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Between the Lines: Week 4 Edition

Every Monday during the NFL season, I’ll be comparing game spreads to my own power ratings and giving my perspective on whether I think the betting lines are accurate or not. Paying attention to the NFL market is one of the single most important aspects of successful wagering.

Learn to keep a close eye on line movement, and look forward to our podcast, Betting the NFL with Ryan Reynolds and Chris Farley, where we break down each game and investigate these lines twice a week.

All lines are consensus numbers across the U.S. Sportsbooks as of Monday morning.

Early lines that stick out as great early bets are highlighted in red. 

Not all Week 4 lines are out just yet, so we’ll discuss the ones that are out as of the morning of Sept. 26. 

Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals (-3), Total: 47.5

At first glance, this line probably stands out to most bettors. Why in the heck are the 3-0 Dolphins underdogs against a Bengals team that finally got their first win on Sunday? 

Furthermore, the Bengals merely beat the New York Jets, so how impressed are we?

These are all noteworthy considerations, no doubt, but this line makes more sense than you think. Firstly, the spot favors Cincinnati. Miami is coming off an emotional, tiresome win against their divisional rival at home on Sunday. Tagovailoa nearly got knocked out of the game, and we don’t know how healthy he’ll be for Thursday Night.

Now, Miami travels all the way to Cincinnati with only four days of rest in between. That’s not ideal. In addition, Joe Burrow was way more efficient in Week 3, and the Dolphins were grossly outplayed by the Bills (497 to 212 total yards), despite a win. I have this as Bengals -2, and I’d still lean Cincinnati’s way because of the spot.

WATCH MORE: Samari Rolle Believes the Miami Dolphins Are For Real


Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints (+3), Total: 44

I’m not sure if this line will move much, so no play for me right now, but I do show some value on the Saints. New Orleans is coming off a rough loss to the Panthers in Carolina, a spot where they got dominated last year, though a trip to London may be exactly what the Saints need. 

Jameis Winston and the Saints' offense just didn’t do enough Sunday (3 turnovers didn’t help), but they out-gained the Panthers 426-293. The Vikings eked out a win against the Lions with 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, but a missed field goal and a late interception helped them seal it. 

All things considered, this line is probably right, although I have the Vikings as only 1.5-point favorites on the road. Don’t be surprised if the Saints win straight up in London—it’s still Kirk Cousins in an unfamiliar spot—and the Vikings certainly seem like they’re working through some kinks. 

Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts (-3.5), Total: 43

If any win felt phony on Sunday, it was the Indianapolis Colts' victory against the Kansas City Chiefs. Kansas City found almost every way possible to give up that game, including four egregious errors on special teams, but the Colts grabbed a win nonetheless. 

Even if it was a legitimate win Sunday, I think the Colts as 3.5 favorites in this matchup is a bit much. I show the Colts as 2-point favorites.

Tennessee clearly displayed why they were the AFC’s number 1 seed in their tough-fought victory against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday. While their offense just looked okay, the Titans’ defense kept them in the game time after time, shutting down Derek Carr and a desperate Raiders’ offense in multiple late-game scenarios.

Meanwhile, the Colts' offense is still very underwhelming. Just check their stats from Sunday. So, the early value is on Tennessee. 

Chicago Bears at New York Giants (-3), Total: 39.5

This line is weird. I also have the Giants as 3-point favorites at home, but I think my line is wrong, too. How can the Giants only be 1-point favorites at home against the Cowboys, and then only slightly bigger favorites against Chicago? 

That’s saying the Bears are only 2 points worse than Dallas. That doesn’t seem right, but it might be because of the spot. The Giants will be coming off a short week after Monday Night Football, while the Bears may have some restored (albeit displaced, in my opinion) confidence after a win against the Texans. 

We’ll decline to take a bullish take on this for now, but the Giants probably deserve a little more love. The total suggests a close game, however, so that’s more justification for the underdog.

Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens (+3), Total: 53.5

Well, this has a “big game feel” written all over it! The Bills need to pick themselves up after that late-game debacle on Sunday against the Dolphins. They’re scheduled for yet another tough road game in Baltimore. 

This line is bang-on, and it’s even more accurate considering how motivated the Bills should be to correct some wrongs after Sunday. Buffalo dominated Miami between the endzones, out-gaining the Dolphins 497 to 212 in total yards. Late-game mishaps and goal-line inefficiency was their issue.

The Ravens, on the other hand, earned an impressive road victory against the New England Patriots. They continue to pile up points and move the ball, even against sturdy defenses, and Lamar is playing like a true MVP. I red-inked this game because of the total. The Ravens’ offense has steamrolled every defense they’ve seen this year, and the Bills should explode in this contest after very disappointing offensive results against the Dolphins. 

This is one of those scenarios where a really high total probably isn’t high enough. I have this game ending 34-30, so I show value on the over.

WATCH MORE: Mike Martz Believes the Bills Must Run the Football More to Become Super Bowl Champions


Los Angeles Chargers at Houston Texans (+6.5), Total: 46

If you’ve listened to my takes on Betting the NFL with Ryan Reynolds and Chris Farley on our Monday or Thursday show, you’d know I love playing on the Texans as underdogs. You’d think I would circle this game then, but the Chargers are in a very weird spot right now, and we have to wait to see how they respond

Los Angeles got their butts handed to them on Sunday, at home, by the Jaguars. Jacksonville was easily one of the worst teams in the NFL last season, and the Chargers were 7-point favorites heading into that contest. With all the heralded talent on the Chargers, a 38-10 loss just isn’t excusable. 

Justin Herbert didn’t seem like himself (shocker, a rib injury will do that!), and Los Angeles’ defense couldn’t stop the Jaguars all game. Still, the talent disparity is wide in this Week 4 matchup and last season the Chargers were humbled by the Texans in a 41-29 loss at Houston. The Chargers have the motivation to fully express the prowess of their roster, but the jury’s out on if they can rise to the occasion. For now, we’ll wait to hear how Herbert feels and how the organization responds throughout the week.

Seattle Seahawks at Detroit Lions (-6.5), Total: 49

In yet another uncomfortable betting scenario, the Detroit Lions are big favorites heading into Week 4. Seeing Detroit as a formidable favorite takes some getting used to, but they’re 3-0 against the spread (ATS) so far this season, and they covered as a big favorite in Week 2. 

The Seahawks, meanwhile, can’t play their best football even at home unless they’re facing Russell Wilson, apparently. Remarkably, I show slight value on the Seahawks (I have this as Lions -4.5), but it’s possible I’m undervaluing Detroit still. 

The Lions controlled much of their battle against Minnesota on Sunday. Late-game mistakes and bad coaching decisions led to their demise. If the Lions put it all together on Sunday, they could easily blow out Seattle. I’m not eager to pull the trigger on either side at this point, despite what my power ratings suggest. 

New York Jets at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5), Total: 41.5

This line feels like sportsbooks are expecting to see Kenny Pickett. Without T.J. Watt, the Steelers haven’t stopped anyone. They are allowing 394.7 yards per game, which is good for 24th in the NFL.

Although the Jets could give their defense some opportunities, Joe Flacco predictably regressed on Sunday, throwing 2 interceptions and fumbling the ball on two other drives. Flacco is often a liability in the pocket, so there’s a chance we see Zach Wilson make his season debut in Pittsburgh. I have the Steelers as 2.5-point favorites, regardless. These are two teams that I can’t trust, so I’ll likely just stay away.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Philadelphia Eagles (-7), Total: 47

This game is a fascinating case study. The Eagles struggle to score in the second half of games, but they don’t need to. Philadelphia has been dominant in their first three contests, and they usually make their statement early. Their defense was responsible for 17 quarterback hits against Washington. That’s an astounding number, and they only allowed a single touchdown on the road. 

Meanwhile, the Jacksonville Jaguars put the league on notice with a 38-10 thrashing of the Chargers in Los Angeles. Trevor Lawrence continues to look like a 2.0 version of himself in the post-Urban era, and if nothing else, the Jaguars will probably remain a feisty ATS team as the season progresses. 

We’re going to wait and see what happens with this line, but I have it exactly where it sits. The Eagles are deserving touchdown-favorites at home.

WATCH MORE: Trey Wingo and DeAngelo Hall Break Down Why They Believe the Eagles Are a Complete Team


Dallas Cowboys at Washington Commanders (+3), Total: 42

We can’t have a strong take on this line just yet because I haven’t seen how Cooper Rush and the Cowboys will look on the road Monday night. I continue to give the Commanders too much credit, and they continue to let me down. 

As long as Rush doesn’t completely devolve tonight at MetLife Stadium, this line is probably right. The Cowboys are still too talented, and their defense has been too consistent for me to give more value to Washington. Even at home, the Commanders look like an early dumpster fire. 

In other words, I have no legitimate reason to want to play on them at this juncture. No strong thoughts on this battle right now, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Dallas become a bigger favorite if they win on Monday Night Football against the Giants. 

Cleveland Browns at Atlanta Falcons (+2.5), Total: 47

Wait a second, how are the Browns—who are coming off a nice divisional win and getting 10 days of rest in between games—less than a field goal favorite against the Falcons? Atlanta hasn’t looked like the worst team in the league—that’s true—and they finally got a win Sunday against the Seahawks. 

But they have a much tougher situation this week. They’ll have to travel back from a long trip on the West Coast and settle back in at home for an early Sunday game. The Browns looked much better after resetting their run game and trusting in the efficacy of their defense. 

Jacoby Brissett has been solid. Early line value shows on the Browns for me – I have them as 3.5-point favorites, even on the road. 

Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers (-1), Total: 44

This feels like a great spot for the Arizona Cardinals. I know it’s on the road, but the Carolina Panthers' win in Week 3 wasn’t all that incredible. Baker Mayfield completed less than 50% of his passes, again, and the Panthers benefitted from multiple in-game errors by the Saints. 

The Cardinals just got owned by the Rams (what else is new), but Kyler Murray and his offense had some promising moments even in a loss. Marquise Brown blew up for 140 yards receiving, but ultimately, too much was put on Murray’s shoulders to win that game. He threw the ball 58 times while the Arizona running game flailed. 

Against a Panthers’ defense that’s been tenacious in moments but mostly underwhelming, nothing makes me think the Cardinals won’t find more offensive success early and often in this matchup. The Cardinals just feel like that up-and-down team that’ll look different week to week. This is a matchup they can expose. I have the Cardinals as -2 point favorites, so we’re executing a money-line bet right now.

New England Patriots at Green Bay Packers (-10), Total: 41.5

This is the Mac Jones injury line. As you can tell, a starting quarterback moves a line like no other player, and that’s the case in this matchup. It seems like the sportsbooks are anticipating Mac Jones’ absence at Lambeau Field. 

The Packers are coming off a nice win where their offense was underwhelming, but their defense finally showed their elite ability. They stymied the Buccaneers’ offense, holding them to only 12 points and 285 total yards. Aaron Rodgers did just enough, and his receivers made big catches at the right times. Jones lifted up the Patriots on many occasions on Sunday, but the lack of creativity and talent on their offense amounted to more mistakes and inefficiencies than anything else. 

Their defense got exposed too, allowing 37 points and 394 yards to the Ravens at home. Brian Hoyer is set to take on Rodgers and the Packers on the road, and that doesn’t feel like a matchup they can win. The line value is still, unbelievably, probably on the Packers here.

WATCH MORE: Tank Williams Shares How the Packers Offense Did Enough to Beat the Buccaneers


Kansas City Chiefs at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+2.5), Total: 47

A big-time showdown between two former Super Bowl rivals is the featured matchup for Sunday Night Football in Week 4. I think the line is correct, but I still show slight value on Kansas City. 

I have the Chiefs as 3-point favorites on the road for various reasons. Firstly, the Buccaneers’ offense just doesn’t look ready. A few of their star receivers should return (Julio Jones and Mike Evans, in particular), but that still doesn’t make me trust Tampa Bay’s ability to produce. Brady looks hesitant, Fournette mostly looks slow and their receiver group just hasn’t had a ton of reps together. 

The Chiefs’ offense should look way better after a clunky performance against the Colts. Kansas City’s run game never got in a rhythm, and Patrick Mahomes looked frustrated all game. It’ll be the first major test for a Buccaneers' defense that could be the best in the NFL, but it’s also a tall task going up against Andy Reid and an offense poised to improve. 

There’s also the Super Bowl revenge angle. Make no mistake about it, Mahomes and the Chiefs have not forgotten about their Super Bowl loss two seasons ago. The Buccaneers' defense controlled that game, and that’s the reason why I lean Kansas City here. Vengeance for Mahomes and Reid? We’ve seen that story before.