NFL Picks Week #4 (2020 regular season)

NFL PICKS (WEEK #4)

BY PROFESSOR MJ

University Professor. PhD in stats. Proud dad of 2 boys.

 

 

Written Thursday October 1st, 2020 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time (spreads/odds may have changed)

Would you like to run the chance of winning $100 USD simply by posting your top NFL pick of the week? Keep reading this article until the end for details later on.

Now, if you have bet the “over” in every single NFL game in 2020, you are a rich man!

Indeed, the “over” holds an impressive 30-18 record so far; that’s a 62.5% win percentage.

This week, I’m going to mix some “regular” picks against the spread with some plays on totals, and also an additional pick where I’m taking a team in the first quarter.

Without further ado, let’s review my value bets for Week #4 in the NFL!

PICK #1 (4 STARS): LOS ANGELES CHARGERS +7 AT TAMPA BAY BUCS

I do not like picking West Coast teams playing an early Sunday game, but I’ll make an exception here.

The Chargers have been involved in tight games thus far this season, thanks to their stout defense. Their most impressive game might have been one of their two losses: an overtime thriller against the Chiefs. Did you see what Kansas City did to Baltimore last week? They CRUSHED them. Knowing that the Chargers could have beaten them reinforces my confidence that Los Angeles can manage to cover the 7-point spread in Tampa.

Meanwhile, the Bucs have looked good recently, but they beat two weak teams: the Carolina Panthers and the injury-riddled Denver Broncos. In Week #1, they lost by 11 points to the Saints.

My level of confidence decreases due to injuries, as the Chargers seem more decimated than Tampa Bay. The Bucs will be missing star wide receiver Chris Godwin, and maybe running back Leonard Fournette and cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting.

For Los Angeles, defensive end Melvin Ingram is out, as well as starting CB Chris Harris. That hurts, even though Desmond King is a very capable replacement for Harris.

The Chargers had also already lost center Mike Pouncey, and now they have Bryan Bulaga and Trai Turner listed as questionable. Backups Trey Pipkins and Forrest Lamp both received awful ProFootballFocus grades last week: 37.5 and 44.8, respectively. That’s brutal!

I believe the public is overreacting to last week’s results. Sure, the Chargers lost to the lowly Panthers, but they were killed by four turnovers. They dominated total yardage, total first downs, and even converted 10-of-15 third down situations. Tampa Bay cruised to an easy 28-to-10 victory over the Broncos, who were missing TONS of starters at key positions.

If not for the Chargers injuries, I’d rate this play five stars.

PICK #2 (3 STARS): CHICAGO BEARS +0.5 FIRST QUARTER VS INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

The Colts cruised to an easy 36-7 win over the Jets last week. That sets up the table nicely for a soft start in Chicago this week, which is why I’m banking on the Bears to at least tie the first quarter against Indy.

Moreover, the Colts will be missing two receivers: Parris Campbell and rookie Michael Pittman. I don’t trust Zach Pascal too much, and T.Y. Hilton has not done much damage this year with 3 or 4 receptions in each game thus far. Indy’s secondary has also been hit by the injury bug with safety Malik Hooker out and CB Rock Ya-Sin listed as questionable.

Meanwhile, the Bears are relatively healthy, except for backup RB Tarik Cohen.

I’m betting Chicago to start the game strong. Replacing Mitchell Trubisky by Nick Foles at quarterback is like a breath of fresh air for the Bears.

PICK #3 (3 STARS): NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS +7 AT KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

I would find it very uncomfortable to bet a team to win by 8 points or more against a Bill Belichick-coached squad. He just finds ways to stop your best players, and force you to play to your weaknesses.

We had another perfect example last week. Darren Waller is clearly the Raiders’ top receiving target. He looked unstoppable against the Saints, where he caught 12 passes for over 100 yards. The Pats did everything they could to stop him: he was limited to two receptions for a meager 9 yards. They forced Derek Carr to throw to other receivers, and their offense ended up struggling to find a good rhythm.

I’m betting that Bill Belichick reviewed very carefully the Chiefs-Ravens game and he won’t let that happen to his defense. He will take notes on how the Chargers were able to slow down Kansas City’s high-powered offense back in Week #2.

Here are a couple more arguments favoring this play. First, the Chiefs lose one day of preparation following their Monday night matchup with Baltimore. Also, the Pats will be looking to avenge a 23-to-16 home loss to the Chiefs last year in Week 14.

New England center David Andrews will miss the game and he will be replaced by an unproven guy whose name I cannot pronounce (Hjalte Froholdt). That’s a source of concern.

The Chiefs could be without stud defensive tackle Chris Jones and right guard Andrew Wylie. Their status is still up in the air.

I like the Pats to cover the 7-point spread.

PICK #4 (2 STARS): MIAMI DOLPHINS +6.5 VS SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

Miami has the rest factor going their way, as they will be benefiting from three additional days of rest after playing last Thursday. Also, Seattle will be traveling through three time zones to play a game that will feel like 10 AM Pacific Time at kickoff this Sunday.

This matchup also has all the looks of a trap game for the Seahawks. They are coming off big meetings against the Patriots and the Cowboys. Facing a mediocre Dolphins team clearly does not look super enticing for Seattle.

The line opened at 6.5, then moved to 7 points after the Sunday games. Sharp money backed the Dolphins pretty hard, which forced sportsbooks to go back to 6.5. If the line goes back to 7, I’m going to add more money to my initial investment on Miami.

The Seahawks have quite a few guys whose status for Sunday is uncertain: running backs Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde, cornerback Quinton Dunbar, tight end Will Dissly, but most importantly safety Jamal Adams and offensive linemen Mike Iupati and Ethan Pocic.

On Miami’s side, the only noteworthy player on the injury list is cornerback Byron Jones, who could be back after missing the Week #3 meeting with the Jaguars.

The Dolphins are coming off a convincing win in Jacksonville as 3-point underdogs. Prior to this victory, they had lost to a couple of very tough opponents: Buffalo and New England. In both cases, they kept the score close.

Ryan Fitzpatrick is a true warrior and he won’t have trouble putting points on the board against a defense that has allowed an average of 29 points this year.

BETS ON TOTALS

Here is the average number of points scored in each of the three weeks so far this season: 47.4, 53.3 and 52.2. Overall, 51 points have been scored on average per matchup. That’s the highest scoring the league has ever seen through three weeks.

As a comparison, the average line on totals in Week #4 is currently 49.8. I don’t see any reason why scoring should go down. After a rocky offseason due to covid-19, defensive tackling might improve, but offenses are finding their rhythm and timing.

Here are four games where I would bet the over:

  • Over 43 Colts-Bears
  • Over 51 Cards-Panthers
  • Over 53.5 Seahawks-Dolphins
  • Over 56.5 Falcons-Packers (these two teams combined have been involved in games where the average number of points was 67.5!!!)

DO YOU WANT TO WIN $100 USD?

BetOnline.ag is running a contest similar to the famous Westgate Super Contest, where you pick five teams against the spread every week. For each correct pick, you rack up one point.

The prize pool at BetOnline is $250,000, including $100,000 to the winner.

Through the first three weeks, out of 2671 participants, I’m currently sitting in 2nd place with 13 correct picks versus only two that missed. That’s awesome!

Not only am I in a good position for the season prizes, but I’ve got a fair shot to win the $4,000 quarterly prize. As a matter of fact, the top contestant after Week #4 will earn $4k. Wish me luck!

If I do win the $4,000 prize this weekend (or part of it after sharing with tied contestants), I’ve decided to give away $100 to one of you.

All you need to do is post YOUR top pick of the week in the NFL in the comment section below my weekly YouTube video. Here is the link.

Enjoy your weekend, and let’s crush those bookies together!!!

Professor MJ

(Sports Betting Expert / University Professor / PhD in statistics)