A bunch of wacky things happened in Week 3. That’s what makes NFL betting so fun but also so challenging. In Week 4, we’re expecting a reverting back to the norm.
That includes the Buffalo Bills going back to being a struggling cellar-dweller, the Jacksonville Jaguars getting back in the win column and the New England Patriots putting forth their best effort of the young season. We’ll start there as we handicap our top four ATS plays for Week 4:
The line: Patriots -6.5 at Karamba.
A lot of people are hopping on the Dolphins bandwagon right now, but I just don’t see it. Yes, the Patriots have underwhelmed and their numbers don’t look good, but neither do the Dolphins.
Miami is 3-0 with the league’s 23rd-ranked offense and 21st-ranked defense. The Dolphins have given up a lot of yards, but where they’ve played well on defense is curtailing the points. They’re sixth in points per game allowed at (17.3), but that’s a bit misleading.
For starters, look at the opponents (Tennessee, New York Jets and Oakland). The Titans lost several key offensive players in that game, while the Jets and Raiders have their offensive issues. Compounding the problems is the Dolphins front seven lost Alan Branch and William Hayes this week. This unit has just six sacks this season but Hayes had two of them.
At the end of the day, I don’t see the Dolphins being 4-0 at the end of September, having a three-game lead on New England. Originally, I was going to stay away, but now that the Patriots have dropped below a touchdown, I’ll back them.
I see this as the spot where New England gets right. Bet the Patriots -6.5 with Karamba.
The line: Packers -10 at Karamba.
This is another game that feels like things will revert back to the norm. A lot of people will be teased by the Bills with the points after they went into Minnesota and won easily. And it will help that the Packers lost outright – and quite easily – to the Washington Redskins.
However, the Packers aren’t that bad and the Bills aren’t that good.
The Packers are sure to be more careful with the Bills. Minnesota was sloppy with early turnovers and that gave the Bills life. In the first two weeks, their opponents had picked apart the defense, got ahead and broken the Bills spirit. That’s more likely what we’ll see here.
Green Bay has had a tough schedule to start the season with Chicago, Minnesota and Washington, but this should feel much easier. Rodgers will find the holes, get ahead early and Bills rookie Josh Allen won’t have the magic he did last week.
The line: Cowboys -3 at Karamba.
This spread has surprised a lot of people, but in the NFL you have to look at the big picture and not simply what happened last week.
Yes, the Cowboys are struggling and the Lions are coming off a huge win over the New England Patriots. But there’s one stat that will matter in this game, and that’s the Cowboys ability to run the ball.
As listless as the Cowboys offense has been so far, much of that has been the fault of the passing game. The running game is still doing great, leading the league in yards per carry (6.0) and seventh in rushing yards per game (132.7).
At the other end of the spectrum is the Lions run defense, which comes into the game allowing the highest yards per carry (5.4) and most rushing yards per game (149.3). Even New England, which trailed all game and played from behind last week, averaged 4.8 yards per carry.
Laying points with the Cowboys might seem dicey but this is the spot to do it. Bet Dallas -3 with Karamba.
The line: Jaguars -7.5 at Karamba.
The Jaguars scored only six points in a brutal home loss to Tennessee this past weekend. There’s no way to sugarcoat that, but it’s worth noting that the Titans seem to have their number.
Now the Jags should get much more of a softball this week when they host the New York Jets.
The Jets are led by rookie Sam Darnold, who has not only played poorly since the opening win at Detroit, but has also been handcuffed by the coaching staff.
Everything they are calling is short and up front, and that’s allowing defenses to crowd the line. And the Jets don’t have a reliable ground game, so that’s going to make this road trip extra challenging. They’re averaging just 3.7 yards per carry (24th in NFL), so it is Darnold who is going to have to lead the way.
But against a rugged Jags defense that’s coming off a loss? That seems like too tall an order. Lay the 7.5 points with Jacksonville at Karamba.