The NFC East is also a combined 2-10-0 against the spread this year, the worst showing of any division through three weeks since at least 2007, the first year betting data is available from TruMedia.
One of this week’s best bets involves picking against an NFC East team, but betting on any of the division’s teams is not recommended.
Our league-projection formula helps determine how often one team should beat another based on actual and projected win rates. That gives us win probabilities for every game, as well as an implied margin of victory — helpful for picking games against the spread.
Cleveland Browns at Dallas Cowboys (-4½)
Pick: Cleveland Browns +4½
The Cowboys’ defensive line is stopping just 13 percent of rushers at or behind the line of scrimmage this season, well below the league average rate of 17 percent. That’s enough of a reason to like Cleveland’s running back duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt in this matchup. Chubb is averaging 4.3 yards per carry after contact, the second highest rate in the league, and Hunt isn’t too far behind, tied for No. 6 with an average of 3.8 yards per carry after contact.
Indianapolis Colts (-2½) at Chicago Bears
Pick: Indianapolis Colts -2½
Philip Rivers is developing chemistry with his new Colts teammates, posting a 91.1 Total Quarterback Rating against the New York Jets on Sunday, per ESPN, his best rating since 2018. The Colts’ defense is doing its job, too. Indianapolis has the NFL’s second highest rated defensive unit, according to the game charters at Pro Football Focus, and the Colts’ secondary has allowed a league-low 64.0 passer rating in 2020.
Sure, the team’s last two opponents are a combined 0-6, but even after you adjust for opponent, the Colts are the best team in the NFL according to Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, which measures a team’s efficiency by comparing success on every play to a league average based on situation and opponent.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Cincinnati Bengals (-3)
Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars +3
The Bengals are predictable. Coach Zac Taylor and offensive coordinator Brian Callahan have called a pass play 70 percent of the time on first down this season, the most in the NFL, which allows defenses to set up accordingly, leading to Cincinnati producing a league-low 3.8 yards per play on first down. That, in turn, forces the Bengals into long-yardage situations, which often mean drives go three-and-out.
Season best bets record: 4-5.
The three games above represent our best plays of the week because our analysis shows the point spreads are the most divergent from what we expect to happen once the teams take the field. Below, you will find picks for the other games on this week’s schedule. However, trying to pick every single NFL game is something of a fool’s errand. The house wins so often partly because bettors try to make too many plays when the odds aren’t in their favor. Keep that in mind when evaluating the remaining games from the Week 4 slate.
Denver Broncos (-1) at New York Jets
Arizona Cardinals (-3½) at Carolina Panthers
Pick: Carolina Panthers +3½
New Orleans Saints (-4) at Detroit Lions
Pick: New Orleans Saints -4
Minnesota Vikings at Houston Texans (-3½)
Pick: Minnesota Vikings +3½
Seattle Seahawks (-6½) at Miami Dolphins
Pick: Seattle Seahawks -6½
Los Angeles Chargers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-7)
Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers -7
Baltimore Ravens (-13) at Washington Football Team
Pick: Baltimore Ravens -13
New York Giants at Los Angeles Rams (-12½)
Pick: Los Angeles Rams -12½
New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs (-7)
Pick: Kansas City Chiefs -7
Buffalo Bills (-3) at Las Vegas Raiders
Philadelphia Eagles at San Francisco 49ers (-7)
Pick: San Francisco 49ers -7
Pittsburgh Steelers (-2) at Tennessee Titans
Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers -2
Atlanta Falcons at Green Bay Packers (-7)
Pick: Green Bay Packers -7