NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions For Sunday: Experts Split On Ravens-Broncos Spread, But Agree On 49ers-Seahawks
Abbie Parr/Getty Images. Pictured: Seahawks WRs Freddie Swain and Tyler Lockett
Looking for the best Week 4 NFL bets? Our analysts examined the odds to identify their favorite picks for the later afternoon games this Sunday.
We have a consensus on Seahawks-49ers, but a disagreement on Broncos-Ravens. Find out how they’re betting both spreads below — plus the over/under in Rams-Cardinals.
Seahawks at 49ers
Chris Raybon: Something has to give here.
Neither Russell Wilson nor Jimmy Garoppolo have ever lost three games in a row — and I believe it’s going to be Garoppolo’s streak that falls.
The 49ers are banged up in the secondary with Jason Verett (IR – ACL), K’Waun Williams (out – calf) and Josh Norman (doubtful – chest), while Wilson has two receivers with which to pick apart this secondary in Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf. Despite its second-half struggles, the Seattle offense is second in Football Outsiders’ DVOA. The 49ers defense hasn’t been much stronger than Seattle’s — ranking 19th in DVOA to Seattle’s 24th — so this is a true coin flip game, especially if George Kittle (questionable – calf) is out or limited.
Per our Action Labs data, Wilson has covered the spread 65% of the time off a loss. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll is also 13-2-1 (87%) against the spread (ATS) off a multi-game losing streak, including 7-1-1 (88%) with Wilson, who is also 20-11-2 (65%) ATS as a road underdog.
49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is a great schemer who can often coax his team into performing above expectation against underdogs, but they’ve struggled as favorites, covering just 30% of the time.
Seahawks at 49ers
Brandon Anderson: Seattle might actually be the NFC version of the Chiefs this season. Both teams are 1-2 and at the bottom of a loaded West division, and both have very problematic defenses holding them back. But Seattle’s defense is better than KC’s, and the offense might actually be better, too.
The Seahawks rank second in the league in offensive DVOA, and it looks like new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron has really unlocked this attack. D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett will be a huge problem for a banged-up secondary missing Jason Verrett and likely Josh Norman.
This has all the makings of a shootout, and I know which quarterback I want to back in a shootout.
Seattle is averaging 7.4 yards per play right now, more than half a yard ahead of the second-best team in the league! We give teams four plays to gain 10 yards in the NFL. When Seattle runs four plays, the Seahawks are picking up 30 yards instead. Seems good.
This is a must-win game for the Seahawks, who can’t fall to 1-3 with the Rams up next. The Seahawks have won 13-of-15 against the 49ers. I love Seattle in this spot.
Ravens at Broncos
Sean Koerner: The Broncos have cruised to a 3-0 start, thanks largely to their laughably easy schedule to date against the Giants, Jaguars and Jets. However, we can’t penalize the Broncos based on their easy schedule because they have looked dominant on both sides of the ball and rank fifth in total DVOA.
I like them as home underdogs against a Ravens team that is still chasing after its old self.
Ravens at Broncos
Raheem Palmer: The Broncos have been downright dominant, winning by an average of 16 points per game. Of course, they’ve been fortunate to play one of the easiest schedules in the NFL against teams that are a combined 0-6 straight up and are ranked 22nd, 31st and 28th in DVOA.
Now the Broncos take a big step up in competition against Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, who snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with an NFL record, 66-yard field goal from Justin Tucker. The preseason lookahead line on this game was Ravens -3.5, and now they’re +1 at some books (shop for the best real-time line here).
Nonetheless, I can’t help but feel like this is an over-adjustment given the competition these teams have faced. Did we forget the Ravens did knock off Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs? This is a game in which the Broncos’ injuries come back to bite them.
With Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith back, in addition to wide receivers Rashod Bateman and Miles Boykin, I think they’re being undervalued.
Cardinals at Rams
Billy Ward: After opening at 53.5, the total for this game has swelled all the way to 55 at some books. While there was obvious value on the over at the opening line, it’s now swung too far in the opposite direction.
These teams have explosive offenses, but there’s other factors to consider here.
Both are in the bottom-12 of the league in overall pace. While they are ranked higher in terms of situation neutral pace, the Rams in particular have been content to take the air out of the ball when leading comfortably. As 4.5-point favorites, it’s relatively likely that we’ll see that scenario at some point Sunday.
More importantly, both teams have underrated defenses, particularly against the pass. The Cardinals are sixth in overall DVOA, and third against the pass. Rams head coach Sean McVay is sharp, which means he’s more likely than most coaches to take the path of least resistance and run the ball more frequently here, slowing the game down — the Rams attempted only 56 passes through two games.
On the other side of the ball, the Rams are also a run funnel, ranking 10 spots better against the pass. And the running game isn’t a strength of this Cardinals team, so if they can’t get the passing game going, they’ll struggle to move the ball.
Add in underrated defenses and one team willing to keep the ball on the ground whenever possible, and you get some inflated expectations. I would make this bet at 54.5 (-110) at the lowest, but try to get the better number.