NFL Week 4 first-look betting preview

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Week 3 saw underdogs win outright in six games with the biggest upset coming in Los Angeles where the +6.5 underdog Panthers got their first win of 2020 by defeating the Chargers 21-16. The week was filled with several home teams underwhelming as Atlanta, New Orleans and Baltimore also all lost as -3.5 (or better) favorites. 

From a total perspective, the over has now hit in 29 out of the 48 games in 2020 giving it a 65.5% hit rate on the season. Injuries continued to mount throughout the league as star players like Julio Jones (hamstring) and Davante Adams (hamstring) missed games for their respective teams. If Jones is out again, expect Calvin Ridley to carry most of the load for Atlanta once again.

The Week 4 injury list is already looking like it will be a busy one to monitor as WR Chris Godwin (hamstring) and Dallas Goedert (IR-ankle) have been ruled out. Other situations to monitor include the Jets wide receiver position, which may or may not get back Jamison Crowder (hamstring) this week. The Jaguars should also be on watch as to whether or not they get back wide receiver DJ Chark (chest). Chark went in for more testing early this week so his situation should be cleared up soon, one way or the other. The Jags offense looked rough without Chark in to stretch the field so his situation will be one to monitor. The Bengals are currently -3.5 home favorites over Jacksonville as of writing. 

Week 4 preview (lines and totals)

Biggest totals

Dallas Cowboys -5.5 vs. Cleveland Browns O/U 55

Dallas has had major issues keeping people out of the endzone in 2020. The Cowboys have allowed the third-most points per game thus far (32.5) and have a secondary that is currently buried by injury. They are going up against an offensive line in Cleveland though who has had issues with pass protection, and rank just 17th in adjusted sack rate allowed. Dallas’ defensive issues have forced them to play at an insanely fast pace so far but Cleveland rates out as one of the slower paced teams in the league so far. Fading overs has now been profitable thus far but this may be the spot where Dallas’ defense shows up and keeps the points down to a respectable level. 

Green Bay Packers -7.5 vs. Atlanta Falcons O/U 57.5

Atlanta is a mess. They’ve allowed 36-points against per game so far in the new season and have injuries piling up so fast in the secondary it’s almost impossible to keep up. CB Darqueze Dennard is out this week (likely a good thing) and CB AJ Terrell likely won’t get cleared after a positive Covid test last week. The worry for over bettors here is that Green Bay gets up too fast and just sits on a big lead. Green Bay leads the league in points scored per game thus far (40.3) but have also allowed over 28-points a game against, so perhaps the “protecting a lead” narrative isn’t worth worrying about. The points should flow from start to finish here. 

Lowest total

Denver Broncos -2.5 @ New York Jets O/U 40.5

The Thursday night prime time game this week looks unlikely to draw much hype as two of the most banged up teams in the league face off in a game with a point total that barely cracks 40. The Jets may again be without any of their starting WRs while the Broncos will be starting undrafted Brett Rypien at QB. These two teams rank last and third-last in points scored per game. The under has now hit in 11 of Denver’s 19 games under head coach Vic Fangio. Expect a snoozer. 

Biggest spread

Baltimore Ravens -12.5 @ Washington O/U 46.5

The Ravens got absolutely embarrassed on primetime last Monday so the steam coming from their ears should still be fresh when this one kicks-off. Washington is a dangerous team and ranks first in adjusted sack-rate as a defense. You don’t want to overreact too much to what we saw Monday but this spread feels like a lot for a team coming in off a short week. Baltimore’s pass protection ranks as the second-worst in the league and they’ve given up the fifth-most sacks thus far. 

Los Angeles Rams -12.5 vs. New York Giants O/U 47.5

The Giants could only manage 9-points last week against a banged-up San Francisco defense (at home). The Rams have looked rejuvenated in 2020 and are coming off a heartbreaking, referee-induced loss in Week 3. Don’t expect this one to be close. 

The Line Movement NFL Show: Bets Against the Spread

Smallest spread

Indianapolis Colts -2.5 @ Chicago Bears O/U 44.5

The Bears are 3-0 but feel like they could easily be 0-3. Their defense is still playing at a high level, ranking 6th so far in overall defensive DVOA, but their offense hasn’t improved much from last year. The Colts defense has graded out as one of the top-3 offenses so far this season allowing the fewest yards per game (225) so far. The wild card here though is Nick Foles who led three TD drives in Chicago’s epic 16-point comeback in the fourth quarter last week. The Colts feel like they should be closer to -7 than -3 but this game does feel trappy and the Bears now have an edge at QB. 

Week 3 early conviction play

Arizona Cardinals -3.5 @ Carolina Panthers 

The Panthers came through with a big upset win last week but they are up against a completely different beast here. The Cardinals didn’t lose to Detroit, they beat themselves last week with Kyler Murray throwing three INTs. There will still be growing pains with a young QB like Kyler but it is good to know that the only other time he threw 3 INTs (Week 14 loss to PIT in 2019) it was followed up by a convincing win over Cleveland. 

Carolina ranks fifth-last in rush DVOA while the Cardinals are 7th-best in rush efficiency on offense (via Football Outsiders). This is a clash of a strong rushing offense, who should be looking to clean up simple mistakes this week after a sloppy loss, vs. one of the worst defensive fronts in the league. Even if the Panthers make this shootout, DeAndre Hopkins vs. Carolina CB Donte Jackson isn’t a fair fight. You could wait and see if sentiment pushes the Cardinals down to -3 but I like Arizona for a big bounce-back here either way. 

Week 4 NFL game props (best bets)

  • Week 3 results:
  • Lions/Cardinals over 3.5 FGs (+155) O
  • Washington Team Total under 17.5 points X
  • Chargers (to lead) Halftime/Fulltime (-111) X

New Orleans Saints/Detroit Lions over 3.5 FGs +130

Detroit came through for us on this bet last week, kicking four FGs and hitting the over for us on their own. Detroit’s offense under Matthew Stafford and Matt Patricia was also top-10 in FGs made per game in 2018. The head coach-QB duo are great at slowing things down (to their detriment) and settling for FGs late in games. The Saints were 2nd in the league last year in FGs per game as well and don’t have the same kind of red zone efficiency (20th on the year in red zone offense thus far) without Michael Thomas in the lineup. On top of all these trends, we also have two of the best kickers in the league here to back in Matt Prater and Will Lutz. This feels like another great spot to take the over on a FG prop at + money.

Miami Dolphins +3.5 first half

This game sets up as a potential trouble spot for the Seahawks. On top of having to travel cross-country this week for an early start (never easy for a West coast team) they will likely be without Safety Jamal Adams this week. Adams has been a huge difference-maker for Seattle thus far and he’s done well to hide the warts on a secondary that has allowed an obscene 430 passing yards, per game, against in 2020–and ranks fourth-worst in pass defense DVOA. Miami’s wide receivers looked healthy in Week 3 and tore apart a weak Jacksonville secondary. The team also had a long rest coming off their Thursday night win. If the game spread climbs to +7 I like them as a bet there too but taking them at +3.5 on the first-half feels like a great way to bet the Dolphins this week. 

New England over 22.5 points (team total)

The Patriots have smashed this total for the last two weeks, totaling 30 and 36-points in their last two games. The Chiefs defense deserves more respect than it gets, and the fact they’ve held each of their first three opponents to just 20-points likely has something to do with this line. The Patriots have played the Chiefs three-times since Patrick Mahomes arrived and they’ve hit over this total each time. Additionally, for as good as the Chiefs have played in 2020, their rush defense has been among the worst in the league, allowing 5.3 ypc and 153 yards on the ground, per game. The Pats O-Line rank out as the fifth-best in the league at run blocking and should be able to move the ball at will here. Look for New England to put up enough points this week for this bet to hit the over. 

Week 4 NFL players props (best bets)

  • Week 3 results:
  • Teddy Bridgewater over 22.5 pass attempts (-116) X
  • Darius Slayton over 42.5 Rush/Receiving yards (combined) (-110) O
  • Curtis Samuel over 2.5 rec. (-104)  O

Hunter Renfroe over -4.5 receptions

Renfroe is pretty much the only healthy starting WR left for the Raiders. He’ll man the slot in a terrific matchup this Sunday against the Bills. Buffalo has been terrible against guarding slot receivers so far in 2020 allowing the likes of Jamison Crowder, Isaiah Ford and Cooper Kupp to all catch 7 or more passes against them. With Renfroe now in line for a couple more targets than normal here, it’s hard to see him not exceeding this total. 

Mark Andrews over 47.5 receiving yards

Andrews has had a slow start to the year, posting under 30-yards in his last two games. The two game slump isn’t much to worry about though as he’s still been playing on over 70% of the snaps in 2020, a 15-20% boost over his 2019 numbers in that regard. Washington has been sub-par at guarding against the TE position and got annihilated by the Eagles elite duo at TE in Week 1. Expect Andrews to bounce back after a couple slow weeks here. 

Daniel Jones over 38.5 pass attempts

The Giants don’t have much, if any, rush game at the moment and come into this week as nearly two TD underdogs. Game script is a huge factor as Daniel Jones should be forced into throwing the ball almost the entire game. I like taking the over on attempts here over completions too as Jones hasn’t been the most accurate QB–completing just 61% of passes in 2019–but has thrown the ball 40-or-more times in 10 of his last seven regular-season starts. Two of the Rams first three opponents at QB have also gone over this number. 

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