NFL Week 4 Betting Preview: Big Games, Questions Remain

Posted on October 1, 2020

Will the Chiefs remain in a class of their own?  Will the Pack build its victory stack? Will the Bills become 4-0?

These are some of the bigger storylines facing West Virginia sports betting customers as NFL Week 4 kicks off. This follows a mixed-bag NFL Week 3 in which underdogs toppled the favorites 8-7-1 according to game-time spreads at the DraftKings Sportsbook.

The Week 4 slate officially begins Thursday night, when the Denver Broncos invade the New York Jets in a battle of winless teams. Brett Rypien was named the Broncos starting quarterback late on Tuesday, making him the team’s third QB in three weeks. Drew Lock was injured in Week 2, Jeff Driskel started last week, and Rypien will get his chance Thursday.

After the announcement, Jets bettors poured in, moving the line from +2.5 to + 1.

The Jets are the only team in the NFL not to be in the lead for a single snap this year.

In terms of NFL betting, think props in this one, as the teams are hard to gauge. The Jets are 0-3 against the spread, while the Broncos are 2-1 against the number, but 0-3 in the standings. Both have trouble scoring, and the over-under line of 40 is modest. A tie? It’s +5500.

Ian St. Clair, lead writer at PlayColorado.com and Denver Broncos betting experts discusses the game in the latest episode of Teach Me To Sports Bet.

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NFL Week 4 marquee matchups

The defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs unfurled an impressive 34-20 triumph over the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night. Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes looks unstoppable when he can throw deep to either Tyreek Hill or Mecole Hardman. Both notched a touchdown against the Ravens.

The unbeaten Chiefs host the New England Patriots, now 2-1, Sunday afternoon. The Patriots look pretty good with Cam Newton as a rushing threat in the wake of Tom Brady, who has gone on to Tampa Bay.

This week has produced two numbers you rarely see: The Chiefs as an underdog, getting 3.5 points across all major online betting apps in WV before halting the Ravens. And now the Patriots are getting roughly 7 for Sunday’s game. In the Bill Belichick era, who would have expected that?

Kansas City and New England are 2-1 against the spread.

For Baltimore, which visits the Washington Football Team as a lopsided favorite, there is a concern. Reigning MVP Lamar Jackson was bottled up by Kansas City, just as he was in the playoffs last season against the Tennessee Titans. If teams find a way to shut off his rushing lanes, Jackson will struggle.

The Ravens are 2-1 against the spread, Washington 1-2.

The NFC’ s early elite group includes the Green Bay Packers. Remember this team supposedly being disgruntled because it did not draft a wide receiver to complement quarterback Aaron Rodgers?

Well, Green Bay is 3-0 and has beaten two playoff teams from last year — the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints — on the road. The Packers are heavily favored against the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football. Green Bay is also 3-0 versus the spread. Atlanta is 1-2 against the number but blew fourth-quarter leads of 15 and 16 points the last two weeks. The Falcons are 0-3 overall, and coach Dan Quinn is likely playing for his job.

Can the Seattle Seahawks continue to be one of the league’s most exciting teams? They are 3-0 against the spread and in the standings as they visit the 1-2 Miami Dolphins, who have covered two straight weeks. The Dolphins come off an impressive 31-13 Thursday night victory in Jacksonville and hit nine of their last 12 against the spread last year.

The Buffalo Bills have an emerging star in quarterback Josh Allen, who engineered a game-winning drive in the final seconds to help the Bills beat the Los Angeles Rams. Buffalo squandered a 28-3 second-half lead before winning 35-32. The Bills are 3-0 in a division considered so even that FanDuel Sportsbook had no team — the Bills, Jets, Dolphins or Patriots — projected to win more than eight games.

The Bills have over-achieved. Are they vulnerable on the road against the new-look Las Vegas Raiders, who are 2-1 in the standings? Buffalo is 2-0-1 against the spread, Las Vegas 2-1.

Are the Cleveland Browns for real or will the Dallas Cowboys knock them back a notch Sunday? Interesting game. Cleveland beat two mediocre teams in Cincinnati and Washington to become 2-1 and gain its first cover. Dallas remains a potent offensive team but has not covered the number yet and is 1-2 overall.

NFL Betting Trends

Tom Brady and the 2-1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers finally look to be settling in with each other. Brady managed a turnover-free game as the Bucs defeated Denver 28-10 on the road Sunday. Brady has six touchdown passes and three interceptions in three games. That would project to a total similar to Jameis Winston’s 30 scoring tosses last year, but substantially below his 30 interceptions. Reducing them was a key reason Tampa Bay signed Brady away from New England.

Tampa Bay hosts the Los Angeles Chargers. The Bucs are 2-1 against the spread. Los Angeles is 1-2 in the standings and versus the spread.

Odds oddities

Want to scratch your head over a couple of strange lines? At BetMGM Sportsbook, the Chicago Bears are +2.5 at home against the Indianapolis Colts despite being 3-0 overall.  The Colts are 2-1. Yes, the Bears have been awfully fortunate in two of their first three games and have indeed won two contests in which the probability of them winning midway through the fourth quarter was 2%. Still, they haven’t lost and also are 2-1 versus the spread. Indy is 2-1 for both. Nick Foles starts for Chicago.

And here comes Santa Claus. The Cincinnati Bengals haven’t won a game but they are still GIVING three to the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have a victory. The Bengals are 3-0 against the spread, 0-2-1 in the standings.

Numerical oddities

The Bears have 74 points and are 3-0. The Atlanta Falcons have 90, third-most in the NFC, and are 0-3.

The New York Giants and New York Jets have 75 points — combined — in three games. That’s lower than 17 individual teams and the entire NFC West.

Go figure that the 49ers are 2-1, but last in the NFC West. The Washington Football Team and the Dallas Cowboys are 1-2 and in first place in the NFC East.

Two NFL football games are wait-and-see

A COVID breakout of Tennessee Titans players forces two games into limbo: The Titans-Pittsburgh Steelers, a matchup of two stellar 3-0 teams and the Minnesota Vikings-Houston Texans, a battle of two under-achieving 0-3 teams. Minnesota had played against Tennessee and thus the schedule of both clubs is in question.

The NFL wants to go ahead with their games and possibly move the Titans game to Monday. We will see. If the games are not played, think of it as an early NFL bye week. There are still plenty of games for bettors, and action would likely just shift from those games into other matchups.

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Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and IGaming Player, among others. He writes significantly about the emerging world of legal New Jersey sports betting.

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