It seems like the NFL season just started yesterday and yet we are already entering Week 4. We have now seen the good, the bad, and the ugly from most of league.
It is our task as sports bettors to take the glut of unpredictability that has been Weeks 1-3 and turn it into something valuable and predictive.
I have a few ideas for how I want to handicap this week. Using the help of statistical history, I am going to delve inside the mindsets of teams and discover value.
Browns @ Raiders -3 (EVEN) – 9/30/18
I was dead wrong last week. I picked the Browns to continue losing and they shocked the league by winning their first game in 635 days. If you read my preseason prediction article on Cleveland, you know that they won two weeks sooner than I expected them to.
I had originally diagnosed this game as a trap game for Oakland, considering they face the Chargers on the road next week. An 0-3 start changes things.
When you are still winless, you do not overlook anyone. Jon Gruden is absolutely licking his chops because he can smell his first win. The Browns beat the Jets. Is that even a win? Sorry Jets fans, but this win does not make me fear the Browns.
This is not just a hunch. The numbers back me up. 0-3 teams have gone 9-3-1 ATS in the previous four Week 4s. Two losses could be a fluke but the public is quick to write off an 0-3 team.
Use this public ignorance to our advantage and bet the 0-3 team. Playing at home against a team that has to travel across the country, the Raiders are in a good spot here.
Texans +1.5 (-110) @ Colts – 9/30/18
From one 0-3 team to another, the Houston Texans take to the road this week for a face-off with division foe Indianapolis.
I am really liking how hot 0-3 teams are right now. Let’s face it, if Vegas thought the Colts were going to run away with it, they would have made them much bigger favorites.
The Texans took their lumps in division play last season, dropping 5 of the 6 contests. I do not hold this against them as their season took a dismal turn when their two best players fell to injury relatively early in the year.
For a clear picture of what Houston is capable of, look at their division record from 2014-2016 – they were 14-4. That is definitely reason for optimism.
This game seems like the perfect storm. You have an 0-3 team who excels in division play (when healthy) squaring off against an inconsistent squad with a quarterback who has not played in two years.
I need a bounce-back week more than anyone right now. The Raiders and the Texans, a couple of unlikely culprits, are the horses I will ride out of this hole.