NFL Sports Betting Toolkit
This Sunday will mark the quarter-point of the 2021 NFL season, and what a season it’s been.
Unless you like betting overs and favorites. Through Week 3, NFL underdogs are 30-18 against the spread (ATS) for a 62.5% cover rate, and unders have gone 28-20, or a 58.3% hit rate.
These trends will inevitably even out as the season goes on. However, does that start this week? Or are we looking at another week of smash-mouth football?
Either or, I try to avoid generalized trends and inspect each game on an individual basis. I’ve spent the week crunching numbers, and I’ve targeted four lines that provide value in Week 4.
I’m capping the entire slate in this article, covering one bet for the 1 p.m. games, the 4 p.m. games, Sunday Night Football, and Monday Night Football.
So, read on and check out my favorite wagers for this week’s action:
New York Jets +7 vs. Tennessee Titans
1:00 p.m. Sunday
MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
Look, the Jets have to cover at some point. They won’t go 0-17 ATS this season, and there isn’t a better situation for them to cover than this one.
The Jets are a touchdown home underdog against a completely fraudulent 2-1 team. The world is on the Titans, as Tennessee is drawing over 80% of the bets through three weeks. Meanwhile, the projection market has the Jets closer to 5.5-to-6.5 underdogs.
Through three weeks, the Titans are averaging 23 points per game while allowing 28 points per game. They are 27th in Football Outsiders Total DVOA – just three spots above the Jets – and 22nd in PFF’s overall team grades.
The Jets do one thing moderately well, and that’s defend the run. If they can contain Derrick Henry, they should score points on this putrid Titan defense.
Not to mention that the Jets have covered in eight of their last 10 meetings with the Titans. Add it all together, and it’s the perfect recipe for a cover. Fade the public, hold your nose, and take the Jets +7 in this spot.
4:05 p.m. Sunday
Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
The 49ers defense is just too banged up to compete with Russell Wilson and Seattle’s high-flying pass attack. Their top two PFF coverage defenders (Emmanuel Mosely, Dre Greenlaw) are out for this game alongside another cornerback. San Francisco is not very deep in the secondary, and they’re going to attempt to play man-to-man on DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.
Meanwhile, the Seahawks are second in the NFL in Offense DVOA. But not only can Russ cook, this rushing attack is dominant. Among NFL offenses, Seattle ranks second in Rush Expected Points Added (EPA), fourth in Rushing Success Rate, and third in yards per carry.
The Seahawks are going to walk all over the 49ers defense on Sunday. Plus, Wilson is 20-11-2 ATS as a road dog while Kyle Shanahan is just 8-19-1 ATS as a favorite.
I love the Seahawks +3 on Sunday and might even sprinkle their ML.
Sunday Night Football: New England Patriots +7 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
8:20 p.m. ET Sunday
Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA
Go ahead, call me crazy. But like the Jets, I love the Patriots because the world is against them. Over 90% of the tickets and the handle is on Bucs -7, and the line hasn’t moved one inch.
Tom Brady wants to do one thing: Throw the football. The Bucs pass the ball more than anyone in the NFL, dropping back on over 75% of their passes.
The problem is that this plays into the Patriots defensive identity. Their front seven has been questionable so far, but their secondary is a physical, elite unit. The Patriots rank fourth in Pass Defense DVOA while having the 10th highest PFF coverage grade.
If Brady has trouble throwing the ball, Tampa Bay is going to have to rely on a lackluster ground game. Even if they succeed on the ground, that recipe cooks up a low-scoring, smash-mouth game. One in which a seven-point underdog has a huge ATS advantage.
I’m taking the points with another home underdog and hoping that Bill Belichick keeps it within the number for 60 minutes.
Monday Night Football: Los Angeles Chargers -3 vs. Las Vegas Raiders
8:15 p.m. Monday
SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA
The Raiders have looked great. So great, that they’re 3-0 with wins over Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Miami.
But I’m not sold on them. They have a questionable run defense and grade out as one of the worst tackling teams in the NFL, per PFF. Plus, all three of their wins were tight, hard-fought victories. It’s not like Jon Gruden is blowing opponents out of the water.
Now, they travel to Los Angeles to play a Chargers team I’m fully bought in on. Brandon Staley just upset the Chiefs as seven-point underdogs, and Justin Herbert and Co. didn’t look scared doing it. They remained aggressive on offense, and while their defensive metrics are questionable, they’ve held opponents to just 20 points per game.
Derek Carr has looked great, but he’s done it by dialing up throws downfield. PFF gives him a 96.2 passing grade on throws 20+ yards downfield but just a 68.7 grade on throws in-between the sticks.
The Chargers are going to play a deeper cover-2 and try to keep things in front of them. Mahomes managed just 5.9 yards per attempt last week and was intercepted twice on deeper throws. If Mahomes couldn’t break that scheme, how is Carr supposed to?
I’m laying the points with L.A. on Monday Night.