NFL Betting and Handicapping: Scouting the Week Ahead
by Alan Matthews - 9/30/2013
I really don't want to talk about the Denver Broncos as my lead again this week, but they are performing at such an obscene level right now that they are the story line with the NFL regular season at its quarter pole.
It's almost hard to comprehend how good Peyton Manning is right now. The Broncos scored a franchise-record 52 points in their win over the Eagles -- yet another “over” total -- and Manning threw for 327 yards and four touchdowns. How efficient was he? Denver never even had a third down on its final four touchdown drives. Manning didn't even play in the fourth quarter.
Denver is averaging 44.8 points per game and is on pace to shatter the NFL record of 589 points set by the 2007 Patriots team that ran the table in the regular season. Those Patriots, if you are wondering, had 148 points through their first four games. Here's another cool stat courtesy of USA Today: Denver has scored 59 points in the third quarter so far. That’s more than the Buccaneers and Jaguars have scored in their 16 quarters played. The oddsmakers are really going to start jacking up those Broncos numbers -- just wait for next week when the Jaguars visit (early word on the street is that this number could open as high as 28, which would make it the biggest point spread ever). Denver has won 15 straight regular-season games, all by at least seven points. Denver opened at -7.5 this week at Dallas against a Cover 2 defensive scheme that Manning practiced against all those years in Indianapolis. Is a 500-yard game coming?
Lions For Real?
Back in the preseason I was pretty high on the Detroit Lions returning to the playoffs this season, and that's looking good after Detroit beat Chicago 40-32 in a game that wasn't as close as the final score would indicate as Detroit had a 24-point lead with around nine minutes left. Ndamukong Suh was essentially unblockable and might be the early leader for NFL Defensive Player of the Year. The Lions are getting pressure from the front four and thus not having to blitz, which means few big plays against the defense.
In addition, Reggie Bush looked a little like Barry Sanders against the Bears. He rushed 18 times for 139 yards and a score while catching four passes for 34 more yards. The Lions are a very different team with Bush healthy. We should get a truly good read on Detroit this week when the Lions visit Green Bay. The Lions own an NFL-record 22-game road losing streak at the Packers (a few games in Milwaukee). The Pack will be rested after having last week off and very desperate at 1-2. Green Bay opened at -6.5. The Pack are still the +120 division favorites despite behind 1.5 games behind the Lions (+265) and Chicago (+190). I'd jump on Detroit now because if it wins this week, that number will drop a ton.
Week 5 Enticing Underdogs
Not a great week on my Week 4 underdog picks. Wretched Jacksonville didn't come close to covering the 9.5 it was getting against Indianapolis, which won, 37-3. The Jags' next home touchdown will be their first of the season. How about this trade: Blaine Gabbert for Josh Freeman? I also missed on the Eagles getting 11.5 at Denver and Chicago at +3 against the Lions. Apparently I forgot that Jay Cutler is still Jay Cutler and prone to lousy games, new offense or not.
Baltimore (+3.5) at Miami: It's a short week for the Fins after playing Monday night in New Orleans. I presume Joe Flacco won't be throwing five interceptions again this week. The Ravens have lost their past 12 games when Flacco has thrown multiple picks. I do worry about the Baltimore ground game, which had just 24 rushing yards in Sunday's loss to the Bills. But I'm still not a huge believer in Miami (unless it won Monday night).
Tennessee (+3) vs. Kansas City: I'm still not a big believer in the Chiefs, either. Andy Reid has certainly done an amazing job so far, and that defense didn't allow the Giants to run a single play in the Chiefs' red zone on Sunday, which is amazing. The Giants are just the third team to allow 30 points and commit three turnovers in each of their first four games of a season. All I'm saying is that the four teams the Chiefs have beaten have combined for three wins. I believe there will be heavy action on Kansas City here, partly because the Titans will be without injured starting QB Jake Locker, to push the line north of 3. Ryan Fitzpatrick is a capable backup.
Indianapolis (+3) vs. Seattle: The Seahawks had no business winning Sunday in Houston, and I don't think the Texans are all that great (especially Matt Schaub, who has already thrown three picks returned for scores this season). It was Seattle's first win ever when trailing by at least 14 points entering the fourth quarter (0-105 previously). Indianapolis is arguably the most balanced team in the NFL. The Colts have run the ball 121 times compared to 131 pass attempts. Indy could have looked past Jacksonville on Sunday, but throttled the Jags. That's the sign of a good team and a focused one. Meanwhile, it's a 10 a.m. Pacific time start for Seattle. I expect this line to get north of 3 as well.
Here is one heck of an offer for new clients. Doc’s Sports wants to give you $60 worth of member’s picks absolutely free. No obligations and nothing to buy. Just proven picks from experienced handicappers. Click here to get started today.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Most Recent NFL Handicapping
- NFL Betting Predictions: Week 12 Opening Line Report and Picks
- College and NFL Football Biggest Line Moves for Nov. 21-22
- NFL Betting Predictions: Week 11 Opening Line Report and Picks
- 2021 Super Bowl Predictions
- NFL Betting Predictions: Week 10 Opening Line Report and Picks
- NFL Betting Predictions: Week 9 Opening Line Report and Picks
- NFL Betting Predictions: Week 8 Opening Line Report and Picks
- NFL Betting Predictions: Week 7 Opening Line Report and Picks
- NFL Betting Predictions: Week 6 Opening Line Report and Picks
- 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds and Expert Betting Predictions