Week 4 picks from a "dog or pass" point of view"
NFL Week 3 was another winning weekend in the Tuley’s Takes home office, and hopefully for our “dog-or-pass” disciples.
We went 4-1 ATS with our Best Bets: Texans +9.5 at the Jaguars, Saints +2 at the Packers, Colts +7.5 at Ravens and Cardinals +12.5 vs. the Cowboys. The Texans, Colts and Cardinals all pulled outright upsets while the Saints covered for us earlier in the week in an 18-17 loss though they ended up closing as the betting favorites (which is why we post these “takes” columns on Wednesday’s here at VSiN.com just like we did in the “Point Spread Weekly” days).
Our lone Best Bet loss was on the Commanders +6.5 vs. the Bills (blown out 37-3 after missing several opportunities early to stay in the game. More on this below).
In addition to the 4-1 ATS mark, we were actually prouder because it came in a week where favorites went 10-5 SU and 9-5-1 ATS with the Chargers-Vikings game closing pick ’em and the push coming in the Bengals’ 19-16 win in the Monday Night Football finale. That makes us feel better that this process is working in trying to find the most live dogs each week (note: a 4-1 record wouldn’t be as impressive if dogs were 9-5-1 ATS).
On the young season, we’re 10-5 ATS (66.7%) while dogs are just 22-20-4 ATS (break-even at 52.38% if betting standard -110). We lost our 2-team, 6-point teaser in the early Sunday games on the Jets +8.5/Titans +9 (Jets covered but Titans did not), but we did win our Sunday night/Monday night teaser with the Steelers +8.5/Rams +8.5.
So, without further ado, let’s get to the NFL Week 4 card. For those new to this column, I’m a “dog-or-pass bettor,” and my breakdown of each game will usually be from that point of view as we try to determine if the dog is getting enough points to make them a play – or if I recommend passing on the game, which is a very valid and valuable betting decision when trying to come out ahead against the books! Even if I don’t have an official Best Bet, I’ll still give my recommended “pool play strategy” for those who are in contests where you have to pick every game.
The Thursday nighter has turned into a battle for first place in the NFC North as both teams are 2-1. The Lions are short road favorites due to higher preseason expectations and upsetting the Chiefs in the season-opener. (Note: They’re coming off a 20-6 win on Sunday over the Falcons, who beat these same Packers 25-24 in Week 2.) However, Green Bay QB Jordan Love earned a lot of props for rallying the Packers to an 18-17 win over the Saints on Sunday after falling behind 17-0.
This should be a hard-fought game, especially with the division lead on the line, so we’ll tease the Packers up over a touchdown. This is as good a spot as any to run down our weekly list of potential teasers, as we’ll tie the Pack +7.5 in 2-team, 6-pointers to the Dolphins (teased from +2.5 to +8.5) and Ravens (teased from +2.5 to +8.5) in Sunday’s early games. The other teaser options are a little more iffy, so we’ll discuss those in the appropriate spots below.
Best Bet: 2-team, 6-point teasers using Packers +7.5/Dolphins +8.5 and Packers +7.5/Ravens +8.5 (Packers 55/45 in all my rare SU and ATS contests that use Thursday game).
We get our first international game early Sunday (9:30 a.m. ET/6:30 a.m. PT), so set those alarms. Both teams have to travel after losses as the Falcons lost 20-6 in Detroit while the Jaguars were embarrassed in their 37-17 blowout loss at home vs. the Texans, despite being 7.5- to 9.5-point favorites (and burning Survivor/Elimination pool players from coast to coast, including 2,421 in Circa Survivor in Las Vegas). This is pretty much a toss-up of a game, and I liked it when the line went to Jaguars -3 -120. We were hoping to get Falcons +3.5. However, it’s settled at 3, so we’ll pass as we don’t see enough of an edge and like other dogs better on the regular Sunday card.
Best Bet: Pass (Falcons 55/45 in ATS contests and flip to Jaguars 55/45 in SU pools).
This AFC East battle should be in prime time or with a bigger audience later in the afternoon instead of stuck among nine early games. But we’ll pass on a full diatribe of the NFL’s schedule makers (nine early Sunday games last week with just three mostly unappealing afternoon games, Monday Night Football games staggered by just one hour, etc.).
Anyway, this has all the makings of a shootout with the highest betting total of the weekend at 53.5 points. I’m glad I grabbed the Dolphins +3.5 on the advance line last week. I didn’t expect them to put up 70 points on the Broncos, but I was expecting the Bills to struggle more in beating the Commanders.
It’s not surprising that the line has dipped below a field goal at several books as the Dolphins appear to be a trendy dog pick this week after that performance. I’m listing it at -2.5/-3 as the books at -2.5 have added vig of -120 while books holding the line at 3 have the Dolphins at +3 -120. I’ll still take the Dolphins in my contest if offered at +3, but as mentioned above, we’ll also tease them up to +8.5 or +9. Regardless of what happens on Thursday night, we’ll also tease the Dolphins with the Ravens on Sunday’s 1 p.m. ET slate.
Best Bet: Dolphins +3 and 2-team, 6-point teaser on Dolphins +8.5/Ravens +8.5 (Dolphins 60/40 in ATS contests – especially at +3 or better – but Bills 60/40 in SU pools).
Both these teams are off to 0-3 starts, and this is one of the games most fans will be ignoring while focusing on Dolphins-Bills, unless they have a bet on it or fantasy players involved. I normally love any home underdog getting more than a field goal, but I haven’t seen enough from the Panthers to count on them here even against the winless Vikings, who have been more competitive in their one-score losses to the Buccaneers, Eagles and Chargers after going 11-0 in one-score games last season.
Best Bet: Pass (Vikings 55/45 in ATS contests and 70/30 in SU pools).
Hey, VSiN bosses, do I have to discuss this game? Well, I guess I promised to give my “takes” on each week’s full schedule, so here we go. I usually love betting on football teams coming off blowout losses of 20+ points (this long-time system also works in the NBA), but the problem here is that the Broncos were run over by the Dolphins 70-20 and the Bears lost 41-10 at the Chiefs. (What a baller move by Travis Kelce to invite Taylor Swift to such an easy win.) But seriously, I can’t even get excited about the Bears, who have lost 13 straight games, as home dogs or in teasers as their 27-17 loss at Tampa Bay in Week 2 was the only time in their last six games that they haven’t lost by more than 10 points.
Best Bet: Pass (Broncos 55/45 in ATS contests and at least 75/25 in SU pools).
This is another important early-season divisional matchup as both teams are 2-1 and tied with the Steelers atop the AFC North. The Ravens were 1.5-point road favorites on the advance line last week before losing to the Colts 22-19 in OT on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Browns ran over the Titans 27-3 without Nick Chubb to earn more respect as oddsmakers have now made them short home chalk. All of the above pretty much makes this look like a coin-flip/pick ’em, so we’ll look for another competitive battle that comes down to the wire and just rely on the underdog Ravens to cover the teaser.
Best Bet: 2-team, 6-point teaser with Dolphins + +8.5/Ravens + +8.5 (Ravens 55/45 in ATS contests and flip to Browns 55/45 in SU pools).
We were thrilled to cash on the Texans last week at +9.5 in their 37-17 upset of the Jaguars, and we were happy to be ahead of the market as the line closed Jaguars -7.5. But the price you pay when that happens is losing value on a team like this moving forward. Unlike my advanced play on the Dolphins +3.5 where I got ahead of the market adjustment, I didn’t grab the Texans +4.5 last week in this matchup with the Steelers, and it’s now down to 3 and trending even lower. QB CJ Stroud is off to an impressive start in his rookie season, but he faces his toughest test in the Steelers’ defense. This is one of those tenuous teaser plays that I alluded to earlier. I might tease the Texans up over a TD with some of my other plays, but I’ll pass for now.
Best Bet: Pass (Texans 55/45 in ATS contests but Steelers 60/40 in SU pools).
This is yet another game with the line too short for me to consider taking the dog. Have you noticed that the Vikings-Panthers has been the only game in the rotation so far with a spread over a field goal? Regardless, with the Colts -1, it’s also short of the “teaser zone” to take the Rams up over a full TD. I guess it might get back there as QB Anthony Richardson is trending toward returning if he clears concussion protocol after missing the 22-19 OT upset of the Ravens, but then again, we might see the Rams get bet to favoritism. Another coin-flip.
Best Bet: Pass (Rams slightly over 50/40 in all SU and ATS contests, though might lean to Colts 55/45 if Richardson returns).
We love all these games between divisional co-leaders as this is a matchup of 2-1 teams that are tied with the Falcons atop the NFC South. But, again, we have a spread of around a field goal, though this has been trending back over a field goal (after the Saints were -3.5 last week on the advance line) with the Saints -3 -120 and hitting 3.5 at a few Vegas books as of our Wednesday afternoon deadline. The Saints will be without Derek Carr, so we’ll see how they use a combo of Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill. The Buccaneers have exceeded early-season expectations with Baker Mayfield playing the game-manager role and a solid defense. This is another game where we might be on the dog if we get the hook at +3.5.
Best Bet: Pass for now (Buccaneers 55/45 in ATS contests but Saints 60/40 in SU pools).
After being frustrated watching how the Commanders stayed in their game with the Bills on Sunday and having several missed opportunities to get even closer as they still only trailed 16-0 through three quarters, most bettors would pass on betting the Commanders again, especially as they ended up getting blown out 37-3. However, I’m a forgiving handicapper, and as we alluded to above, NFL teams coming off a loss of 20+ points are 55% over the past two decades. Besides, if you’ve watched the Eagles’ three wins over the Patriots, Vikings and Buccaneers, you know they’re still not clicking as well as last year and the Commanders can stay within a TD if they clean up some of the issues they had against the Bills and play more like in their comeback wins over the Cardinals and Broncos.
Best Bet: Commanders +8 (Commanders 67/33 in ATS contests, but Eagles still 70/30 in SU pools)
Both teams are off to disappointing 1-2 starts and in need of a win to get to .500 and back into the playoff discussion. This is another of those tenuous teaser plays by taking the Titans up over a TD at home; however, we’re fearful that the Bengals might be closer to getting back on track with Joe Burrow getting healthier and facing a weak Tennessee secondary. I wouldn’t blame anyone for taking the Titans in a “Wong teaser,” but I’ll pass for our purposes here as I prefer this week’s other options better.
Best Bet: Pass, with Titans possible in teasers (Bengals 55/45 in ATS contests and 67/33 in SU pools).
Plenty of people here in Las Vegas are calling for head coach Josh McDaniels’ head (especially those with tickets on him to be the first coach fired). But in analyzing this matchup, we can’t keep thinking about how LA coach Brandon Staley is similarly on the hot seat and is probably only employed because the Chargers pulled out a 28-24 win at the Vikings on Sunday – and some would say it was in spite of Staley. So, we’re not sure why this line has climbed from Chargers -4.5 on the advanced line last week to -5.5. We know 5 is considered a dead number in NFL betting as only around 3-4% of games land on that margin of victory long-term, and right on pace this year with just 2-of-48, but we still see value in the Raiders plus the points against a Chargers team that always seems to struggle in the favorite role.
Best Bet: Raiders +5.5 (Raiders 65/35 in ATS contests, though Chargers 67/33 in SU pools).
I wish I could make a case of the Patriots getting +7 here, but while the defense has played well (allowing just 25 points to the Eagles, 24 to the Dolphins and 10 to the Jets), I’m not confident the offense will be able to score enough against the (usually) reliable Dallas defense, which I expect to bounce back after being embarrassed by Joshua Dobbs and the Cardinals in their 28-16 loss in Week 3. While I’m certainly not laying the TD or even -6.5, I wouldn’t blame anyone for teasing the Cowboys down to basically pick ’em.
Best Bet: Pass (Cowboys 55/45 in ATS contests and around 90/10 in SU pools).
Speaking of the Cardinals, we were all over them last week at +12.5 in their upset of the Cowboys (no, we didn’t bet the moneyline unfortunately). We wrote about how they’re actually playing well on both sides of the ball and more competitive than anyone expected as they were predicted to be the worst team in the league and have been far from it. And face it, they should be 3-0! The 49ers have been impressive for the most part and are double-digit favorites for many reasons; however, I can’t help thinking that many people were saying the Cowboys were their equal just a week ago, so 14 is far too many points in this matchup with a team showing as much heart as the Cardinals.
Best Bet: Cardinals +14 (Cardinals 75/25 in ATS contests, though 49ers still 80/20 in SU pools).
This Sunday night matchup was obviously set when it was expected to be Patrick Mahomes vs. Aaron Rodgers and the Chiefs were installed as just 1-point road favorites when the schedule was released back on May 11. Of course, it’s increased by more than a TD with the way the teams are currently constructed. The Jets’ defense might be able to keep them in the game, and we would normally love a Sunday night home dog getting more than a TD, but we don’t trust Zach Wilson & Co. to keep up with Mahomes.
Best Bet: Pass (Chiefs 55/45 in ATS contests and closer to 90/10 in SU pools)
I almost asked to post this column on Tuesday as we couldn’t believe the Giants are favored in this game and wanted to get the word to our readers to bet the Seahawks ASAP. Maybe the oddsmakers still have the Giants favored with the possibility of Saquon Barkley being able to return by Monday night, but we still think the wrong team is favored. I mean, the Seahawks are 2-1 after bouncing back from their season-opening loss to the Rams by taking care of business vs. the Lions and Panthers while the Giants are 1-2 with blowout losses to the Cowboys and 49ers (no real shame in that) but their only win being a lucky rally against the Cardinals. We’re calling for the outright “upset” here, so we feel you’ll be OK if you have to take pick-’em or lay a short number, but we’ll add teasers if the line somehow climbs back to Giants -1.5.
Best Bet: Seahawks +1 (Seahawks 67/33 in all SU & ATS contests).