Eleven Bets for NFL Week #4

NFL Oct 04, 2020

Note:  All numbers are based on lines at SPREADS.CA (Saturday Afternoon)

The major takeaway from last week's games is that this season will be a very different style of play than we're used to watching.  Edge to offenses.  Weaker defences.  Higher scores.  That means more OVERs.

A whopping 12/16 games sailed OVER the total in Week #3.  That's now reflected in oddsmaker adjustments of the game totals for Week #4.

Incredibly, 8 games are totaled at 50 points or higher.  I've never seen totals like this in the NFL.  As a bettor who wants to reduce volatility, this is bad for football bettors.  Higher scoring games mean less predictability.

Higher scores can mean many other things for bettors, also.  It means adjusting all of the normal betting factors.  For instance, it means the value of taking points (playing underdogs) is reduced significantly since higher-scoring games tend to devalue the differentials in points.  For instance, a +3 dog is normally a very attractive side bet in a totaled game at 38.  But if that game total is 54, the extra 3 points don't mean nearly as much relative to the scoring (and increased volatility in scoring).

This also hurts our teasers, since +6 on sides is marginalized with decreased value and less relevance of key numbers (in the final score margins).

All of this will factor heavily into my analysis.  One must make adjustments as the game changes and new information becomes obvious.  I'm trying my best to keep up and make the correct adjustments.

Here we go.


Indianapolis at Chicago
IND -2.5
Total -- 43

Comments:  Strange to see the 2-1 road team favoured versus the undefeated 3-0 home team, but more bettors are impressed with the Colts, despite a cupcake schedule (Jags, Jets, Vikings -- who are a combined 1-9).  Bears have won all three games in less than confident fashion unless overcoming two-touchdown deficits can be looked upon as a positive.  But let's remember CHI was down 23-6 to Detroit and 26-10 to Atlanta last week, which is a sign something's amiss in preparation.  How many times can CHI do this?  So, one can look at this as a "glass half full" or "glass half empty" situation.  I'm skipping the side play and instead focusing on the total, which looks low given the scoring this season.  Two veteran starting QBs should help produce points.  We've also seen both of these defences give up points.  MY PICK:  OVER 43

New Orleans at Detroit
NOR -3
Total -- 54

Comments:  NOR can't be trusted to lay points on the road, despite being a very solid road bet in recent years.  NOR hasn't put a complete game together yet, and DET on the road might not be the best spot for things to come together.  DET should be 2-1 were it not for a blown big lead in Week #1.  The upset win at ARZ last week showed what this team's potential and they certainly will be up for the Saints.  I think the play here is taking DET +3 for the game, figuring NOR still isn't in synch and DET will come in with some extra confidence off that ARZ win.  NOR better fix their defensive problems quick or they're going to be in for a disappointing season.  MY PICK:  DET +3

Arizona at Carolina
ARZ -3
Total -- 51.5

Comments:  Perfect zig-zag situation of a good team (ARZ) coming off sub-par effort (loss to DET) versus a bad team (CAR) that overachieved last week (beating LAC), which likely sets up a return to the mean.  ARZ has far too many weapons on offense to not handle CAR, especially given the Panthers' defensive injuries.  I look for a much better game here from the Cardinals while CAR should revert to a team that's simply outmatched.  Laying a FG with the better team, which should be a little extra motivated will get my money with a wager.  MY PICK:  ARZ -3

Jacksonville at Cincinnati
CIN -2.5
Total -- 49

Comments:  Sometimes young teams with little or nothing to lose air it out and produce lots of points (recall Thurs night game between DEN and NYJ) and this matchup fits a similar script. Two weak defences should also help the scoring.  Add another play -- I like the dog teased up over a touchdown.  JAX is certainly capable of an outright win here against 0-2-1 CIN, so really like the teaser across the key numbers.  Ten days rest after a very poor performance against MIA on Thurs. night should also motivate the dog Jaguars to be ready here.  I'll take JAX teased, plus the OVER.  MY PICKS:  Tease JAX +8.5 and OVER 49.

Cleveland at Dallas
DAL -4
Total -- 56

Comments:  DAL has yet to put together a solid game.  Cowboys should be 0-3 right now.  Oddly enough, DAL ranks tops in the NFL in offense but has been dismal defensively.  They've also committed lots of turnovers.  A few weeks ago, this line would have been projected to be DAL -6 or perhaps -7.  Now, it's down to -4 and even dipped to -3.5 in some places.  That leads me to believe DAL may have some value, as the market might have overreacted.  However, CLE has won two straight and might be at the right confidence level to get a road win here.  On Friday, I found CLE +3 for the first-half, which I really think has value (especially since the game line has dropped).  DAL has trailed at the half in all three games this season, and the Browns have enough weapons to stay with the Cowboys, especially given how badly the defense has played.  So, my play is CLE +3 in the first half.  MY PICK:  First Half -- CLE +3

Minnesota at Houston
HOU -4
Total -- 53.5

Comments:  Two winless teams coming off crushing defeats last week spells a complete crapshoot.  I'm not concerned with motivational factors, trends, or player matchups.  I'm simply counting on the points being a factor in what seems like a coin flip game.  Vikings are getting +3 in the first half.  I think that number has slightly more value than MIN +4 for the game.  So, that's my bet.  MY PICK:  First Half -- MIN +3

Seattle at Miami
SEA -6
Total -- 54

Comments:  I lean to MIA here plus the points.  Listen to the video for analysis and reasons I passed on the game. NO PLAY

L.A. Chargers at Tampa Bay
TB -7
Total -- 42.5

Comments:  Low total for today's NFL.  No real reasoning here for a wager other than the trend of games going OVER and this is a low total.  Certainly, any Brady-QBed team is capable of reaching that number on their own.  I'm also expecting a better effort this week from the LAC who really looked lost in last week's loss.  MY PICK:  OVER 42.5

267 Pittsburgh
268 Tennessee


Baltimore at Washington
BAL -14
Total:  45.5

Comments:  Line opened at -12 and now it's -14, moving to -14.5 in some places.  I'd typically fade that and take the generous number of points, especially since BAL could be in a hangover situation coming off a short week and a really disappointing performance against KC on MNF.  BAL could take it out here on WAS (that's what bettors are thinking), or they could carry over here with a lackluster effort versus opponent that could be underestimated.  It's either WAS plus the points or nothing, so I'm opting to skip in the side.  Instead, I'll play OVER the number based on reasons already stated for these games totaled in the 40s. MY PICK:  OVER 45.5

N.Y. Giants at L.A. Rams
LAR -13
Total -- 48

Comments:  I'm skipping this OVER because I don't trust the NYG offense to produce many points.  But I can't bet the UNDER either, given the state of defences and the possibilities the LAR might rout their overmatched opponent.  Listen to the video for analysis and reasons I passed on the game. NO PLAY

New England at Kansas City
KC -7
Total -- 53


Buffalo at Las Vegas
BUF -3
Total -- 52.5

Comments:  I did a double-take when I saw this line.  BUF laying a FG and -3.5 in some places?  Sure, Bills are an impressive 3-0.  But LVR have played well, are 2-1, and return home for their second game ever in Las Vegas.  BUF has played two close games in a row (vs. MIA and LAR) so I don't know why they're laying this number.  Oh yes, of course -- injuries.  LVR are missing four offensive starters, but two are rookies, and I don't think the drop off is that severe.  LVR are a scrappy team that sometimes puts together pieces that work and I think they have enough here to keep this close.  So, I'm taking the home dog, also expecting BUF to finally play a flat game after a fast start.  MY PICK:  LVR +3

Philadelphia at San Francisco
SFO -7
Total -- 45

Comments:  I lean to PHI here plus the points.  Listen to the video for analysis and reasons I passed on the game.  I did wager on the OVER, for no other reason than the reasons already mentioned for these lower-totaled games.  MY PICK:  OVER 45

Atlanta at Green Bay
GB -7
Total -- 57

Comments:  Packers have been an offensive powerhouse, rolling up the NFL's highest team point total through three weeks.  Now, they face one of the league's worst defences.  That makes GB the obvious play.  However, ATL has played very well for three quarters in their last two games, and blown 2-TD leads.  Who knows what mental shape the Falcons will be in, but the offense can score and MNF could bring out another strong effort from ATL on the offensive side of the ball.  I can't lay -7 with the Packers, but I also don't see them losing a home game (albeit without much fan support) against such a bad defense that has to be stung after what's happened the last two games.  I expect many cappers will tease this game, taking the Packers.  MY PICK:  Tease GB -1



DET +3 vs. NOR

ARZ -3 vs. CAR  [BEST BET]


LAC / TB OVER 42.5




LVR +3 vs. BUF


TEASER:  JAX +8.5 / GB -1