Austin Montgomery's Week 4 NFL Preview: Bills-Ravens, Rams-49ers and more
Last week was a rough one, not going to lie. We went 1-4 and dropped to 7-8 on the year. But it's been a long year, so we bounced back this week! Put in a little extra work in the lab. I like what I got cooking for this week. After every bad week, we seem to get a bounce back the week after.
Without further to do, here is who we are backing in Week 4 - with the lines provided by our friends at Betfred Sportsbook. Remember, you can bet $50 on any game this weekend and get $250 in free bets courtesy of Betfred.
Now, the picks.
Arizona at Carolina
Spread: Carolina (-1)
This is a decent buy-low spot for Arizona, who was favored by 3.5 in the lookahead for this game when the lines opened in June. Since then we’ve seen both teams show poorly, especially the Cardinals defense and Panthers offense. Arizona’s defense ranks 31st in EPA per play. They have been destroyed on drop backs. On the other side the Panther’s offense has been bad ranking 25th in DVOA overall and they are 30th in DVOA on dropbacks.
So something has to give here right?
In this case, I think the Cardinals defense gets right. They do rank number one in the NFL in pass rush win rate. The problem is, the secondary hasn’t been able to cover anybody. They have played three top 12 QBs who get the ball out quick, Patrick Mahomes, Derek Carr, and Matthew Stafford. Carolina quarterback Baker Mayfield doesn’t do that. Mayfield has been sacked nine times in three games. The offensive line hasn’t held up.
Then add onto the reports where there has been trouble in the Carolina locker room? This is a revenge spot for Mayfield facing his former college coach and former college teammate on the other side. The Cardinals crushed Mayfield last season when he was on the Browns. Mayfield had a 29.9 QBR and had two turnovers.
Add in the fact Arizona is 9-1 ATS in their last 10 regular season road games. Matt Rhule struggles at home. All equates to an Arizona road win on Sunday.
The pick: Arizona ML
Los Angeles Chargers at Houston
Spread: Los Angeles (-5.5)
The NFL is all about swings and overreactions. This game was 7.5 on the look ahead lines and was 8.5 last year. Justin Herbert was a full go on practice Wednesday. As bad as the Chargers looked last Sunday, this is the game they bounce back. Jacksonville, who the Chargers lost to last week, are a talented offensive team. Houston is not, they rank 30th in offensive DVOA.
For all their bad performances, LA ranks 15th in defensive DVOA but they are fourth against the run. And in
a major switch from last year. Houston likes to move the ball on the ground with rookie Dameon Pierce.
If LA can keep the ground game at bay, I don’t see Davis Mills beating them here. We get a motivated and talented Los Angeles team playing in a spot where they are significantly undervalued. This is a numbers play, don’t fall for the overreactions. Take Los Angeles to cover easily here.
The pick: Los Angeles Chargers -5.5
Buffalo at Baltimore
Spread: Buffalo (-3)
You could argue that this is the most interesting game on the Week 4 slate, as it pits two MVP favorites against each other in Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson. The Ravens currently lead the NFL in offensive EPA and scoring in general. Buffalo’s defense ranks second in DVOA and first in total defense. Even down multiple starters they held their own against an explosive Miami offense.
While this looks like a bounce back spot for Buffalo, I’m going to take Baltimore here. The Ravens are 4-0 straight up when they are pegged as a home underdog since Lamar Jackson has been the quarterback. Buffalo's main weakness is running the football. We are expecting a lot of rain and windy conditions. So the team with the better running game will have a major edge Sunday. It will limit the Buffalo air attack which is great news for Baltimore. They have been bleeding corners and the secondary is depleted. According to the injury report, it looks like Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters will be back for this one.
The Ravens will be a major test to see how legit the Bills defense really is. Baltimore will be able to run the ball. The weather will play out in their favor. Buffalo is dealing with injuries while the Ravens are slowly getting healthier. If you are giving me Harbaugh as a home dog, I’m going to take it. Ride the Ravens here.
The pick: Ravens (+3)
LA Rams at San Francisco
Spread: San Francisco (-1.5)
It’s a matchup between two offensive mastermind coaches, but neither Sean McVay or Kyle Shanahan’s offenses have lived up to their expectations. So far this season these two offenses have started out slow with the Rams averaging just over 20 points per game and the 49ers averaging just under 16 points per game, and due to injuries and a lack of a full preseason this year, expect there to still be more rust on both squads and a lack of scoring.
I think this game really comes to situational football. The Rams' defense has historically struggled to defend the 49ers zone run scheme. Jimmy Garoppolo is looking to make up for his disastrous performance against these same Rams in the NFC championship game.
The main matchup will be how the Rams block the 49ers front. The Rams offense has an adjusted sack rate of 8.5 percent ranking 24th in the NFL. The 49ers rank 5th in the NFL in adjusted sack rate bringing down QB’s at 8.99 percent mark.
One of these offenses is going to get back on cue. I like the home revenge factor for San Francisco here. I trust San Fran to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football. They will get a primetime win on Monday night. Give me the 49ers.
The pick: San Francisco (-1.5)
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The picks were presented by Betfred Sportsbook - new users can bet $50 on any game and get $250 in free bets courtesy of Betfred!