NFL Picks: Eagles vs Broncos in Week 4

Jason Lake

Thursday, September 26, 2013 1:08 PM GMT

Thursday, Sep. 26, 2013 1:08 PM GMT

The NFL lines still haven’t caught up to the Denver Broncos. The Philadelphia Eagles, on the other hand, have hit a speed bump with their blur option.

The NFL Regular Season is in full swing! Check out our NFL Week 4 Betting Odds Report!

We all want to get into the end zone. That’s why we watch football in the first place, and that’s why people are inclined to value offense much more highly than defense. Bless their hearts. The football betting public pays for its bias by skewing the market, inflating the football odds and making it more difficult for their beloved high-scoring teams to cover. Let them eat chalk.

But what happens when the offensive juggernaut in question is actually the underdog? And its great offense isn’t even as good as the other guys'? That’s the situation we’ve got in store this Sunday afternoon (4:25 p.m., FOX) when the Philadelphia Eagles travel to Mile High to face the Denver Broncos. Our Week 4 NFL betting lines have Denver favored by 10.5 points, and the consensus report shows a fairly even split in the action after an early burst on Philadelphia.

Tales from the Red Zone

When we last saw the Broncos (3-0 SU, 2-0-1 ATS) in action, they were piling up the points against the Oakland Raiders on Monday Night Football. QB Peyton Manning had another one of his masterpiece performances: 32-of-37 for 374 yards, three TDs and zero picks. The three-headed tailback monster of Knowshon Moreno, Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball combined for 164 yards rushing on 35 carries. Further downfield, receivers Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker made 25 catches on 27 targets. It was glorious.

Just one fly in the ointment, though. Oakland scored an otherwise meaningless TD in the dying minutes to make the final score 37-21 for Denver. A matador push! The Broncos were favored by 16 points at home – yes, 16 points. Did I mention something about inflated NFL lines a few paragraphs ago? I believe I did.

Blur

I didn’t have an ATS pick on Monday night – instead, I had the ‘Over’ on the total of 48.5 points, so that worked out well. But I almost certainly would have faded Denver in that situation if I had made a play against the NFL point spread. Oakland is showing some signs of life on both sides of the ball after being written off over the summer. Even with Monday’s de-pantsing, the Raiders (67) have allowed fewer points than the Broncos (71) after three games.

Which brings us to our friends from Philadelphia. I was bullish on new head coach Chip Kelly and his blur offense, and I may have broken out in goosebumps when the Eagles beat Washington (–4 at home) 33-27 in Week 1. But Philly is 0-2 SU and ATS since then, losing at home to the San Diego Chargers (+7.5) and the Kansas City Chiefs (+3).

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 Thursday’s Child

It’s far too early to panic in Philly; like the Eagles, both the Chargers and Chiefs were intriguing follow candidates going into 2013 after missing the playoffs in 2012. However, as thoroughly awesome as Kelly's offense is, the Eagles have fizzled on defense. They went into Week 3 ranked No. 3 in offense and No. 29 in defense on the Football Outsiders efficiency charts. Losing 26-16 to the Chiefs and former head coach Andy Reid won’t help those rankings much.

But there’s one important benefit the Eagles can take from Week 3: Their game was on Thursday Night Football, so they’ve had a few extra days to rest and prepare for Week 4, while the Broncos are coming off a short week following their MNF appearance. I think this is a good time to sell high on Denver. Actually, later in the week would be even better, if the sports betting public comes in on the Broncos. One would expect them to, wouldn’t one?

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NFL Pick: Take the Eagles +11 (–110) at William Hill

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