NFL Picks Week #4 (2023 regular season)
NFL PICKS (WEEK #4)
BY PROFESSOR MJ
Written September 27th, 2023 at 2 PM Eastern Time (spreads/odds may have changed)
I have a lot of NFL betting tips for you for Week 4, so are you ready to crush your sportsbooks my friend? I’m Professor MJ, a 15-year university professor of statistics, and I’m here to help grow your bankroll!
PICK #1: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS +7 (AT DALLAS COWBOYS)
Pick number one stood out to me as soon as the lines were released on Sunday night. I am taking the New England Patriots +7 points in Dallas. Did the linesmakers look at the Cowboys versus Cardinals game last week?
The Cowboys’ offense seems a bit off. In their season opener, the Cowboys won 40-0, which makes it look as if the offense rolled. However, the special teams scored a couple of touchdowns, and Dak Prescott only threw for 143 yards. In Game 2, Dallas rolled to a 30-10 victory over the Jets. This time, the high score was tremendously helped by New York turning the ball over on four occasions. Finally, the Cowboys only put 16 points on the board against a pretty weak Arizona defense.
Is it Prescott’s fault? Is Mike McCarthy’s play calling bad? Perhaps a mix of both. Speaking of McCarthy, I personally believe he isn’t a very good coach. He makes suspect decisions pretty often. New England’s head coach, Bill Belichick, is light years ahead of him. We have a huge edge for the Patriots right there.
It will be very difficult for Dallas to win this game by more than seven points. Not only is the offense not clicking on all cylinders, but New England’s defense has been very impressive so far in the 2023 season. They allowed just 25 points to the Eagles, then only 24 points to the high-octane Miami offense and just 10 points against the Jets. The Patriots may only need to score 14-17 points to cover the spread here.
It’s also worth noting that Ezekiel Elliott will be facing his former team, so he’ll be extra motivated. Given Dallas’ good pass rushing abilities, the Pats will try to establish the running game. I think they can do it with the combo of Rhamondre Stevenson and Zeke. So far this year the Cowboys have allowed the third-highest yards per carry average.
Let me wrap up this pick with a stunning betting system that almost qualifies here. Home favorites by 7 points or more who are coming off a loss by 17+ points are 0-12 against the spread in the first 9 weeks of the regular season. Granted, the Cowboys lost by a 12-point margin last week, not by 17 or more. Still, I thought it was worth mentioning that a big home favorite coming off a big loss tends to cover the spread very rarely.
Give me the Pats and the additional 7 points in this game.
PICK #2: PITTSBURGH STEELERS -2.5 (AT HOUSTON TEXANS)
My second official NFL pick for Week 4 is the Pittsburgh Steelers laying 2.5 points in Houston. Hats off to rookie C.J. Stroud who has averaged more than 300 passing yards per game so far, and who has thrown 4 TD passes versus no picks. But I’m afraid his great success will hit a wall this weekend against a stout Steelers defense.
Sure, the Texans have scored 37 points against the Jaguars and 20 points against the Colts. But they were limited to a meager 9 points against a stronger Baltimore defense. It won’t be easy facing Pittsburgh’s defense, which is led by the NFL sack leader, T.J. Watt.
The Steelers offense looked pretty bad for the first two and a half games before showing signs of life in the second half against the Raiders last week. Now facing a weak Houston defense, I believe Kenny Pickett and company can put many points on the board. Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren are a good running back combination that should be able to get good chunks of yards this Sunday. I really like Warren’s explosiveness and I wish the Steelers were using him more often.
I also believe this could be a letdown game by the Texans. They are coming off two divisional games against Indy and Jacksonville, including an emotional big victory over the Jags last week. I am projecting a Steelers win by a 27-to-13 score, so I’m putting my money on the Steelers.
LEAN #1: GREEN BAY PACKERS +1.5 (VS DETROIT LIONS)
All right, my first lean of the week goes to the Green Bay Packers as 1.5-point underdog at Lambeau Field against Detroit. Both teams currently have three offensive linemen listed as questionable, so it will be interesting to see who plays and who doesn’t. The lack of protection might be a bigger issue for Jared Goff since he is more of a statue in the pocket, while Jordan Love can escape the pressure with his legs.
I like the Packers in this matchup, the main reason being the revenge factor. Remember that Green Bay got eliminated in the final week of the season last week due to a home loss to those same Lions. The team from the frozen tundra will be looking for some payback.
However, Jared Goff has looked like a superstar when he plays the Packers. He holds a 4-2 career record against them, along with 10 TD passes and just two interceptions. That makes me wary, and that’s one of the reasons I decided to make it a lean instead of an official pick.
LEAN #2: CLEVELAND BROWNS -2.5 (VS BALTIMORE RAVENS)
My second lean for Week 4 in the NFL is the Cleveland Browns -2.5 points against Baltimore. The Browns will be better rested after being at home in 3 of the 4 weeks this year, with the only road game being a short trip to Pittsburgh.
The injury bug has been hitting the Ravens very hard so far in the 2023 campaign. They have a banged up offensive line and their first three running backs are either out or ailing. Even wide receivers Rashod Bateman and Odell Beckham are listed as questionable, along with four defensive starters.
The Browns defense has been light outs so far this year. I might end up betting Cleveland, but so far I haven’t done it. Lamar Jackson is 6-1 against the Browns in his career, so that’s a source of concern.
LEAN #3: LAS ANGELES RAMS +1 (AT INDIANAPOLIS COLTS)
Lean number three goes to the L.A. Rams as slight underdogs in Indianapolis. To me, the Rams are underrated right now. They destroyed the Seahawks on the road before losing tough games against the 49ers and the Bengals. In their game against San Francisco, the Rams picked up 28 first downs versus 21 for the Niners, and they also racked up 386 total yards compared to 365 for Shanahan’s squad. In short, Los Angeles played a solid game against one of the best teams in the NFL.
Gardner Minshew has played well after rookie sensation Anthony Richardson went down to an injury. However, Minshew got sacked five times last week, and things don’t look any better against Aaron Donald this Sunday. There is still a chance that Richardson suits up for Sunday though, so I’ll keep track of his injury status this week.
The Rams lose one day of preparation after playing last Monday, but the Colts could be looking ahead to a couple of divisional games against the Titans and the Jaguars.
LEAN #4: CINCINNATI BENGALS -2.5 (AT TENNESSEE TITANS)
Up next, my fourth lean concerns the Cincinnati versus Tennessee contest. After analyzing this matchup, I am leaning towards the Bengals -2.5 points. Their defense has allowed 24, 27 and 16 points this season so they have done a fine job. Now facing a reeling Titans’ offense that looked awful last week, I like their chances of shutting them down. Can you believe that the Titans only totaled 94 yards of offense last week? That’s unreal!
Joe Burrow owns a perfect 3-0 career record against Tennessee, and I believe he will continue his domination. He looked better last week, as we all know he’s battling an injury.
Tennessee’s defense ranks first in yards-per-carry, but that may not matter this week since the Bengals have a good passing attack. The Titans’ passing defense has been very porous by allowing the 29th-most passing yards per attempt in 2023.
LEAN #5: SEATTLE SEAHAWKS +1 (AT NEW YORK GIANTS)
Finally, my fifth unofficial pick concerns the Monday Night game. Right now, I am siding with the Seattle Seahawks as one-point underdogs. The team stumbled out of the gate by getting dismantled by the Rams, but they have rebounded very nicely since then with a couple of wins.
I like how Seattle has a balanced attack. Geno Smith has done a great job the past two weeks, while Kenneth Walker has been running very well too. To me, that could be the difference in the game. As of now, Saquon Barkley is on the wrong side of questionable, so the Giants may have to rely on the pass too much.
Why am I not making it an official pick then? First, the Giants get three extra days of rest since they played last Thursday. Secondly, they will be looking to avenge a 27-13 loss in Seattle last year.
Still, if forced to bet, I would definitely go with Seattle on Monday night.
I have to share with you a piece of the article written by John Breech on the CBS Sports website. I absolutely love this writer because he has a good mix of good information along with some entertainment. When discussing the Broncos versus Bears game, he wrote the following:
Man, this cracked me up!
Before we wrap it up, a big shout out to Henry Lorona who won my free NFL prediction contest for Week 3!
He brings home $100 US, congrats man! Hats off to Brian Mcguire for finishing in second place, and Anthony Hunt who got third place.
I am running this fun contest once again this week, so sign up at mjpicks.com in order to play this contest for free. Who knows, you could crush the competition and win the $100 prize!
Even though this is not an obligation at all, when signing up at mjpicks.com you could elect to become a full member in order to receive all of my betting picks. As of Wednesday, I have already shared 3 more official NFL picks, and we have many more to come this weekend, including my lucrative player prop bets.
I’m Professor MJ, holder of a PhD in statistics, thanks for reading and I am waiting for your picks against the spread at mjpicks.com, show us your NFL prediction skills, man!
(Sports Betting Expert / University Professor / PhD in statistics)