The Ultimate NFL Week 4 Preview: Betting Tips, Strategies for Every Game
USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Carson Wentz, Jalen Ramsey and Tom Brady
- If you're looking for comprehensive betting and fantasy football previews for every Week 4 game, you've come to the right place.
- Our experts cover trends, sharp action, fantasy football sleepers and make the case for a few bets.
All odds as of Friday morning. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets.
Betting odds: Philadelphia Eagles at Tennessee Titans
- Spread: Eagles -3
- Over/Under: 41
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
Betting market: Marcus Mariota is back under center for Tennessee — not sure if that is a good thing — but just 32% of bettors are on the Titans at the time of writing (you can find updated data here).
This is becoming a usual thing, however, as the Titans have received 20% and 30% of bets the past two weeks, respectively. Of course, they won and covered each time.
Some sharp bets came in on the Titans at +4, pushing the line down to +3 (+105) on Thursday afternoon. — Mark Gallant
Trends to know: Since being drafted No. 2 overall in 2015, Marcus Mariota is 18-25-2 against the spread (-8.3 units) as a starter for the Titans, according to our Bet Labs data.
No active quarterback has been less profitable than Mariota, with only the recently retired Carson Palmer losing more money for bettors over that span (-10.5 units). — Evan Abrams
Injury watch: The Eagles added starting safety Rodney McLeod (knee) to their growing injured reserve list, and Darren Sproles (hamstring) seems poised to miss at least another week.
Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) was cleared for contact and practiced in full Wednesday, but missed Thursday’s practice with an illness. The offense should welcome back Jay Ajayi (back), who practiced in full Thursday, despite acknowledging he’s playing through a back fracture.
Mariota (elbow) will start Sunday with Blaine Gabbert (concussion) sidelined. He’s expected to be joined by starting right tackle Jack Conklin (knee) for the first time this season, but slot receiver Rishard Matthews (personal) seemingly left the team and isn’t expected to suit up against the Eagles.
The defense expects to have safety Kendrick Lewis (foot) and cornerback Adoree Jackson (concussion), while kicker Ryan Succop (knee) should also be good to go come Sunday.
Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Dashboard for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Ian Hartitz
DFS Edge: The Titans own the eighth-highest pass-rush grade through three weeks (PFF), which should be somewhat neutralized by the Eagles’ top-three pass-blocking grade.
Getting all-world left tackle Jason Peters (quad) back is so massive for this offense as is the return of Carson Wentz, who could be an intriguing tournament option at only $5,700 with a 70% leverage score in the FantasyLabs Models. — Joe Holka
Bet To Watch: Titans +4
While the consensus line is down to Eagles -3 (-130) at the time of writing (find updated odds here), there are still a few +4s out there (always shop for the best number).
The Titans are not a sexy pick, but you’ve got to give Mike Vrabel’s team credit for overcoming early obstacles this season.
Tennessee won two games with Gabbert starting — despite playing without their starting offensive tackles and their most consistent offensive weapon, Delanie Walker.
The Titans are getting little public support after scoring nine points a week ago, and facing the defending Super Bowl champions isn’t helping.
However, teams in the game after a poor offensive game are undervalued, having gone 389-336-15 (54%) ATS since 2003, according to our Bet Labs data. Home underdogs in this situation are 113-88-5 (56%) ATS in that time.
The Action Network model lists the Titans as 1-point underdogs. Bettors willing to take the Titans are getting a field goal worth of value on the home team. — John Ewing
Betting odds: Cincinnati Bengals at Atlanta Falcons
- Spread: Falcons -3.5
- Over/Under: 53.5
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: CBS
Betting market: After opening at -5.5, this spread stayed relatively still most of the week. It made only one minor move to -5 until Thursday, when Bengals money brought it all the way down to -3.5.
The total has also caught some eyes, as 81% of bets and 94% of dollars are on the over. The total has risen from 48, as a result. — Mark Gallant
Trends to know: Since Andy Dalton entered the league in 2011, no quarterback has been more profitable as an underdog in the regular season. The Bengals are 30-17-2 against the spread (+12.67 units) when getting points with the Red Rifle starting. — John Ewing
Dalton has started a game with a total of 50 or more only three times, with his highest over/under of 51 coming in 2014 against the Saints at the Superdome. The under is 3-0 in those games, going under the total by an average of 14.7 points. — Evan Abrams
Injury watch: Julio Jones (calf) is once again expected to play despite missing an early week practice, but Devonta Freeman (knee) might still be a week away from returning.
The larger issue for the Falcons is the state of their defense. Starting safety Ricardo Allen (Achilles) joined Keanu Neal (knee) and Deion Jones (foot) on Injured Reserve.
Defensive end Takkarist McKinley (groin), defensive end Derrick Shelby (groin), cornerback Justin Bethel (knee), cornerback Damontae Kazee (groin), cornerback Brian Poole (thumb/toe) and linebacker Foyesade Oluokun (ankle) aren’t guaranteed to suit up, either.
Meanwhile, A.J. Green (groin) and Giovani Bernard (thigh) are expected to resume their roles as the Bengals’ featured weapons after both were limited in practice on Wednesday, but left tackle Cordy Glenn (knee) and center Billy Price (ankle) could join Joe Mixon (knee) on the sideline.
The defense lost defensive tackle Ryan Glasgow (knee, IR) for the season and will have to survive one more week without linebacker Vontaze Burfict (suspension).
The status of cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (groin/back) needs to be monitored ahead of his matchup against Jones & Co.
The good news is that defensive end Michael Johnson (knee), linebacker Preston Brown (ankle) and cornerback Darqueze Dennard (calf) are tentatively expected to play.
DFS edge: The only number you need to know in this game is 29. That’s the amount of receptions Christian McCaffrey (14) and Alvin Kamara (15) have had in the past two weeks against this Falcons defense.
Giovani Bernard is still $6,300 on DraftKings and is projected to be one of the chalkiest players on the slate. Eating those elevated ownership levels is probably still worth it. — Joe Holka
Bet to watch: 6-Point Teaser: Bengals +9.5 / Over 47.5
The Falcons hadn’t figured out how to play defense without Jones and Neal — and now they’ll have to make do without Allen, as well.
Joe already touched on the insane RB catch numbers the Falcons have allowed the past two weeks. Expect that to continue with the elusive Bernard being the beneficiary.
This Cincinnati offense has shown the ability to put up points in the early going, as Dalton has thrived behind a rebuilt O-line.
The Falcons and their cadre of weapons will get theirs, but Atlanta’s defensive woes won’t allow it to pull away. — Scott T. Miller
Betting odds: Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots
- Spread: Patriots -6.5
- Over/Under: 48
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: CBS
Betting market: For the first few days of the week, spread bets were split just about 50/50. The Patriots had moved from -7 to -6.5 late Sunday night and have since remained there, but bettors have grown tired of New England.
At the time of writing, the Pats were down to just 43% of spread bets (see live data here), which is the lowest support they’ve received since Jacoby Brissett led them to a 27-0 win over the Texans in September 2016.
Trends to know: The Patriots have now dropped two straight for the first time since the end of the 2015 season. Brady has only lost three consecutive starts straight up once: In 2002, when the Pats lost four in a row and finished 9-7 (that season was also the last time New England failed to hit the 10-win mark).
Miami has a better record than New England, but that hasn’t helped teams in the past. Since 2003, teams facing Brady with a better record than the Patriots are 6-17-2 ATS in the regular season. — John Ewing
Since 2003, the Patriots are 22-7-2 ATS when receiving less than half of the spread bets. — Mark Gallant
Injury watch: The Dolphins expect to have defensive end Cameron Wake (knee) and safety Reshad Jones (shoulder), but linebacker Chase Allen (foot) and defensive end Andre Branch (knee) are unlikely to suit up.
Meanwhile, the potential absence of starting tight end A.J. Derby (foot) could lead to increased snaps for electric rookie tight end Mike Gesicki.
The Patriots’ laundry list of limited practice participants includes key players on both sides of the ball.
Rob Gronkowski (ankle) and right tackle Marcus Cannon (calf) are expected to suit up on Sunday after playing through their questionable tags last week
The following Patriots should be considered questionable: Cornerback Eric Rowe (groin), defensive end Trey Flowers (concussion), defensive end Geneo Grissom (ankle), safety Patrick Chung (concussion), defensive tackle Danny Shelton (elbow), wide receiver Josh Gordon (hamstring), and tight end Jacob Hollister (chest).
DFS edge: No. 1 Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard has made a name for himself during his brief shadow appearances.
Brandin Cooks (1-38-0), Julio Jones (6-72-0) and Amari Cooper (2-17-0) have all failed to get anything going with Howard at their hip since the beginning of last season.
Still, Howard has only spent 3.7% of his snaps in the slot this season, so he’ll likely see more of Gordon (hamstring) and Phillip Dorsett than Chris Hogan (53% slot rate).
Bet to watch: Patriots -6.5
The Patriots are 5-0 in their last five games coming off a two-game losing streak. New England desperately needs a wide receiver to stretch the field, and it appears Gordon will be active for this game.
I know it is inevitable that Brady and the Pats’ hold on the AFC East won’t last forever and will fall off at some point. However, until that happens, I am going to continue backing the Pats. — Peter Jennings
Betting odds: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Chicago Bears
- Spread: Bears -3
- Over/Under: 46.5
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
Betting market: A large discrepancy between bets and dollars helps explain the movement on the over/under.
Should bettors trust the Bears? Chicago has won two in a row, but each win was decided by one score. History is not on the Bears’ side when it comes to covering in this spot.
According to our Bet Labs data, teams — such as Chicago — that failed to make the playoffs the season before have been good candidates to fade in the first half of the season when they jump out to a winning record and are favored. — John Ewing
Injury watch: There’s cautious optimism that the Bucs’ first-round defensive tackle Vita Vea (calf) will make his debut on Sunday.
The outlook is less promising for defensive tackle Beau Allen (foot), but Gerald McCoy (biceps) and right tackle Demar Dotson (knee) are tentatively expected to play.
The Bears secondary could need some reinforcements, as cornerbacks Prince Amukamara (hamstring) and Marcus Cooper (hamstring) did not practice to start the week.
The offense is healthy with the exception of rookie slot receiver Anthony Miller (shoulder), who reportedly won’t need surgery but is not expected to suit up on Sunday and is considered week-to-week.
DFS edge: Allen Robinson has enjoyed 43% of the Bears’ market share of air yards and 26% of their target share, but that number could be trending even more highly if Miller is unable to play.
Robinson is $5,900 on DraftKings with a solid +2.19 Projected Plus/Minus against a Buccaneers defense that has surrendered 1,088 passing yards and 7.9 net yards per attempt through the first three weeks. — Justin Bailey
Bet to watch: Bears -3 (-105)
If Chicago didn’t fold like a lawn chair against Aaron Rodgers in the second half of Week 1’s Sunday night game, what is this number?
The Bears got Rodgers’d. It happens.
Since then, wins over the Seahawks and a too-close-for-comfort nail-biter over the Cardinals in the desert has the Bears at 2-1.
They’re being rated as slightly inferior or equal to Tampa, and considering the Bucs are traveling after a Monday night game and had somewhat fraudulent hype generated by Ryan Fitzpatrick, I think they continue coming back down to Earth this week.
This past Monday night, a lot of people probably went “Oh, right, Fitzpatrick isn’t that good.”
After Sunday’s game, I think Jameis Winston easily reclaims his starting spot. — Ken Barkley
Betting odds: Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys
- Spread: Cowboys -3
- Over/Under: 44
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
Betting market: It wasn’t available for long, but the majority of bettors grabbed Detroit and the hook at +3.5 while they had the chance. About 75% of the market was on the Lions on the day lines opened, when +3.5 was widely available.
Trends to know: Linebacker Sean Lee, the heart and soul of the Dallas defense, is out 2-4 weeks with a hamstring issue. According to our Bet Labs data, the Cowboys last season were 8-3 straight up and 7-3-1 against the spread when Lee started, but 1-4 SU and ATS when he did not play. — John Ewing
The Cowboys are currently receiving fewer than 40% of spread tickets at home against the Lions. If they close below 50%, it will be Dallas’ fourth consecutive game to start the season with the public fading America’s Team — the first time that has happened in our dataset (since 2003).
The Cowboys are 13-23-3 ATS (-10.8 units) when the public is fading them as a favorite, making the Cowboys the second-least profitable team in the NFL since 2003 in that situation, behind the Rams (5-18 ATS). — Evan Abrams
Matthew Stafford is coming off a huge home win in primetime over the Patriots. In his career, Stafford and his Lions are 8-16-3 ATS (-8.2 units) on the road off of an SU win.
Stafford is also the second-least profitable QB in this spot, ahead of only Ben Roethlisberger, who is 17-25-2 ATS. — Abrams
Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott is averaging only 5.7 yards per pass attempt this season. Since 2003, favorites averaging below 6.0 yards per pass attempt have gone just 115-140-10 (45.1%) ATS, according to our Bet Labs data. — Chris Raybon
Matchup to watch: Lions’ rush defense vs. Ezekiel Elliott
The Lions have played the Patriots, Jets and 49ers, three teams you wouldn’t consider powerhouse rushing offenses. However, the Lions defense currently sits dead last in the NFL at 5.4 yards allowed per carry.
If Matt Breida could run the ball 11 times for 138 yards and Isaiah Crowell 10 for 102, imagine what the NFL’s former leading rusher can do to the Lions’ rush defense.
Expect an angry Zeke to bounce back in a big way from a sloppy performance in Seattle. There will be no shortage of cereal in Dallas on Sunday. — Stuckey
Injury watch: The Cowboys are expected to be without Lee (hamstring) for multiple weeks, while no timetable has been given for center Travis Frederick’s return (illness).
Dallas slot receiver Cole Beasley (ankle) and safety Jeff Heath (ankle) aren’t believed to be dealing with serious injuries, though the defensive front faces real questions regarding the statuses of defensive tackles Maliek Collins (knee) and Antwaun Woods (groin).
The Lions have a banged-up offensive line, with left guard T.J. Lang (back) and right guard Frank Ragnow (knee) participating in limited fashion on Thursday.
Detroit is otherwise healthy; only defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (shoulder) and backup tight end Michael Roberts (knee) are in danger of missing Sunday’s game.
DFS edge: Elliott is averaging 19.7 touches per game and actually leads the Cowboys with 18 targets. He boasts some of the best touchdown equity on the slate, owning 53% of the Cowboys’ red-zone target share.
Bet To Watch: Lions +3
If I were a bold guy, I’d bet Detroit on the moneyline, which is +130 at the time of writing (see live odds here), because I think the Lions will win this game outright.
Since Jason Garrett became the full-time head coach in 2011, the Cowboys are the only team in the league (besides the hapless Raiders) to allow opponents to score more points as visitors (23.6 per game) than as hosts (21.5).
In other words: The Cowboys have no home-field advantage.
They’ve failed to hit their implied Vegas total in 8-of-10 games going back to last season, falling short by 6.2 points. Prescott’s sophomore regression has continued into his third season, and Elliott has literally a 0% success rate as a receiver in 2018.
The Cowboys have averaged a pitiful 13.7 points per game so far this season.
Worst of all: Lee is expected to be out. Under coordinator Rod Marinelli, Dallas has allowed an average of just 18.8 points in 39 games with a healthy Lee but 24.4 in the 28 games he has missed or exited early.
I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to see the Lions win by 10.
Am I Cowboys fan? Unfortunately, yes. Why do you ask? — Matthew Freedman
Betting odds: New York Jets at Jacksonville Jaguars
- Spread: Jaguars -7.5
- Over/Under: 38.5
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
Betting market: The public is backing the enigma that is the Jaguars, who beat up on Tom Brady and the Patriots in Week 2 before losing to Blaine Gabbert and the Titans last week.
Jacksonville is getting 65% of bets, but only 47% of the money as of writing (see live data here).
The sharper support on the Jets has pushed them from +8.5/9 to +7/7.5 across the market. — Mark Gallant
Trends to know: The Jags and Jets each went under their over/under in Week 3.
Since 2003, it has been profitable to bet the over early in the season if both teams went under their total in the previous game. — John Ewing
The Jaguars and Jets are both allowing fewer than 21 points per game entering Week 4.
Since 2004, when two teams that allow fewer than 21 points per game match up with an over/under below 40 in Week 3 or later, the over is 138-94-3 (+37.8 units) — Evan Abrams
Ket matchup: Jaguars defense vs. Jets offense in the red zone
The Jaguars have allowed a league-low .167 touchdowns per red-zone trip to opponents. The elite defense will be facing a young Jets offense that ranks dead last in both points (2.17) and touchdowns scored per red-zone trip (.167).
Sam Darnold has promise, but he still has a long way to go (just look at his performance the past two weeks). And the red zone highlights those issues like no other.
Even if the Jets offense can maneuver the ball inside the 20, I don’t see how they will punch it into the end zone. — Stuckey
Injury watch: Leonard Fournette (hamstring) seems poised to return this Sunday after practicing the entire week.
The only other Jaguars believed to be dealing with non-routine injuries are kicker Josh Lambo (hip), right guard A.J. Cann (triceps), slot corner D.J. Hayden (toe) and defensive end Calais Campbell (ankle).
Jets linebacker Josh Martin has cleared the concussion protocol and is expected to suit up, but there’s not much good news elsewhere on defense. Safety Marcus Maye (foot), safety Doug Middleton (knee/finger) and cornerback Buster Skrine (knee) should all be considered questionable.
Meanwhile, the offense will likely be without tight end Neal Sterling (concussion) again. Terrelle Pryor (ankle/groin) was a mid-week addition to the report and also isn’t guaranteed to play.
DFS edge: Jets No. 1 receiver Quincy Enunwa has spent 64.8% of his snaps in the slot this season, where neither Jalen Ramsey (9%) nor A.J. Bouye (3%) have ventured for long stretches.
Enunwa is one of only six receivers with a target share above 30%, and one of only four receivers with a red-zone target share of 50% or higher.
Bet to watch: Under (split first half/game)
I’m rolling with another under in a Jacksonville game. The Jaguars lead the NFL with .094 touchdowns per drive allowed, and I don’t expect any explosive plays in the passing game against the best secondary in the NFL — especially since Darnold shouldn’t have much time behind a subpar offensive line.
At the end of the season, I think the Jags will have a top-five defense and the Jets a bottom-five offense.
The Jaguars offense did look great against the Patriots, but I think that spoke more to the Pats’ defensive issues (a lot of which were due to injuries).
This is still a unit breaking in all new pieces on the outside with Blake Bortles at quarterback and a banged up Fournette.
Just look at their production in their other two games against the Giants and Titans (26 total points).
And don’t sleep on the Jets defense, which ranks No. 2 overall in Football Outsiders’ DVOA and No. 1 against the pass. There don’t appear to be any holes, as New York grades out sixth overall in pass defense against WR1, WR2 and the slot, and in the top 10 against TEs and RBs, too.
Everyone is familiar with Jacksonville’s dynamic corner duo, but it’s the Jets 1-2 corner punch of Morris Claiborne and Trumaine Johnson that actually grades out as the best in the NFL this season.
Don’t expect either team to get much through the air, which means the clock should be moving throughout. Add in some potential winds, and I don’t see how either team gets to 21.
I like the under here and would also look at the Jets team total under. — Stuckey
Betting odds: Buffalo Bills at Green Bay Packers
- Spread: Packers -9
- Over/Under: 45
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: CBS
Betting market: Josh Allen and the Bills have convinced at least half the betting population that they deserve some more respect.
The bets are split evenly between the two teams, but Buffalo is getting 69% of the money as of writing (see live data here), and the line has moved in its favor.
Last week, the Bills got only 32% of bets at +16.5, which just goes to show you how much people’s minds can be changed in a week. — Mark Gallant
Trends to know: The Bills became the 16th team since 1993 to win straight-up as a two-touchdown underdog with their Week 3 upset of the Vikings.
How have the previous 15 teams performed the week after their upset wins? To call it a hangover wouldn’t even do it justice.
Not counting the Patriots’ upset of the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI, the other 14 teams went 2-12 straight-up and 1-11-2 against the spread in their next game, including 0-11 SU and 0-10-1 ATS as underdogs.
Of the previous 14 teams, none was an underdog of more than a touchdown the following week. (The Bills are.) — Evan Abrams
Aaron Rodgers is a great bet in almost every situation:
- All regular-season games: 83-59-3 ATS
- As a favorite: 69-46-3 ATS
- Against the NFC North: 36-19 ATS
But Rodgers has struggled to cover as a large favorite. When laying 10 or more points, he is 22-3 SU but 13-12 ATS. — John Ewing
Injury watch: Rodgers (knee/hamstring) and tight end Jimmy Graham (knee) are each expected to suit up despite missing Wednesday’s practice, but Randall Cobb’s (hamstring) mid-week downgrade will need to be monitored.
The good news for the Packers is that right tackle Bryan Bulaga (back) and right guard Justin McCray (shoulder) should be good to go, and the defense has a chance to welcome back safety Josh Jones (ankle) and cornerback Kevin King (groin).
The outlook is less positive for outside linebacker Nick Perry (concussion) and defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson (ankle), who reportedly suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 3.
LeSean McCoy (ribs) said he’s playing Sunday, though it’d be a lot easier to believe him if he gets in a full practice on Friday.
The Bills offense could be without tight ends Charles Clay (shoulder/hip) and Jason Croom (knee), but the larger concerns are whether defensive ends Shaq Lawson (hamstring) and Trent Murphy (ankle) will ultimately suit up.
Safety Micah Hyde (toe) and cornerback Phillip Gaines (elbow) should be good to go.
DFS edge: Life as Rodgers’ No. 1 target has been fruitful for Davante Adams, as no other NFL receiver has caught more touchdown passes than Adams (25) since 2016.
Overall, to duo has connected for at least one touchdown in 12 of their past 16 games together (including playoffs).
Still, likely shadow date Tre’Davious White has helped the Bills allow only four receivers to surpass 100 receiving yards since the beginning of the 2017 season, and it took each player double-digit targets to do so.
Bet to watch: Packers -6.5 First Half
The Bills are coming off an absolute beatdown of a strong defensive team on the road and will now attempt to pull off an upset in consecutive weeks.
As I detailed above, teams such as the Bills have really historically struggled after such a large upset win, especially when they are still listed as an underdog the next week.
In CG Technology’s preseason point spreads for every game through Week 16, the Packers were 9.5-point favorites in this matchup. And last week, before Buffalo or Green Bay had played, Westgate had the Packers as 14.5-point favorites. Now we’re back down to 10.
This line is still an overreaction to the Bills’ win, and it offers the most value in the first half.
I expect the Packers to rattle rookie QB Josh Allen with pressure. So far, he is 4-for-20 passing with 11 sacks and an interception while under duress.
Buffalo ranks dead-last in pass protection this season, according to Football Outsiders, allowing an adjusted sack-rate of 13.3%.
That’s not to mention, 39.6% of Allen’s dropbacks have been pressured this year — the fifth-most in the NFL.
The Packers will get to Allen early and often. Take Green Bay. — Evan Abrams
Betting odds: Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts
- Spread: Colts -2.5
- Over/Under: 47
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: CBS
Betting market: The public is fed up with the Texans, who have failed to cover this season. They got 80% of bets in Tennessee two weeks ago and 55% of bets at home against the Giants last week.
This week, the Texans are getting only 36% of bets as a small dog in Indy as of this writing (see live data here). This line did a lot of moving in the first 24 hours after opening, but has remained rather calm over the past couple days. — Mark Gallant
Trends to know: Don’t sleep on the 0-3 Texans. According to our Bet Labs data (since 2003), teams that are winless have gone 36-23-1 against the spread in Week 4, including 15-6-1 ATS when playing a division rival. — John Ewing
Andrew Luck is 17-6-2 ATS (+10.6 units) against divisional opponents, covering the spread by 5.8 points per game.
No quarterback is more profitable ATS vs. divisional opponents than Luck since he was drafted first overall in 2012.
When Luck and the Colts enter a divisional game coming off a straight-up loss, Indy is 9-0 SU and 7-2 ATS, covering the spread by 7.5 points per game. — Evan Abrams
Domes provide optimal conditions for scoring but don’t guarantee that the over will hit. In home games in the Luck era, the under is 21-15. In division games, it’s 10-2. — Ewing
Metrics that matter: Good old fashioned yards per attempt — they’re boring, but telling.
In six starts with Will Fuller, Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson averages 9.5 yards per attempt. Since coming back from injury, Luck is averaging 5.3 yards per attempt.
Favorites averaging fewer than 6.0 yards per pass (like Luck and the Colts) are 115-140-10 (45.1%) ATS since 2003. — Chris Raybon
Matchup: These are two of the top three teams in term of pace so far this season. Houston also rates last in guarding tight ends, which is not good news against a Frank Reich offense that loves to utilize its tight ends.
Expect a lot of quick throws from Luck (as he’s been doing all year) to help alleviate the advantage the Texans defensive line has over the Colts offensive line. And expect a big day from Eric Ebron. — Stuckey
Injury watch: The Texans lost slot receiver Bruce Ellington (hamstring, IR) for the foreseeable future, and it remains to be seen whether Keke Coutee (hamstring) is ready to take over as the offense’s No. 3 receiver.
Houston continues to list DeAndre Hopkins (thumb/ankle/hamstring) and Will Fuller (hamstring) as limited participants in practice, but both receivers have keep getting their usual workload on Sundays.
The bad news is that the Texans’ already-porous offensive line could also be without left guard Senio Kelemete (knee).
Discussing who isn’t injured on the Colts might be an easier task. The defense risks being without linebacker Anthony Walker (groin), defensive tackle Al Woods (quad), cornerback Quincy Wilson (concussion), defensive end Hassan Ridgeway (calf) and free safety Malik Hooker (hip/groin).
The offense is expected to again be without tight end Jack Doyle (hip) and left tackle Anthony Castonzo (hamstring), in addition to right tackle Joe Haeg (ankle)
The good news? Running back Marlon Mack (foot/hamstring) and Ebron (shoulder/knee) are both on track to play.
DFS edge: Watson has been pressured on 49.2% of dropbacks this season, the highest percentage in the NFL. Meanwhile, the Colts defense looks underrated, or at least above average, allowing the eighth-fewest DraftKings points to quarterbacks.
Bet to watch: Texans +1.5
The Texans are better than you think. Sure, they’re 0-3. But their record is misleading as they’ve lost each game by seven or fewer points. In fact, they’re the better team according to Football Outsiders, which ranks the Texans 11th in DVOA and the Colts are 18th.
The Action Network NFL model agrees, making Houston a 1-point road favorite.
Indy is down to its third-string right tackle, which could mean a big day for J.J. Watt, who had three sacks, three tackles for losses, four quarterback hits and a forced fumble in Week 3. — Ewing
Betting odds: Cleveland Browns at Oakland Raiders
- Spread: Raiders -2.5
- Over/Under: 45
- Time: 4:05 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
Betting Market: Neither sharp nor square bettors — are buying into the Baker Mayfield hype.
This line opened as a pick ‘em, but moved toward Oakland quickly. We saw a little buyback once it reached +3, but otherwise, it’s been all Raiders money. — Mark Gallant
Injury watch: Baker Mayfield will be working with a fully healthy offense, but the defense isn’t so lucky.
Linebacker James Burgess (knee), linebacker Christian Kirksey (shoulder/ankle), defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah (ankle) and safety Damarious Randall (heel) are questionable for Sunday.
The only Raider seemingly at risk of missing Sunday’s game is safety Karl Joseph (hamstring).
Trends to know: Since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger, 22 different quarterbacks have been selected No. 1 overall in the draft. Those quarterbacks are 4-18 straight-up and 6-16 ATS in their first start, losing their last nine consecutive games SU and ATS.
Only one No. 1 overall pick has won his first start when that game is played on the road, John Elway as a 7-point underdog in Pittsburgh in Week 1 of the 1983 season.
In the past 30 years, eight No. 1 overall pick QBs have had their first career start come on the road, and they are 0-8 SU and ATS, losing by an average of 17.9 PPG. — Evan Abrams
Did you know? The Browns finally won a football game, but a much more difficult task will be ending their current 22-game road losing streak.
Over that span, Cleveland is 6-15-1 ATS, losing by an average margin of more 12 points per game.
The Browns’ last road win came in 2015 against the Baltimore Ravens in overtime. Cleveland has not won a regular season road game in regulation in their last 28 tries. — Stuckey
Browns turnover regression: The Browns lead the NFL with a plus-nine turnover differential, having forced 11 takeaways with only two giveaways in three games.
For comparison, Cleveland finished dead last by a wide margin in 2017 (-28) and 29th in 2016 (-12).
Cleveland has forced and recovered six forced fumbles in just three games. How unlikely is that pace? The Browns recovered six fumbles ALL OF LAST YEAR — out of 14 total fumbles.
Cleveland also has five interceptions (tied for third-most), only two fewer than it had all of last year.
In fact, the Browns only had 13 takeaways last season, two more than they have in just three games so far in 2018. — Stuckey
DFS edge: David Njoku could be the skill-position player who benefits DFS players the most with Mayfield under center.
With a 92% Bargain Rating on DraftKings in our FantasyLabs Models, he is ridiculously cheap at only $3,200 and his 16% target share is actually second-highest on the team.
It just hasn’t quite translated into fantasy points yet with only 15.9 DraftKings points, which could change with Mayfield more willing than Tyrod Taylor to attack defenses — Joe Holka
Bet To Watch: Raiders -2.5
I think this line is a complete overreaction to Baker Mayfield’s debut against a bad Jets team, which came at home in a spot where he really had nothing to lose.
The Browns have one of the worst special teams units in all of football, in addition to a coaching staff that I rate in the bottom three of the league.
The extra time to prepare after a Thursday game won’t have the same benefit from an X’s and O’s perspective as it would for other elite staffs.
The Browns’ defense is solid, but it is also being slightly overvalued after three games, mostly due to some unsustainable turnover luck and an impressive showing against the Saints.
The Browns are headed in the right direction with what appears to be their future franchise quarterback and a solid foundation on defense, but they are still the Browns.
Buy low on the Raiders, while selling the Browns in a potential letdown spot after getting that long-awaited victory. — Stuckey
Betting odds: Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals
- Spread: Seahawks -3
- Over/Under: 39
- Time: 4:05 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
Betting market: There’s no shortage of interesting market activity on this game. From a distance, it looks like a Pros vs. Joes scenario, as Arizona has gone from +3.5 to +3 despite just 26% of bets (find live data here).
While the pros like Arizona +3.5, they also like Seattle -3. As PJ Walsh explained earlier in the week, it’s possible for sharps to like both sides of a game depending on the number.
With sharp bettors probably waiting to hop on Arizona again at +3.5, oddsmakers have been reluctant to move the number back.
Trends to know: Fewer than 30% of spread tickets are on the 0-3 Cardinals as home underdogs. Reminder: We don’t know as much as we think about teams early in the season.
According to our Bet Labs data, teams getting fewer than 30% of spread tickets are 143-111-3 (56%) against the spread in the month of September, since 2003. In all other months such teams are 406-411-24 (50%) ATS. — John Ewing
The Cardinals have scored 20 total points in their first three games of the regular season, including 14 points or fewer in all three games.
Since 2005, teams playing at home after three straight scoring less than 14 points have been very profitable in the first half, going 45-22-2 against the first half spread (+19.2 units).
When the home team is listed as an underdog in this spot, it has gone 33-11-2 against the first-half spread. — Evan Abrams
DFS edge: Cornerback Patrick Peterson rarely travels into the slot. He hasn’t recorded a coverage snap there once this season and had just 63 total slot snaps in 2017. This is good news for Tyler Lockett, who has run 62.3% of his routes from the slot this year.
Lockett has scored touchdowns in three straight games and leads the Seahawks in targets over the past two weeks with Doug Baldwin (knee) out of the lineup. (Baldwin returned to limited practice on Wednesday.)
This game is best left off your cash game radar. — Justin Bailey
>> Check out Sports Insights’ Bet Signals to track sharp action for college football’s entire Week 4 slate.
Injury watch: Starting center Justin Britt (shoulder) is expected to return to the lineup, and Baldwin (knee) could suit up as well after limited practice to start the week.
They’ll be needed to balance out Seattle’s banged-up backfield, as neither Chris Carson (hip) nor C.J. Prosise (abdomen) managed to get in a full practice to start the week. Left guard Ethan Pocic (ankle) should be considered questionable.
The defense is the larger concern, as linebacker Bobby Wagner (groin), defensive end Rasheem Green (ankle), defensive end Dion Jordan (hip), linebacker K.J. Wright (knee), and safety Delano Hill (hamstring) aren’t certain to play Sunday.
The Cardinals appear to be healthy, although they’ve made a habit of filling their early-week injury report with an abundance of players who ultimately don’t even get an injury designation.
Only right tackle Andre Smith (elbow), wide receiver Chad Williams (illness) and Olsen Pierre (toe) are dealing with injuries that could seemingly threaten their game statuses.
Bet To Watch: Cardinals +3
This pick has nothing to do with the Josh Rosen hype, and has everything to do with what the Cardinals front seven will do against Seattle’s offensive line.
Per usual, Russell Wilson will be on the run every single down. Arizona’s other advantage is what running back David Johnson can do against the Seahawks’ front seven.
While the Cardinals’ offense is second in the league in Stuff Rate (measuring the ability to pick up short yardage), the Seahawks defense is 21st in the same category.
Arizona should be able to generate first downs through the rushing game when needed, thus limiting the number of third-and-long situations for Rosen. — Collin Wilson
Betting odds: New Orleans Saints at New York Giants
- Spread: Saints -3.5
- Over/Under: 50.5
- Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
- TV channel: CBS
Betting market: This game is similar to the Seahawks-Cardinals game, as it appears that the hook is everything.
There have been several sharp indicators coming in on the Giants at +4 and +3.5, but Saints bettors have bought it back on the instances when it’s gotten down to -3. (You can find live data here.)
Nobody has shied away from the over, as a large majority of bets and dollars have moved it from 49 to 50.5. — Mark Gallant
Trend to know: Since 2003, in regular season games played outdoors Brees is 59-42-5 (58%) against the spread. — John Ewing
Did you know? The Giants have been listed as a home underdog in eight consecutive games started by Eli Manning (2-5 SU, 3-4 ATS), the longest such streak of his career. — Evan Abrams
DFS edge: Michael Thomas has converted 129 receptions into 1,538 yards and eight touchdowns over his past 16 games (including playoffs). Thomas has more touchdowns (three) than incomplete passes (two) on 40 targets this season.
A mere mortal is hardly capable of slowing down Thomas at this point, let alone the artist formerly known as Janoris Jenkins, who ranks outside of PFF’s top-50 cornerbacks this season.
Thomas has historically thrived away from the Superdome, averaging an additional 2.0 DraftKings PPG with a +6.6 Plus/Minus and a 68% Consistency Rating on the road during his career, per our FantasyLabs Trends tool.
He has the highest projections among receivers in our Models.
Odell Beckham Jr. has gained 100-plus yards in two of three games this season, but has also failed to find the end zone and is presently averaging a career-low 11.3 yards per reception.
Beckham is one of the league’s few wide receivers with 200-plus yard performances in his weekly range of outcomes, so it’d be wise to not sweat his recent “cold” streak.
The Saints’ defense ranks last in nearly every conceivable total or pass defense metric.
Marshon Lattimore is expected to shadow Beckham; Lattimore has allowed the fourth-highest quarterback rating on passes into his coverage among 78 full-time cornerbacks this season. — Ian Hartitz
>> Check out Sports Insights’ Bet Signals to track sharp action for the NFL’s Week 4 slate.
Injury watch: The Saints will likely be without linebacker Manti Te’o (knee) for at least another week, while defensive tackle Tyeler Davison (foot) and defensive end Marcus Davenport (hip) are questionable.
Tight end Evan Engram (knee) could miss multiple games for the Giants, while starting cornerback Eli Apple (groin), defensive end Olivier Vernon (ankle), and defensive end Connor Barwin (knee) may not suit up.
Defensive tackle Damon Harrison (knee) and Jonathan Stewart (foot) aren’t thought to be dealing with serious injuries, but wide receiver Cody Latimer (knee) seems to be at risk of missing Sunday’s game.
Bet To Watch: Giants +3.5
Yes, the Saints are 2-1, but they were a play or two away from losing to the Browns at home and at Atlanta the past two weeks.
The Saints ranks 31st and 32nd against No. 1 and No. 2 receivers, respectively — and they just lost their slot cornerback for the year.
New Orleans also ranks 30th in pass defense against running backs.
The Saints have had better luck defending tight ends, but Engram is out and I expect the Giants to go three-wide with tight end Rhett Ellison predominantly helping with Saints pass-rusher Cameron Jordan, who should have an advantage off the edge.
The Giants should move the ball with ease through the air against a secondary in shambles. I don’t foresee a heavy rushing attack, given their offensive line issues and the Saints’ run defense, which leads the NFL in yards per rush (3.0).
Eli Manning and the Giants should be the look as a home dog against a Saints team that just isn’t right at the moment. — Stuckey
Betting odds: San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Chargers
- Spread: Chargers -10
- Over/Under: 46
- Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
Betting market: The market isn’t totally afraid of C.J. Beathard plus the points, as San Fransisco is getting 41% of spread bets at the time of writing (find live odds here).
The line has been moving between 9.5 and 10.5, but it doesn’t appear sharp bettors have taken much of a stance on this one.
This is one of four games this week that has the majority of over/under bets on the under, and there has also been a steam move triggered on the under, which has helped it move from 47.5 to 46 since Tuesday. — Mark Gallant
Injury watch: Running back Matt Breida (knee) and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (quad) were limited to start the week, while secondary stalwarts Richard Sherman (calf), Adrian Colbert (hip) and Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder) were no where to be found.
Sherman is expected to miss 2-4 weeks.
Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa (foot) said he’s hoping to return in Week 9. He’ll be joined on the sidelines by right tackle Joe Barksdale (leg) and potentially wide receiver Keenan Allen (knee).
The good news is wide receiver Travis Benjamin (foot) and left tackle Russell Okung (knee) are tentatively expected to suit up Sunday. — Ian Hartitz
Trends to know: In general, favorites of at least 10 points in the NFL struggle to cover. Since 2003, these teams are 225-259-10 (47%) against the spread in the regular season, according to our Bet Labs data.
But there’s an important split between conference and non-conference games:
- Against non-conference opponent: 68-59-1 (54%) ATS
- Against conference opponent: 157-200-9 (44%) ATS
The Chargers and 49ers play in opposite conferences. — John Ewing
The Chargers lost a tough one against their in-state rival Rams in Week 3.
In Philip Rivers’ career, he is 21-11-3 against the first half spread as a home favorite off of a straight-up loss. Since 2012, Rivers is 11-3-1 against the first half spread in this spot, covering by 6.7 points per half. — Evan Abrams
DFS edge: The Chargers’ 28.75 implied team total is the highest mark on the main slate, which bodes well for running back Melvin Gordon, considering the Chargers are massive 10-point favorites.
Bet To Watch: Under 46
The logic behind this bet starts with Beathard. Under 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, Jimmy Garoppolo was averaging 2.15 more yards per pass attempt than Beathard is over the past two seasons.
When it comes to gaining yards downfield, it is not like Beathard hasn’t been effective; he just isn’t Jimmy G.
Under Shanahan, Garoppolo averaged 0.9 more pass yards at the spot of reception than Beathard (seventh in NFL vs. 18th for C.J.) and 0.6 more passing yards after the reception (second in NFL vs. 10th for C.J.).
One area where the Niners will struggle is getting their playmakers open downfield without Garoppolo under center running play action.
This season, 33.6% of Garoppolo’s dropbacks featured play action, the second-highest rate in the NFL and Garoppolo was averaging 11 yards per attempt on those plays (fifth-highest).
Don’t expect that same level of success with Beathard, who’s averaged just 6.3 yards per attempt overall in his five starts.
In Rivers’ career as a starter at home, he has faced a team averaging fewer than 6.5 yards per attempt 17 times, the under is 10-6-1, including 8-3-1 over the last decade, going under the total by an average of 5.8 PPG. — Evan Abrams
Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.