NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions: We We’re Betting Favorites Like the Titans & Cowboys, Plus More Early Game Bets
Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: Titans RB Derrick Henry, QB Ryan Tannehill
- The Cowboys host the undefeated Panthers while the Titans hit the road to take on the winless Jets -- and we're betting both spreads.
- Find out why, based on Week 4 NFL odds, that favorites like the Cowboys and Titans are among our expert's favorite picks.
- They detail more of their betting predictions for the early afternoon games this Sunday.
A road favorite. A first-half under. A teaser.
Our NFL betting analysts detail their favorite picks for Sunday’s early afternoon games, featuring seven total bets. Let’s dive right in!
Browns at Vikings
Sean Koerner: The Vikings are the perfect “buy low” team right now. They are 1-2 on the season despite having a lead (24:08 average game time) more than trailing (22:04).
Much of their bad luck came from losing the first two games in the final seconds — they lost via a field goal in OT in Week 1 then via a missed 37-yard field goal at the end of regulation in Week 3. They bounced back in Week 3, beating the Seahawks in convincing fashion, 30-17.
Injuries have also held back the Vikings early in the season. However, LB Anthony Barr (questionable) and first-rounder LT Christian Darrisaw could make their season debut. And Dalvin Cook (questionable) is looking likely to return after logging three straight practices.
The Browns are a top-10 team, but the market seems to be overreacting to their 26-6 win over the Bears. All of the attention was on the Browns’ defense sacking Justin Fields nine times. However, their offensive line allowed 18 total pressures that resulted in Baker Mayfield being sacked five times. Normally the Browns have arguably the best O-line in the league. Considering Jedrick Wills Jr., JC Tretter and Jack Conklin are playing through injuries right now, though, they haven’t been as dominant.
I am projecting this matchup as a true pick-em and like the Vikings getting points (down to a PK), considering they should trend upward in the near term, while the Browns could struggle until their offensive line gets back to 100% health.
Vikings & Colts Teaser
Colts +2.5 to +8.5
Stuckey: Getting the Colts at over a touchdown against a limited Dolphins offense in a game with a minuscule over/under? No-brainer in my opinion. And while the Vikings play the Browns in a game with a higher total, there’s already some value in that line, which is another factor to consider (if you have your own projections) when choosing teaser legs.
In a game I project as a true coin-flip, I have no hesitation getting Minnesota over a touchdown at home. Remember the Vikings could easily be 3-0 with wins over the Cardinals, Bengals and Seahawks if not for a controversial fumble in overtime and missed chip shot field goal.
Kirk Cousins is playing at an extremely high level right now. Plus, an almost entirely brand new defense should continue to improve each week under the tutelage of head coach Mike Zimmer. We saw a bit of that in the second half against the Seahawks last week.
It’s worth noting that I bet this at Colts +7.5 and Vikings +8.5 — now those lines have flipped. But I point that out to say that getting over 8 is more valuable than ever since teams go for two-point conversions more often in situations they haven’t previously. Specifically, when they score a touchdown trailing by 14 points late in order to increase their win probability in regulation. That puts a game that normally would’ve fallen 7 at either 6 or 8.
If you’re new to betting teasers or are otherwise looking for advice, I recently updated my strategy here.
Titans at Jets
Chris Raybon: This is my favorite under of the week.
The Titans will be without wide receivers A.J. Brown and Julio Jones while the Jets are averaging 6.7 points per game and are yet to score more than 14. Both teams are slow-paced, too: Per Football Outsiders, the Jets rank 27th in first-half pace and 20th in situation-neutral pace while the Titans rank 23rd and 21st, respectively.
The Jets defense has also been better than expected given its talent level, ranking 16th in DVOA. And most of the Titans’ defensive issues have come via explosive plays on third and fourth down; on early downs, they are second in pass success rate, according to Sharp Football Stats.
I like the under down to 43, but it’s worth noting that getting under 44.5 tends to be a profitable play because games are unlikely to land on a total of 45. That’s because scores that total 45 — such as 24-21, 28-17 and 35-10 — normally require six touchdowns plus extra points and only one field goal, which is unlikely in a game with a relatively low total in the mid-40s.
Titans at Jets
Billy Ward: It’s generally not a smart move picking road favorites, but this is a special situation.
The Jets are uniquely bad this year, particularly on offense. They’ve yet to top 14 points in a game and have combined for only six points in the last two. And while the Titans are a worse defense than they’ve played so far, I don’t see the Jets getting much going here.
Zach Wilson is tied for the NFL lead in interceptions with seven, and will likely need a lot more time before he starts improving in that area.
Julio Jones and A.J. Brown are both missing for the Titans, but they still have Derrick Henry. The Jets will need to get something going offensively, contain Henry and take care of the football to have a chance here. I could see one, maybe even two, of those things happening. Not all three.
I’d take the Titans all the way down to -6.5, so -6 is a gift.
Panthers at Cowboys
Brandon Anderson: This is the most interesting game on the early slate, featuring two of our three remaining teams that are a perfect 3-0 ATS.
It’s no surprise that the Panthers are overlooked, but did you ever think the Cowboys would be underrated by the public? Well, somehow they are.
Dallas has lived up to billing on offense. Dak Prescott is healthy and the rushing attack looks explosive again behind Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard — the two most effective running backs in the league thus far, per Football Outsiders. The Cowboys also have the league’s No. 1 offense on first downs. They’re constantly getting into good position to keep the chains moving.
The defense might be an even bigger story.
Trevon Diggs is making the leap before our eyes. He took a pick-6 to the house last Monday night with a great read, and rookie linebacker Micah Parsons looks special as a pass rusher and playmaker. This defense has been league-average, but that’s miles better than anyone expected or saw after last year’s disaster.
The Panthers have been the opposite of the Cowboys — totally dominant on defense with just enough offense. Carolina has the top defensive DVOA in the NFL and ranks No. 1 overall in DVOA. Shaq Thompson has been a revelation, but Thursday night’s win over the Texans was underwhelming and costly.
The Panthers lost Christian McCaffrey, the centerpiece of their offense, and rookie corner Jaycee Horn will miss most of the season. Those are huge losses for the Panthers, who rank first against No. 2 WRs but just 29th against No. 1 WRs.
Carolina traded for cornerback C.J. Henderson but he hasn’t been good and may not even be ready. And CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper are not the receivers you want to see when your corners are banged up.
Carolina built its entire rushing and passing attack around CMC’s talents. Without McCaffrey, the offense falls to rookie running back Chuba Hubbard and Sam Darnold on the road against an improving defense. Yikes.
One of these teams will stay perfect against the spread, and I’m betting on it being America’s Team.
Giants at Saints
Raheem Palmer: We’ve seen this full game total get pounded from 47 to where it currently sits now at 42. Although you never want to bet a game that has moved five points, there is some value on the first half, especially getting this at the key number of 21.
The Giants are just 26th in points per game (18.5), 14th in offensive efficiency, 18th in offensive success rate (46.2%) and 20th in early down success rate (43.2%). And now they’re dealing with injuries to guard Ben Bredeson and wide receivers Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton, all of whom will miss this game.
They’ll be facing a Saints defense that’s fourth in expected points added (EPA) per play and seventh in success rate (41.0%). The Saints offense has had its struggles as well, given the lack of receiving threats on this roster, and New Orleans is just 20th in EPA/Play and 19th in success rate (46.0%).
With the Saints having the highest run vs. pass ratio in the league (57%-43%), I’m expecting this game to go under, but I’ll play the first half since we missed the full-game value.
Giants at Saints
Mike Randle: The Giants are very limited in their offensive options against the Saints. Without wideouts Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton, and a limited Kenny Golladay, the Giants are going to need to be even more creative on offense.
I expect a heavy dose of Saquon Barkley with Jones maximizing the read-option against a stiff New Orleans defense. The Saints have the third-most efficient offense per Football Outsiders, and lead the NFL with six interceptions.
New York will have to find offensive efficiency in the run game if it hopes to keep this game close as a 7.5-point underdog.
Through three weeks, Jones ranks third among all quarterbacks with 23 carries and 161 rushing yards. He’s beat this prop in two of the three games, including a fantastic 95-yard performance against Washington.
We project Jones for 31 rushing yards per our FantasyLabs PlayerProp Tool, 26%+ more than this total. This is an 8 out of 10 rated prop based on Sean Koerner’s projections, and one Jones must hit in order for the Giants to have a chance in the Saints first game in the Caesars Superdome after Hurricane Ida.
I would bet this up to 26.5 rushing yards.