A Tad Over/A Tad Under: Week 4 NFL Betting Lines
As much as the NFL would like to pretend it’s not a huge gambling sport, everything about it makes it the perfect sport to gamble on. Simple betting lines, every game matters, and the scoring isn’t too high or low for an over/under. This will be a weekly segment in which we break down some of the more favorable lines to bet on and some of the ones you should stay away from. So without further ado, let’s break down some of the better lines in week four.
According to my top sports book, the two games you should focus on are the Panthers at the Patriots and the Ravens at the Steelers:
Panthers vs Patriots
The Patriots are laying 8.5 points at home against the Panthers in Week 4. They needed some last-second heroics from Tom Brady to eke past the Texans and rookie QB Deshaun Watson in Week 3, and the defense looks like a shell of the unit we saw last year, which led the NFL in points against. However, Carolina’s offense has sputtered all season and is without some important playmakers (TE Greg Olsen, WR Kelvin Benjamin). Matt Patricia and co. should have a bounce-back effort, while Brady and his litany of weapons score enough on a good Panther defense to cover.
Steelers vs Ravens
The Steelers travel to division rival Baltimore in Week 4, laying 2.5 points on the road. The Ravens have been a Jekyll and Hyde show this year, crushing Cincinnati (20-0) and Cleveland (24-10) and then getting absolutely pounded by the Jaguars in London (44-7). The offense has a very limited ceiling with Joe Flacco at the helm and few playmakers at WR/RB. The defense has the potential to be great but is suffering from key injuries. The Steelers, on the other hand, are only suffering from mediocre play. But look for Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, and Antonio Brown to come out guns-blazing in Week 4 in what they know is a hugely important divisional clash. The winner of Sunday’s game will hold the top spot in the division and an important head-to-head advantage over the second-place team. If the Killer Bs don’t piece it together this week, it’s time to get worried in Steeltown.
For me, the most favorable spreads lie in the area of some less exciting teams: the Jaguars, Jets, and Chargers.
Jacksonville Jaguars (-3.5) @ New York Jets, O/U 38.5
The Jaguars are one of those maddeningly inconsistent teams this year that has a good defense but an offense that is struggling with a bad quarterback and his top receiver out for the season. One week after they lose to the Titans 37-16, the Jaguars beat the undefeated Ravens 44-7.
Meanwhile, the Jets are coming off their first win of the season against the Dolphins 20-6. It came as a shock to many considering New York is widely regarded as the worst team in the league.
So it’s natural to wonder why I’m listing this as one of the lines you should bet on if the Jets aren’t as bad as people have made them out to be and the Jags are on a long trip home from London.
Firstly, don’t let the Jets win distract you from the fact that they are still one of the worst teams in the NFL. The Dolphins’ travel schedule is the definition of hellish and their defense was the team’s biggest concern going into the season especially with Lawrence Timmons suspension still being upheld.
So an all-around weak Jets offense who will likely be without Matt Forte facing a stout defense means the Jets likely won’t score much. So taking the Jaguars to cover the spread is a good pick for this week.
With the over/under, as I said before the Jaguars’ offense is extraordinarily inconsistent so I’m guessing if the Jets fail to score much, it’s likely both teams will score less than 38 points so that’s where to go logically.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Los Angeles Chargers (-1.5), O/U 47.5
This is honestly the most baffling line to me. How are the 0-3 Chargers a favorite over the 2-1 Eagles? I get the Eagles most recent win over the Giants was a lucky one (who hits a 61-yard field goal?!) but still, the Chargers defense clearly can’t hold its own and Carson Wentz and the Eagles are already proving themselves to be contenders for the NFC East crown.
The only thing I can think of that gave the Chargers the nod over the Eagles in the spread is the supposed “home-field advantage” but that’s already been disproven through the first three games of the season.
Meanwhile, the Eagles single loss this season comes off a one-touchdown loss to the undefeated Chiefs so they very well could be undefeated right now. It’s understandable to cast a little bit of doubt as Fletcher Cox and three other defensive players have been ruled out but the Chargers may be without Melvin Gordon who is questionable which would decimate the running game.
The Eagles offense, on the other hand, can take advantage of a weak Chargers defense given their top cornerback, Jason Verrett, is now out for the season and the unit has not allowed less than 19 points yet this season.
The Eagles are as close to a sure thing as you’re going to get this week for an upset pick and to beat the spread.
As for the over/under, the aforementioned injuries to the Eagles defense is made even more problematic against a quarterback like Philip Rivers and the Chargers defense just hasn’t shown it can step up and shut an offense down. Taking the over on this is probably the best bet but I don’t feel as confident about that pick as I do with the point spread.