Koerner’s NFL Power Ratings: Analyzing Every Week 4 Spread, Over/Under to Find Best Bets
USA Today Sports. Pictured: Daniel Jones, Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes
- Sean Koerner uses his NFL Power Ratings to find the best Week 4 bets.
- Compare his projected spreads and over/unders to the market.
Should Daniel Jones and the Giants really be favored against the Redskins? Is the market overreacting to the Dolphins’ tank job with another high double-digit spread? Are the 3-0 Bills being undervalued as 7-point underdogs against the Patriots?
I projected spreads and over/unders for every Week 4 game to identify the best bets, including sides in two of those three games and much more.
Odds as of Wednesday and via PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
Eagles at Packers
Odds: Packers -4; 46
My Projections: Packers -4; 47.5
Thursday Night Football
The Packers have relied on their defense and turned Aaron Rodgers into more of a game manager to open their season 3-0. However, the Eagles are more of a pass funnel defense that the Packers would best exploit by letting Rodgers air it out a bit more. The Eagles, meanwhile, might want to attack a Packers defense that is a bit more vulnerable against the run game.
This might be a spot that’s better suited for an in-game wager once we see which team altered their game plan to take advantage of this specific matchup.
Despite 60% of the tickets being on the over as of writing, the total has dropped from 48 to 46. There could be some slight value on the over here. However, this could be another market to attack in-game if it appears both offensive game plans are tailored to attack their opponent’s weakness.
Panthers at Texans
Odds: Texans -4.5; 47
My Projections: Texans -5.5; 45.5
Last week I docked the Panthers only 2-2.5 points for the switch from Cam Newton to Kyle Allen while the market moved the line from Panthers -2.5 to Cardinals -2.5 — a full five-point swing.
After watching some film on Allen I realized that he was definitely being undervalued, so Panthers +2.5 became one of my top bets of Week 3. But now that the public saw Allen light up the Cardinals for a 38-20 victory, it looks like the public might have over adjusted the other way.
We need to be very cautious about evaluating a team’s offense immediately after facing a porous Cardinals defense. I have the Texans as 5.5-point favorites here, which means there’s some value on them at -4.5 — and this is coming from someone who was admittedly bullish on the Allen-led Panthers a week ago.
The Panthers are fairly stout against the pass, but more vulnerable against the run. Still, the Texans aren’t equipped to take advantage of that with a backfield featuring Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson. It’s a bit telling that they brought in C.J. Anderson to try out this week — they’re aware their glaring weakness is going to prevent them from attacking the Panthers on the ground.
This sets up as an ideal under.
Browns at Ravens
Odds: Ravens -7; 45
My Projections: Ravens -6; 45.5
Last week I said it was time to buy low on the Browns. Unfortunately, as game-time approached, the Browns realized they were going to be without multiple defensive backs. It’s always a concern when you get a cluster of injuries like that.
To make matters worse, their play-calling was again a major issue in their 20-13 loss to the Rams. We could see Freddie Kitchens surrender those responsibilities to offensive coordinator Todd Monken in the near future.
I expected the Browns to struggle early on, so I’m not overreacting too much to their poor start. Getting +7 in this spot will offer some value if Morgan Burnett, Damarious Randall and Denzel Ward are all able to suit up this week.
Redskins at Giants
Odds: Giants -2.5; 49.5
My Projections: Giants -2.5; 49.5
The Daniel Jones era started with a bang.
The rookie led the Giants to a thrilling 32-31 victory in Tampa Bay. But anything Jones does — good or bad — is going to be amplified by the media, so I expected this line to open in the -4 to -4.5 range. The -3 opener was a bit lower than I expected, but there’s some value in taking the key number +3 here, which is still available at some books as of Wednesday evening.
Saquon Barkley, who is set to miss four to eight weeks, is one of the the rare running backs who has a case for being worth 0.5-1 point to the spread. The Redskins are equipped to take advantage of the Giants’ porous pass defense and are sneaky underdogs to back off the public’s post-Jones debut sugar high.
Chargers at Dolphins
Odds: Chargers -16; 44
My Projections: Chargers -15; 44.5
Here we go again.
I’m showing some slight value on the Dolphins here. To be clear: The 2019 Dolphins could be one of the worst teams we have ever seen. They’re in full tank mode and seem destined to land the No. 1 overall pick in the loaded 2020 draft class.
But while there’s a decent chance they go 0-16, it’s highly unlikely they go 0-16 against the spread. The market might have to go to great lengths to help them achieve their first cover, which could very well be this week at home against the underachieving 1-2 Chargers.
My revised approach to the Dolphins is to not back whatever team they’re playing because I do think the market will overcorrect, but I can no longer in good conscience bet hard-earned money on a team clearly OK with losing.
I’ve adjusted their team power rating to a depth I’ve never seen before. To put things in perspective, the 2018 Cardinals — at their lowest point in my power ratings a season ago — would be 5.5-point home favorites and likely 1-point road favorites against the 2019 Dolphins. If you recall just how bad the Cardinals were last season, that should send chills down your spine.
Raiders at Colts
Odds: Colts -6.5; 45
My Projections: Colts -8; 44.5
Last week I laid out the case that the Colts, despite being without Andrew Luck, are still built to win easy matchups at home. This is one of those cases.
There’s some value locking them in at -6.5 to avoid the key number of 7 — public pressure could force this line to lower by kickoff. It also appears that T.Y. Hilton (quad) could end up missing this week. I would wait for him to be ruled out, and to see if stud linebacker Darius Leonard is able to suit up. It’s possible we could get the Colts -5.5 in that scenario, which is where the value will be.
Chiefs at Lions
Odds: Chiefs -6.5; 54
My Projections: Chiefs -5.5; 54
I’m not going to sugar coat it: The Chiefs are a much better football team than the Lions. Kansas City should absolutely be the favorite here, but this is a textbook case of the market simply setting an imaginary number too high.
Patrick Mahomes is unstoppable, but the Lions defense is solid enough to slow him down, and their offense is more than capable of keeping up with the Chiefs at home.
The line has moved to -6.5, but the market is backing the Chiefs heavily with 86% of the tickets as of writing (see our live public betting data), so the line could end up going up to 7.5 by kickoff. If that happens and cornerback Darius Slay and defensive tackle Mike Daniels are able to suit up, the Lions will be one of my favorite bets of the week.
Patriots at Bills
Odds: Patriots -7, 42.5
My Projections: Patriots -6; 44.5
This is another matchup in which the home team probably should not be getting a full touchdown at home. The Patriots have an insane +89 point differential, which ties for third -best since 1940 over the first three games. But the Bills will be the Patriots’ first real test as the winner of this game will take over the top of the AFC East.
Bookmakers floated Patriots -7.5 to open — a strategic opening number that paves the way for instant feedback on where sharps stand with a key number like 7 fully exposed on the underdog. Despite 82% of tickets and 75% of money pouring in on the Pats, the line has moved to -7 at some books while others have opted to leave it at -7.5, requiring a bit more juice to back the Bills.
It’s pretty clear the sharp money has been hitting Bills +7.5 here.
This total also has some value. It opened at 44, which was right in line with my number. However, heavy action on the under has forced books to lower it to 42.5, which opens up some value on the over — especially considering the most valuable key number (43) is now exposed.
While the public perception of this matchup being a defensive struggle makes sense on paper, the expected game flow would lean toward the over here.
Josh Allen has improved as a passer, and part of that is simply the Bills giving him more weapons to use in the passing game. The Bills will be required to come out firing here in order to hang with Tom Brady and the Patriots.
On the flip side, the Patriots haven’t been pushed at all this season — they’ve blown out all three of their opponents so far. If the Bills keep this close, it’ll only force the Patriots to keep their foot on the gas the entire game.
I love the idea of parlaying Bills +7.5 and the over 42.5 here. There’s a stronger correlation between those two bets than people realize.
Titans at Falcons
Odds: Falcons -4; 45.5
My Projections: Falcons -4; 46.5
It’s true that the Titans are a bottom-five team in terms of my total ratings. They’re a run-heavy team that relies on their defense to keep them in games, and they try to limit Marcus Mariota to an extreme game-manager role. But they could be forced into a more pass-happy, faster-paced game plan on Atlanta in order to stay in the game.
That could result in an increase in snaps for Dion Lewis as the Titans abandon their “feed Derrick Henry” game plan, which will force their hand to play to the over based on the matchup.
Buccaneers at Rams
Odds: Rams -9.5; 49.5
My Projections: Rams -10.5; 50
This time last year, a Rams-Bucs matchup would’ve generated a total in the 56-point range.
The Buccaneers have not only improved defensively this season, but they also appear willing to rein Jameis Winston in as more of a game manager in an attempt to prevent careless turnovers. But in this specific matchup, as 9.5-point underdogs, the Bucs might be left with no choice but to let him air it out.
With the total down to 48.5 at some books, we have a bit of value in the over. The game flow should also lend itself to that.
Seahawks at Cardinals
Odds: Seahawks -5; 48
My Projections: Seahawks -3.5; 48.5
The Cardinals are one of the most exciting teams in the league with their Air Raid and No. 1 overall dual threat QB in Kyler Murray, but they’re still a very bad team.
I warned about overrating the 2-0 Seahawks last week as they won both games by a combined three points, and they’re still going to be overrated by the market. The opening number of 3.5 has jumped to 5.5. And while this does not include very valuable numbers in 4 and 5, it might end up getting up to -6, in which case we absolutely need to consider taking the Cardinals if they get to +6.
Vikings at Bears
Odds: Bears -2; 38
My Projections: Bears -2.5; 39
Bookmakers set what I feel was an aggressive opening line of Bears -3. Predictably, they have been flooded with Vikings tickets (73%) and money (87%). The early action has forced them to move off the key number and all the way down to -2.
As the line moves toward a pick ’em, it will only open up a bit more value on the Bears, whose offense is starting to show signs of life. However, this is likely a matchup I’m going to pass on.
Jaguars at Broncos
Odds: Broncos -3; 39
My Projections: Broncos -3.5; 38.5
Yes, Gardner Minshew is a flashy rookie QB who has been one of the better surprises of 2019. However, this should be a defensive struggle and the only slight value I’m seeing here is under 39, but it’s not enough to trigger a bet.
Cowboys at Saints
Odds: Cowboys -2.5; 47
My Projections: Cowboys -1; 47
Sunday Night Football
I made the case in Week 3 that the Saints might be able to game plan in a way that minimizes the loss of Drew Brees. They should be able to rely on their defense and Alvin Kamara’s playmaking ability to keep them in this game. Making Teddy Bridgewater nothing more than a highly competent game manager who will focus on getting the ball to Kamara and Michael Thomas.
If they’re able to operate a game plan similar to what we saw in Week 3 against the Seahawks, they’re a great play getting the key number of +3 this week at home.
Bengals at Steelers
Odds: Steelers -4; 43.5
My Projections: Steelers -3; 43.5
Monday Night Football
Despite a +3 turnover margin in Week 3, the Steelers still managed to lose to San Francisco, 24-20. There is no reason to have them anything more than a 3-point home favorite against the Bengals.
We need to significantly lower our expectations for the Steelers with Ben Roethlisberger out for the season. Mason Rudolph does not look ready to fill Big Ben’s shoes in a way that can get them back into the playoff hunt. I’m also speculating that Devlin Hodges could make some starts at some point this season.
The time to fade the Steelers is now while the public is still willing to back them after losing a game in which they had a +3 turnover margin.