The calendar is nearing October and, in the NFL world, that means the regular season is beginning to kick into high gear. Week 4 brings an interesting slate of games to the table and, in this space, there is an ever-present search for value in the handicapping market. Week 3 was solidly successful with a 3-2 record, even as the Jets (totally) flopped and the Jaguars made a mess of things to lose by double-digits. Alas, we press on.
Before unveiling this week’s quintet of selections, let’s see what the full season looks like.
- Last Week: 3-2
- 2021 Season: 9-6
Come get these winners.
Chicago Bears (-2.5) over Detroit Lions
The Bears put together one of the least inspiring performances in recent history in Week 3, producing less than 100 total yards and giving Justin Fields no chance to succeed. That is an indictment on Chicago’s long-term situation under Matt Nagy, to be sure, but it also opens the door to some value here. From a power ranking standpoint, the Bears are better than the Lions, and they’re playing at home. This number is a bit of an overreaction, and nobody wants to have Chicago this week. We do.
New York Jets (+7.5) over Tennessee Titans
Mercifully, I’m not taking the Jaguars on Thursday, even against my better judgment. I am going back to the well with the Jets, though. For one, I am lower on Tennessee than some. I also don’t think the Jets are quite as bad offensively as they’ve looked to this point. Getting more than a touchdown at home is a buy point here.
New England Patriots (+7) over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I am going to stand in front of the steamroller. More than 95 percent (!) of tickets are on the Buccaneers at multiple shops right now. The entire world is on Tampa Bay in Tom Brady’s return to Foxboro. I get it. The Bucs are better than the Pats. The narrative is riding strong for Brady to produce a big game. This is still a valuable number on New England, and I like to be on the opposite side of public opinion. The Patriots have a strong defense and Bill Belichick will have a game plan.
New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers UNDER 49.5 points
This could win in two ways. If the Patriots bow up against the Bucs and hold them in check defensively, this could be a slugfest. If things go terribly wrong for New England and they get blown out, it could also play to the advantage of the Under. Tampa Bay’s run defense is elite and, while they are vulnerable through the air, it is hard to see New England dialing up a 30-point performance with explosiveness. For good measure, the market is trending down here, and we’re hopping on before it gets to 49.
Los Angeles Chargers (-3.5) over Las Vegas Raiders
There is a split building, at least in the ticket count, in advance of Monday night’s game. Las Vegas is undefeated and they have enjoyed high-profile wins. Los Angeles upset Kansas City last week and, quite honestly, I wish they hadn’t for market purposes. Alas, the Chargers are still the better team top to bottom, and I think the Raiders are a little bit overinflated right now. I don’t always love to give out favorites, but this is the side I want to be on.