NFL Week 4 reaction: Three betting takeaways from another wild Sunday

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) passes the football in the first half against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field
Photo of Andrew Ortenberg

Andrew Ortenberg


Show Bio

I'm an NFL handicapper here at Pickswise who was raised in a household full of sports fanatics. Since I unfortunately never had LeBron James' jumping ability I wasn't able to make it to the NBA, and chose writing about sports as the next best thing. An avid sports bettor myself, I'm excited to get to write about the industry as it gets set to take off across the country. Buckle up. For Andrew Ortenberg media enquiries, please email
Read more about Andrew Ortenberg

We still have one game left to go, but it’s been another great Sunday so far. There was a lot of uncertainty entering Week 4, and we now know a lot more about where things stand. We had multiple overtimes, some thrilling shootouts, and everything in between.

Hopefully you had a successful day of wagering. Week 4 isn’t over, be sure to check out our game preview for Monday Night Football as the Chargers host the Raiders. Before we turn our attention to Week 5, it’s also important to digest what we just saw. Here are my top three takeaways from a betting perspective from a wild Sunday:

Don’t sell low on teams

Betting the NFL is like any other market, you want to buy low and sell high. Point spreads operate like markets, and there’s no point selling on a team at the bottom of their price point. That was made abundantly clear by some of the Week 4 results. A week after one of the ugliest losses in recent NFL history, the Bears came out and easily covered the spread in a double-digit win over the Lions.

It seems the market overreacted to a single abysmal game from Chicago against a Browns defense that appears to be legitimately very good after holding the Vikings to seven points in Week 4. After getting shutout 26-0 last week, there were an endless onslaught of stories about how pitiful the Jets were. Then they went out and won outright as a large underdog to the Titans. Week 4 taught a valuable lesson: there’s often value to be found when a team hits rock bottom.

Check out our reaction to Sunday Night Football, where the Bucs won but it was the Patriots who impressed

Word of the Chiefs’ demise was greatly exaggerated

Speaking of overreactions, there was a lot of talk this week about how the Chiefs can’t cover. Kansas City was 2-12 against the spread in its last 14 games, and bettors had been burned a ton. The Chiefs lost two games outright back to back, causing a lot of panic in the media. Sharp bettors clearly weren’t scared away by the Chiefs’ poor recent performances against the spread.

They opened as a -5.5 favorites over Philadelphia, and that number quickly shot up to a full touchdown. They covered both numbers easily in a 42-30 victory. It goes to show, trends aren’t the end all be all. The fact that the Chiefs hadn’t been great against the number in the past probably shouldn’t have weighed too heavily in your handicap of the game against the Eagles.

Home-field advantage, is it a thing of the past?

Another week, another solid performance from road teams. In the 13 games of the Sunday early slate, road teams went 8-5 straight up. They were also 8-5 against the spread. We heard a lot of chatter about how big an advantage the Saints’ first home game of the year would be. The first full crowd at the Superdome in nearly two years! The house was going to be rocking! And then New Orleans lost outright as a -7 favorite to the previously 0-3 Giants.

The more data we get, the more it seems like home-field advantage just doesn’t mean what it used to. It was an interesting factor to talk about during the preseason, since the impact of the return of fans to the stands was definitely an unknown. But it seems like that impact is going to prove to be minimal. It’ll be fascinating to see if oddsmakers start shading lines a bit more toward road teams if this hot play continues.

Make sure you read Jared Smith’s best early bets for Week 5 of the NFL season!

Pickswise is the home of free NFL Picks and NFL Odds. Check out the latest NFL Prop Bets and NFL Parlays as well as expert NFL Underdog Picks and NFL Computer Picks.

By signing up you agree to our terms and privacy policy