NFL Underdogs: Week 4 pointspread picks and predictions

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There’s nothing like a good old fashion distraction to hide the ugliness. I do it with my screaming kids, the President does it to the media pretty much every week, and the New York Giants are doing it in Week 4 of the NFL season.

The talk of the Big Apple is rookie QB Daniel Jones and his triumphant debut as the Giants’ new starter, just squeaking out a victory at Tampa Bay last Sunday. Jones passed for two touchdowns and scrambled for two more, ushering in a new era for New York football and putting the dark days of Eli Manning under center to bed.

But while football fans fall in love with “Danny Dimes” they’re blinded to the fact that the G-Men have one of the worst defenses in the NFL. New York has allowed scores of 38, 28, and 31 points through three games, giving up 6.8 yards per play to opponents (second worst) and getting torched for 16 strikes of 20-plus yards, including allowing six plays of 40 yards or more.

When you’re hemorrhaging those kinds of gains, it’s a lot to ask a rookie passer – without his best weapon (Saquon Barkley out with high ankle sprain) – to pick up the slack. And honestly, had the Bucs made that last-second field goal in Week 3, this line could look very different (lookahead lines had Giants -2 before Week 3).

New York’s Week 4 opponents, the Washington Redskins, don’t exactly fill football bettors with confidence. Washington is playing on a short week after a rough home outing on Monday night, losing to a desperate Bears squad and falling to 0-3 on the season.

The Redskins are sitting near the Giants at the bottom of the defensive results, but some of the blame can be put on an offense that has turned the ball over five times in three games and has forced the stop unit to play more than 33 minutes per outing – fourth most in the league. With Barkley out of order, the New York offense (which is averaging a NFL-high 6.3 yards per run) becomes one-dimensional, allowing the Skins to focus on frustrating the rookie.

This line is starting to tick down at some books, so grab the Redskins at a field goal and brace for some ugliness.

PICK: Washington +3

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS AT DENVER BRONCOS (-3.5, 38.5)

Do we still think Denver has a good defense? Is that still a “thing”?

I’m not a huge stat head but the Broncos’ DVOA at FootballOutsiders has this unit ranked among the bottom feeders of the NFL. Denver is winless through three games, allowing 22.3 points per game despite giving up only 314 yards an outing (ninth in the NFL). What’s more, the Broncos have yet to record a single sack or takeaway in 2019. That’s bonkers.

A deeper dive shows that this methodical Broncos offense, which chews up nearly 32 minutes of clock, has worked to cloak those issue with the stop unit. Opponents have held possession for a mere 28 minutes a contest, scoring almost 0.8 points per minute or 0.4 points per play. The Broncos’ scoring attack has posted totals of 16, 14, and 16 through the first three weeks and runs into a solid Jacksonville defense in Week 4.

The Jaguars pass rush was the star of the show last Thursday, recording what seemed like 100 sacks (actually nine) against a Titans offense that looks pretty similar to the one the Jags will face in Denver Sunday. Broncos QB Joe Flacco has been sacked 11 times already this season, including five against the Packers last week.

As for the Jaguars offense and rookie Gardner Minshew, they benefit from a mini bye coming off the Thursday game in Week 3. That should help with Minshew’s maturation before this big road game as well as give RB Leonard Fournette some time to recharge after fighting through a frustrating night versus the Titans.

I’m taking the points against a 0-3 team that’s worse than it looks. And it looks pretty bad.

PICK: Jacksonville +3.5

CINCINNATI BENGALS AT PITTSBURGH STEELERS (-4, 43.5)

I’m back on the 0-3 Bengals and the points for the third time in three weeks. And why not?

Cincy woke up just in time to put 17 second-half points up versus the Bills and steal the cover as a 6-point pup at Buffalo last Sunday. In Week 1, the Bengals’ new up-tempo attack caught the Seahawks by surprise, and kept things close enough to cover the +9.5 as the visitors.

Those results improved Cincinnati to 13-5 ATS on the road going back to 2017, including an 11-5 ATS mark when getting the points in those away contests. And that’s where we find the coolest helmets in football again in Week 4: catching four as the road team on Monday Night Football.

While I love the pace of this Bengals offense, it was actually the defense that got the job done for bettors in the final two quarters against the Bills. The team showed sound tackling for the first time in a long time and kept the Buffalo runners between the hash marks.

Pittsburgh’s 24-20 result in San Francisco wasn’t as close as it seems. The Niners fumbled away the ball three times and Jimmy Garoppolo threw two interceptions, yet the Steelers offense managed only 239 total yards (second lowest for Week 3) and went 3 for 12 on third downs.

And as poor as the Pittsburgh offense is under backup QB Mason Rudolph, the Pittsburgh defense may just as bad. The Steelers were gashed for 21 second-half points by San Francisco and have allowed an average of 18.3 points in the final two frames so far in 2019.

Smells like another backdoor cover for my favorite underdogs.

PICK: Cincinnati +4

Week 3: 2-1 ATS
Season to date: 7-2 ATS

Canucks vs Golden Knights picks and predictions for Game 1

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Perhaps no team has been more fun to follow during the NHL playoffs than the Vancouver Canucks, and hockey bettors can still get the Canucks at +1,300 to hoist Lord Stanley’s cup. Vancouver is coming off a thrilling series win against the defending champion St. Louis Blues, but now a much more difficult challenge awaits. The Vegas Golden Knights are +350 favorites to win it all, and they’ve certainly looked the part while dropping only one playoff contest.

Game 1 of this series gets underway Sunday, so we’re here to bring you our NHL picks and predictions in this Western Conference semifinal showdown.

Vancouver Canucks vs Vegas Golden Knights betting preview

Starting Goalies

Canucks: Jacob Markstrom – playoffs – 7-3, 2.44 GAA, .929 SV% (season – 23-16, 2.75 GAA, .918 SV%)

Golden Knights: Robin Lehner – playoffs – 5-1, 2.44 GAA, .904 SV% (season – 19-10, 2.89, .920 SV%)

If this game was actually played in Las Vegas, then Markstrom could easily spend a few hours performing with Cirque du Soleil. The 30-year-old dazzled against Blues with an eye-opening array of acrobatic saves and an impressive 7-3 record. He’ll need to provide more of the same against a dangerous Vegas squad.

The Knights will likely roll with Robin Lehner, who has taken over the spot as Vegas’s starter in the crease—and rightfully so. Still, the Knights have the luxury of having Marc-Andre Fleury as their “backup.” The five-time All-Star matched an NHL record this season with his 14th consecutive playoff appearance.

Injuries

Vancouver: Tyler Myers D (out), Tyler Toffoli RW (out), Micheal Ferland LW (out), Josh Leivo LW (out)

Vegas: Tomas Nosek LW (out)

Betting Trend to Know

Canucks are 0-6 in their last six Sunday games. Find the latest NHL betting trends for Canucks vs. Golden Knights.

MONEYLINE PICK

The Canucks have been a force with the extra man during the postseason, converting 26.2% of their power plays. While the Knights are known for their offensive firepower, it’s their stingy defense that allows them to suffocate opponents—as evidenced by an 86.4% penalty kill during their playoff run. Vancouver is the only team in the league to never beat Vegas in regulation, going 0-11 all time. That’s something I just can’t ignore.

PREDICTION: Vegas ML (-175)

OVER/UNDER PICK

Each team is filled with loads of offensive talent. Vancouver’s Bo Horvat and J.T. Miller have combined for 11 goals thus far. Elias Pettersson has racked up 13 points, tied with Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon for the playoff lead.

The Knights can match Vancouver’s scorers, but they’re more balanced—Shea Theodore, Alex Tuch and Mark Stone have each lit the lamp four times during the postseason. The difference is on defense, where Vancouver has allowed the most high-danger chances of all remaining playoff teams.

PREDICTION: Over 5.5 (-110)

PROP PICK

Though I like Vegas to win, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Canucks kept it close and continued their offensive success. I’ll take a flyer on Vancouver scoring at least three goals.

PREDICTION: Canucks total goals Over 2.5 (-100)

Canucks vs Golden Knights Betting Card

  • Vegas ML (-175)
  • Over 5.5 (-110)
  • Canucks total goals Over 2.5 (-100)
NHL Parlays

Did you know that if you parlayed today’s NHL Canucks vs Golden Knights picks, you could win $104.93 on a $10 bet?

Use our NHL parlay calculator to create your own parlays and see their potential payouts.

Verlander injury shuffles Astros’ MLB futures odds

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MLB betting got a shake-up Sunday afternoon, specifically on World Series odds and AL pennant odds, with news that Astros star pitcher Justin Verlander could miss the rest of the season – or at least a significant chunk of it – with an arm injury.

Initial reports suggested Verlander had an elbow ailment, but both he and manager Dusty Baker quickly denied that. Baker called it a forearm strain and said that Verlander would be re-evaluated in “a couple of weeks.” The reigning AL Cy Young winner pitched a solid six innings in an 8-2 Opening Day rout of the Seattle Mariners on Friday.

Verlander’s injury led oddsmakers to shuffle futures book odds on the defending AL champions. Covers checked in on the MLB odds moves with a couple of Las Vegas sportsbooks.

How does Verlander’s injury affect Astros’ World Series odds?

At CG Technology books, risk analyst Rich Zanco said the Astros quickly moved from +1,200 to +1,800 in World Series futures. The SuperBook at Westgate also had Houston pegged +1,200 prior to Sunday’s news and initially went to +1,600, then dialed it a little further to +1,800.

However, there were apparently buyers on the Astros at that point, prompting the SuperBook to reel the price in to +1,400.

How does Verlander’s injury affect Astros’ American League odds?

In AL pennant futures, the Astros initially moved from +600 to +800 at The SuperBook, then ticked back to +700.

World Series odds

Team Odds to win
Los Angeles Dodgers +350
New York Yankees +350
Houston Astros +600
Atlanta Braves +1,600
Minnesota Twins +1,600
Tampa Bay Rays +1,800
Washington Nationals +2,000
Cleveland Indians +2,000
New York Mets +2,000
Chicago Cubs +2,000
Oakland Athletics +2,000
St. Louis Cardinals +2,500
Cincinnati Reds +2,500
San Diego Padres +2,500
Philadelphia Phillies +3,000
Chicago White Sox +3,000
Los Angeles Angels +3,000
Milwaukee Brewers +4,000
Boston Red Sox +5,000
Arizona Diamondbacks +6,000
Colorado Rockies +8,000
Toronto Blue Jays +10,000
Texas Rangers +10,000
Pittsburgh Pirates +20,000
Detroit Tigers +20,000
San Francisco Giants +30,000
Seattle Mariners +30,000
Miami Marlins +30,000
Baltimore Orioles +30,000
Kansas City Royals +30,000

Odds courtesy The SuperBook