Week 3 of the NFL season is infamous for surprising results, shocking upsets, and teams either surprising or disappointing their fanbases. It has always been a tough week for handicappers as some teams start to show their true colors. Luckily, our NFL betting team was able to limit the damage with a few impressive performances. Now, moving forward to Week 4, here are some of our early best bets based on the early betting markets.
NFL Week 4 Early Best Bets: Denver Broncos (-2.5) at New York Jets | Thursday Night Football
This was not a game that I was expecting to write about when I woke up this morning. A matchup between either Jeff Driskel or Brett Rypien and Sam Darnold does not inspire much confidence. The Broncos opened as one-point favorites in this game, but the line is slowly climbing to a field goal.
Both of these teams have suffered from the injury bug early on, but the Jets have been absolutely decimated. Wide receiver Jamison Crowder has missed the last two games. Both Breshad Perriman and Chris Hogan are also hurt. Denzel Mims, Jeff Smith, and Vyncint Smith (shoulder) are all on injured reserve.
Additionally, they are without feature back Le’Veon Bell — he’s on IR with a hamstring injury. Starting tackles Mekhi Becton and George Fant are also out. In total, the Jets have 13 players currently on IR.
For Denver, they are without starting QB Drew Lock, star wide receiver Courtland Sutton, and starting running back Phillip Lindsay, who missed Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay with a toe issue.
It might not seem as severe, but what Denver lacks in quantity, they make up for in importance. Losing a starting QB is always hard for a team, but it is specifically tough for Denver who now have to rely on Driskel (1-8 in nine NFL starts) and Rypien.
Driskel struggled this week and finished the day 17-of-30 passing for 176 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The numbers weren’t terrible, but he looked lost on the field with erratic throws and a clear lack of ability to read a defense.
With all of that said, I am going to be siding with the home team here. As terrible as Adam Gase is as a head coach, he knows that if he loses a prime time game at home, he will no longer have a job come Sunday morning. Additionally, in their past 15 games played at night, the Broncos are 3-12 straight-up and just 3-11-1 ATS.
I am going to wait for this number to hit three, but as soon as it does, it will be enough for me to take Darnold and his ragtag receiving corps, especially if Crowder comes back. If somehow Denver decides to give newly-signed Blake Bortles a chance to start, I might reconsider. But as it stands now, I have more faith in Darnold getting the job done over Driskel or Rypien.
Cleveland Browns at Dallas Cowboys (-5)
The Dallas Cowboys are heading back home after a close shootout loss to Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks won that game 38-31, even though Dak Prescott threw for 472 yards, completing 37-of-57 passes with three touchdowns.
The Browns, on the other hand, are coming off of a 34-20 win against the Washington Football Team. Mayfield has started to find his stride, and the run game is just as impressive as last year. In their last three games, Chubb alone has averaged just under six yards per carry. Kareem Hunt has also been impressive, adding another element to the run game.
Dallas has been “successful” so far this season thanks to their impressive offense. They have scored 87 points total in three weeks and Prescott has been playing at another level. He joins Jameis Winston as one of only two NFL quarterbacks to pass for more than 450 yards in consecutive weeks.
The problem lies with their defense. The secondary is worse than most anticipated at the start of the season and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan simply does not have the personnel to make it better. Aldon Smith has stepped up in a big way to help get pressure on opposing QBs, but as we saw with Wilson, if they are mobile they can destroy the secondary when out of the pocket.
As impressive as their 87 points scored has been, it is undermined by the fact that the defense has given up 97 points in the first three games. If they want to start winning games en route to the NFC East crown, the defense needs to figure something out. They currently rank 23rd against the run, which might be an issue against Cleveland. The front seven looked better stopping a mixture of Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde this past Sunday.
Dallas can easily put up 30 points per game with the offense they have. This week, they will be facing off against the 22nd ranked defense against the pass. I expect fireworks again, similar to what we saw against Seattle. The difference? Mayfield is not Wilson. Dallas will get the win and the two teams will put up enough points to go over 55.
Plus, according to CBS Sports, in their past seven games played away from Cleveland, the Browns are 0-7 both straight-up and ATS. The Browns are also 0-10 straight-up in their past 10 road games against teams from the NFC (2-8 ATS). The Browns are still the Browns, even if they have a winning record for the first time in 90 weeks.
Official Plays | Ryan Gosling
Dallas Cowboys -5 (-110) 2.5 units
Over 55 total points (-110) 1 unit
Official early selections from some of PFN’s other handicappers
Indianapolis Colts (-2) at Chicago Bears
I lean towards the numbers side more often than not when betting games. That said, not every bet needs to be a numbers-based one. This is one of those cases. I don’t think the Chicago Bears and Nick Foles are any good. We have seen Foles without Chip Kelly and Frank Reich (not Doug Pederson, because he’s a fraud); he sucks. I’m sorry for being so simplistic, but it’s the truth.
Matt Nagy may be a commendable coach, I’m not sure. I don’t think you can adequately judge him considering the majority of his games have been spent with Mitchell Trubisky as his starting QB.
What I can say with confidence, however, is Reich is a better coach than Nagy. If you don’t agree with me, then wait until the Bears reach the key number of three. If you’re on board with me, then bet it immediately, as 2’s and 2.5’s will fade as the week progresses.
Official Play | James Aguirre
Colts -2 (-110) 1.1 units
Philadelphia Eagles at San Francisco 49ers (-5.5)
If I’m overreacting to Week 3 then I’m losing money this week. To be honest, I’m ok with that. What I saw last week from the Philadelphia Eagles was an embarrassment. In what world can you not beat the Cincinnati Bengals at home? In what world do you play for a tie AT HOME against a rookie QB and second-year head coach when you’re already 0-2?! IN WHAT WORLD?!
The Eagles are an embarrassment. I think it’s absolutely pathetic they erected a statue of Nick Foles outside of their stadium after their Super Bowl win. It just goes to show how thirsty this franchise was for some success. And they have held onto that success ever since. If we chastise Adam Gase for riding the tail of Peyton Manning’s success to two head coaching jobs, what do we say for Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz? Frank Reich was the driver of the Eagles’ success, not Pederson.
Narrative street aside, the Eagles have no explosiveness on offense. They’re as vertically challenged as the New England Patriots. Even a depleted San Francisco defense should have no problems keying in on this “offense”. There is one more angle I like in favor of the 49ers: time and travel. This will be a 10 PM EST start for Philadelphia. Historically, this has been as bad of a spot as a West Coast team traveling East for a 1 PM EST start. The Eagles should break down in the second half, and allow the 49ers to coast to a cover.
Official Play | James Aguirre
49ers -5.5 (-120) 1.2 units
Arizona Cardinals (-3.5) at Carolina Panthers
I think we’re getting line value with Arizona based on their loss against the Detroit Lions. The look-ahead line was Arizona (-5.5), yet after their loss against the Detroit Lions, this has dropped to just over a field goal.
Arizona still outgained the Lions in yards per play (6.0 to 5.2) and despite the three interceptions, lost by just a field goal. This spread doesn’t move if Arizona doesn’t lose that game.
The Panthers defense is a sieve and almost surrendered a walk off hook-and-lateral against the Los Angeles Chargers. This spread is an overcorrection by the market in my opinion. I suggest taking advantage by grabbing the Cardinals.
Official Play | James Aguirre
Cardinals -3.5 (-110) 2.2 units
Official Play | Drew Haynes
Arizona Cardinals -3.5 (-110) 4 units
Other plays for NFL Week 4
James Aguirre |
Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers over 51.5 (-110) 1.1 units
Minnesota Vikings and Houston Texans over 52 (-110) 1.1 units