Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:57 AM
Sunday Blitz - Week 4
GAMES TO WATCH
Browns at Ravens (-6 ½, 45) – 1:00 PM EST
The AFC North race was expected to include three teams fighting it out for the top spot, but the Steelers are basically done at 0-3 and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger out for the season. The Browns (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS) had elevated expectations with several key additions in the offseason, but Cleveland has stumbled with home losses to the Titans and Rams. Cleveland’s offense has produced 13 points in each of its two losses, while quarterback Baker Mayfield was limited to 195 yards in last Sunday’s defeat to Los Angeles.
The Ravens (2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS) are by no means running away with the division, but Baltimore can put itself in a great position with a victory on Sunday. After blowing out the hapless Dolphins in Week 1, the Ravens failed to cover as double-digit favorites in a home win over the Cardinals to improve to 2-0. However, Baltimore lost to Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium for the second consecutive season as the Chiefs held off the Ravens, 33-28 as 4 ½-point favorites. Mark Ingram rushed for three touchdowns, but Baltimore yielded over 500 yards of offense to Kansas City as the Ravens suffered their first underdog loss with Lamar Jackson starting at quarterback in four tries.
Last season, these division rivals played to a pair of games decided by a total of five points. Cleveland held off Baltimore as three-point home underdogs, 12-9 in overtime, while the Ravens edged the Browns in the season finale, 26-24 as seven-point favorites. Baltimore has won six of the past seven matchups with Cleveland since 2015, as the Ravens had covered five straight meetings before Cleveland cashed twice in 2018.
Best Bet: Ravens 21, Browns 17
Patriots (-7, 41 ½) at Bills – 1:00 PM EST
It’s no surprise that New England (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS) has started with an unblemished mark through three weeks. The Patriots cruised past the Steelers and Dolphins in the first two weeks, while yielded a total of three points. New England jumped out to a commanding 30-0 lead last Sunday against the banged-up Jets, but New York picked up the backdoor cover by scoring a special teams and defensive touchdown. The Pats failed to cash as hefty 20 ½-point favorites, but New England limited New York to a shade over 100 yards of offense to grab their 18th consecutive victory at Gillette Stadium.
The Bills (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS) were expected to improve this season, but not many believed this team would be undefeated towards the end of September. Buffalo has been carried by its defense so far as the Bills swept the New York squads at Met Life Stadium the first two weeks of the season, while edging the Bengals, 21-17 in Week 3. Buffalo failed to cover for the first time this season as 5 ½-point favorites, but veteran Frank Gore found the end zone in the final two minutes of regulation to lift the Bills to a 3-0 start, as the team rushed for 175 yards against Cincinnati.
This series has been all Patriots over the years as New England has won 28 of the last 31 meetings. That is not a misprint, as two of those wins by the Bills came with Patriots’ star quarterback Tom Brady suspended in one game and playing a handful of series in a meaningless Week 17 contest in 2014. New England is riding a seven-game winning streak at New Era Field as five of those victories by the Patriots have come by 10 points or more in this stretch.
Best Bet: Patriots 27, Bills 17
Vikings at Bears (-1 ½, 38) – 4:25 PM EST
Following Green Bay’s loss to Philadelphia on Thursday night, the winner of Sunday’s contest at Soldier Field will be tied for first place with the Packers atop the NFC North. The Vikings (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS) rebounded from a five-point defeat at Green Bay in Week 2 to pound the Raiders last Sunday, 34-14 to easily cash as 8 ½-point favorites. Minnesota jumped out to a 21-0 lead and never looked back as the Vikings rushed for 211 yards, including 110 yards and a touchdown from Dalvin Cook.
The Bears (2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS) are back at home following a pair of road victories over the Broncos and Redskins, who enter Week 4 with a combined record of 0-6. Following the close-shave win at Denver in Week 2, Chicago cruised past Washington last Monday night, 31-15 to cash as five-point favorites for its first cover of the season. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky finally put together a solid performance with three touchdown passes, while the mighty Bears’ defense created five takeaways as Chicago has allowed 39 points in three games.
Chicago swept Minnesota last season for the first time since 2011 as the Bears have covered four consecutive meetings with the Vikings. The Bears held off the Vikings, 25-20 at Soldier Field to barely hit the OVER of 44 thanks to 28 points by the two teams in the fourth quarter. Chicago dominated Minnesota in the season finale, 24-10 as six-point road underdogs, marking the first road win for the Bears in Minneapolis since 2011.
Best Bet: Vikings 19, Bears 16
Kevin Rogers (3-2 last week, 9-6 this season)
Browns +6 ½
Buccaneers +9 ½
Cardinals +5 ½
Cowboys -2 ½
Chris David (2-3 last week, 6-9 this season)
Texans -4 ½
Raiders +6 ½
Vikings +1 ½
Kevin Rogers (3-0, Week 1 – PHI, Week 2 – BAL, Week 3 – MIN)
Rams over Buccaneers
Chris David (3-0, Week 1 – SEA, Week 2 – NE, Week 3 – DAL)
Chargers over Dolphins
BEST TOTAL PLAY
OVER 47 ½ - Panthers at Texans
The Panthers’ offense exploded in last Sunday’s 38-20 victory against the Cardinals as Kyle Allen will make his second consecutive start at quarterback. Carolina visits Houston as the Texans rallied past the Chargers last Sunday by outscoring Los Angeles, 20-3 in the second half. Houston has hit the UNDER in two straight games, but the Texans are 6-1 to the OVER since 2016 off a road victory. Carolina is 4-1 to the OVER since 2017 also off an away win as this total has jumped from 46 to 47 ½.
TRAP OF THE WEEK
The Titans looked like world beaters in a Week 1 rout of the Browns, but Tennessee has gone backwards the last two weeks by losing to Indianapolis and Jacksonville. The Falcons have surprisingly lost seven consecutive home games to AFC opponents, while going 3-7 ATS in their last 10 opportunities as a favorite. Tennessee has not been impressive offensively in the last two weeks, but the Titans have fared well in the underdog role since Mike Vrabel took over as head coach by going 7-4 ATS, while they are 3 ½-point ‘dogs on Sunday.
BIGGEST LINE MOVE
The Seahawks opened as four-point road favorites at Arizona when the Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas released the numbers last Sunday. Seattle has moved up to 5 ½-point favorites as the Seahawks have gone 5-0-1 in the past six visits to Glendale. The Cardinals covered last season in both meetings against the Seahawks, as Arizona owns a 2-0 ATS record in the underdog role in 2019.
BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW
Only two teams have not covered a game this season as they meet in Miami on Sunday. The Chargers own an 0-2-1 ATS mark, while the Dolphins are 0-3 ATS and are listed as a double-digit underdog for the third straight week. In fact, Miami is 0-6 ATS in its past six regular season games with its last cover coming in the “Miami Miracle” against New England last December in a 34-33 win as a 9 ½-point underdog.
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at [email protected]
Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.