NFL Betting Predictions: Week 4 Opening Line Report and Picks
The 49ers were a chic playoff pick this season because of what Jimmy Garoppolo did at the end of last year in winning five straight games. Here's hoping you took the "under" 8.5 wins that the Niners were carrying at most books entering 2018 because reportedly Jimmy G is done for the season - and there's no chance the Niners are going over that number without him.
In Sunday's 38-27 loss in Kansas City, Garoppolo went down late with a left knee injury that the team already assumes is a torn ACL - by the time you read this, that should be confirmed. With a little over five minutes left, Garoppolo scrambled for 13 yards. At the end of the run, He had the option of stepping out of bounds or staying in and taking the risk of a hit from a defender. He took an awkward step near the sideline with his left leg before awkwardly ramming into the Chiefs' Steven Nelson at Kansas City's 7.
Frankly, it was Jimmy G's fault. He should have just run out of bounds. He was 20-for-30 for 251 yards with two scores before the injury. Presuming Garoppolo is done, C.J. Beathard takes over as the starter. I'm not even sure why that guy is on an NFL roster because he wasn't all that great at Iowa. He started five games last year before Jimmy G was acquired from New England. Overall in seven games, Beathard is completing 54.9 percent of his passes for four scores and six picks.
This might be the best thing to happen to this franchise, in all honesty. The Niners weren't winning a Super Bowl this year and were at best a fringe wild-card contender - the Rams are winning the NFC West. Now, perhaps, the 49ers will get a very high draft pick and could be really good next year. At the Westgate in Las Vegas, the Niners' Super Bowl odds went from 60/1 to 200/1 following news of the injury.
San Francisco is +9.5 this week at the Chargers , who are also 1-2 following Sunday's 35-23 loss to the Rams. The Bolts remain without their best defensive player in end Joey Bosa, and that defense has really struggled without his pass rush.
Here are some Week 4 early lines that caught my eye. I won't touch on Thursday's game (Vikings-Rams), my in-depth Sunday matchup (most likely Texans-Colts) or the Monday night game (Chiefs-Broncos) as I will be previewing them here individually.
Bengals at Falcons (-5.5, 48): So, let's say the Bengals are on the clock again at No. 4 overall in the 2011 draft. Do they again take Georgia receiver A.J. Green as they did or do they instead go with Alabama wideout Julio Jones? He went No. 6 to the Falcons after they traded a ton of picks to Cleveland to move up to that spot and take Jones (Arizona took cornerback Patrick Peterson in between those two). Green's a terrific player, but I'd probably prefer Jones. Will Green play here? He left Sunday's 31-21 loss at Carolina with a groin injury. That Bengals are a totally different offense without him. Andy Dalton was picked off four times by the Panthers. Cincinnati managed only 66 yards rushing without Joe Mixon, who's likely out again with a knee injury. Atlanta lost a home shootout to New Orleans, 43-37 in OT. Jones had five catches for 96 yards, but the receiving star for the Falcons was another Alabama player, rookie Calvin Ridley, with seven catches for 146 yards and three scores. Matt Ryan threw five TD passes, but the Atlanta defense was gashed for 534 yards. That unit is really banged up. The pick: Like to know if Green was playing, but go Falcons.
Browns at Raiders (-3, 44.5): Break up the Browns! They ended their 19-game winless streak with a thrilling 21-17 comeback win over the Jets on Thursday. The Baker Mayfield era has arrived! He replaced a struggling and concussed Tyrod Taylor down 14-0 and outshined fellow rookie Sam Darnold by completing 17 of 23 for 201 yards with no turnovers. Carlos Hyde had two one-yard TD runs. I'm not a Browns fan, but that was simply fun to watch that stadium/city go nuts and the Bud Light coolers being unlocked across town. It was Cleveland's first win since Christmas Eve 2016. Needless to say, Taylor's not getting that job back barring an injury to Mayfield. Jon Gruden, who once was rumored as a Browns coaching candidate with his Ohio roots, probably wishes he was still in the ESPN booth with his team at 0-3 following Sunday's 28-20 loss in Miami. Hey, it was a season high in points for the Silver & Black. The Raiders have blown a second-half lead in all three defeats. The pick: Oakland (at -2.5 as some books have it).
Bills at Packers (-10, 44): Yep, because we all saw the Bills going to Minnesota as 17-point underdogs and dominate the Vikings! What a stunner, and surely destroyed Survivor Pools everywhere. Josh Allen looked like an NFL quarterback and had one of the highlights of Sunday by hurdling a Vikings defender. Allen rushed for two scores and didn't turn the ball over. I thought it was possible this team would go 0-16. Coach Sean McDermott said defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier resumed defensive play-calling duties Sunday after being stripped of them last week against the Chargers. Frazier's defense forced three turnovers and held the Vikings to just 14 yards rushing - albeit on only six carries. Bills top running back LeSean McCoy sat with a rib injury and it's not clear if he'll play here. Green Bay was upset at Washington, 31-17. Impossibly, Clay Matthews had another silly roughing the passer penalty. It was so blatantly ridiculous, and this is a Packers hater saying that. Aaron Rodgers can barely move around with his knee injury. By the way, it's a crying shame these two aren't playing on some frozen tundra. The pick: Green Bay (at -9.5).
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