NFL Pick’Em Picks For Week 4: Cowboys, Jets, Ravens, More Favorites & Underdogs
Tom Pennington/Getty Images. Pictured: Dak Prescott.
I’ll be picking five NFL sides each week of the season for DraftKings‘ Pro Football Millionaire Pick’Em contest. Note that the spreads for this contest lock on Wednesdays, so some will be stale by the time you read this and thus not readily available outside of the contest. But you can check real-time NFL odds here.
Here were the five sides for this week’s entry:
- Dallas Cowboys -4.5: 1:00 p.m. ET
- New York Jets +7.5 : 1:00 p.m. ET
- Miami Dolphins -2.5: 1:00 p.m. ET
- Los Angeles Rams -4.5 : 4:25 p.m. ET
- Baltimore Ravens +1.5: 4:25 p.m. ET
Week 4 NFL Pick’Em Picks
1. Dallas Cowboys -4.5
The Dallas Cowboys come into this game on a short week after defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 41-21 on Monday Night Football.
While this typically isn’t a spot I’d be looking to back the Cowboys, especially with the Panthers having extra rest as they played on Thursday night in Week 3, Dallas has plenty of advantages to make this play for me.
For starters, the Panthers have suffered some significant injuries on defense, with cornerbacks Jaycee Horn, Myles Hartsfield and Juston Burris out. Although the Panthers traded for C.J. Henderson, he’ll be learning a whole new defense, which doesn’t bode well when facing Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb, Amari Cooper and a Cowboys offense which is scoring 30 points per game (6th) and is first in total offensive success rate (55.7%), dropback success rate (58.5%) and rushing success rate (51.2%).
Although this Panthers defense is first in EPA/play and success rate (35.6%), that came against the Jets, Saints and Texans, who rank 31st, 18th and 26th in offensive success rate this season. As a whole, rookie quarterbacks haven’t fared well this season, going 1-10 straight-up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) through the first three weeks of the season with the only win coming when two faced off in Week 1 (Mac Jones over Zach Wilson). The Panthers have been fortunate to play two of them in Wilson and Davis Mills.
Offensively the Panthers haven’t been great, ranking just 21st in offensive success rate (45.4%). They’ll be dealing with the absence Christian McCaffrey, who is a big part of both the running and passing game.
In an offensive league, I have trouble believing the Panthers can keep up with this Cowboys offense. I’ll lay the 4.5 points here.
2. New York Jets +7.5
When it comes to NFL betting, sometimes you have to back teams who aren’t very good.
This week it’s the New York Jets, who come off a 26-0 shutout loss against the Denver Broncos.
Things haven’t gone well for the Jets offensively as they’re dead last in points per game (6.7) and 32nd in EPA/play. To be fair, Wilson and head coach Robert Saleh have faced one of the toughest slates of opposing defenses this year.
After starting the season against the Panthers, Patriots and Broncos — teams that rank first, seventh and third in Defensive EPA/play — things get a lot easier against the Titans, who rank 26th in Defensive EPA/play and are giving up 28 points per game this season.
We should see Wilson’s best game of his young career with Jamison Crowder activated, providing a key weapon to attack a porous Titans defense.
Defensively, the Jets caught a lucky break with both A.J. Brown (hamstring) and Julio Jones (leg) are out. The Jets have the tools to slow down Derrick Henry and the Titans rushing offense, ranking 10th this season in Rushing EPA/play.
Overall, the Titans have struggled under head coach Mike Vrable in the role of a favorite, often playing down to competition to a record of 12-17 ATS. Even more favorable for the Jets, according to our Bet Labs database, teams coming off a shutout loss are 58-44-5 ATS (56.9%).
3. Miami Dolphins -2.5
As if things couldn’t get worse for the 0-3 Colts with a banged-up Carson Wentz, the injury report is troubling to say the least. All-Pro left guard Quenton Nelson will miss this game with a sprained ankle, which doesn’t bode well for an offensive line which is 23rd in adjusted sack rate.
In addition, the Colts had eight other key players miss practice on Wednesday — tight end Jack Doyle (back), tackle Eric Fisher (rest), linebacker Darius Leonard (ankle), defensive end Kwity Paye (hamstring), tackle Braden Smith (foot/thumb), safety Khari Willis (ankle/groin), defensive tackle Antwaun Woods (back) and cornerback Rock Ya-Sin (ankle).
I’ll back a better Dolphins team with less than a field goal at home against a Colts team searching for an identity.
4. Los Angeles Rams -4.5
Since Sean McVay took over as head coach in 2017, the Rams are 8-0 against the Arizona Cardinals. Of course, the past doesn’t totally determine the result of this matchup, but it says a lot about how the Rams have had their number over the years.
The Cardinals look to be the public underdog of the week, creating what I believe is value on the Rams at -4.
For starters, the Cardinals find themselves with issues on the offensive line with left guard Justin Pugh, right guard Justin Murray and right tackle Kelvin Beachum (ribs) all missing practice this week. This isn’t ideal for a team playing its second straight road game against a defensive line that is led by Aaron Donald and ranks ninth in ESPN’s pass rush win rate (47%).
Although the Cardinals are averaging a league-leading 34.3 points per game, they were fortunate to play a Titans defense that ranks 26th in EPA/play, the Vikings (20th) and Jaguars (29th). For as much criticism as there’s been about the Rams defense, it ranks 10th in EPA/play, making it the best unit that the Cardinals will have faced this season.
One thing is clear: The Cardinals don’t have a prayer at stopping this Rams offense with Matthew Stafford, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and DeSean Jackson which is first in EPA/play.
Arizona was down 19-10 in the third quarter of last week’s game and were fortunate to escape with a victory after a pick-six, a three and out and back-to-back fumbles from the Jaguars offense.
Overall, the public pushing this number down from -6 to -4 has created value on the 3-0 Rams, who appear heading toward being one of the best teams in the league. I’ll back Los Angeles here.
5. Baltimore Ravens +1.5
The Denver Broncos have been downright dominant this season, 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 — the Giants, Jaguars and Jets. These teams have won a combined zero games this season and entered Week 4 ranked 22nd, 31st and 28th in Football Outsiders DVOA.
Now, Denver takes 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 we’re sitting at a consensus Ravens +1, as of Friday afternoon.
I can’t help but feel like this is an over adjustment given the competition these teams have faced. Did we forget the Ravens knocked off Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs?
This is a game where the injuries to Bradley Chubb, K.J. Hamler, Jerry Jeudy and Ronald Darby come back to bite the Broncos. With the Ravens having cornerback Jimmy Smith back, in addition to wide receivers Rashod Bateman and Miles Boykin, I think they’re being undervalued in this spot.
I’ll grab the +1 here.