NFL Week 4 Picks: Late-Slate Best Bets for Cardinals vs Panthers, Patriots vs Packers, More
Grant Halverson/Getty Images. Pictured: Baker Mayfield.
NFL Odds & Picks
I like to be on the opposite side of the public in these scenarios (see the Colts in Week 3). Kyler Murray has struggled throughout his career without DeAndre Hopkins on the field and has really only put together one good half this season.
I'm far from a Baker Mayfield truther, but the Panthers are starting to force-feed the ball to Christian McCaffrey. That's a good idea against a team currently ranked 31st in total defense DVOA. A mediocre performance from Mayfield should be enough to get a win at home.
Brandon Anderson: This line is backwards, the product of the public misunderstanding last Sunday’s results for both teams.
The Panthers got off the schneid with a win but were terrible offensively and outplayed by the Saints. The Cardinals played the Rams even after a slow start but turned 72 plays on their final five drives into just four field goals and a turnover on downs. Arizona was a 2.5-point favorite on Sunday morning but reopened that night as 1.5-point underdogs. Why?
The backward line gives us a rare opportunity we might never have again — one last chance to bet against Matt Rhule and Baker Mayfield as favorites.
Rhule is 3-10 ATS (23%) as a favorite. He’s failed to cover seven times in a row and lost every one of them. In fact, Rhule has lost every failed cover as a favorite, at 3-10 SU. If you blindly bet against him every time he was favored, you’d net a tidy 71% ROI.
Mayfield is still new to Carolina, but he hasn’t been much better. He’s 11-22-1 ATS (33%), also failing to cover in seven straight and losing five of those games outright.
Why do bookmakers keep making Rhule and Mayfield favorites?!
Kliff Kingsbury hasn’t been good as a favorite either, but he’s 19-9-2 ATS (68%) as an underdog, including a 6-0 ATS and SU last season. Kingsbury is an auto-fade against elite coaches, but he’s been nearly unbeatable in underdog spots against mere mortals.
Excluding games against Super Bowl-winning coaches, Kingsbury is a perfect 11-0-1 ATS as a dog, including 9-2-1 SU, a whopping 108% return on the moneyline.
The Cardinals offense is frustrating to watch but top 10 in EPA per play, and Vance Joseph’s blitz-crazy defense is the perfect matchup against a QB that’s been dreadful against it in Mayfield.
Carolina plays the 49ers, Rams, and Bucs next. Once they lose this one and fall quickly to 1-6, we won’t be getting any more chances to bet against Rhule and Mayfield as favorites. Let’s savor this one last time.
Sam Farley: With the Cardinals pulling into the Bank of America Stadium to face the Panthers, there's one bet that really offers value. It doesn't feature one of the league's big names and it isn't the most glamorous, but it's a bet which makes perfect sense.
We'll be taking Panthers TE Ian Thomas to hit the over on his receiving yards total of 14.5. The 26-year old has never been a key part of his team's offense but Baker Mayfield has targeted him nine times this season, three in each game. He's turned that into five catches and 79 yards.
Now he comes across a Cardinals team awful against tight ends in 2022. Through three games they've allowed 301 yards to the position.
The consistency of his targets gives me confidence he should cover 14.5 receiving yards with ease. I'd bet this anything up to 17.5 receiving yards.
Pick: Ian Thomas Over 14.5 Receiving Yards
Derek Farnsworth: I generally don't love betting on large favorites, but I can't pass up on a chance to bet against Brian Hoyer in Lambeau Field.
Mac Jones is not expected to suit up for the Patriots, which means an already stale offense will be led by a journeyman with mediocre career numbers. The Packers should be able to stack the box to stop the run, much like they did last week against Leonard Fournette and the Buccaneers.
We haven't exactly seen fireworks from the Packers offense, but they have two very good running backs, while Allen Lazard and Romeo Doubs are showing signs of becoming Aaron Rodgers’ top receivers. It shouldn't take much from the offense to cover this spread.
Derek Farnsworth: Even with the additions of Davante Adams and Josh McDaniels, I was bearish on the Raiders heading into the season.
They were one of the luckiest teams in football last season and had to play much better just to replicate their winning record. On top of that, I didn't love the idea of them playing in a stacked division.
They haven't done anything in the first three games to change my mind. The offense has struggled to move the ball consistently and the defense is 20th in total DVOA.
For the Broncos, it's hard to imagine their offense going anywhere but up. The playcalling hasn't been good and the time management has been even worse. While not ideal, they should only get better as the season progresses.
What we don't have to worry about is the defense. The Broncos generate pressure on the quarterback, are tough against the run and have a good secondary.