Scoring finally returned to the NFL in Week 3.
Scoring finally returned to the NFL in Week 3.
Photo by Joel Kramer via Flickr creative commons

NFL Football, Week 4 — This Weekend's Best Bets

Okay, so last week wasn't the 6-0 week that I promised in this space. In fact, it was the definition of average — a .500 week at 3-3. But do you want some spin? Well, here you go... four weeks in, I have not had a losing week yet!

My four weekly records are 3-3, 4-2, 5-1 and 3-3. THAT, my friends, adds up to 15-9, and THAT, my friends, is a 62.5 percent winning percentage, and THAT, my friends will get you paid handsomely over the course of an entire season. So, without further ado, let's get to the picks this week...

Ohio State -29 over RUTGERS
The Ohio State Buckeyes lost in Week 2 at home to Oklahoma, but this much we know — if the College Football Playoff committee needs to find a way to get the Buckeyes into the playoff, they will. It starts with the Buckeyes bullying around every crappy, D-list opponent on their schedule. Rutgers fits that bill. Urban Meyer is going to have J.T. Barrett pressing the gas pedal well into the second half. Buckeyes by 40.

Clemson -6.5 over VIRGINIA TECH
I don't know that there's a specific situation — home, road, opponent week before, opponent week after, night, day — that I wouldn't bet on Dabo Swinney. In the case of this game, I think back to what that Clemson front seven did to Lamar Jackson a few weeks ago, and then I pray for Hokie freshman QB Josh Jackson. I pray that he survives while losing by more than 6.5 points!

WASHINGTON STATE +3.5 over USC
I'm not gonna lie, it's fun having Mike Leach playing in relevant games again. This should be an electric atmosphere on a Friday night in Pullman. Sam Darnold of USC is the quarterback that has been getting the next-level love all season long, but the truth is that he has been kind of turnover prone this season. Luke Falk of the Cougars has been the more consistent quarterback. Like most Leach teams, the defense is quite suspect, but if they can turn Darold over a couple times, this has potential to be a "guy with the ball last wins" shootout. Here's hopping Washington State has the ball last! I might moneyline this one.

PACKERS -7 over Bears
I got burned last week taking the Packers -7 at home against Cincinnati. (Not in this space, just recreationally as I tried to handle my gambling addiction during the late afternoon games last weekend.) So you'd think maybe I learned a lesson. But here is the lesson, kids — when you can get the most talented quarterback on the planet at one score or less at home over a team quarterbacked by Mike Glennon, you don't walk, you RUN to the betting window. Also, the Packers are 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS in their past five games against the NFC North. So there's that.

PATRIOTS -9 over Panthers
The optics of a greater than one score spread between a couple of 2-1 teams would seem to favor the underdog. But then consider the following — New England got a scare last week from the Texans, so I think they will be minding their P's and Q's. Second, Deshaun Watson's mobility last week gave the defense a taste of what Cam Newton will have for them on Sunday, so that should help. Also, add in that the two Panthers wins were over the winless 49ers and a 9-3 victory over Buffalo. This is not a good 2-1 team. The Patriots, on the other hand, are a good 2-1 team. Their defense is suspect, but Cam Newton is a shell of the MVP from a couple years ago. Pats by three scores.

BUCCANEERS -3 over Giants
So which team is Tampa Bay? The one that smoked the Bears in Week 1, or the one that got destroyed by Case Keenum last weekend? I'm not sure. However, I know that the Giants just aren't very good, despite a valiant effort against Philly last weekend. The Giants are closer to circling the drain than rallying the troops right now. I'll take the Bucs on what will look like a silly spread when we look back a month or two from now.

LAST WEEK: 3-3
SEASON RECORD: 15-9 (62.5%)

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.

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