Big Five Picks for 2019 NFL Week 4

Chalk was all the talk last week. It definitely was not the bloodbath we had anticipated for the books since the favored teams were 6-10 against the spread. Even though everyone of our Big Five Picks for Week 3 was a favored team, we still ended the week profitable by going 3-2 with an overall record of 8-7. This tells us to keep trusting our models since both our regression and probability algorithms strongly preferred the chalk for Week 3. So what do the models tell us to do for Week 4? Let's find out!

  1. Tennessee Titans +4. We were spot on with picking the Titans in our Big Five Picks for Week 1. The Cleveland Browns were all hype going into this season and the Titans correctly proved that notion by burying the Browns on their turf with a 30 point victory. Then the Titans have sputtered a bit by losing the next two games to their division rivals: Colts and Jaguars. Same could be said about the Atlanta Falcons. They took care of the Eagles at home but have lost two other games (one also including a loss to the Colts). Essentially we have two very similar teams in this contest so we will take the dog here. Our models actually have the Titans winning this game by a field goal and even if they lose by a field goal we still cover. Considering the fact that the Titans have three extra days of rest playing on Thursday Night Football last week and that Atlanta cannot run the ball, we feel good about Tennessee not just covering but winning a close game.

  2. New England Patriots -7. Now back to the chalk! Legendary investor Warren Buffett has been quoted as saying, "It's far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price." Similar to Buffett's investment strategy, our models love the favored teams when the chalk is not too much to eat. The Patriots are a blue chip team going against an opponent that we feel is mediocre at best and all we have to do is give up 7 points. While fans in Buffalo will be amped up for this game with both the Bills and Patriotrs at 3-0, please keep in mind that we are talking about a tale of two cities here. Buffalo dominated the AFC for a good portion of the 90s but it has been New England at the top of the hill for the past two decades. Ever since the turn of the century, the Bills have made the playoffs just once in the last 19 seasons. Meanwhile the Patriots have missed the postseason just twice since their first Super Bowl victory in 2001 and they happened to have winning records during those two seasons. Want more proof that these are two football cities that have gone in completely opposite directions in the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era? Since 2001, the Patriots have beaten the Bills by at least 7 points 26 out of their 36 matchups. Two of those victories were by exactly 7 points so the Patriots have covered a 7 point spread 2/3 of the time. That is domination my friends and the Patriots defense has been nothing less than dominant this year. Expect another 20+ point victory for the defending Super Bowl Champions.

  3. Kansas City Chiefs -6.5. Blue chip stocks ... blue chip teams. That is the theme this week. The Chiefs barely missed covering last week but they were playing a strong team. In fact, we knew to avoid taking the Chiefs last week but had them in our Big Five Picks for Weeks 1 and 2 and both times paid out very nicely for us. This week, the Chiefs go back on the road to take on another middle of the pack team. Last year Kansas City was 7-3 against the spread when they played non-playoff teams. The three times they didn't cover was due to the spread being too high (double digits or near double digts). It didn't matter if the Chiefs were at home or on the road last year ... they simply took care of business against mediocre competition. That is what the Lions are. Mediocre. Don't be fooled by their 2-1 record. The Chiefs, on the other hand, are still the real deal with the best player in the game calling the shots from behind center. QB Patrick Mahomes led the Chiefs to a 7-1 road record so expect another convincing road win here. A 2 TD victory sounds about right.

  4. Los Angeles Chargers -15.5. OK, this is A LOT of points to give up but we are talking about an opponent that might be the worst team in NFL history. The Dolphins seem content with their current strategy: tank the season early on but get a boatload of draft picks for the next few years. The NBA is notorious for this kind futility but this has to be a first for the NFL. Yes, other NFL teams have struggled mightly such as the 1976 Bucs, 2008 Lions, and 2017 Browns who all went winless during their forgettable seasons but at least they were competitive in a handful of games that resulted in a loss by less than 7 points. However, it's almost as if Miami is not trying by getting crushed by at least 25 points in each of their three games this season. The combined margin of defeat for Miami is 133-16. That is an average score of 44-6 and two of those games were at home. Let that sink in for a moment. This might be common in college football but not the pros. We know we are asking for the Chargers to win by more than 2 TDs while having to travel cross country again. The Chargers have also struggled lately but they are still a very talented team and perhaps they are working out the kinks. Expect Keenan Allen to have another field day and likewise for whoever is carrying the rock for the Bolts. Don't even get us started about the Miami offense. There are probably a few college teams right now that can put up more points against an NFL defense than the hapless Dolphins. The models have the Chargers winning this one by 24 points which is right in line with the Dolphins average margin of defeat. Keep betting against Miami until they prove they can compete against NFL competition.

  5. Dallas Cowboys -2.5. So no afternoon games for our Week 4 picks. In fact, afternoon games have not treated us well so far this season. Overall we are 1-4 with the later games on Sundays so we will skip right to the Sunday Night game this week. Again, we love blue chip teams. While there are several 3-0 teams right now, there are three teams that truly stand out from the rest of the pack: New England, Kansas City, and Dallas. We already selected the first two teams for our picks this week and that should be no surprise given that the Patriots have a superior defense and the Chiefs have the best football player in the universe. So what do the Cowboys have? A very complete team, much like the 2017 Eagles that went all the way to its first Super Bowl victory. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has been waiting a long time to finally have a true Super Bowl contender and now he has it. The Cowboys are 3-0 against the spread and it will be 4-0 after all of the Sunday action comes to a close. Giving up 2.5 points is not much even if the game is in New Orleans. Bridgewater did an admirable job last week in Seattle but he is no Drew Brees. The Cowboys are significantly better than the Seahawks and the travel to the Big Easy will be a short and sweet trip for them. Dallas should control the tempo of this game and most likley win by 10 points.

Not quite all chalk but close. Definitely all road teams this time. As for strategy. just take single bets for each of the early games with maybe a money line bet on Tennessee. If you feel like parlaying, the Patriots and Chiefs are a good pair. Then try doubling up on the Cowboys in the night game. If you do $100 on a Patriots - Chiefs parlay, a $100 moneyline play on Tennesse, and a $100 against the spread wager on the Chargers, you will be profitable if 2 of those 3 bets hit and still profitable if only the 2 team parlay comes through. If all four teams cover in the first slate of games, you will be up at least $500. Then throw half of the profits on the Cowboys and either way, you finish the week strong! Good luck!