NFL Week 4: Best Bets ATS

09 / 30 / 2021 By Ally Mielnicki

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After going 3-2 in my best bets column last week and 4-1 in Week 2, it’s time again to give you my top 5 picks ATS heading into Week 4 of NFL action.

Out of the 16 games on the slate for this weekend, 7 matchups feature a team favored by 7 or more points. As we witnessed in the Ravens’ last-second, record-breaking field goal win over the Lions and the Chargers upset over the defending AFC Champion Chiefs, anything can happen, and nothing is a sure bet this NFL season.

With that said, here are my top 5 Best Bets ATS for Week 4:

Broncos -1 over Ravens

The average fan may not realize that the Ravens could effortlessly be sporting an 0-3 record heading into this weekend. If it wasn’t for a Clyde Edwards-Helaire fumble late in the 4th quarter of a Week 2 against the Chiefs and a miraculous record-setting 66-yard field goal by Justin Tucker as time expired in Week 3, Baltimore would be sitting winless at the bottom of the AFC North. Despite escaping two close calls, the Ravens still have not resembled the playoff team they have been in recent years and have struggled on defense to keep the opposing team from scoring.

On the other hand, Denver has been impressive on defense and has managed to show off their newly-improved offense led by offseason QB acquisition Teddy Bridgewater. Fresh off a 26-0 shutout of the lowly NY Jets, the Broncos will look to apply their defensive pressure to Ravens QB Lamar Jackson and force him to throw rather than use his feet. Even with the addition of WR Sammy Watkins, Baltimore’s receiving core remains thin behind Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and TE Mark Andrews. 

Though the Broncos have beaten opponents with a combined 0-9 record, this is not a team to overlook. In fact, given their sub .500 record the past few seasons, casual bettors are not giving this team any respect despite having a well-balanced squad and superior defense. The public has been pounding the Ravens all week, and the line has yet to shift in their favor. Take Denver.

Patriots +7 over Bucs

The most-anticipated game of the week can be found on Sunday Night Football when Tom Brady returns to Foxboro for a highly-anticipated matchup against his former team, the New England Patriots. All eyes will watch as Brady goes up against Bill Belichick’s squad in a must-watch affair. 

While Brady’s arrival led to instant success for the Bucs and a Super Bowl title, the Patriots trended in the opposite direction, missing the playoffs in 2020 and beginning the 2021 campaign with a 1-2 record. 

On paper, this should be a relatively easy win for Brady and his offensive weapons of WRs, Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, and Antonio Brown, along with TE (and former Patriot) Rob Gronkowski. However, Belichick knows Brady better than any head coach out there. You can be sure he will be drawing up a game plan to neutralize the Bucs’ offense and give his young QB, rookie Mac Jones, a chance to show he is the successor to Brady that New England drafted him to be. 

I always go against the public in these matchups that seem like a sure bet on one side, and this case is no different. Especially with the Bucs coming off of a road loss to the Rams, casual fans will assume Brady will bounce back with a vengeance. Don’t fall trap to that narrative. The Bucs may win, but the Patriots will hang in and cover the spread. Take the points.

Giants +7.5 over Saints

Full disclosure: I am an avid Giants fan, so for me to bank on my team to cover, given their track record over recent years, means I am not catering to my bias. When there is money involved, I try never to allow my emotions to get the better of me. 

In back-to-back weeks, I had to suffer watching a time-expiring field goal destroy any chances of my team getting their first win of the season. While QB Daniel Jones has shown improvement – limiting himself to only 1 turnover in the first 3 games – Jason Garrett’s offense has struggled to put points on the board, especially in the red zone. Leaving valuable points on the field has contributed to all of their losses to date.

The Saints, on the other end, have been vastly inconsistent to start their season. After dismantling the Packers in Week 1, 38-3, New Orleans followed that up with a dismal 26-7 loss to the Panthers before bouncing back to beat the Patriots 28-13, thanks to 3 Mac Jones interceptions.

If the Giants can protect the ball as they have done the past two games, there is no reason why New York should not keep this contest close and low-scoring. There will be an array of emotions in the Superdome this weekend in the first home game since Hurricane Ida ravaged the area. Still, the Giants should keep the game intact with their defense able to capitalize on a few Jameis Winston mistakes. Back the road underdogs.

Colts +1.5 over Dolphins

Despite losing second-year QB Tua Tagovailoa to injury, the Dolphins appeared unfazed with backup Jacoby Brissett filling in this past Sunday against the Raiders, going up 14-0 early in the 1st quarter. After that, however, everything seemed to go downhill as Miami ended up falling in OT to Las Vegas by a score of 31-28. This loss added to the embarrassing 35-0 catastrophe they suffered the previous week at home against the division-rival Bills. 

The Colts (0-3) have not had an easy start to the 2021 season either, despite trading for former Eagles QB Carson Wentz to anchor the offense after Philip Rivers announced his retirement in the offseason. Indy has played one of the more brutal schedules in the league, with games against the Seahawks, Rams, and Titans to begin the season. Now, going up against an inferior or injured Miami squad may be precisely what the team needs to get back on track.

Even though he is injury-prone, Wentz is still the superior QB in this competition and should lead the Colts to put points on the board under the warm Miami sun. Take the 1.5 points to be safe, but don’t be surprised if Indy wins outright.

Packers -7 over Steelers

In perhaps the most entertaining game of Week 3, the Packers managed to upset the 49ers on the road with a Mason Crosby field goal as time expired on Sunday Night Football. A week removed from taking care of the Lions 35-17 at home, the Packers appear to have righted the ship after opening the season with an atrocious 38-3 drubbing courtesy of the Saints. Returning to Lambeau this weekend, Aaron Rodgers and co. will look to build off the momentum against Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers, who seem to be trending in the wrong direction.

The Steelers pulled out an anemic win against the Bills in Week 1. Since then, Pittsburgh has lost as home favorites against both the Raiders and Bengals. Roethlisberger has shown signs of deterioration, and the offense, especially the run game, has not been where it needs to be to compete. 

Lambeau is one of the toughest stadiums to play in for opposing teams. If the Steelers have struggled the past 2 weeks to win at home at Heinz Field – another difficult stadium for visiting teams – their woes may continue in front of a loud, booming Packers crowd, still on an adrenaline high from Sunday night’s win. The spread may seem high, but the Steelers are nowhere near the playoff team they once were. Lay the points.

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