NFL Expert Picks: 16 Favorite Bets for Week 4

NFL Expert Picks: 16 Favorite Bets for Week 4 article feature image
Credit:

Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Bears defensive end Khalil Mack

  • The Action Network's NFL experts give their favorite bets for Week 4 of the 2018 season, including one for Monday night.
  • Find out if it's different with the Patriots this time and whether Baker Mayfield and the Browns can get another win.

I think Jared Goff just completed another pass.

While the Rams are the toast of the NFL right now, there are some other major storylines ahead of the Week 4 slate, including:

  • Will the Patriots avoid losing three straight games for the first time since 2002, when they lost at home to some guy named Favre?
  • Can the Texans, Raiders and Cardinals avoid starting off 0-4, effectively ending any hope for the postseason? (Only the 1992 Chargers have recovered from an 0-4 start to make the playoffs.)
  • Can Ryan Fitzpatrick become the first player in NFL history to throw for 400+ yards in four straight games?

You will see those questions touched on as you read through our staff’s favorite Week 4 NFL bets, which include picks for both Sunday and Monday Night Football. Let’s jump right in with some early Sunday afternoon action.

All odds pulled overnight on Sept. 28, so slight line variations are possible. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets.


SUNDAY’S EARLY ACTION

Sean Koerner: Texans +1 (at Colts)

1 p.m. ET on CBS

The Texans are clearly not as bad as their 0-3 record. This divisional matchup is a must-win game for them to avoid an 0-4 start, which would essentially drop them out of the playoff picture.

On the other side, the Colts made it clear they do not trust Andrew Luck’s arm strength by bringing in Jacoby Brissett to attempt the Hail Mary throw at the end of their Week 3 loss to the Eagles.

Luck’s shoulder issues, coupled with offensive line woes, have forced the Colts to get the ball out quick with short passes. Given this predictable approach and lack of a running game, expect the Texans to take advantage with their superior pass rush.

Houston ultimately should be slight favorites in this matchup.

Matt LaMarca: Texans +1 (at Colts)

1 p.m. ET on CBS

I agree wholeheartedly with Sean about the Texans being underrated. They’ve outgained their opponents by roughly 150 yards through their first three games, and their Pythagorean expectation of 1.1-1.9 suggests they’re unlucky to be 0-3 right now.

The Texans should have winless motivation on their side, which we have seen in the past in this spot: Winless underdogs have gone 30-20-2 against the spread in Week 4 since 2005. The Colts have also looked far from impressive this season, with Luck averaging just 5.3 yards per pass attempt.

I’ll gladly take the superior side as an underdog in a desperate spot.

Ken Barkley: Bears -3 (vs. Bucs)

1 p.m. ET on FOX

If Chicago didn’t fold like a lawn chair against Aaron Rodgers in the second half in Week 1, what is this number? They got Rodgers-ed. It happens. It’s not even really a verb, but it happens. Since then, a win over Seattle and a too-close-for-comfort nail-biter over Arizona in the desert put them at 2-1 for the season.

They are being rated as slightly inferior or equal to Tampa. Considering Tampa is traveling after a Monday night game and had somewhat fraudulent hype generated by Ryan Fitzpatrick, I think the Bucs continue coming back down to earth this week. On Monday night, a lot of people probably went “Oh, right, Fitzpatrick isn’t that good on average.” After this game, I think Jameis Winston likely reclaims his starting spot.

Ian Hartitz: Bears -3 (vs. Bucs)

1 p.m. ET on FOX

I’m on board with Ken here. The Bears defense leads the league in pressure rate per dropback after three weeks, and it’s one of just four units to create at least eight takeaways. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers have one of just seven offenses with more than five turnovers and sport the week’s second-worst run-game matchup in combined adjusted line yards per rush.

Mitchell Trubisky hasn’t looked like a former No. 2 overall pick after three weeks, but he’s plenty capable of winning and covering in a potential low-scoring matchup against FitzMagic & Co.

Jason Sobel: Fitzpatrick under 399.5 passing yards (-500)

1 p.m. ET on FOX

Admit it: A month ago, you didn’t even know who the Bucs backup quarterback was. Now you’re all-in on FitzMagic, who became the first player in NFL history to pass for 400 yards in three straight games. I’m no logician, but it stands to reason that if no one had done it in three games, then I’m pretty sure no one’s done it in four, either. Against a solid Bears defense, I love the under — even at a steep price tag of -500.

John Ewing: Titans +4 (vs. Eagles)

1 p.m. ET on FOX

Tennessee isn’t a sexy pick, but you have to give Mike Vrabel’s team credit for the obstacles it has overcome already this season. The Titans have won two games that Blaine Gabbert started, played without their starting offensive tackles and lost their most consistent offensive weapon in tight end Delanie Walker in Week 1.

The Titans are getting little public support after scoring nine points a week ago; facing the defending Super Bowl champions isn’t helping. However, teams tend to get undervalued in the market after a poor offensive game, going 389-336-15 (54%) ATS since 2003 according to Bet Labs. Home underdogs in this situation are 113-88-5 (56%) ATS in that time.

Finally, the current consensus line is Eagles -4 — but The Action Network model lists Tennessee as a 1-point underdog. Bettors willing to take the Titans are getting a field goal worth of value on the home team.

Scott Miller: Bengals +9.5/Over 47.5 Teaser (-110)

1 p.m. ET on CBS

The Falcons couldn’t figure out how to play defense without Deion Jones and Keanu Neal — and now they’ll have to make do without Ricardo Allen, as well.

That’s a tough ask against a Cincinnati offense that has shown the ability to put up points with Andy Dalton thriving behind a rebuilt O-line that looks very solid.

Just take a look at the insane running back catch numbers the Falcons have allowed the past two weeks. Expect the elusive Giovani Bernard to become the latest beneficiary this week.

The Falcons and their cadre of offensive weapons will get theirs, but Atlanta’s defensive woes won’t allow the home team to pull away.

Peter Jennings: Patriots -6.5 (vs. Dolphins)

1 p.m. ET on CBS

The Patriots are 5-0 in their last five games following a two-game losing streak. The Pats desperately need a wide receiver to stretch the field, and it appears Josh Gordon will be active for this game.

I know it’s inevitable that Tom Brady and the Pats will fall off at some point. I also know it’s inevitable that the Patriots won’t win the AFC East forever. However, until that happens, I will continue backing the Pats in this spot.

Mark Gallant:  Patriots -6.5 (vs. Dolphins)

1 p.m. ET on CBS

As a Pats fan, I am terribly concerned with how bad they’ve looked the first few weeks. There are a few reasons I like them here, though:

  • The Patriots are dynamite off a loss, and although I (luckily) didn’t bet on them last week, I can’t resist this week at home against Miami.
  • With the line now less than a touchdown at BookMaker and 57% of the public backing the Dolphins, value has opened up.
  • I also have this Bet Labs system called “GOAT w/50% or less,” which is 21-6-2 ATS historically. Always trust in Tom when the majority doesn’t.

Pats by a touchdown (or more).

Chris Raybon: Lions +3 at Cowboys

1 p.m. ET on FOX

The Lions have been a bit Jekyll and Hyde this season, bottoming out in Week 1 with a 48-17 loss to the Jets but peaking last week with a 26-10 dismantling of the Patriots. Given that first-year coach Matt Patricia is still finding his footing, I’m buying this team’s progression after a rocky start.

Linebacker Sean Lee’s looming absence (hamstring, doubtful) spells trouble for the Cowboys because they’ll have to put up more points. And points won’t be easy to come by for Dallas as its passing game barely has more yardage than Dez Bryant and Jason Witten this season.

Dak Prescott’s median passing yardage since the start of 2017 is 181 yards, and he’s averaging only 166.0 yards per game on 5.7 yards per attempt so far this season. According to data from Bet Labs, favorites averaging fewer than 6.0 yards per pass attempt have gone just 115-140-10 (45.1%) ATS since 2003.

It’s never good when you’re three games into the season and no player on the team has caught a touchdown except Tavon Austin.

Matthew Freedman: Lions +3 (at Dallas)

1 p.m. ET on FOX

If I were a bold guy, I’d bet the moneyline (currently +140 on The Action Network Live Odds page), because I think the Lions will win this game outright. Since Jason Garrett became the full-time head coach in 2011, the Cowboys are the only team in the league (besides the hapless Raiders) to allow opponents to score more points as visitors (23.6 per game) than as hosts (21.5). Basically, the Cowboys have no home-field advantage.

The Cowboys have failed to hit their implied Vegas total in 8 of 10 games going back to last season, falling short by 6.2 points. Prescott’s sophomore regression has continued into his third season, and running back Ezekiel Elliott — who leads the team with 18 targets — has literally a 0% success rate this year as a receiver. The Cowboys have averaged a pitiful 13.7 points per game for the season.

Worst of all, Lee is expected to sit. Under defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, Dallas has allowed an average of just 18.8 points in 39 games with a healthy Lee, but 24.4 in the 28 games he has missed or exited early. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to see the Lions win by 10.

Am I Cowboys fan? Unfortunately, yes. Why do you ask?


SUNDAY’S LATE AFTERNOON ACTION

Collin Wilson: Cardinals +3 (vs. Seahawks)

4:05 p.m. ET on FOX

This pick has nothing to do with the Josh Rosen hype and everything to do with what the Cardinals’ front seven will do against Seattle’s offensive line. The Cardinals defense ranks sixth in adjusted sack rate and will take on a Seahawks offensive line that ranks 31st in the same category. Per usual, Russell Wilson will be on the run every single down.

On the flip side, Arizona running back David Johnson should also have success against the Seahawks’ front seven. While the Cardinals offense ranks second in the league in Stuff Rate, which measures the ability to pick up short yardage, the Seahawks defense ranks 21st in the same category.

Arizona should be able to generate first downs when needed on the ground, thus limiting the number of third-and-longs for Rosen. Arizona will win this game on both sides of the ball in the trenches.

Geoff Schwartz: Browns +3 (at Raiders)

4:05 p.m. ET on CBS

I never thought I’d ever take the Browns in 2018, but here we are. They are now 3-0 ATS this season, and I think it continues this week.

Being able to pressure a young quarterback is a must, especially early in the game. It can rattle their confidence and get them seeing ghosts. Well, the Raiders can’t even pressure a high school quarterback right now. They are dead last in pressures and have only three sacks. If you allow Baker Mayfield to get comfortable in the pocket, he will pick you apart, as we saw against the Jets.

On the flip side, the Browns defense is awesome. The Saints scored 40 and 43 in Weeks 1 and 3, respectively — but scored only 21 in Week 2 (at home) against the Browns. We have seen through three weeks the Raiders offense tends to wilt in the second half, which should continue against Cleveland’s legit defense this week.

Travis Reed: Browns +3 (at Raiders)

4:05 p.m. ET on CBS

I continue to be down on the Raiders this year. The Oakland under was my favorite season win total bet and I haven’t seen anything on the field to convince me otherwise.

If you assume three points for home-field advantage, this line essentially says these two teams are equal. My model says the Browns should actually be small favorites, so I’ll take the field goal with what I believe is the better team.

Stuckey:  Giants +3.5 (vs. Saints)

4:25 p.m. ET on FOX

The Saints offense is elite. I think we all know that, although it will really benefit from getting Mark Ingram back from suspension next week. New Orleans will still score this week, but I think the Giants will score just as easily in a game I have as much closer to a toss-up.

New Orleans’ secondary has been an absolute train wreck this season, ranking 32nd overall in pass defense and in the bottom two against No. 1 and No. 2 wide receivers, per Football Outsiders. Add in the recent loss of slot corner Patrick Robinson (broken ankle, injured reserve), and Eli Manning should carry over the momentum from his uber-efficient 25-for-29 performance in Houston last week.

Don’t let the 2-1 record fool you, as the Saints could easily be 0-3. They were a play or two away from starting out the season with home losses to the Bucs and Browns — and needed a comeback OT win to beat an undermanned Falcons squad. They have real issues in the defensive backfield that won’t be corrected in just one week. I’d also look hard at the over here.


>> Sign up for The Action Network’s daily newsletter to get the smartest NFL conversation delivered into your inbox each morning.


MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

Evan Abrams: Chiefs-Broncos Under 56

Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET on ESPN

We have a total of 56 on Monday Night Football at Mile High Stadium with the Chiefs and Broncos. I feel like I am going to regret this, but I like the under here.

Since 1985, the Broncos have played only six total games at home in which the over/under was listed at the key number of 55 or more. All six games for the Broncos were started by Peyton Manning, while the road team started a variety of quarterbacks (Brady, Rivers, Brees, Vick, RGIII). No road team scored 28 points, with five of the six teams scoring 21 or less. (Five of the six games also went under the first-half total, too.)

Since 1999 — the year after John Elway retired — the under has gone 6-1 in the seven home games with a total above 48 when Manning wasn’t starting at quarterback for the Broncos. I’ll take my chances on the first-half and full-game unders on Monday night.