Yahoo is partnering with The Action Network during the football season to bring you expert sports betting information and analysis.
Should Daniel Jones and the Giants really be favored against the Redskins? Is the market overreacting to the Dolphins’ tank job with another high double-digit spread? Are the 3-0 Bills being undervalued as 7-point underdogs against the Patriots?
We projected spreads and over/unders for every Week 4 game to identify the best bets, including sides in two of those three games and much more.
All odds below as of Tuesday and via PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200 percent deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
Eagles at Packers
Odds: Packers -4; 46
Our projections: Packers -4; 47.5
Thursday Night Football
The Packers have relied on their defense and turned Aaron Rodgers into more of a game manager to open their season 3-0. However, the Eagles are more of a pass funnel defense that the Packers could exploit by letting Rodgers air it out a bit more. The Eagles, meanwhile, might want to attack a Packers defense that is a bit more vulnerable against the run game.
This might be a spot that’s better suited for an in-game wager once we see which team altered its game plan to take advantage of this specific matchup.
Despite 60 percent of the tickets being on the over as of this writing, the total has dropped from 48 to 46. There could be some slight value on the over. However, this could be another market to attack in-game if it appears both offensive game plans are tailored to attack weakness.
Panthers at Texans
Odds: Texans -4.5; 47
Our projections: Texans -5.5; 45.5
Last week we docked the Panthers only 2/2.5 points for the switch from Cam Newton to Kyle Allen while the market moved the line from Panthers -2.5 to Cardinals -2.5 — a full five-point swing.
After watching some film on Allen we realized that he was definitely being undervalued, so Panthers +2.5 became one of our top bets of Week 3. But now that the public saw Allen light up the Cardinals for a 38-20 victory, it looks like the public might have over-adjusted.
We need to be very cautious about evaluating a team’s offense immediately after facing a porous Cardinals defense. We have the Texans as 5.5-point favorites, which means there’s some value on them at -4.5 — and this is coming from someone who was admittedly bullish on the Allen-led Panthers a week ago.
The Panthers are fairly stout against the pass, but more vulnerable against the run. Still, the Texans aren’t equipped to take advantage of that with a backfield featuring Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson. It’s a bit telling that they brought in C.J. Anderson to try out this week.
This sets up as an ideal under.
Chiefs at Lions
Odds: Chiefs -6.5; 54
Our projections: Chiefs -5.5; 54
We’re not going to sugarcoat it: The Chiefs are a much better football team than the Lions. Kansas City should absolutely be the favorite here, but this is a textbook case of the market simply setting an imaginary number too high.
Patrick Mahomes is unstoppable, but the Lions defense is solid enough to slow him down, and their offense is more than capable of keeping up with the Chiefs at home.
The line has moved to -6.5, but the market is backing the Chiefs with 86 percent of the tickets (see our live public betting data), so the line could end up going up to 7.5 by kickoff. If that happens and cornerback Darius Slay and defensive tackle Mike Daniels are able to suit up, the Lions will be one of our favorite bets of the week.
Browns at Ravens
Odds: Ravens -7; 45
Our projections: Ravens -6; 45.5
Last week I said it was time to buy low on the Browns. Unfortunately, as game time approached, the Browns realized they were going to be without multiple defensive backs. It’s always a concern when you get a cluster of injuries like that.
To make matters worse, their play-calling was again a major issue in their 20-13 loss to the Rams. We could see coach Freddie Kitchens surrendering those responsibilities to offensive coordinator Todd Monken in the near future.
We expected the Browns to struggle early on, so I’m not overreacting too much to their poor start. Getting +7 in this spot will offer some value if Morgan Burnett, Damarious Randall and Denzel Ward are all able to play this week.
Redskins at Giants
Odds: Giants -2.5; 49.5
Our projections: Giants -2.5; 49.5
The Daniel Jones era started with a bang.
The rookie led the Giants to a thrilling 32-31 victory in Tampa Bay. But anything Jones does — good or bad — is going to be amplified by the media, so I expected this line to open in the -4 to -4.5 range. The -3 opener was a bit lower than I expected, but there’s some value in taking the key number +3 here, which is still available at some books as of Wednesday evening.
Saquon Barkley, who is set to miss four to eight weeks, is one of the rare running backs who has a case for being worth 0.5/1 point to the spread. The Redskins are equipped to take advantage of the Giants’ porous pass defense and are sneaky underdogs to back off the public’s post-Jones debut sugar high.
Chargers at Dolphins
Odds: Chargers -16; 44
Our projections: Chargers -15; 44.5
Here we go again.
We’re showing some slight value on the Dolphins here. To be clear: The 2019 Dolphins could be one of the worst teams we have ever seen. They’re in full tank mode and seem destined to land the No. 1 overall pick in the loaded 2020 draft class.
But while there’s a decent chance they go 0-16, it’s highly unlikely they go 0-16 against the spread. The market might have to go to great lengths to help them achieve their first cover, which could very well be this week at home against the underachieving 1-2 Chargers.
Our revised approach to the Dolphins is to not back whatever team they’re playing because we do think the market will overcorrect, but we can no longer, in good conscience, bet hard-earned money on a team clearly OK with losing.
We’ve adjusted their team power rating to a depth I’ve never seen before. To put things in perspective, the 2018 Cardinals — at their lowest point in our power ratings — would be 5.5-point home favorites and likely 1-point road favorites against the 2019 Dolphins. If you recall just how bad the Cardinals were last season, that should send chills down your spine.
Raiders at Colts
Odds: Colts -6.5; 45
Our projections: Colts -8; 44.5
Last week we made the case that the Colts, despite being without Andrew Luck, are still built to win easy matchups at home. This is one of those cases.
There’s some value locking them in at -6.5 to avoid the key number of 7 — public pressure could force this line to lower by kickoff. It also appears that T.Y. Hilton (quad) could end up missing this week. Wait for him to be ruled out and see if stud linebacker Darius Leonard is able to suit up. It’s possible we could get the Colts -5.5 in that scenario, which is where the value will be.
Patriots at Bills
Odds: Patriots -7, 42.5
Our projections: Patriots -6; 44.5
This is another matchup in which the home team probably should not be getting a full touchdown. The Patriots have an insane plus-89 point differential, which ties for third -best since 1940 over the first three games. But the Bills will be the Patriots’ first real test, and the winner will take over the lead in the AFC East.
Bookmakers floated Patriots -7.5 to open — a strategic opening number that paves the way for instant feedback on where sharps stand with a key number like 7 fully exposed on the underdog. Despite 82 percent of tickets and 75 percent of money pouring in on the Pats, the line has moved to -7 at some books while others have opted to leave it at -7.5, yet require a bit more juice to back the Bills.
It’s pretty clear the sharp money has been hitting Bills +7.5 here.
This total also has some value. It opened at 44, which was right in line with our number. However, heavy action on the under has forced books to lower it to 42.5, which opens up some value on the over — especially considering the most valuable key number (43) is now exposed.
While the public perception of this matchup being a defensive struggle makes sense on paper, the expected game flow would lean toward the over here.
Josh Allen has improved as a passer, and part of that is simply the Bills giving him more weapons. The Bills will be required to come out firing in order to hang with Tom Brady and the Patriots.
On the flip side, the Patriots haven’t been pushed at all this season — they’ve blown out all three of their opponents so far. If the Bills keep this close, it’ll only force the Patriots to keep their foot on the gas the entire game.
We love the idea of parlaying Bills +7.5 with over 42.5. There’s a stronger correlation between those two bets than people realize.
Titans at Falcons
Odds: Falcons -4; 45.5
Our projections: Falcons -4; 46.5
It’s true that the Titans are a bottom-five team in terms of our total ratings. They’re a run-heavy team that relies on their defense to keep them in games, and they try to limit Marcus Mariota in an extreme game-manager role. But they could be forced into a more pass-happy, faster-paced game plan in Atlanta.
That could result in an increase in snaps for Dion Lewis as the Titans abandon their “feed Derrick Henry” game plan, which will force their hand to play to the over.
Buccaneers at Rams
Odds: Rams -9.5; 49.5
Our projections: Rams -10.5; 50
This time last year, a Rams-Bucs matchup would’ve generated a total in the 56-point range.
The Buccaneers have not only improved defensively this season, but they also appear willing to rein in Jameis Winston to be more of a game manager in an attempt to prevent careless turnovers. But in this specific matchup, as 9.5-point underdogs, the Bucs might be left with no choice but to let him air it out.
With the total down to 48.5 at some books, we have a bit of value in the over. The game flow should also lend itself to that.
Seahawks at Cardinals
Odds: Seahawks -5; 48
Our projections: Seahawks -3.5; 48.5
The Cardinals are one of the most exciting teams in the league with their Air Raid offense and No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray, but they’re still a very bad team.
We warned about overrating the 2-0 Seahawks last week because they won both games by a combined three points, and they’re overrated by the market. The opening number of -3.5 has jumped to -5.5. And while this does not include very valuable numbers in 4 and 5, it might end up getting to -6, in which case we absolutely need to consider taking the Cardinals if they get to +6.
Vikings at Bears
Odds: Bears -2; 38
Our projections: Bears -2.5; 39
Bookmakers set what I feel was an aggressive opening line of Bears -3. Predictably, they have been flooded with Vikings tickets (73 percent) and money (87 percent). The early action has forced them to move off the key number and all the way down to -2.
As the line moves toward a pick ’em, it will only open up a bit more value on the Bears, whose offense is starting to show signs of life. However, this is likely a matchup I’m going to pass on.
Jaguars at Broncos
Odds: Broncos -3; 39
Our projections: Broncos -3.5; 38.5
Yes, Gardner Minshew is a flashy rookie QB who has been one of the better surprises of 2019. However, this should be a defensive struggle and the only slight value we’re seeing here is under 39, but it’s not enough to trigger a bet.
Cowboys at Saints
Odds: Cowboys -2.5; 47
My Projections: Cowboys -1; 47
Sunday Night Football
We made the case in Week 3 that the Saints might be able to game plan in a way that minimizes the loss of Drew Brees. They should be able to rely on their defense and Alvin Kamara’s playmaking ability to keep them in this game. Teddy Bridgewater being a highly competent game manager who focuses on getting the ball to Kamara and Michael Thomas will only help the cause.
If they’re able to operate a game plan similar to what we saw in Week 3 against the Seahawks, they’re a great play getting the key number of +3 this week at home.
Bengals at Steelers
Odds: Steelers -4; 43.5
Our projections: Steelers -3; 43.5
Monday Night Football
Despite a +3 turnover margin in Week 3, the Steelers still managed to lose to San Francisco, 24-20. There is no reason to have them anything more than a 3-point home favorite against the Bengals.
We need to significantly lower our expectations for the Steelers with Ben Roethlisberger out for the season. Mason Rudolph does not look ready to fill Big Ben’s shoes in a way that can get them back into the playoff hunt. We’re also speculating that Devlin Hodges could make some starts at some point this season.
The time to fade the Steelers is now while the public is still willing to back them.
More from Yahoo Sports: