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Handicapping Week 4: All Picks ATS (Featuring The Computer) *Sunday Morning Update

September 30, 2018

As of Thursday morning… (Sunday Morning Update -- Updates noted below)

As the injury reports lock in our projections can/will change. Any major shifters will be updated by kickoff, but to get this out for office pools, etc., here’s where we’re at now (in order of point spread differential of our Computer vs. Vegas):

I’ve been stumbling around on betting the first three weeks of this season. 22-24-2 ATS for the season-to-date and 7-7-1 on my Blazing Five. I don’t feel ‘hot’ or ‘in tune’ yet on my betting. For every good read/instinct, I’ve had the wrong one. For every one really ‘knowing’ a team well, there has been another I’ve been off on by a mile.

Early in the season, we’re relying on a lot of interpretations from the drafts, free agents, trades, preseason…Weeks 1-2 can be misleading. There’s a lot of guess/estimate work into projecting the team performances and trends. This year, I’ve wobbled around .500 with it.

Now, with three weeks into the season I start to rely more on the actual results/trends of the season/teams. I move from my own good and bad preseason bias and introduce more ‘The Computer says…’ and trusting it and to take my bias out as much as possible. It’s not full 2018 data/trending reliant yet, we’ve only had three weeks and various injuries change things, but the 2018 ‘reality’ is influencing my Week 4 a lot more and will totally takeover in the next few weeks (when I got hot last year…Weeks 5-6-7+).

So, with that here’s what we’re seeing for Week 4, and some of it pretty shocking.

DET at DAL (-3.0)

The Computer Says: DET by 14.8 (17.8 point spread differential)

This has been the craziest thing of the week. The Computer swears the Lions’ internal numbers are terrific and that the Cowboys are terrible…and even worse history without Sean Lee. The Computer is borderline Bet of the Year territory here.

The Lions have a much better offense, and not a bad defense…against Dallas’s corrupting O-Line and no Sean Lee on defense. It’s the perfect storm for Detroit.

SF at LAC (-10.5)

The Computer Says: LAC by 18.5 (8.1 point spread differential)

This is the layup of the week (which means guaranteed loss in 2018)…SF minus their QB, best CB, down an O-L with a weak running game a backup QB and no real defense. The Chargers need this win at home. This should be a blowout.

NO (-3.5) at NYG

The Computer Says: NYG by 0.6 (4.1 point spread differential)

One of The Computer’s new favorite teams – the NY Giants. NYG is susceptible to opponents with a big pass rush…of which, the Saints don’t have one. The Saints may have the worst defense in the NFL now. The Giants offense is secretly simple and smart, and they have playmakers. If NYG gets Olivier Vernon back, watch out.

*UPDATE* -- Went from 'love this to like this. he injury reports did not go our way (Vernon and Apple are out).

CIN at ATL (-5.0)

The Computer Says: CIN by 2.5 (7.5 point spread differential)

This game is very strange. All week The Computer has been saying a Cincy upset on the road, which makes little sense to me as a fan/observer/person who assumes Atlanta at home is obvious. However, The Computer is in love with the Bengals advantage at the line of scrimmage in this particular game – better pass rush v. the ATL O-Line and better protection against a nonexistent ATL pass rush.

MIN at LAR (-7.0)

The Computer Says: LAR by 2.0 (5.0 point spread differential)

The Rams struggled with Oakland for a half then pulled away. They blew out the Cardinals Week 2, as they should. The were all over the Chargers but kinda meandered and let LAC hang around but still handled them. The Rams have some kinks, best team in football when healthy but not perfect…and now they’ve lost one starting CB, possibly two for this game.

The Computer sees this more as team that’s been on cruise control versus team that got humiliated and is having a hell on earth week in prep for TNF. The Rams may unwittingly walk into a buzz saw Thursday.

BUF at GB (-9.5)

The Computer Says: GB by 12.3 (3.8 point spread differential)

Straight forward…the Bills lucky last week. It doesn’t keep up against Aaron Rodgers this week.

CLE at OAK (-3.0)

The Computer Says: CLE by 1.2 (4.2 point spread differential)

The Computer sees more reason for the Browns to win big than Oakland winning big. There is hesitation with Oakland being winless/urgent and also playing close in most of their games this season, but blowing it in the end. The Browns are kings of blowing opportunity in the end, but with Mayfield everything changes.

HOU at IND (-1.0)

The Computer Says: IND by 5.1 (4.1 point spread differential)

The Computer sees the Colts as one of the better middle-of-the-road/lower teams in the NFL right now. Really had a chance to be 2-1 or even 3-0 at this point. They’re not bad. The odds the Texans go 0-4 is the only thing holding The Computer back from a stronger Indy conviction.

NYJ at JAX (-7.5)

The Computer Says: JAX by 10.3 (2.8 point spread differential)

As you would expect…Darnold v. the Jags defense is not good.

SEA (-3.0) at ARI

The Computer Says: SEA by 1.2 (1.8 point spread differential)

The numbers point to Seattle, but Arizona under Josh Rosen is a wild card…PLUS the Cards are at home, winless/urgent, their defense is showing signs. I personally think this is an Arizona win, but we’ll take the points just in case.

TB at CHI (-3.0)

The Computer Says: TB by 0.8 (3.8 point spread differential)

The Bears could get caught here. The Bucs play with reckless abandon and it’s been working. The Bears play offense like people who bury their money in Mason jars. The Bears won’t blow anyone out, and if they get down by 10-14 points for any reason…I’m not sure they can produce points fast enough win/cover.

*UPDATE* -- Computer flips from slight lean CHI to slight lean Tampa Bay on CBs Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper out.

KC (-5.0) at DEN

The Computer Says: KC by 5.1 (0.1 point spread differential)

KC would be a bigger favorite but MNF at Denver keeps the models closer.

PHI (-4.0) at TEN

The Computer Says: PHI by 2.8 (1.2 point spread differential)

The Computer hates this game, so it takes the home team getting points.

BAL at PIT (-3.0)

The Computer Says: PIT by 3.1 (0.1 point spread differential)

The Computer could go either way, so it takes the points.

*UPDATE* -- Computer flips from PITT barely not covering to PITT barely covering.

MIA at NE (-7.0)

The Computer Says: NE by 8.0 (1.0 point spread differential)

The internal numbers, for us, on the Patriots is sickening…one of the worst teams (on paper) in the NFL. Probably, the worst Patriots team I’ve ever seen (on paper). I know they’ll fix it, and some of that coming when Edelman returns and if Josh Gordon can do anything.

The Computer says take Miami under more normal circumstances…take them for the outright win. However, when you factor in the low likelihood that this/any Patriots team loses three in-a-row, loses a do-or-die type of game WHILE Miami keeps pulling rabbits to win four in-a-row – the trending numbers shift toward the Pats for betting purposes.


About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is a fantasy football player analyst for Fantasy Football Metrics and College Football Metrics. 

Email rc4metrics@gmail.com

Learn more about RC and the Fantasy Football Metrics system >>