NFL Week 4: Top Two Betting Picks
In my 2012 gambling column debut, I take a look at two overrated 2-1 teams that the public should be betting against in Week 4.
49ers (-4.5) over JETS
While the 49ers are traveling to the East Coast to play a 1:00 p.m. game, that is the only thing going against them this week. The 49ers are going to be extremely angry coming off a bad loss against the Vikings. Head coach Jim Harbaugh is incredible at motivating his team, and that was a big reason why the 49ers were 3-0 last season against the spread after a loss.
Along with the fact that the 49ers, outside of last week, have looked like an elite team, the Jets have looked incredibly shaky so far this season. Mark Sanchez has completed 31 out of 72 passes in the past two games, for a minuscule 43-percent completion rate. With the 49ers having one of the best run defenses in the NFL, Sanchez will have to make big throws this game. Do you really trust a guy who is completing half his passes to lead his offense down the field against such an elite defense? Neither do I.
Additionally, the 49ers' pass rush should have a field day against the Jets, attacking the huge weaknesses on the right side of the offensive line. Justin Smith and Aldon Smith will be licking their chops.
The Jets' overrated defense is another reason to take the 49ers. The run defense has been surprisingly bad, allowing over 180 rushing yards in two of their three games. The 49ers are a ground-and-pound team, so expect them to run the ball down the Jets' throats.
And as everyone knows, the Jets' secondary took a huge hit with the announcement that Darrelle Revis is out for the season. Newly appointed starting cornerback Kyle Wilson is a huge downgrade from Revis. This will be a tough first game to adjust to life without Revis, especially facing against weapons such as Vernon Davis, Randy Moss and Michael Crabtree. This game simply has a plethora of evidence suggesting how great of a play the 49ers are this week. This is my lock of the week.
Giants (+1) over EAGLES
The Giants love playing on the road and love playing when a lot of people are counting them out. The Giants have won their last six away games and are 9-2 against the spread in their last 11 road games. The Giants have also won their last seven games against the spread when they've been the underdog. Additionally, the home team has been awful recently against the spread in this NFC East battle. The home team has only covered three times in the past 14 games in this series.
Another problem is, just like the Jets, the Eagles are an overrated 2-1 team. The Eagles have a whopping 12 turnovers in their first three games. According to Grantland's Bill Barnwell, only five teams have had more turnovers in their first three games to start a season. The Eagles also have a minus-19 point differential, a number that suggests that they aren't a very good team. They only beat the Cleveland Browns by one point!
Vick has thrown an average of 42 attempts per game, with a completion rate of 55 percent. With so many passing attempts mixed in with a shaky offensive line, Vick has gotten hit a significant amount of times. He's also been forced to make quicker decisions, which has led to more mistakes.
Even though McCoy has fumbled twice in the first three games, Reid needs to hand the ball off to him more often. He is averaging fewer than 20 carries a game, even though he is averaging 4.5 yards a carry. Yet, I don't think after all these years that Reid will make the necessary change to run the ball more often. That will hurt the offense tremendously this game. With a ton of chances to rush the quarterback, expect the Giants' defensive line, led by Jason Pierre-Paul, to take full advantage.
Additionally, if Kevin Kolb can have a good game against the Eagles' defense, expect Eli Manning to have a great one. Manning had more than 250 yards passing in both games against the Eagles last season, along with throwing five touchdowns versus just one interception. Manning gets his favorite weapon back as well. After missing last week, Hakeem Nicks is back. Nicks and Victor Cruz form arguably the most formidable wide receiver duo in the NFL. The Eagles secondary has depth, but facing against those two and the surprisingly effective tight end Martellus Bennett will give them problems.
I love the Giants to take care of business on Sunday Night Football, even if they are the road underdog once again.