Welcome to Week 4 of the NFL season. Today's slate is unlike any Sunday previously as we're dealing with two postponed games due to positive COVID-19 tests: Patriots-Chiefs and Steelers-Titans. There may even be a third as a New Orleans player tested positive late Saturday night, putting today's Saints-Lions game in jeopardy.
What does this mean? In practical terms, it means we have at least two fewer games to bet on today. Instead of the typical 14-game NFL Sunday, we are down to 12 games. This may play to the advantage of contrarian bettors. The public now has two fewer games to choose from. This means they will load up on the remaining 12 games, leading to more heavily bet games and more public bias to go against.
Another thing to keep an eye out for today is totals. Through three weeks, it's been an over bonanza in the NFL. Overs have gone 30-19 (61%) this season, delighting the public and crushing sportsbooks. Do we see overs continue to crush again today? NFL scoring is up 5.4 points compared to last season and referees are calling fewer penalties (about 1.5 fewer per game). Or do see regression to the mean where unders bounce back today? Oddsmakers may have shaded lines to the over, which creates good value to buy-low on contrarian inflated unders.
For more Sunday NFL analysis and betting updates be sure to join Michael Lombardi, Patrick Meagher and myself from 10 a.m.-noon ET on The Lombardi Line. We'll be dissecting all the big matchups and breaking down late sharp action.
Until then, let's discuss four NFL matchups receiving notable sharp action from respected bettors today.
1 p.m. ET: Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers
The Cardinals (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS) were undefeated and looked unstoppable through two weeks. But then Arizona came back down to Earth in Week 3, falling to the Lions 26-23 at home as 5-point favorites. On the flip side, the Panthers (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS) started off with a pair of losses but rebounded in a big way in Week 3, upsetting the Chargers 21-16 as 6-point road dogs. This line opened with Arizona listed as a short 4-point road favorite. The public is pounding Kyler Murray and the Cards. However, despite more than two-thirds of bets backing Arizona, we've seen this line fall from -4 to -3. This signals sharp reverse line movement on the home dog, with pros getting down on Carolina plus the points (ideally at 4 or 3.5).
1 p.m. ET: Seattle Seahawks at Miami Dolphins
The high-scoring Seahawks (3-0 SU, 3-0 ATS) have been the most profitable team to bet on this season, winning and covering the spread in all three of their games thus far. Seattle just took down the Cowboys 38-31 at 5.5-point home favorites. Meanwhile, the Dolphins (1-2 SU, 2-1 ATS) rebounded from an 0-2 start to post a resounding 31-13 win over the Jags last Thursday night, winning outright as a 2.5-point road dog. This line opened with Seattle listed as a 7-point road favorite. The public sees Russell Wilson as an auto-bet and is rushing to the window to lay the points with Seattle. However, we've seen this fall from Seahawks -7 to -5.5. This is due to smart money buying low on the Dolphins at home in a super-contrarian spot. Miami has a rest advantage (last played Thursday vs Seahawks last playing on Sunday). Seattle is also a West Coast team traveling East for an early 1 p.m. ET game, a tough spot to be in historically. The Seahawks will also be without star safety Jamal Adams, who is out with a groin injury.
1 p.m. ET: Los Angeles Chargers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This non-conference showdown features two teams coming off opposite weeks. The Chargers (1-2 SU, 2-1 ATS) fell to the Panthers 21-16, losing straight up as 6-point favorites. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS) are riding a two-game winning streak, most recently crushing the Broncos 28-10, easily covering as 6-point favorites. This line opened with Tampa Bay listed as a 7-point home favorite. The public is all over Tom Brady and the surging Bucs, however we've seen the line either stay at 7 or fall slightly to 6.5 at some shops. This sharp line freeze and reverse line movement signals liability on Los Angeles. The Chargers also offer value as a contrarian road dog in a game with a low total. We've also seen some sharp money hit the under, dropping the total from 45 to 42.5. The forecast calls for possibly rain and 10 MPH winds. The Under is 3-0 in Chargers games and the Over is 2-1 in Bucs games. Tampa Bay will miss offensive weapons Chris Godwin and Leonard Fournette due to injury.
1 p.m. ET: Cleveland Browns at Dallas Cowboys
After a blowout loss to the Ravens in the season opener, the Browns (2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS) have rebounded with a pair of wins over the Bengals (35-30) and most recently defeated Washington 34-20 as 7-point favorites last week. It's been a struggle thus far for the Cowboys (1-2 SU, 0-3 ATS), who could very well be winless if not for the epic comeback against the Falcons (40-39) in Week 2. Dallas just lost to the Seahawks last week 38-31, failing to cover as 5.5-point road dogs. This line opened with the Cowboys listed as 5-point home favorites. The public still believes in Dallas and doesn't think the Browns are for real. However, despite two-thirds of bets laying the points with the home favorite, we've seen smart money hit Cleveland, dropping the line from 5 to 3.5. All liability has been on Cleveland plus the points.