Last week I wrote about how addictive the NFL sometimes feels — about how even when none of the games are the least bit exciting, and your fantasy team is a hodgepodge of no-name third-stringers conspiring to lose you money, and every big hit calls to mind the latest CTE study, somehow we still find ourselves glued to the couch and to our phones every Sunday.
And then I went 13-3 with my picks against the spread, and instantly took back everything I had to said. Football is the best!
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. 13-3! NFL teams get first-round byes with that sort of record. Do you think it’s a coincidence that Bill Simmons came back on the air today? I certainly don’t. Now, I’m still waiting for the call to become ESPN’s new gambling expert, and neither DraftKings nor FanDuel has reached out to me yet about any sort of sponsorship, but I am riding high on a personal level and that’s what’s important. Plus, everyone at Business Insider this week has been noticeably more excited than usual — the place is just buzzing — and let me just say it’s nice to work at a website where my occasional successes don’t go unnoticed.
So expect me to go 0-15 this week.
But before we get to the picks, let’s talk very briefly about baseball. The playoffs are around the corner, and this feels like the most exciting post-season in a while. The usually-terrible Jays, Cubs, Mets are all in, the Yankees are slightly more likeable than usual, the Cardinals are just as hateable, and we’re in for some great series (Dodgers vs. Mets, especially). I can’t wait. Plus, it will only take a few innings until someone starts complaining about the game being played the wrong way, which is always fun!
Anyway, here are my Week 4 picks:
Baltimore Ravens (-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers
Vick is going to look like the game-manager of all game-managers tonight. All he has to do is hand the ball of to Le’Veon Bell and throws screen passes to Antonio Brown and let them take care of it.
The pick: Steelers +3
New York Jets (-1.5) at Miami Dolphins (in London)
Both these teams are coming off ugly losses in Week 3, but I think the Dolphins will come out looking a little more desperate. Or they have already quit on Joe Philbin. We’ll find out! (P.S. I feel bad for NFL fans in London who just get the worst NFL games every single year.)
The pick: Dolphins +1.5
Jacksonville Jaguars (+9) at Indianapolis Colts
I’m making this pick under the assumption that Luck plays on Sunday. The Jags are awful and completely depleted on defence. Colts get back to .500 this week.
The pick: Colts -9
Houston Texans (+6.5) at Atlanta Falcons
This is a pretty big line, and there are a lot of these this week. But one thing I know for certain is that you don’t put your money on Ryan Mallett and/or Brian Hoyer on the road.
The pick: Falcons -6.5
Carolina Panthers (-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This line feels way too low considering how bad the Bucs are. What am I missing here?
The pick: Panthers -3
New York Giants (+5.5) at Buffalo Bills
This is the most exciting game of the weekend, which is absolutely the first time in my life I’ve ever said that about a Giants vs. Bills match-up. I like the Bills to win this, but I’m taking the homer pick for the G-Men to keep it close.
The pick: Giants +5.5
Oakland Raiders (-3) at Chicago Bears
The Raiders are fun! Khalil Mack, Amari Cooper, and Derek Carr are all pretty exciting young players. The Bears are … neither fun nor exciting.
The pick: Raiders -3
Philadelphia Eagles (-3) at Washington Redskins
Let’s figure out a way to blame Hurricane Joaquin on RGIII!
The pick: Eagles -3
Kansas City Chiefs (+4) at Cincinnati Bengals
Expect Andy Reid to just horribly mismanage his timeouts in this one.
The pick: Bengals -4
Cleveland Browns (+7.5) at San Diego Chargers
This is another semi-scary line. Neither of these teams are particularly good, but again, I just don’t think you can trust bad quarterbacks on the road. Free Johnny Football!
The pick: Chargers -7.5
Green Bay Packers (-8.5) at San Francisco 49ers
Not much to say here!
The pick: Packers -8.5
Minnesota Vikings (+6.5) at Denver Broncos
Two of the league’s best defences face off here, which should be fun. I think the Vikings win outright.
The pick: Vikings +6.5
St. Louis Rams (+7) at Arizona Cardinals
Is Carson Palmer a lock for Comeback Player of the Year? Did I just jinx him?
The pick: Cardinals -7
Dallas Cowboys (+4) at New Orleans Saints
Do I have to make a pick here? Either I roll with Brandon Weeden on the road, or pick a hobbled Drew Brees and the 0-3 Saints? I guess I’ll take the Cowboys, even after their Giants-esque collapse last weekend.
The pick: Cowboys +4
Detroit (+10) at Seattle Seahawks
Another line that’s just a little to big for comfort. But Seattle did cover a bigger spread last week (against an admittedly awful Bears team), so I think they can do it again.
The pick: Seahawks -10
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