How should you bet each Week 4 NFL matchup?
We’re officially entering October with Week 4, which features plenty of matchups that could lead to scoreboard shuffling at prodigious paces. The lack of offseason work has clearly impacted defenses more than offenses, which have managed to score at will, making the over a successful play in 10 of 16 matchups last week.
Will the scoring surge continue this week? Read on to find out in this week’s betting guide, with all lines courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook.
Thursday, October 1
Denver Broncos (0-3) at New York Jets (0-3)
Line: Broncos -3
Over/Under Total: 39.5
This game is an unfortunate start to the week featuring two of the worst teams in the league. The fact that the Broncos are favored despite missing their starting quarterback, a slew of defensive players, and have to travel across two time zones on a short week belies how little confidence the oddsmakers have in the Jets.
Adam Gase could be fired if the Jets, who are down multiple wide receivers and could be without both starting tackles on Thursday, get blown out for a fourth straight game. The under is very appealing here since both teams have trouble scoring and if you want to lay the points with Denver it’s not a bad number.
Sunday, October 4
Arizona Cardinals (2-1) at Carolina Panthers (1-2)
Line: Cardinals -3.5
Over/Under Total: 52.5
Arizona was a big home favorite last week before getting tripped up by the Lions in a game where Kyler Murray threw three interceptions. The sloppy performance should allow Kliff Kingsbury to get his team’s attention ahead of an East Coast trip to take on the Christian McCaffrey-less Panthers.
Carolina did find a way to win in Los Angeles last weekend but their suspect defense, which surrenders 258.3 passing yards per game, will have trouble containing the Cardinals’ receiving corps. There is no chance Arizona takes this game lightly and the number is manageable so laying the points here makes a ton of sense.
Baltimore Ravens (2-1) at Washington Football Team (1-2)
Line: Ravens -13
Over/Under Total: 47
The Game of the Year was a flop for the Ravens, who got manhandled by the Kansas City Chiefs in their own building in a 34-20 loss. Baltimore will be very angry after that defeat and are poised to take it out on Washington this week, with the 13-point spread the largest of the week.
The Football Team had a shaky showing in Cleveland where Dwayne Haskins threw three interceptions and lost a fumble. Add in the fact that Chase Young is questionable with a groin injury and this game screams Ravens’ blowout.
Cleveland Browns (2-1) at Dallas Cowboys (1-2)
Line: Cowboys -4.5
Over/Under Total: 55
Oddsmakers have set the over/under total at a very high 55, which indicates they believe this game will turn into a shootout. That may not be how Cleveland opts to play this game after establishing some success the past two weeks behind a two-headed rushing attack featuring Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Dallas surrenders 127.7 yards per game on the ground so if Cleveland sticks to its game plan they could limit possessions here to keep the total under 55.
The Cowboys will get their points but all three of their games have been one-possession contests, making this spread very tricky to project one way or another. Whoever establishes their tempo will win this game so if you have faith in the Browns’ running game take the points, otherwise lay them with Dallas.
Indianapolis Colts (2-1) at Chicago Bears (3-0)
Line: Colts -2.5
Over/Under Total: 44.5
The Colts have looked very good in blowout wins over the past two weeks but they have beaten two teams in the Jets and Vikings that are a combined 0-6. To make matters worse, Indianapolis’ one road trip this season was a Week 1 loss at Jacksonville.
The headline of this game is the Bears’ switch to Nick Foles at quarterback, a move that should allow Matt Nagy to take deeper shots with Chicago’s outside receivers.
Indianapolis has some vulnerability in the secondary so this is a game that the Bears can definitely steal. Add in the fact that you are getting points for the home team and betting on Chicago is a very appealing option this week.
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-2-1)
Line: Bengals -3
Over/Under Total: 49.5
The safest play here is the over since both teams feature gunslinging young quarterbacks facing suspect defenses. Joe Burrow has been the real deal since he arrived in the NFL while Gardner Minshew has been surprisingly proficient as a passer.
The three-point spread here is about right and it’s hard to get a good feel in either direction, so bet the over as points should be getting put up in bunches in Cincinnati.
Los Angeles Chargers (1-2) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)
Line: Buccaneers -7.5
Over/Under Total: 43.5
Tyrod Taylor is still out for the Chargers, who will start rookie Justin Herbert for the third straight game. Herbert has shown flashes in his first two starts but Los Angeles has had trouble putting up points, scoring just 37 while going 1-1.
The Bucs’ defense has also proven to be stingy, limiting the Panthers to 17 and the banged-up Broncos to 10 in a pair of wins. The absence of Chris Godwin could hurt the over/under total, but expect Tampa Bay to win comfortably. The number is tricky at 7.5, but if it comes under a touchdown for any reason pounce on the Bucs.
Minnesota Vikings (0-3) at Houston Texans (0-3)
Line: Texans -4.5
Over/Under Total: 54.5
These two teams both need a win but Houston should have a practice advantage with the Vikings temporarily barred from their facility after playing Tennessee, which is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak, last week.
If this contest is played expect Minnesota to lean heavily on Dalvin Cook with the Texans’ run defense ranking dead last in the league, giving up 188.3 yards per game on the ground. Both teams were close to scoring their first win last week but Houston is home and should get an advantage in preparation over Minnesota. Laying the points seems like the play.
New Orleans Saints (1-2) at Detroit Lions (1-2)
Line: Saints -4.5
Over/Under Total: 54
The Saints are sluggish entering this game on a two-game losing streak and there are certainly questions about Drew Brees, but this team is still scoring points at a prodigious rate. The bigger issue has been the Saints’ defense, which is giving up 31.3 points per game.
Detroit is home and coming off a win last week in Arizona where Kenny Golladay returned to action, hitting paydirt for good measure. This game should be another barn burner and could be a close one, so take the over and lean towards taking the points with the Lions in a game with upset potential.
Seattle Seahawks (3-0) at Miami Dolphins (1-2)
Line: Seahawks -6.5
Over/Under Total: 54
Russell Wilson is cooking as the Seahawks are off to a 3-0 start which is important since Seattle’s defense has been the worst in the league in terms of yardage, giving up almost 500 yards per game. Those matchups have come against Atlanta, New England and Dallas, however, with this matchup against the Dolphins being a step down in weight class.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is capable of a big game to make things exciting but this looks like it will be a get-right matchup for the Seahawks. Lay the points on the road.
Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0) at Tennessee Titans (3-0)
This game was taken off the board after news of the COVID outbreak affecting three Titans’ players and five staffers. The NFL is reportedly planning to go ahead with the contest on Monday or Tuesday.
Pittsburgh was a one-point favorite before the game was taken off the board and will likely be given a bigger edge if action is taken on it by Sunday.
New York Giants (0-3) at Los Angeles Rams (2-1)
Line: Rams -12.5
Over/Under Total: 48.5
This game certainly has blowout potential after the Giants got torched in New York last week by a very banged up 49ers unit. The Rams were a blown call away from pulling off one of the biggest comebacks in NFL history but fell to the Bills, so there is little doubt that Los Angeles will win this football game.
The question becomes how to play the number, which is so large that you basically need two touchdowns to cover it for the Rams. Week 3 was the first time that the Giants weren’t competitive in a game so the optimal play here is to take the points since a backdoor cover could get the job done.
Buffalo Bills (3-0) at Las Vegas Raiders (2-1)
Line: Bills -3
Over/Under Total: 51.5
Buffalo has been an enigma of a 3-0 team as they show flashes of brilliance at times but make crushing mistakes at others. This team built a 28-3 lead on Sunday and was given a gift pass interference call after failing to convert on fourth down in the final minute, allowing Josh Allen to toss the winning touchdown pass. Asking a team like this to be a road favorite is tough and doing it against a capable foe like the Raiders is even trickier.
The spread is just three but the Bills did fail to cover the number in a road victory against Miami in Week 2. Las Vegas can win this game outright so grab the three, but you could be bold and hope to get the half-point hook to allow you to cover with a field goal defeat for the home team.
New England Patriots (2-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (3-0)
Line: Chiefs -7
Over/Under Total: 54
It is fair to question who is going to beat the Chiefs this season if a road game in Baltimore couldn’t lead to a loss. Kansas City is favored by a touchdown over New England, although this is a much different Patriots’ team than the one the Chiefs toppled in Foxborough last December.
Expect Bill Belichick to try and take advantage of Kansas City’s suspect run defense to control the clock and keep Patrick Mahomes glued to the sideline as often as possible. The under is a safer play here than the spread, but if it goes a half-point in Kansas City’s favor jump on the Patriots.
Philadelphia Eagles (0-2-1) at San Francisco 49ers (2-1)
Line: 49ers -7
Over/Under Total: 45
The 49ers have been very banged up over the first few weeks of the season but it didn’t matter in consecutive victories at MetLife Stadium over the hapless Jets and Giants. The soft schedule should help San Francisco get whole as they host an Eagles team that is wildly underachieving over the first few weeks of the season.
Doug Pederson is receiving heavy criticism for his decision to punt in overtime to secure a tie against the Bengals while Carson Wentz appears to be taking a step backwards. There is no doubt the Eagles are in disarray and a trip out to San Francisco won’t help. Philadelphia should put up more of a fight than the New York teams did so the over is a safe pick here.
The spread should be avoided unless the Eagles gain a few more points.
Monday, October 5
Atlanta Falcons (0-3) at Green Bay Packers (3-0)
Line: Packers -7
Over/Under Total: 57.5
This is the biggest over/under total on the board this week as both teams average over 30 points per game. Atlanta could easily be 2-1 if not for a pair of horrific collapses that have put Dan Quinn firmly on the hot seat.
The bigger surprise is the Packers, who lead the league by averaging 40.7 points per game despite failing to invest in upgrading the receiving corps this offseason. Aaron Rodgers’ resurgent season has helped and this could be a shootout even if Julio Jones and Davante Adams are sidelined with injuries.
The Falcons could easily force a backdoor cover here too so grabbing the seven points with them is a smarter call than laying those points with the Packers.