NFL Week 4 Preview: Big Games, Big Favorites

Posted on: October 3, 2020, 06:56h. 

Last updated on: October 3, 2020, 06:31h.

Week 3 of the NFL season was a monster, highlighted by huge showdowns between the Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens.

Baltimore Ravens Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens are seeking a bounce-back win on Sunday against the Washington Football Team (Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports)

Week 4, which continues on Sunday? Not so much. What would have been the biggest game of the week, the Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans in the only matchup pitting undefeated teams, was postponed because of numerous positive COVID tests within the Titans.

That didn’t stop Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, from finding a few interesting games.

“You’ll always find something, even if you want to look at two 0-3 teams going against one another,” Avello said to

Big Favorites

The Ravens (2-1) are 14-point favorites over the Washington Football Team (0-3), and the Los Angeles Rams (3-0) are 13.5-point favorites over the New York Giants (0-3).

These 13-point favorites usually don’t show up until later in the season,” Avello noted. “For the Giants, one of their problems is they have multiple injuries. For Washington, they’re just a bad football team.”

The Ravens got smoked by the Chiefs last week, and likely will want to take their frustrations out on hapless Washington. The public agrees, with most of the money coming on the Ravens. Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson, who had a rough night vs. the Chiefs, has thrown 16 touchdowns vs. only one interception in his last five road games.

“We all know that the Ravens are a real good football team, with multiple areas where they can attack you offensively. Even after losing last week, they’re still a big favorite,” Avello said.

The Rams are one of the NFL’s surprises. On the eve of last season, they were +1,100 to win the Super Bowl. On the eve of this season, they were +4,000. Now, they’re +2,000 at Westgate SuperBook and +2,500 at DraftKings.

This Week’s Big Games

Without Titans-Steelers, the game of the week might be the New England Patriots (2-1) at Kansas City (3-0). The Chiefs, the reigning Super Bowl champions and newly minted Super Bowl favorites, were seven-point favorites. But that game is off the board for now after Patriots quarterback Cam Newton tested positive for COVID-19.

The NFL is hoping to play the game on Monday or Tuesday pending additional tests of the roster.

They can certainly run the football,” Avello said of the Patriots, with that ability perhaps keeping the high-flying Chiefs offense off the field. “It’s very rare that you’ll ever see a Patriots team getting a touchdown. That just goes to show you that they’re not the same without Tom Brady there. The under’s been bet. The under’s 53; 90 percent of the money has gone on the under.”

The Los Angeles Chargers’ game at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a battle of young and old quarterbacks, also intrigues Avello. The Bucs are 7-point favorites. The total of 43 has trended downward.

“For Tampa, you’ve got Tom Brady, who’s kind of shown that he’s still OK, but not the Tom Brady of old,” Avello told “The Chargers have this kid, Justin Herbert, who, since taking over, has thrown a couple 300-yard passing games. They’ve got a couple guys injured on defense, but they’re getting a touchdown. That’s a tough game for the bettors, because you want to bet Tom Brady. You think he’s going to win the game. But you’re not so sure on laying the points.”

At FanDuel, 94 percent of the spread money has come on the Seattle Seahawks, who are 6-point favorites over the Miami Dolphins. That’s the most lopsided handle this week. According to Jason Scott of BetMGM, a bettor put a $550,000 bet on the Seahawks to cover.

Opposite of Perfection

The week kicked off on Thursday night. In a battle of teams that were 0-3, the Denver Broncos – who were led by their third-string quarterback – beat the New York Jets 37-28. Now, it’s fair to wonder if the Jets will win a game all season. At DraftKings, the Jets are +1,200 to go 0-16. Their city rivals, the Giants, are +1,600.

In another clash of winless teams, the Minnesota Vikings will play at the Houston Texans on Sunday.

This game has two teams going against each other that are the biggest surprises in the NFL,” Avello said. “No one expected both of these teams to be 0-3. The Minnesota defense has just been terrible. People were expecting two playoff teams. The loser of this game will probably be out.”

The Vikings, having played the Titans last week, had their own COVID scare, which delayed their preparation for this week’s game. But, they are coronavirus-free, and the game will be played as scheduled. Despite the challenges, the Vikings have bitten into the spread a bit, going from 4.5- to 3.5-point underdogs.