NFL Week 4 Picks, Predictions: Bets for Chargers vs Texans, Bills vs Ravens, Chiefs vs Buccaneers
Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images. Pictured: Josh Allen (left), Lamar Jackson (right).
It's Week 4 in the NFL, and I'm dubbing it "Prove It Week."
We've rarely seen this much parity early in the season, with 28 of 32 teams sitting on one or two wins entering October, and just one unbeaten team remaining after Miami's loss on Thursday Night Football.
With so many teams tight in the standings, it's tough to get a read on where they stand. We have an absurd 10 Week 4 games with a line at four points or shorter. We've already covered most of them in detail, but still have three to make a decision on.
Check the early week pick decisions for full explanations on the rest of the games.
We'll recap our Bet, Lean and Pass decisions below now that lines have shifted, and then get to our final three decisions.
- FanDuel Quickslip: Vikings -3
- FanDuel Quickslip: Patriots +9.5
- FanDuel Quickslips: Titans +3.5 | Titans ML
- FanDuel Quickslips: Cardinals +1 | Cardinals ML
- Cowboys -3 vs Commanders
- Browns -1 at Falcons (bet over 47)
- Jaguars +6.5 at Eagles
- Bears +3 at Giants
- Rams +2.5 at 49ers
- Steelers -3 vs Jets
- Broncos +3 at Raiders (under 45.5)
- Seahawks +3.5 at Lions
- Lions +1.5 at Patriots
- Seahawks +6.5 at Saints
Alright, let's Prove It with three more decisions on our remaining games.
Note: Odds are the best available for each pick as of writing. Shop for the best real-time lines with our NFL odds page.
Those poor Chargers. Every year it's the same thing.
Everyone gets their hopes up in the preseason, then it all goes awry — whether it be injuries, coaching, special teams or all of the above. The injury bug in particular has bitten hard this year. Joey Bosa, Rashawn Slater and Keenan Allen are all big misses here, while Justin Herbert, Corey Linsley, and J.C. Jackson are expected to play at less than 100%.
Houston is 3-0 ATS, all three games within one score. Its pass defense has been terrific, negating L.A.'s one real strength.
The Chargers also face an early kickoff traveling east, never a good sign, and the Texans may be able to run on them. This line feels predicated too much on what the Chargers were supposed to be, not what they actually are.
It's Texans or pass for me, but under 45 looks like the better play. Most of the big Chargers injuries are on offense, and offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi continues to put this team in a hole on early downs.
All three Houston games were at 43 points or below. Expect a dog fight. The Chargers just need to find a way.
The Pick: Texans +6 (Lean, and lean under 45) | Previously: Wait for Chargers injury news
It's a second straight Bills game marred by injuries. Notably, both secondaries remain decimated.
Buffalo is short Micah Hyde, Tre'Davious White and probably Dane Jackson. Baltimore's top four corners are hurt, with at least one out. The Ravens are also missing their best pass rusher and maybe best offensive lineman, while Buffalo could be short a couple linemen too.
Nevertheless, we've got ourselves a big one. This is a potential playoff preview with tiebreaker implications going forward — maybe for the 1-seed — and we'll get a clear MVP front-runner in either Lamar Jackson or Josh Allen.
Both teams have great offenses and elite special teams. The one weak spot is Baltimore's defense. The run defense shouldn't be an issue since the Bills rank last in rushing DVOA, but Allen could pick apart this leaky secondary, especially since the Ravens aren't getting any pressure on the QB.
Buffalo's offense could be exhausted after running 90 snaps in the Miami heat, but Baltimore's defense gave up 68 points the last two weeks. The Ravens rank third-to-last in drive success allowed and give up too many explosive plays.
Allen should be able to pass with ease, while I worry Jackson is almost too valuable to Baltimore.
He's a one-man offense, and we haven't seen him face an elite defense like Buffalo's this year. The Bills are well coached and will have 22 eyes on Jackson. I still need to see him prove it against a top defense.
Still, it's a good situational spot for Baltimore. Jackson is an incredible 8-1 ATS as an underdog, covering by 10.1 PPG in his career — and he's 6-3 SU in those games. Jackson is also 35-15-2 ATS (70%) in the first half for his career.
The Ravens have consistently been an awesome first-half team. I like the matchup for Buffalo, but can't play the Bills now when there's a chance we get a juicy live line for Buffalo.
I trust Allen to come back throwing against a beatable defense. I'll look to take my chances on a plus-money Bills ML live.
The Pick: Bills -3 (Pass and look to play Buffalo live) | Previously: Wait for the injury report
Tampa Bay's injury list isn't getting any shorter. Donovan Smith is a doubt, which means the Bucs could again be missing three-fifths of their line and starting a third-string tackle. Chris Godwin and Julio Jones look unlikely, too.
The game is being played in Tampa after all, which is why the Bucs are favored after opening the week as underdogs.
Patrick Mahomes is 5-2 both ATS and SU as a dog, but there are plenty of trends in Tom Brady's favor. One not in his favor: Brady is 2-8 ATS in primetime with the Bucs.
I'm focusing on the line play as the key to this game.
Kansas City ranks 30th in pressure rate allowed, and we saw this exact matchup go Tampa's way in the Super Bowl with Mahomes under duress all night. That could be a problem again versus a Bucs defense that was the best in football in September.
Then again, the Chiefs defense leads the league in pressure rate, and Tampa's blocking with backups. Brady's insanely quick release will be key, but quick passes and a MIA run game could leave the Bucs offense struggling once again.
Somehow, Tampa Bay has scored only three offensive TDs in three games.
The Bucs have just 51 points and have yet to hit 21 in any game, and almost half of those points (23) have come directly off turnovers. Tampa Bay has forced eight, one every six series. That's best in the league — but the Chiefs have the lowest turnover percentage.
The mismatch in this game was always going to be Tampa Bay's offense against Kansas City's defense — but what's wild is that it's the exact opposite of what we expected.
The Chiefs D has been terrific, and there's little reason to think the Bucs can score consistently right now, especially if they don't get easy opportunities off of turnovers.
I'm not sure whether to believe in this Chiefs offensive attack. Was Week 1 against the Cardinals just a mirage against a bad game plan? Kansas City may struggle to score, which means we could be in for another primetime under.
My favorite play is the Bucs team under 23.5. An over would likely mean three TDs, or two TDs and four field goals, which feels just as unlikely. It's also possible the Bucs go under 23.5 but win anyway, like they've already done twice.
I lean Chiefs as the healthier, more rounded team right now, but Tampa under 23.5 is my favorite play and gives us several outs to win without needing to guess the outcome in this Mahomes-Brady showdown.
The Pick: Chiefs +1 (Pass, and bet Bucs TT under 23.5) | Previously: Wait for Tampa weather and injury news