Week 4 NFL capsules

DENVER BRONCOS at NEW YORK JETS

This “Thursday Night Football” matchup features winless teams off to nightmarish starts. The Broncos (0-3 SU, 2-1 ATS) are coming off a 28-10 home loss to the Bucs, failing to cover as six-point underdogs. The Jets (0-3 SU, 0-3 ATS) have gotten worse every game, most recently falling to the Colts 36-7 as 11.5-point road dogs. This line opened with Denver listed as a short 2.5-point road favorite. The public is hammering the Broncos to the tune of two-thirds of spread bets, which has moved this line up to Broncos -3. Average Joes want nothing to do with the Jets. But pros bet numbers, not teams. When the line went to 3, wise guys got down on the Jets at the key number of + 3, dropping the line back down to 2.5 at some shops. The Jets have value as contrarian home dogs in a heavily bet game. New York is also a home team on a short week, which has been a profitable bet historically on Thursday nights.  

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS at TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

This nonconference showdown features teams coming off opposite weeks. The Chargers (1-2 SU, 2-1 ATS) fell to the Panthers 21-16, losing straight up as six-point favorites. 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 six-point favorites. This line opened with Tampa Bay listed as a seven-point home favorite. The public is backing Tom Brady and the surging Bucs, pushing this line up to -7.5. The Chargers offer value as contrarian road dogs in a game with a low total (45). Keep an eye on the weather, which could include light rain and 10- to 12-mph winds. The Under is 3-0 in Chargers games, and the Over is 2-1 in Bucs games. 

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS at CHICAGO BEARS

These nonconference foes are riding win streaks. The Colts (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS) rebounded from an embarrassing Week 1 loss to the Jaguars with a pair of blowout wins and covers against the Vikings 28-11 and the Jets 36-7. The Bears (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS) are off to an undefeated start and are riding a big come-from-behind 30-26 win over the Falcons last week as 2.5-point dogs. This line opened with Indianapolis listed as a short 2.5-point road favorite. Some books opened closer to Colts -1.5 and immediately got bet up to -2.5. However, despite a majority of bets laying the points with the Colts, oddsmakers refuse to push this line up to the key number of 3. This signals some liability on the home dog Bears at + 3. Chicago will start former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles at QB over Mitchell Trubisky. 

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 to Earth in Week 3, falling to the Lions 26-23 at home as a five-point favorite. On the flip side, Carolina (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS) started with two losses but rebounded in a big way in Week 3, upsetting the Chargers 21-16 as a six-point road dog. This line opened with Arizona listed as a short four-point road favorite. The public is pounding Kyler Murray and the Cards, yet this line has fallen slightly to 3.5. This signals some sharp reverse line movement on the home dog, with pros getting down on Carolina + 4 off a win. We’ve also seen a rash of Over money bet this total up from 51 to 52. 

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS at CINCINNATI BENGALS

Both teams have losing records but have been profitable covering numbers. The Jaguars (1-2 SU, 2-1 ATS) are coming off a disappointing 31-13 blowout loss at home to the Dolphins as 2.5-point favorites on “Thursday Night Football.” The Bengals (0-2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS) are still searching for their first win with Joe Burrow but continue to make strides, last week tying the Eagles 23-23 as 5.5-point dogs. This line opened with Cincinnati listed as a short three-point home favorite. Some books opened Cincy -3.5 and immediately got hit with Jaguars money getting the hook. Spread bets are split right down the middle, and the line remains stagnant on the key number of 3. Keep a close eye to see if it falls to 2.5, which would signal some Jaguars liability. Jacksonville enjoys a big rest advantage, having last played Thursday, with the Bengals having played Sunday. The Over has gotten pounded, rising from 45.5 to 48.5. 

CLEVELAND BROWNS at DALLAS COWBOYS

After a blowout 38-6 loss to the Ravens in the season opener, the Browns (2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS) have rebounded with wins over the Bengals 35-30 and Washington 34-20 as seven-point favorites last week. It has been a struggle for the Cowboys (1-2 SU, 0-3 ATS), who could very well be winless if not for an epic 40-39 comeback against the Falcons in Week 2. Dallas lost to the Seahawks last week 38-31, failing to cover as a 5.5-point road dog. This line opened with the Cowboys listed as five-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, smart money has hit Cleveland, dropping the line from + 5 to + 4.5. Some books have briefly touched + 4. Essentially all liability has been on Cleveland and the points. This total opened at a super-high 56 and has ticked down slightly to 55.5. Both teams are 2-1 to the Over. 

MINNESOTA VIKINGS at HOUSTON TEXANS

Both teams won playoff games last season but are off to terrible starts in 2020. Minnesota (0-3 SU, 0-3 ATS) is coming off a heartbreaking 31-30 loss to the Titans, although it covered as a three-point home dog. The Texans (0-3 SU, 0-3 ATS) have been the worst team to bet on this season, failing to win or cover any game. Houston blew a 14-3 lead last week, falling to the Steelers 28-21 as a four-point road dog. This line opened with the Texans listed as four-point home favorites. The public sees two struggling teams but believes the home favorite is the lesser of the two evils. However, despite most bets backing Houston, this line has fallen from Texans -4 to -3.5. This indicates some pro money getting down on the Vikings + 4, causing sharp reverse line movement in their favor. We could also be looking at a high-scoring game inside the dome. The total opened at 52 and has been pushed up to 54.5. Both teams are 2-1 to the Over.

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 games. Seattle just took down the Cowboys 38-31 as a 5.5-point home favorite. The Dolphins (1-2 SU, 2-1 ATS) rebounded from an 0-2 start to post a resounding 31-13 win over the Jaguars on Thursday night, winning outright as 2.5-point road dogs. This line opened with Seattle listed as a seven-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 to 6.5 despite a vast majority of wagers backing the Seahawks. This is due to smart money buying low on the Dolphins at the key number of + 7 at home in a super-contrarian spot. Miami has a rest advantage, last playing Thursday vs. the Seahawks playing Sunday. Seattle is also a West Coast team traveling east for an early 1 p.m. ET game, a tough spot historically. 

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS at DETROIT LIONS

These teams are trending in opposite directions. After a big Week 1 win over the Bucs, the Saints (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS) have dropped two straight, most recently falling to the Packers 37-30 at home Sunday night as three-point favorites. On the other hand, the Lions (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS) rebounded from an 0-2 start to post a huge 26-23 win over the Cardinals last week, winning outright as five-point road dogs. This line opened with New Orleans listed as a four-point road favorite. Some books opened closer to Saints -5. The public is hammering Drew Brees and Sean Payton, thinking the Saints are due and can’t possibly lose and fail to cover again. But despite two-thirds of bets laying the points, this line remains at 4. Books that opened -5 immediately fell to -4. Essentially, the Lions are in a sharp contrarian spot with a line freeze as live home dogs.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS at TENNESSEE TITANS

Bettors are in for a treat with this AFC showdown between undefeated teams. The Steelers (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS) are coming off a 28-21 win over the Texans, covering as four-point home favorites. The Titans (3-0 SU, 0-3 ATS) are in a rare situation in which they are undefeated but haven’t covered once. Tennessee just beat the Vikings 31-30 but failed to cover as a 2.5-point favorite. This line opened with Tennessee listed as a short 2.5-point home favorite. Sharp action has poured in on the Steelers, flipping this line all the way to Pittsburgh -2.5 at some shops. So far this season, when a line moves at least a half-point toward a road team, those teams are 15-8 ATS. This speaks to the importance of line moves and diminished home-field advantage with few or no fans in the stands. One big variable here: Several Titans tested positive for COVID-19, which could be one reason the line moved so sharply to Pittsburgh.

BALTIMORE RAVENS at WASHINGTON

The Ravens (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS) looked unstoppable through two games but then got humbled on “Monday Night Football,” losing to the Chiefs 34-20 as 3.5-point home favorites. Meanwhile, after posting a thrilling come-from-behind win in Week 1 over the Eagles, Washington (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS) has dropped two straight, most recently falling to the Browns 34-20 and failing to cover as a seven-point dog. This line opened with Baltimore listed as a 13-point road favorite. The public is hammering the Ravens off a bad loss, expecting an easy blowout win and cover over a struggling Washington team. However, despite this lopsided support, the line remains stagnant at -13, signaling a reluctance by the sportsbooks to hand out a better number to brave contrarian Washington backers. Washington has a rest advantage, as the Ravens played Monday night and must travel on a short week. 

NEW YORK GIANTS at LOS ANGELES RAMS

The Giants (0-3 SU, 1-2 ATS) have been tough to back, going winless in three games and covering only once. Most recently, New York got crushed 36-9 by the banged-up 49ers as a three-point home dog. Now the Giants must travel to Los Angeles to take on the Rams (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS), who started fast and just suffered their first loss of the season, falling to the Bills 35-32 as 1.5-point dogs. This game opened with the Rams listed from 9.5- to 11.5-point home favorites. Recreational bettors are happy to back L.A. off a loss and fade the putrid Giants. This lopsided support pushed the Rams all the way to -13. That’s when you saw some buyback on the Giants, which settled the line back down to 12.5 or 12. The Giants are tough to back, but they do have value as a winless team off a blowout in a contrarian spot with an inflated line. 

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS at KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

This late-afternoon showdown between AFC powerhouses will be one of the most heavily bet games of the week. The Patriots (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS) rebounded from a tough Week 2 loss to Seattle with a resounding 36-20 win over the Raiders last week, easily covering as seven-point home favorites. Now they must travel to Arrowhead to take on the undefeated Chiefs (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS), who waltzed into Baltimore on Monday night and waxed the Ravens 34-20 as 3.5-point dogs. This line opened with Kansas City listed as a seven-point home favorite. Some books opened further toward K.C. -7.5 or -8. Those books quickly got bet down to -7. Tickets are pretty much split down the middle, but we’ve seen some books showing juice liability to New England with a possible move down to 6.5. The Patriots enjoy a rest advantage as K.C. is coming off a short week after playing Monday night. 

BUFFALO BILLS at LAS VEGAS RAIDERS

The Bills (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS) have gotten off to an undefeated start thanks to the stellar play of third-year quarterback Josh Allen. Buffalo just took down the Rams 35-32 as a 1.5-point home favorite. Meanwhile, the Raiders (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS) jumped to a strong 2-0 start but then got humbled in Week 3, falling to the Patriots 36-20 as seven-point road dogs. This line opened with Buffalo listed as a 2.5-point road favorite. The public is circling the wagons with the streaking Bills, which has pushed this line up to the key number of 3. That’s when some sharp buyback hit the Raiders, keeping the line where it stands now. Vegas has value as a home contrarian dog on a short spread. A rash of Over money has hit the total, pushing it up from 49.5 to 52. Both teams are 3-0 to the Over this season.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES at SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

The Eagles (0-2-1 SU, 0-3 ATS) have yet to win or cover this season, and the natives are getting restless in Philadelphia. The Eagles are coming off a 23-23 tie with the Bengals, failing to cover as 5.5-point home favorites. Meanwhile, the 49ers (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS) have rebounded from a Week 1 loss to the Cardinals with a pair of wins, most recently crushing the Giants 36-9 as three-point favorites despite missing several players to injury. This line opened with San Francisco listed as a six-point home favorite. We’ve seen Pros and Joes get down on the 49ers, which has pushed this line up to San Francisco -6.5 or -7 across the market. The 49ers could be in for some good injury news, as QB Jimmy Garoppolo might be back. The Eagles would have value as contrarian dogs with an inflated line in the most heavily bet game of the day on “Sunday Night Football.” Pro money has also hit the Over, driving the total up from 43 to 45.

ATLANTA FALCONS at GREEN BAY PACKERS

This “Monday Night Football” matchup features teams trending in polar-opposite directions. The Falcons (0-3 SU, 1-2 ATS) are winless and have choked away big leads two straight weeks, most recently losing to the Bears 30-26 as 2.5-point favorites. Meanwhile, the Packers are undefeated and just took down the Saints 37-30 as three-point dogs on Sunday night. This line opened with Green Bay listed as a five- or six-point home favorite. Early money immediately laid the points with the Packers. The public is also on Green Bay, which has pushed the line up to -7 or even -7.5 at some shops. The Falcons are tough to back due to their continued collapses, but Atlanta does have value as a contrarian road dog in a heavily bet game with an inflated line. This total opened at a super-high 58.5 and has been bet down slightly to 58. Both teams are 3-0 to the Over.

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