During the NFL season, Stadium sports betting analyst Nate Jacobson will break down every single point spread using lines as of Thursday morning. Here are his thoughts on the Week 4 slate.
Note: Nate will discuss all of his college football and NFL bets on the Sharp Lessons podcast that drops every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Subscribe on Spotify and Apple for episodes and follow Stadium Bets on Twitter for more sports betting content.
Sides I Like
Giants (+7.5) over Saints: You know it’s a tough NFL week to handicap when the only side I would bet right now is the Giants. It’s more of a play against the Saints’ offense needing to cover a big number against a desperate 0-3 team. QB Jameis Winston hasn’t thrown for more than 148 yards in a game this season, including when he tossed five touchdowns against the Packers in Week 1. After a horrible performance in Week 2, Winston did play turnover-free football and threw two touchdowns at the Patriots. But he only threw for 128 yards and the Saints recorded just 4.1 yards per play. I also like the Giants as a road underdog. They are 7-1 in that role under Joe Judge, including covering more-than-a-touchdown point spreads at the Rams, Cowboys and Seahawks last season. In a game with a total that has been bet down to 42, I like the underdog when points are expected to be at a premium.
Sides I’m Considering
Patriots (+7) over Buccaneers: I’m going to be a complete contrarian here and fade Tom Brady in his return to Foxborough. I believe this number is inflated because of the Brady “revenge” factor, and also because of Tampa’s tough loss last week. But if this game was played in Tampa Bay and you gave each team two points for home-field advantage, the Buccaneers would be an 11-point favorite. Keeping that in mind, the Bucs closed as a 13-point favorite hosting the Falcons in Week 2 — and the Patriots are a much better team than the Falcons. I would be fine backing the Patriots at +7, but I’m going to wait as long as possible to get them at the best number. The Buccaneers will be a popular straight bet along with pending teasers and moneyline parlays, so the line could go up a little bit before Sunday night.
Sides I Plan to Use in a Six-Point Teaser
Falcons (+1.5) over Washington: I’m not sure if Washington should be favored in this game. I don’t think much separates these teams, and the Falcons are at home. While I get the case for Washington’s defense to bounce back in this matchup after a poor start to the season, I’ll take my chances on a Falcons teaser and hope a team led by Taylor Heinicke doesn’t win by more than one possession.
Titans (-7) over Jets: It’s been a rough season for the Jets and rookie QB Zach Wilson, who just had to face Bill Belichick and Vic Fangio-led defenses back to back. Now he gets a break against the Titans’ middle-of-the-road D, so I expect the Jets’ offense to improve. I still believe the Titans will win this game, and getting them under a touchdown is an advantageous way to play this one. I was impressed by the Titans’ win and cover last week despite losing the turnover battle 3-0 against the Colts.
Vikings (+2) over Browns: The Vikings are in a familiar spot, as they were short home underdogs last week against the Seahawks. The Vikings won, and they were the team I keyed into all my teasers. Once again, I’ll tease the Vikings to cover over a touchdown in a game that features some coaching familiarity. Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski was a long-time assistant for the Vikings, even serving as QB coach and offensive coordinator for Kirk Cousins before taking the Cleveland job. While I’m not sure which team is going to win, I expect a close game either way.
Chiefs (-7) over Eagles: The Chiefs are 1-2, and I want to buy low on a premier team. They squandered away their Week 2 game to the Ravens, while four turnovers against the Chargers doomed them at home last week. Unfortunately, I bet on the Eagles this past week, but they had no shot to win or even cover against the Cowboys. The Eagles’ running backs only had three rushing attempts, which was a puzzling decision from first-year head coach Nick Sirianni. The Chiefs’ weakness is their run defense, so you’d have to trust the Eagles to commit to the ground game if you are betting on them. At the end of the day, I’m confident that the Chiefs will bounce back, and that’s why they’ll be a teaser leg for me.
Games I’m Undecided On
Jaguars at Bengals (-7.5): The math says the Bengals are a good teaser leg because you can get them down to under a field goal, but I just don’t trust Cincinnati — especially since this is the Thursday night game. I usually put my teaser bets in as late in the week as possible to get the best numbers, so I don’t want to lock in a potentially bad number three days in advance with the Bengals. As bad as the Jaguars have been this season, there will eventually be point-spread value on Jacksonville.
Lions at Bears (-3): The look-ahead line for the game was Bears -6, and there has been a warranted adjustment based on the performance of both teams in Week 3. The Lions should’ve beat the Ravens, while the Bears averaged a horrific 1.1 yards per play against the Browns in Justin Fields’ first start. There is uncertainty on who will get the starting nod under center for the Bears in this game. Because of that, I have no interest in betting on Chicago. The Lions could emerge as at least a teaser candidate, especially because this game has a total of 42.
Colts at Dolphins (-2): Earlier this week, I thought the Colts could be a potential teaser through the key numbers of 3 and 7. But due to injury concerns surrounding QB Carson Wentz, I’m no longer sure. If I tease an underdog, I want to make sure they have a high floor, which the Colts lack if Wentz can’t move in the pocket. The Dolphins came through for me last week by covering the number in an overtime loss, but I was unimpressed by their defense and conservative play-calling for backup QB Jacoby Brissett. Maybe they will unleash Brissett against his former team, but I’d rather not be involved.
Panthers at Cowboys (-4): Carolina has started the season 3-0 with wins over teams quarterbacked by Zach Wilson, Jameis Winston and Davis Mills. Now is probably a good time to sell high on the Christian McCaffrey-less Panthers, especially in a game against Dak Prescott and an impressive Cowboys’ offense. However, the Panthers have a huge edge because they played last Thursday and the Cowboys played this past Monday night, so Matt Rhule and his coaching staff have four extra days to prep against a team coached by the underwhelming Mike McCarthy. At the end of the day, I do lean toward the Cowboys but Carolina’s extra rest is a wild card, so I’ll look for another time to fade the Panthers.
Texans at Bills (-16): So far this season, this is the biggest point spread in the NFL. The Bills’ passing game should have a lot of success against the Texans, but I just don’t have interest laying double digits with any NFL team. Buffalo also has a huge “revenge” game next week against the Chiefs, so I can see a late cover by Houston.
Cardinals at Rams (-4): Early in the week, I circled the Cardinals in this game when they were lined as a six-point underdog. That’s because the Rams are coming off a statement win as short home underdogs against the Buccaneers and also have a Thursday night game at Seattle on deck. I don’t think they will overlook a 3-0 divisional opponent in the Cardinals, but Arizona is coming into this game in a better situational spot. Unfortunately, the line has moved two points, so I don’t like the Cardinals as much as I initially did. Keep in mind that Sean McVay has owned the Cardinals in his coaching career, going 8-0 straight-up and 7-0-1 against the spread when facing Arizona, including four wins against Kliff Kingsbury.
Seahawks at 49ers (-3): I had high hopes for the 49ers this season — and still do — but right now I don’t want to bet on them with their injury issues. They have multiple running backs injured and their defense is extremely banged-up. The 1-2 Seahawks were shut out in the second half of a 30-17 loss to the Vikings last week, but did accumulate 7.5 yards per play. While Seattle can’t afford a loss, I’m going to stay away from this game because I strongly prefer Kyle Shanahan in the coaching matchup against Pete Carroll.
Ravens at Broncos (-1): This game would’ve been in the teaser section if the line stayed at Ravens +1.5 like it was earlier in the week. The Broncos are another undefeated team, but this will be their first real test because their wins have been against the Giants, Jaguars and Jets. The look-ahead line of Ravens -1.5 flipped because Baltimore barely beat the Lions while Denver pitched a shutout against the Jets last week. This is one of those games where I would like to tease the underdog if the number gets to +1.5. For now, I’ll wait and see.
Steelers at Packers (-6.5): I’m tempted to bet the Steelers in an underdog role in a game with a total of only 46. If T.J. Watt is able to go, then the Steelers’ pass rush could have an edge over the Packers’ offensive line. However, it’s hard to trust the Steelers’ offense and QB Ben Roethlisberger after suffering losses to the Raiders and Bengals. I’m going to wait for the injury report and hope the Steelers get up to a full touchdown before deciding how to play this one. I’ll likely avoid using the Packers in teasers.
Raiders at Chargers (-3): The Raiders have proven me wrong this season, starting 3-0. Their defense has improved, especially at the line of scrimmage, while their offensive line has held up better than I expected. I’ll still look for spots to fade them, but I’m not going to do it in what will feel like a home game for the visiting team. The Chargers had an impressive win at the Chiefs, but they’ll be hurt by a non-existent home-field advantage in this one. It’ll be a fun Monday night game to watch, but I won’t be betting it.