on the road last week while the Titans were getting blown out by the Bengals 33-7, so naturally in this game we are backing the…Titans? What in the name of Charlie Whitehurst is going on around here? Well, consider that while the Colts were in total command while getting their first win of the year vs. Jacksonville last Sunday, it was after all, well, Jacksonville. Andrew Luck had a terrific game completing 31-of-39 passes for 370 yards with four touchdown passes, but that was vs. a Jaguars team that puts no pressure on the passer and has a weak secondary. Now do not get us wrong as we totally believe that Luck is one of the very best quarterbacks in the NFL. However, he does not figure to have as easy a time this week vs. a Tennessee defense that is fifth in the NFL in yards per pass attempt allowed at a mere 5.7 and that also has eight sacks in three games. And that blowout last week masked the fact that the Colts still do not have an effective running game and probably will not until they admit to the fact that they wasted a first round pick in acquiring Trent Richardson and finally give in and make Ahmad Bradshaw the starter. On the other side the Titans struggled vs. what has become one of the elite defenses in the NFL in Cincinnati, and should face no such resistance vs. a Colts team ranked 29th in total defense. Yes Jake Locker is extremely doubtful and Whitehurst figures to get the start, but the Titans can offset than with bigger doses of Bishop Sankey in the backfield, who was so effective while rushing for 61 yards on just 10 carries vs. the Bengals that Tennessee figures to get him more involved this week.
Carolina Panthers, Baltimore Ravens ‘over’ 40½ (-108) (1:00 ET): Both of these teams went ‘over’ relatively low totals last week by modern day NFL standards, and yet they are playing to another relatively low posted total this week. That is just fine by us as we like this ‘over’ quite a bit. The Panthers have virtually no running backs left with Jonathan Stewart and Mile Tolbert both being lost for at least one month with injuries sustained last week. The good news is that DeAngelo Williams returns from injury this week, and he was the only Panther to have an effective rushing game this year in his only game so far back in Week 1. So we look for Williams to run just enough to keep the Baltimore defense honest, and for Carolina to open up the offense a bit the rest of the time with Cam Newton through the air. And Cam is actually throwing the ball as well as he did his rookie year this season as he has completed 66.7 percent of his passes while throwing for 531 yards in just two games and averaging 7.7 yards per attempt, surprisingly giving Carolina a more potent passing game than expected. Speaking of surprising, the Ravens are 9th in the NFL in total offense, as they seem to have corrected the offensive line issues that plagued them last season. After ranking dead last in rushing yards per attempt in 2013, Baltimore has improved to ninth in that department so far with 4.6 yards per tote, and the Ravens are going up against a Carolina rushing defense ranked 26th in the league and surrendering a distressing 6.3 YPC, which ranks dead last!
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +7½ (-114) over Pittsburgh Steelers (1:00 ET): So let us get this straight: Tampa Bay was embarrassed 56-14 on national television last week to fall to 0-3 on the year, while the Steelers were an impressive 37-19 winner on the road at Carolina also on national TV, this game is in Pittsburgh, and the Steelers are not favored by around double-digits? Oh and did we mention that the Buccaneers are dead last in the NFL in passing offense at 162.3 yards per game? Well, believe it or not, help may be on the way for Tampa Bay. First of all, the thumb injury that has saddled quarterback Josh McCown can be a blessing in disguise, as McCown was a career backup until now that was never an NFL full-time starter, while this week’s starter Mike Glennon had some nice games while starting the second half of last season and more than a few experts believe Glennon is the best passer on the Tampa Bay roster. That is good news for the Bucs’ pair of talented receivers Vincent Jackson and rookie Mike Evans. Also, running back Doug Martin is expected back this week, but it is expected he will be on a timeshare with Bob Rainey, who performed well in the two games that Martin missed. Again, we see that as a good thing as both runners have talent and splitting time keeps both fresh. Finally, the Steelers did allow 307 passing yards last week without any real threat from the running game of Carolina, and Pittsburgh benefitted from two turnovers without committing any. A more balanced Tampa Bay offense can actually score some points here with Glennon now at the helm.
Jacksonville Jaguars +13½ (-113) over San Diego Chargers (4:05 ET): Sure, the Jaguars may not win many games this season, but a brand new era has begun as first round draft pick Blake Bortles made his NFL debut in the second half last week, and to say the signs were encouraging would be an understatement! The Jacksonville offense had been totally stagnant over the first 2½ games this season with quarterback Chad Henne garnering a ridiculous 80.7 passer rating, so the switch was made with the Jaguars trailing the Indianapolis Colts 30-0 at halftime last week, and the offense immediately looked like it had more pep in its step. And Bortles proceeded to complete 14 of his 24 passes for 223 yards with two touchdowns while averaging a whopping 9.3 yards per pass attempt – in one half mind you! He also showed off his feet by braking off two runs for 30 yards, with the only blemishes on his first NFL appearance being his two interceptions. All in all, the future of Jacksonville may have just improved about tenfold. Meanwhile, we could easily see the Chargers taking the Jaguars lightly here as they have probably heard the whispers of them being sleeper candidates to go to the Super Bowl after back-to-back impressive wins including a handy win over the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks. Well, we are not convinced that San Diego merits that hype, and we like Bortles to direct enough scoring drives here to keep his Jaguars within single-digits at the finish.
Minnesota Vikings +3 (-113) over Atlanta Falcons (4:25 ET): This is a matchup of what we feel is an undervalued team against an overvalued team, and we will gladly back the underrated Vikings as home underdogs. Sure the Falcons pulverized the Buccaneers last week 56-14 in a game that was probably over after just four minutes, but that was at home where Matt Ryan is always at his best, and the Falcons now find themselves as road favorites vs. a legitimate Minnesota defense. We would be hearing a lot more about the that Viking defense if not for one bad game vs. the Patriots, as holding Drew Brees and the Saints to just three scoring drives at New Orleans where the Saints are usually the most explosive was quite an accomplishment. Now granted, Minnesota has scored only 16 points the last two games and the Vikes remain without Adrian Peterson, but rookie Teddy Bridgewater is probably an upgrade at quarterback over Matt Cassel and he immediately increases the value of Minnesota’s fine wide receivers Cordarrelle Patterson and Greg Jennings. And despite how good the Falcons looked vs. Tampa Bay, Atlanta remains 28th in the NFL in total defense and 25th in passing defense while allowing 7.7 yards per pass attempt, so we are looking for an outright upset here as the Bridgewater era begins at home.