It has been a very strange start to the NFL season. The freaking Kansas City Chiefs are undefeated, while the Niners haven’t even come close to winning a game. Neither of those things make any sense to me, and they aren’t the only things. With these week 4 NFL picks and odds let’s hope that I can start to find a bit more logic in the proceedings:
Baltimore Ravens +2 at Pittsburgh Steelers (Sunday, Oct. 3, 1 pm ET) - This one is all about Charlie Batch. He’s a nice guy, and his story is a great one, but he’s just not ready at this point in his career to play against a defense as good as Baltimore’s is. In his last game he threw three touchdowns, but also tossed two bad interceptions, and that was against a young and challenged Tampa Bay team. The defense he faces will be far more aggressive and talented here, and that’s bad news for him. Baltimore is very good at exploiting mistakes.
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The Steelers obviously have a very good defense, too, and Joe Flacco hasn’t been as consistent as would be ideal this year. Still, this is the best offense that Pittsburgh has faced this year, and Flacco and Anquan Boldin are developing some very strong chemistry with each passing week. I expect Baltimore to be able to make a few dents in the Steelers, and they should be able to do more than Pittsburgh can do against them. We also don’t really know if Pittsburgh’s offense is as good as they are getting credit for. Thy shut down a good Atlanta team in the opening week, but neither Tennessee nor Tampa Bay in the last two weeks are exactly teams that terrify opponents with their ability to move the ball.
This is statistically a very good situation for the Ravens as well. They have covered 18 of their last 25 games when they have been underdogs of less than a field goal on the road. Conversely, the Steelers are just 3-13-1 ATS at home when favored by less than three.
Houston Texans -3 at Oakland Raiders (Sunday, Oct. 3, 4 pm ET) - This is a test of the Texans - the last chance I am giving them before I go back to believing that they are a middle-of-the-pack ball club. I honestly thought they were poised to come out last week and make a statement against the Cowboys at home. Instead, they laid a total egg. It was ugly. Still, they have so much potential on offense, and they realize it occasionally, so they are seductive.
Opponents have had reasonable success running on the Raiders this year, and the Texans have been very good at moving the ball on the ground when they want to, so this game sets up very well for them in that regard. Oakland has also allowed three quarterbacks to put some decent numbers, and Matt Schaub is a far more polished passer than the three before - Anderson, Bradford and Young - so it should be a good offensive day for the Texans all round.
Oakland has been a disappointment this year. They have dropped two of three winnable games, and just aren’t nearly as sharp as people believed or hoped they might be this year. The most obvious problem facing them is at quarterback. They gave up on Jason Campbell in record time, but Bruce Gradkowski hasn’t been a whole lot better, so confidence has to be in short supply offensively.
Houston operates are far more dimensions right now. They are better coached, and they should be hungry after last week’s embarrassment. This is a very fair price for the Texans.
Allen Eastman is back with his 99 System for NFL picks in 2010 and before he even came across this system he was considered one of the best NFL handicappers in the business – now he is just unstoppable. The system is 32-17-1 the last two seasons, and the first three weeks of this season, and he will be back with more 99 System picks this weekend. This system not only helped his clients make a boatload of money, but also helped Eastman to third place in the prestigious Las Vegas Hilton NFL Contest.