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NFL Sunday Tips: Raiders will struggle to contain Colts

Ty Hilton of Indianapolis Colts
The Colts should beat Oakland with or without Ty Hilton (above)
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We should find out a lot about several teams in week four of the NFL season, says Mike Carlson as he bids to keep his winning streak going with three bets...

Indianapolis -6.5 v Oakland at 10/11:

"The Colts just squeaked past Atlanta at home last week, but the Raiders are not the team Atlanta are, and the Colts' quickness on both sides of the ball may be too much for the Raiders to handle."

It might not be smart of me to mention the success this column has had the past three weeks (nor to mention that if you check out the Betfair Football Only Bettor podcast on Wednesdays, you'll pick up some extra tips and info which have not been bad either) because inevitably my hubris will receive a negative reward. On the other hand, if I don't mention it, who else will?

Week Four in the NFL promises to be a challenger, with most games offering a pretty obvious (on the surface) winner, which makes keeping an eye on the spreads even more tricky.

Last week you had the unpredictable, which often comes down to turnovers and special teams. In Seattle, the Saints got a fumble return TD that might not have happened the week before, except the NFL officials had been instructed not to blow fumbles dead right away, thus allowing teams to pick up the ball and score, then get the fumble itself reviewed. New Orleans also had a 53 yard punt return TD by Deonte Harris, a rookie from Div II Assumption College in Massachusetts. Harris also fumbled a punt but that didn't go for a Seattle score. On such small margins can NFL games be decided.

There are a couple of tossup games, from my point of view this week, and a lot of road favourites, which makes things more difficult. Week Four is one of those weeks where teams start to reveal just who they really are; the same might apply to pundits too.

Colts should be too much for Raiders

Best Bet: Indianapolis -6.5 v Oakland at 10/11

The Colts just squeaked past Atlanta at home last week, but the Raiders are not the team Atlanta are, and the Colts' quickness on both sides of the ball may be too much for the Raiders to handle. I do have a caveat here: TY Hilton left that game with a quad injury, and remains day-to-day for the Colts. You might want to wait and check his status, but if he is cleared to play, the spread may well get wider. If Hilton does play, I'd go over 45.5 at 10/11; if he doesn't, I might take the under at the same odds.

Steelers and Bengals should keep the score low

Value Bet: Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati Under 43.5 at evs

This is a tough week for value; the under here is literally the only spread or over/under bet on the board at evens or better. But it's one I could take. With Mason Rudolph at QB and the Bengals' being a relatively stingy defense, I can see the points total being closer to last week's Bengals 21-17 loss in Buffalo than to Pittsburgh's 24-20 loss in San Francisco. So with the Steelers at home, this makes some sense.

KC will need more consistency in Detroit

Outside Bet: Kansas City -6.5 at 10/11 at Detroit

With few value bets on offer, there are a ton of possible outside shots. This one is a measure of how good Detroit's defense actually is, because you have to wonder if they can stop a shootout, or indeed keep pace with KC if they can't. Patrick Mahomes carried KC last week against a Ravens' D that we know is good at all three levels, but that was at home, and on the fast track in Detroit, they will need more consistency. Think the 54.5 total points might be worth a back-up at 10/11, especially if you think the Lions can cover.

I'm also looking at Miami -15 at 10/11 v LA Chargers as a real outside bet cover. The Chargers have looked inconsistent at best, and maybe travelling west to east, and in the heat of Miami, they'll play well enough to win, but only by two TDs.

Mike Carlson,

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