Eli’s Week 4 NFL Best Bets: 2 Spread Picks Include Bills, Commanders
With NFL Week 4 odds almost underway, this article guides price discovery and handicapping point spreads, moneyline odds, and totals across NFL betting sites. In particular, there were a pair of adjustments to look-ahead lines that stuck out after comparing them to my numbers. They involved Dolphins at Bills and Commanders at Eagles. With that in mind, let’s examine my Week 4 NFL best bets for these two games.
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Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills
Some bettors may be unaware of the term price discovery. As bets pile up on the opening line, it initiates this process. Early action from gamblers is used to modify the odds. Sportsbooks could also decide to trail the operators that are “market makers,” modifying their prices because a polarizing competitor shifted theirs. Of course, their own liability tolerance (or lack thereof) could be enough to move the odds themselves.
For this matchup among AFC East odds, Buffalo was a 3.5-point favorite on the look-ahead line before it dipped to . Here’s why I’m betting against the alteration.
Dolphins Are Overvalued
There, I said it. Tua Tagovailoa, the standalone favorite for NFL MVP odds at , helped generate the most points in a single NFL game since 1966. He also owns the most EPA per play among qualified quarterbacks by a wide margin. But keep in mind that Miami just faced the league’s worst pass defense, which certainly inflated the Dolphins’ offensive efficiency.
Should that have triggered this spread to shorten below the key number of a field goal? Given that Tagovailoa & Co. will go up against a defense that has allowed the second-fewest EPA per dropback, probably not. Even if you’re in the camp that Buffalo’s metrics are slightly overrated after taking on Sam Howell, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Zach Wilson, its secondary is loaded with talent.
Per the graphic below, each of their cornerbacks ranks above league-average in relation to separation yielded to opposing wideouts and their respective target rates.
As long as safeties Micah Hyde (hamstring) and Jordan Poyer (knee) were merely estimated for rest days from Wednesday’s initial walk-through practice, expect Miami to undergo a bit of offensive regression. Conversely, the Dolphins’ injury update appears more worrisome on the surface, especially if center Connor Williams (groin) is unable to suit up versus the Bills’ upper-echelon pass rush.
We haven’t even hit on fellow MVP candidate Josh Allen () yet, either. Buffalo’s signal caller has returned to form after struggling against his Kryptonite in the season opener. He and the Bills’ explosive passing offense will take on Miami’s vulnerable defensive backfield — still without the banged-up Jalen Ramsey. The Dolphins have surrendered the sixth-highest passing success rate to date.
For context, a play is deemed successful if it produces at least 50% of the requisite yards for a first down, 70% of the yards to gain on a second down, and 100% of the yards to gain on a third or fourth down. Unsurprisingly, Bills -2.5 (-120) represents the first of my NFL best bets for this coming Sunday.
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Washington commanders at Philadelphia Eagles
This look-ahead line was already at the key number of a touchdown, but the Commanders are now priced as high as . Although the defending NFC champs have an undefeated record, their concerns are ironically similar to Miami’s — just not as anticipated.
For one, Philadelphia’s defense let up the fewest EPA per dropback in 2022. Albeit a three-game sample size, they’ve drifted to the middle of the pack thus far. Plus, take another look at the graphic above. Eagles cornerbacks Darius Slay, James Bradberry, and Josh Jobe all find themselves with below-league-average separation allowed and target grades. There’s reason for uneasiness if the game plan of winning with an elite rushing attack and dominant pass rush doesn’t go according to the script.
On the flip side, I’m willing to give Commanders QB Sam Howell a pass for his horrid performance in Week 3. Remember, it came against the Bills’ stout secondary. Despite an underwhelming crop of metrics, his Completion Percentage Over Expected (CPOE) ranks a tad above average.
Moreover, the Commanders possess a modest coaching edge between offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy and Eagles DC Sean Desai. As long as Bienemy adjusts to Howell’s strengths, wide receivers Terry McClaurin and Jahan Dotson should finally break out against Philly’s susceptible corners. Meanwhile, I’ll continue to sell high on Howell’s counterpart Jalen Hurts, who has yet to fully find a rhythm under first-year OC Brian Johnson.
For reference, I lost my wager on Buccaneers +6 (-110) on Monday. I’m going back to the well with Washington for the second of my NFL best bets.
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