NFL Week 4 Best Bets, Predictions, & Picks

Get best bets, predictions, and betting picks for Week 4 of the NFL season. Kick it off early with a best bet for the London game, followed by a couple of divisional battles and cross-conference games.

NFL Week 4 Best Bets

Week 3 of the NFL season brought plenty of excitement, and there are a handful of surprising teams emerging among the best in the NFL. This article will present my best bets for the week ahead, but I won’t have all of the bets I place in this article. You can follow me on Twitter @wayne_sports_ to see the latest NFL and college football bets that I’ve placed for the upcoming week. Let’s dive into some Week 4 lines.

NFL Best Bets YTD: 26-16 (61.9%)

Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints

Game Info: Sunday, October 2, 9:30 AM EST

Coverage: NFL NET

London is calling for these two teams, but one is much more prepared for this matchup. The Saints’ Jameis Winston hasn’t practiced this week, and his status is very much in doubt for this game. If Andy Dalton is under center, he could be dealing with a weakened skill position group as Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas, and Jarvis Landry are all dealing with injuries as well.

To make matters worse for the Saints, they rank just 26th in adjusted sack rate allowed per Football Outsiders. Part of that is Winston’s fault – his 12.0 aDOT is the highest of any starting passer – but the Saints also rank just 21st in PFF’s run-blocking grades. The offensive line hasn’t been a strength for this team like it has been in recent years, particularly after the offseason loss of Terron Armstead.

Defensively, the Saints have been solid, but they’ve only faced one offenses that ranks top-ten in EPA (the Falcons, surprisingly). Minnesota ranks second in success rate on offense, and their efficiency metrics are marred by Kirk Cousins having three red-zone interceptions against the Eagles in Week 2 – that should be an anomaly moving forward.

While Marshon Lattimore is capable of at least slowing down Justin Jefferson, the biggest issue for the Saints is a lack of pass-rush productivity. The Vikings rank third in the league in adjusted sack rate allowed per Football Outsiders while the Saints have generated the fifth-lowest adjusted sack rate. If New Orleans can’t put pressure on Cousins, it will be tough to slow down their efficient attack.

In 34 international games, favorites are 26-7-1 straight up and 23-11 ATS. While there can be a lot of noise in a sample size that small, it gives further confidence to our Vikings pick. The Saints are 0-3 ATS to start this season, and I’m betting on them starting 0-4 ATS for the first time since 2007. Things aren’t looking up for this team right now, and the Vikings should get another win as they continue to put that gross Eagles loss in the rearview mirror.

Best Bet: Vikings -2.5 (bet to -3)

Jacksonville Jaguars at Philadelphia Eagles

Game Info: Sunday, October 2, 1:00 PM EST

Coverage: CBS

The difference between Trevor Lawrence’s rookie season and the first three games of his sophomore campaign cannot be overstated. Last year, of quarterbacks with 200+ snaps, Lawrence ranked 31st in EPA per play, 26th in success rate, and 34th in completion percentage over expectation (CPOE). This year, he ranks 5th in EPA per play, first in success rate, and second in CPOE. That puts him in some elite company.

While the offensive line is still mediocre, Jacksonville has allowed the lowest sack rate this year. How? Doug Pederson has empowered Trevor Lawrence to make pre-snap reads and get rid of the ball quickly. Against a fearsome Chargers’ pass rush, he threw for three touchdowns and had an average release of 2.4 seconds, the second-fastest of the week behind only Tom Brady per Next Gen Stats.

The Eagles got pressure on Carson Wentz on 42% of his dropbacks last week and hit him 17 times despite only blitzing at a 23.6% rate. That won’t be as possible against Lawrence, and when they do send a blitz, they’re in trouble. Lawrence has been surgical against the blitz – he went 14-17 against it last week with 82.4% of his passes being out within 2.5 seconds. The Jaguars lead the NFL in converting drives to points thanks to Lawrence’s massive improvement.

The Eagles have been excellent to start the year, and Jalen Hurts is an early MVP candidate. However, the full-game consistency hasn’t quite been there – he ranks sixth in EPA per play but just 17th in success rate. The biggest improvement for the Jaguars has been their ability to create turnovers. They lead the league in turnover margin and have nine takeaways, more than they had all of last season. I believe they can force Hurts into a couple of mistakes in this game.

Surprisingly, the Eagles’ offensive line hasn’t been quite as good as I expected – they rank 20th in adjusted sack rate allowed and 16th in line yards. Jacksonville ranks second in the NFL in rushing EPA allowed and first in rushing success rate allowed, so Philly might have a hard time establishing the ground game this week like they have in prior games. Most of all, the Jaguars can be disciplined and force Hurts to play in structure, where there are still questions left unanswered.

This was one of the first lines I grabbed as soon as they opened, and while we’ve seen some movement, the value is still solid. The market seems to be in love with the Eagles and hasn’t extended the same respect to the Jaguars despite their strong start. Doug Pederson has transformed Jacksonville’s approach every week, and they need to be taken seriously, not just as a playoff contender but as a Super Bowl dark horse team. They’re that good, and they could pull off an upset this week.

Best Bet: Jaguars +7 (play to +6)

Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens

Game Info: Sunday, October 2, 1:00 PM EST

Coverage: CBS

The Bills were engaged in an absolute war in Miami last week, and they took many casualties. All-Pro cornerback Tre’Davious White was already on Injured Reserve, and the Bills have now lost Micah Hyde for the season and standout rookie cornerback Christian Benford for the foreseeable future. Dane Jackson and Jordan Poyer join them on the injury report.

The Buffalo secondary is battered just in time for a matchup with MVP candidate Lamar Jackson. The Bills could attempt to blitz Jackson, but he’s been lethal against the blitz this season as the ranks first in EPA, second in yards per attempt, and third in success rate against it. His EPA against the blitz is the best in the last ten years, per Sharp Football. He’s done all that without starting left tackle Ronnie Stanley.

On the other side, Buffalo’s weakness along the offensive line was exposed last week. Their offensive line wasn’t very good to begin with – they rank 24th in pass-blocking and 32nd in run-blocking per PFF’s team grades. Now, they are dealing with injuries to Mitch Morse, Ryan Bates, and Dion Dawkins, all of whom started the game last week. While Baltimore’s pass rush isn’t elite, they can get creative given the matchup.

The Ravens’ secondary also figures to be the healthiest it’s been all season with Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey off the injury report. The Bills have been a more efficient offense this year, but they haven’t been nearly as explosive as they were under Brian Daboll, and it’s resulted in them being 1-2 at halftime this year with an average lead of 3.3 points after finishing 6-0 at halftime with an average lead of 13 points over the previous two seasons.

To make matters worse for Buffalo’s offense, this game is projected to suffer from a storm system that will cause rain and 13 mile per hour winds. That favors the run-heavy offense the Ravens can run with Jackson and a healthier J.K. Dobbins over the Bills’ pass-heavy offense, particularly with their offensive line issues. Lamar Jackson is 8-2 ATS in his career as an underdog, and I believe he will make it 9-2 this week.

Best Bet: Ravens +3.5 (bet to +3)

Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts

Game Info: Sunday, October 2, 1:00 PM EST

Coverage: FOX

The Colts were desperate for a win last week after starting 0-1-1 in two road games against the Texans and Jaguars, and they got it somehow. The Chiefs outgained the Colts in terms of yardage, but Indianapolis benefitted from special teams miscues from Kansas City as they muffed a punt and suffered from the absence of Harrison Butker as Matt Amendola went 1-2 on field goals and 0-1 on extra points.

The issues surrounding Matt Ryan and the offense haven’t gone away. Indianapolis only averaged 3.8 yards per play last week, and they have averaged just 4.8 yards per play this year, the seventh-worst mark in the league. Ryan now ranks 33rd out of 33 quarterbacks in EPA per play and he has eight turnover-worthy plays (tied for the most) to just one big-time throw through three games per PFF.

An equalizer in this game could have been Jonathan Taylor against the Titans’ 30th-ranked rushing defense by EPA. However, Taylor missed a practice for the first time in his NFL career on Wednesday with a toe injury, and his status is in question. The Colts also rank just 25th in adjusted line yards per Football Outsiders, which has hurt Taylor’s efficiency tremendously.

While Tennessee‘s offense hasn’t been great, and they’ve missed the presence of A.J. Brown on the outside, Ryan Tannehill has been much more efficient than Ryan. Tannehill ranks 11th in EPA per play and has just four turnover-worthy plays to two big-time throws. The Titans haven’t fared much better in terms of run-blocking for Derrick Henry as they rank 24th in adjusted line yards, and the Colts rank 3rd in run defense EPA. However, they were able to involve him consistently in the passing game last week.

Both of these teams are built to run the ball, but neither has been able to due to their poor offensive line play. With the game likely coming down to quarterback play, Tannehill has the edge as he’s been much more efficient this season. I’ll also always back Mike Vrabel, who is 20-15 straight up as an underdog in his career, over Frank Reich, who is just 15-11-1 straight up against AFC South opponents as the Colts’ head coach.

Best Bet: Titans +3.5 (bet to +3)

Cleveland Browns at Atlanta Falcons

Game Info: Sunday, October 2, 1:00 PM EST

Coverage: CBS

If you had told me before the season that these two offenses were top-ten in converting drives to points and in offensive EPA, I wouldn’t have believed you. Here we are, though, as the Browns rank second and third, respectively, while the Falcons rank seventh and ninth in those categories. Just like everyone expected, Marcus Mariota and Jacoby Brissett both rank top ten in EPA per play and success rate.

Mariota has orchestrated his former coach Arthur Smith’s offense at a high level as the Falcons rank third in offensive success rate. Drake London has taken little time to play at an elite level as he ranks fourth among receivers with 20+ targets with 2.74 yards per route run. Kyle Pitts is a unicorn at tight end and one of the most unique mismatches in the league.

The Falcons have also run the ball at an elite level. Cordarelle Patterson ranks third in the NFL with 302 rushing yards and won the NFC Offensive Player of the Week in Week 3. Atlanta surprisingly ranks first in the league in adjusted line yards and run stuff rank per Football Outsiders, and their rushing success seems highly sustainable.

Meanwhile, the Browns have found a high level of success under Brissett. While he struggled in his previous stops, he’s been supported in Cleveland with something he’s never had – an elite offensive line and run game. The Browns are one of three teams to rank top-ten in pass-blocking and run-blocking per PFF, and Nick Chubb has forced 26 missed tackles, more than 30 NFL teams.

Neither of these defenses are built to stop the opposing team from scoring. Atlanta is the worst defense in the league in rushing EPA allowed – Chubb should run all over them. Cleveland ranks just 21st in dropback EPA allowed despite facing Baker Mayfield, Joe Flacco and Mitchell Trubisky so far. Both defenses rank bottom ten in EPA and DVOA. The over is the call here, and I’m loving this as a contrarian game to target in DFS lineups.

Best Bet: Over 49.5 (bet to 50.5)

Kansas City Chiefs at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Game Info: Sunday, October 2, 8:20 PM EST

Coverage: NBC

Neither of these teams have quite the same group that took the field in the Super Bowl a couple of seasons ago, but it should still be a fascinating continuation of the rivalry between Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes. Brady has struggled this year, though, as he ranks 21st in EPA+CPOE composite, primarily due to the injuries for Tampa on offense.

Mike Evans will return from suspension this week, but Chris Godwin, Julio Jones, Russell Gage, and Breshad Perriman all remain questionable for this week. As it’s fought through injuries, Tampa Bay’s offensive line ranks 23rd in pass-blocking and 11th in run-blocking per PFF, although it’s just 19th in adjusted line yards per Football Outsiders. Donovan Smith’s return this week would be significant, but the interior remains a concern, especially against Chris Jones, one of the best interior pass-rushers in the NFL.

The strength of the Buccaneers has been defense as they rank first in EPA and DVOA this season, but their easy schedule makes that misleading as they have faced Dak Prescott, who suffered a mid-game injury, an injured Jameis Winston, and Aaron Rodgers down multiple receivers. Mahomes leads the NFL in EPA and ranks second in success rate despite working out the kinks with his new group of receivers.

Tampa’s defense doesn’t have nearly the same pass-rush punch that it did in that Super Bowl as they rank just 21st in pass-rushing grade per PFF. Meanwhile, Kansas City ranks first in adjusted sack rate allowed on the strength of Creed Humphrey and Joe Thuney, arguably the best interior O-line tandem in football. Vita Vea will be stymied by those two, and Mahomes will get rid of the ball quickly enough to limit the impact of Shaquill Barrett.

The return to practice of Chiefs’ kicker Harrison Butker might be the biggest news of the week. Matt Ammendola went 1-2 on field goals and 0-1 on extra points last week, and his lack of consistency forced the Chiefs into an ill-fated fake field goal attempt on fourth down late in the game. Butker’s presence could have been worth seven points last week, and that would have been more than enough for the win last week.

While facing Kansas City presents a different challenge for Tampa Bay’s defense, they are also arguably the best defense that Mahomes has faced this year, and I don’t expect a lights-out performance from him. It’s also difficult to trust Brady’s offense to produce at a high level with the injury limitations. With the added factors surrounding Hurricane Ian, I’m on the under in this game between two slow-paced offenses and two good defenses.

We locked in the Chiefs -1.5 early last week on the look-ahead line to Week 4, and while the market hasn’t moved to create value like I expected, I still like the Chiefs to win this game. Kansas City has been far more efficient with the third-best early down success rate compared to the 23rd-best for Tampa Bay, and I’m expecting some regression from the Bucs’ defense as their competition level increases. Let’s get a double cash in primetime!

Best Bet: Chiefs -1.5 (bet to -2.5) and under 45.5 points (bet to 44.5)

Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers

Game Info: Monday, October 3, 8:15 PM EST

Coverage: ESPN

All week, you will hear about how Kyle Shanahan is 7-4 against Sean McVay in their respective head coaching careers. McVay got the best of Shanahan in the NFC Championship last year, but Shanahan had won six straight games against McVay prior to that one. These are two of the best coaches in football, and every time they match up, it’s must-watch television.

However, that’s not the betting angle I’m targeting from this game. Rather, I believe the Trent Williams injury is absolutely massive for the 49ers. Jimmy Garoppolo struggled under pressure last week, completing just 42.9% of his passes and having two turnover-worthy plays on just seven attempts. That was with Williams, arguably the best blindside blocker in the game, for most of the night.

This week, the 49ers face the Rams’ pass-rush without Williams. To jog your memory, Garoppolo completed six of his seventeen pass attempts under pressure with five turnover-worthy plays in his last two games against LA. Of course, those were with Von Miller by Aaron Donald’s side, but the Rams still have a formidable pass-rush, even without Miller.

To make matters worse for the Niners, they’re going to struggle to run the ball without Williams against the Rams who rank first in the NFL in rushing EPA allowed as the addition of Bobby Wagner has made them an elite run defense. Without leading rusher Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco won’t have the rushing threat against the Rams to keep the defense honest and help Garoppolo.

Matthew Stafford hasn’t been elite this year – he ranks just 13th in EPA+CPOE composite and the Rams rank just 19th in offensive EPA. San Francisco ranks fourth in defensive EPA, meanwhile, and they’ve allowed the lowest offensive success rate in the league. However, I have more confidence in Matthew Stafford to overcome those circumstances than I do in Jimmy G without Williams.

I’m also taking the under in this game while it’s still above 41 and 40, the two most common final points totals for NFL games. The last five games these teams have played have averaged 42.5 total points, so this number is right on the mark. However, with both teams having offensive line issues and the strong trend for primetime unders this season, I’ll bite here.

Best Bet: Rams +2.5 (bet to ML) and under 42 points (bet to 40)

Two-Leg Teaser of the Week

Finally, I’m bringing to the table a two-team teaser between road underdogs in the Sunday afternoon slot that I love. I can’t for the life of me figure out why the Panthers are favorites this week, but it might be our last opportunity to fade Matt Rhule as a favorite. He has a 3-10 ATS record as a favorite, the second-worst of any coach since 2020. Kliff Kingsbury has also surprisingly thrived on the road as he is 18-7-2 ATS away from Arizona.

The Panthers are 1-25 straight up under Matt Rhule when they allow their opponent to score 17 or more points. While the Carolina defense has been solid this season – they rank 10th in EPA and 14th in DVOA – 17 points isn’t a high threshold for Kyler Murray. He’s only finished a game with fewer than 17 points nine times out of 49 career games (18.4%).

Last week, Murray and the Cardinals moved the ball against the vaunted Rams defense – he had 314 passing yards – but they settled for a field goal on four separate occasions deep in Rams territory. While DeAndre Hopkins and Rondale Moore remain out, I’ll trust Kyler Murray with limited weapons over Baker Mayfield in this poor offense any day.

The other leg for this teaser is on the Denver Broncos. Lost in the shuffle of the media sensationalization of Nathaniel Hackett’s poor coaching and Russell Wilson’s struggle is the fact that the Broncos rank sixth in defensive EPA and fifth in DVOA this season. Much was made of the loss of Vic Fangio and the impact it would have on the defense, but so far it hasn’t mattered.

The Raiders have struggled to get on the same page on offense with Josh McDaniels attempting to install his system, and the offensive line shoulders some of the blame as they rank 17th in adjusted sack rate allowed and 18th in PFF’s pass-blocking grades. The likes of Randy Gregory, Bradley Chubb, and Dre’Mont Jones should put tons of pressure on Carr, who is tied for the league lead with eight turnover-worthy plays.

If there was ever a matchup for Russell Wilson and the offense to start clicking, this would be it. The Raiders rank 26th in defensive EPA, 23rd in pass defense DVOA, and 27th in passing success rate allowed. Wilson showed signs of life against a much better defense last week, and he ranks above-average in EPA+CPOE composite despite all of his struggles.

Regardless of whether or not Wilson truly gets going in this matchup, the Raiders aren’t built to run away in this game. The same is true for the Panthers whose three games have been decided by an average of 4.3 points. While the afternoon slate of games is a bit of a snoozer, this two-leg teaser should provide some excitement.

Best Bet: Cardinals/Broncos +7.5 (or better)

I've been writing about sports for Lineups since the beginning of 2020 and on my own website since 2018. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. As the United States embarks on an exciting journey towards the legalization of sports betting, I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to cover industry news, NFL and NBA odds, and more.

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