After a rough start to the 2013 NFL betting season, Jason Lake comes out swinging with three of the juiciest picks on the Week 4 calendar. And with his first pick, he selects… the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
Jason’s record after Week 3: 6-13 ATS, 3-3-1 Totals
Profit: minus-13.6 units
Maybe we should keep our office open on Thursdays only. We nailed both the spread and the total NFL Picks for the past two episodes of Thursday Night Football, including that delightful 56-14 schmozz (OVER 47) in Week 2 between the Atlanta Falcons (–6.5 at home) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Let’s see if we can carry that mojo over into Sunday’s slate – and yes, we’re on the Bucs as part of our Week 4 NFL Picks.
Sunday: Tampa Bay vs. Pittsburgh (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX)
This is “buy low” at its finest. Tampa Bay (0-3 SU and ATS) was the drizzling salsa against the Falcons; it’s not quite the lowest point in franchise history, but probably the lowest point since the Bucs switched uniforms from Creamsicle to pewter. That awful prime-time performance is the stuff that overbets are made of. People are going to willingly open their wallets for the Steelers (2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS) this week. Yeesh.
We’re expecting Tampa Bay to play a little better on Sunday. Last week’s result was an outlier, and the Bucs have already gotten to work patching up their ship by replacing injured and ineffective QB Josh McCown (thumb) with Mike Glennon, who did a decent enough job last year (83.9 passer rating) after taking over for Josh Freeman in Week 4.
Free NFL Pick: Put 1.4 units on the Buccaneers +9 (–115) at Bovada
Sunday: Green Bay vs. Chicago (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX)
This pick is based on our feature Week 4 NFL betting trend: Teams playing the second of back-to-back road games were 376-287 ATS (56.7 percent) between 2002 and 2013 inclusive, and Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy went 5-1 ATS in six of those games. We are a little nervous about this pick, though. The Packers are off to another slow start at 1-2 SU and 0-2-1 ATS, while Chicago is on the rise at 2-1 SU and ATS.
We’ll take it anyway. As poorly as things began for the Packers, they have RT Bryan Bulaga back in action, and LB Clay Matthews is listed as probable for Week 4 despite his tender groin. The Bears, on the other hand, are still missing center Roberto Garza and LG Matt Slauson with ankle injuries, and their defense is banged-up, too. Here’s another trend for you: Green Bay has covered six of its last seven games against Chicago, and 13 of its last 16 games at Soldier Field.
Free NFL Pick: Put 1.4 units on the Packers –1.5 (–107) at Pinnacle
Sunday: Buffalo vs. Houston (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS)
We were on both these teams made it onto our top picks list last week, and we got cob from both of them as they fell to 2-1 SU and ATS. It’s not too difficult to keep the faith with the Texans; they had some trouble handling the revived New York Giants (–1 at home), but that was without RB Arian Foster, who was held out with a hamstring injury. Although Foster is officially a game-time decision as we go to press, indications are that he’ll play on Sunday.
The Bills are an enigma wrapped in a mystery. Is EJ Manuel (90.8 passer rating) a true NFL starting quarterback? He sure looked like one in the first two games, and he showed some flashes during last year’s rookie campaign. But Manuel’s decision-making was poor last week against the San Diego Chargers (+2.5 away). There’s a reason Buffalo signed Kyle Orton just before the season started, against head coach Doug Marrone’s wishes. Self-fulfilling prophecies, anyone?
Free NFL Pick: Put 1.4 units on the Texans –3 (+104) at Marathon