NFL Picks: Where the Sharps are Looking in Week 4

Jason Lake

Monday, September 22, 2014 5:41 PM GMT

Everyone loves a good bargain, but the sharps take it to a whole new level when they bet on the NFL. Check out all the early action on the Oakland Raiders and the New York Giants as Week 4 rolls around.

Jason’s Record After Week 2: 4-7 ATS, 1-2-1 Totals

Profit: minus-8.8 units

This wasn’t in the script. The NFL has been all about scoring in recent years, and the NFL betting world has turned its back on the old standbys: the underdog and the 'under'. But everything old is new again. Team scoring was down from 23.4 points per game last year to 22.2 points after Week 2 of the 2014 regular season. And despite the best efforts of the Atlanta Falcons, the average score in Week 3 was 22.9 points going into Sunday night’s action.

As you may have guessed, this lack of scoring has been good for the underdogs. They’re 24-20-2 ATS (54.6 percent) as we go to press, and the 'under' has followed suit at 25-21 (54.4 percent). The good times are back again! And you’d better believe the sharps are loading up for bear in Week 4. According to our early consensus reports, they’re diving straight to the bottom of the bargain bin.

 

Black Hole Sun
There are three teams at 0-3 to start the 2014 campaign: the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Oakland Raiders. Only one of these teams has managed to turn a profit thus far. That would be the Raiders at 2-1 ATS. The other guys are a combined 0-6 ATS. Guess which team the sharps are backing with their Week 4 NFL picks?

Good guess. The Raiders have opened as 3.5-point home dogs for Sunday’s 1:00 p.m. ET start against the Miami Dolphins (1-2 SU and ATS), and the early consensus is heavily on Oakland at 91 percent. Savvy bettors are pleased with the way the Raiders hung in there in Week 3 versus the New England Patriots (–14 at home), bucking the West Coast-East Coast trend in a 19-6 loss. The Dolphins were much less competitive in their 34-15 defeat at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs (+5.5 away).

 

Moving Windows
As expected, the sharps were also quick to pounce on the New York Giants after they opened as 6-point road dogs (some books say +5.5) in Washington. Our first consensus numbers for their Thursday Night Football matchup (8:25 p.m. ET, CBS) show 52 percent support for the G-Men, but that was enough to push that early NFL line all the way to +4 at press time.

How can this be? Three things spring to mind. One, it looks like the Giants were getting massive support from the earliest of the early birds, well before our first consensus reports came in. Then some Washington money came in to balance things out a bit, but not enough to keep the NFL odds from moving. Two, sharps tend to place bigger bets, which have more impact on the lines. And three, there’s not all that much difference between +5.5 and +4 anyway. We’ll see what happens when we get some more volume over the next few days.

 

Now They Wanna Be Your Dog
There are plenty more underdogs where that came from. We’ve got the Buffalo Bills (+4 away), who are getting 57 percent support for their Week 4 game against the Houston Texans. We’ve got the Philadelphia Eagles (+4 away), who were getting the full 100-percent in early betting for their matchup with the San Francisco 49ers.

We’ve also got the Jaguars at +15 (–130) for their California road trip to face the San Diego Chargers, but after that 0-3 ATS start, Jacksonville is only getting 48 percent support on the early consensus reports. Maybe the sharps are waiting until the end of the week, after the public comes in with more Chargers money. Or maybe they’ve suffered enough already. Don’t worry, Jags fans: Blake Bortles is here.