How to Bet Week 4’s Best NFL Games, Including Vikings-Bears and Cowboys-Saints

Paul Bovi of and Borgata sportsbook director Tom Gable offer their informed opinions

September 27, 2019 6:00 am
How to Bet Week 4’s Best NFL Games, including Cowboy/Saints and Vikings/Bears
Dak Prescott gets sacked by Craig Robertson last season. (Richard Rodriguez/Getty)
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This is NFL Best Bets, a weekly series in which professional sports handicappers lend us their insights and picks for the most intriguing matchups for each week of the football season. 

For this edition of Best Bets, Paul Bovi, a sports betting expert from who’s been handicapping games for three decades, and Thomas Gable, the director of race and sportsbook at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, shared their opinions on five games on the NFL’s slate of Week 4 matchups, including a divisional matchup between two of the NFL’s best defensive teams in the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings.

You’ve got places to go, people to see and possibly some wagers to make, so let’s get to it.

Redskins (+3, +130, O/U 49.5) at Giants

One of the Week 3’s most-hyped players, Daniel Jones, will start his first game at home for the 1-2 Giants. His opponents, on paper at least, look very beatable as Washington heads into the game at 0-3 after being destroyed by the Bears on Monday Night Football. Redskins quarterback Case Keenum had five turnovers in the game but will remain Washington’s starter, for now.

Bovi’s take: “Heir apparent Daniel Jones took over the reins from Eli Manning, the latter who was in his 16th year as quarterback. Jones both ran and threw for a pair of touchdowns while providing a huge spark for the offense in a 32-31 come from behind win in Week 3. Despite the victory, the Giants’ secondary was once again exploited, this time by quarterback Jameis Winston, to the tune of 380 yards. Opposing quarterbacks have averaged 345 yards passing in their three games against New York. The Skins have also had issues defending the pass as both Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz posted huge numbers while Mitch Trubisky was very efficient in completing 25 of 32 passes on Monday in the Bears’ win. I would say [Washington coach] Jay Gruden is an idiot because his play calling was atrocious on Monday. I don’t know what the hell the coach was thinking. I don’t know what Keenan was thinking, but it was just atrocious. Just the whole thing was idiotic for the Redskins. Despite the loss of Saquon Barkley for the Giants, I’ll look for a higher scoring game and side with the over.”

Gable’s take: “Daniel Jones is the story obviously, in this game, with Barkley being out now for four to eight weeks. We’ll see what Jones can muster here against the Redskins. But this game, we opened the line at the Giants favorite by 2.5 and it’s since moved to three. The Redskins have just looked so poor that the vast majority of the money is going to be on the Giants, for sure, in this game. At times, the Redskins have looked okay defensively. I don’t know how you can continue on with Case Keenum. It would be a compelling match up, to have [rookie quarterback] Dwayne Haskins start against Jones. I think then you might actually get some people to take a shot on the Redskins. But if they stay with Keenum, with as bad as he has looked, I don’t see why there would be a reason to take the Redskins in this game. I would certainly take the Giants and lay the points.”

Our Pick: Bet against Keenum and take the Giants and lay the points

Browns (+7, +260, O/U 45.5) at Ravens

Through three games, there has probably been no bigger disappointment in the NFL than the 1-2 Cleveland Browns and Baker Mayfield. Cleveland’s lone win on the season came against a Jets team playing their third-string QB and the Browns were far from dominant. Now, they get a 2-1 Baltimore team coming off a close game against the class of the AFC in the Chiefs. The Ravens can take a commanding lead in the AFC North with a win.

Bovi’s take: “The Browns have not lived up to expectations, as they were defeated at home by the Rams while falling to 1-2. Clearly, they are having issues protecting Baker Mayfield who has struggled thus far in completing only 57 percent of his passes while throwing five interceptions vs only three touchdowns. They get a Ravens team that has had their issues defending the pass. In the past two weeks, Patrick Mahomes and Kyler Murray totaled 52 completions on 77 attempts while combining for 723 yards against them. Lamar Jackson, to me, has a lot to prove. He’s 46 for 80 the last two weeks in terms of completion percentage. That’s not NFL-caliber quarterback material. And last year his numbers were very pedestrian. Jackson may be a very good quarterback, but he’s still got to prove it. I think Mayfield is going to have a decent game this week. I really do. I think he’s going to find a way to score some points. And I was against the Browns on Sunday, but it’s a different week and I think they have a shot here. The number is rich despite the injuries to the Browns’ secondary. Take the points.”

Gable’s take: “This game is going to get a lot of interest. The Ravens really showed something against the Chiefs last week. They made a believer out of me with that performance. Jackson looked very good. The Browns issue right now really is their offensive line. They are not giving Mayfield much time to throw the ball at all and the defenses are getting through them and getting to Mayfield. We have taken only Ravens money so far. There has not been one single Browns wager that we have taken. The Ravens have impressed so far, even in that loss to Kansas City. They hung in there with one of the best teams in the National Football League. The Browns … there’s a lot of egos on that team. Freddie Kitchens, I think the jury is still out on him on whether or not he can be a successful head coach in this league. I would not expect to see a turnaround in this game given how the Ravens have looked in the early part of the season.”

Our Pick: Hope Mayfield and Jackson light it up and take the over

Chargers (-16, -1,100, O/U 44) at Dolphins

Underdogs by more than 20 points last week in Dallas, the winless Dolphins actually hung with the Cowboys for the first half before ultimately losing 31-6 — and failing to cover in the process. This week, Miami hosts a 1-2 Chargers team that hasn’t played the same level of football that got them to the second round of the playoffs last season.

Bovi’s take: “The Dolphins may well set a record for futility in 2019 as they have thus far been outscored 133-16 in their three losses. While the situation is extremely rare, laying 16 points on the road is generally an unfavorable wagering proposition in the NFL. While this is a must-win for the Chargers, I can see the Dolphins getting to the end zone at least once here. I don’t think the Chargers are playing great right now. They have some injuries and 16 points on the road in the NFL is just way out of character. It rarely happens and now it’s happening with a team which cannot even be considered great at this point. For me, games like this is you’ve got to play the underdog or you’ve got to pass because you can’t lay 16 on the road. It’s just insane. We’ll side with the over.”

Gable’s take: “We know that the Dolphins are going to be tanking this year. The whole world knows that, but they did manage to stay in the game for the first half against the Cowboys which was somewhat surprising. The Cowboys had that huge spread and ended up being able to cover because it broke out in the second half. But it was still a game at halftime. The Chargers have also been very disappointing this year. They’ve had some injuries. This is going to be an interesting game strictly from a Chargers perspective, to see if they come out and destroy the Dolphins as they should and maybe finally get back into the standings of where bettors will look at them as they were prior to the season starting. We’ll see if they can cover. It is a lot of points in the National Football League, but I think that they can come out and do that.”

Our Pick: Pray for some defensive touchdowns and take the over

Vikings (+2.5, +115, O/U 38.5) at Bears

The wins haven’t always been pretty, but both of these NFC North foes come into this tough divisional matchup at 2-1. Both teams have played good defense over the first three games of the season which has offset inconsistent performances from their offenses. A timely turnover seems like it could be the difference in this one.

Bovi’s take: “The jury is still out on both teams as it relates to the offense. While the Bears scored 31 in their 16-point win over the Skins on Monday, they barely eclipsed the 300-yard mark. In the prior two games, they scored 16 and three in a two-point win over the Broncos preceded by a seven-point loss to the Packers. The Vikings have gotten their running game going this year as Dalvin Cook has amassed 375 yards in their first three games with an impressive average of 6.6 yards per carry. Kirk Cousins has attempted only 63 passes thus far with a 58 percent completion rate with three TDs vs two interceptions. Last year, the Bears dominated the Vikings in winning both of their games, the latter of which denied Minnesota a playoff berth in the final week. The Bears come in a small favorite. Lay the number.”

Gable’s take: “This is the lowest total on the board with good reason. Both defenses are very strong. The Bears defense is very good without question. Mitchell Trubisky … the jury is still out on this guy. I’m not a believer in Mitchell. I think the Vikings, with their running game, take this. They haven’t thrown the ball that much, but they really haven’t had to either. Their running game is that strong and they’ve gotten great results from it. But the Bears are going to be probably the toughest defense that they’ve seen thus far. Tor me personally, this is going to be probably the most interesting game for me to watch.  This game is really going to be a defensive struggle and I’m picking my poison here between Kirk Cousins and Trubisky. I would be taking the Vikings. I just think they’re a better team right now than the Bears.”

Our Pick: Look for Trubisky turnovers and take the Vikings with the points

Cowboys (-2.5, -135, O/U 47) at Saints

If Drew Brees wasn’t injured, this would be the game of the week. As is, it’s still a pretty good matchup considering the 2-1 Saints are playing at home in New Orleans coming off a big road win against the Seahawks in Seattle. The Cowboys come in undefeated but their wins have come against three teams (Giants, Redskins, Dolphins) that only have a single win between them.

Bovi’s take: “Last year the Saints rolled into Dallas with a 10-game winning streak and were humbled by the Cowboys 13-10 as New Orleans was held to less than 200 yards of offense. The Saints got a huge win on Sunday, on the road, as they held off Seattle 33-27. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater managed the game well, while Alvin Kamara totaled 161 all-purpose yards. Still, the Saints have had issues defending the run in relinquishing a shade over five yards per carry on 77 attempts while allowing a 100+ yard receiver in each of their first contests. The Saints still have a pretty decent team. It’s not like Bridgewater doesn’t have experience. The guy had two pretty good years with the Vikings, so it’s not as though the talent has dropped off a cliff. I think this Dallas should be a one-point favorite here, not 2.5. I think it’s just an overreaction if you ask me. Dallas has the edges and should get the win on the road, 24-20.”

Gable’s take: “Competent is a great word for Bridgewater. He wasn’t setting the world on fire last week, but he was doing enough to get the job done. They played a great game overall. I thought the Saints really looked good against Seattle. The Cowboys are certainly one of, if not the strongest team in the NFC. The schedule has been light for them and this is going to really be a test for them. If they come out here and beat the Saints, they’re going to be the team to beat in the NFC. That’s how they’re going to be viewed. The Saints defense is going to have to show up here to contain Prescott and Elliot. This is a tough line right now. But for me, I could see the Cowboys actually coming out of here with a big, big win.”

Our Pick: Hope Brees is missed and take the Cowboys and lay the points

Last Week’s Picks: 4-1, Season: 9-6

Editor’s note: Lines fluctuate throughout the week based on injuries, weather reports and other factors. Make sure to double-check odds before betting.

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