Another 3-2 week in the books, and it felt like it could've been 4-1 if not for all the injuries the Panthers suffered during the game that caused their defense to collapse. While we're well within the top half of the Circa Million, we're well below the current leader, who went 14-1 over the first three weeks. Their one loss came last week when the Cowboys not only couldn't cover as 12.5-point favorites, but lost the game outright. That's a good lesson for any of us beating ourselves up over what was an awful pick in retrospect (like me with the Jaguars last week): even the handicappers running the hottest in the country can't avoid the occasional stinker.
We move forward to Week 4, where rookie quarterbacks Bryce Young and Anthony Richardson are expected to get back on the field after missing last week due to injury. The market has taken the news of Young's health as an opportunity to fade the Panthers, who are catching anywhere from 4 to 4.5 points at home against an 0-3 Vikings team. Richardson's Colts have danced around pick 'em in their matchup with the Rams.
Three other quarterback injuries of note: Derek Carr seems unlikely to play after suffering a separated AC joint, yet the market has moved in favor of the Saints, showing bettors' confidence in Jameis Winston. The Raiders may or may not have Jimmy Garoppolo (concussion), and the market quickly hopped on the Chargers in that game and seems to be waiting for more information before moving the line further. Deshaun Watson barely threw at practice on Friday and is being listed as questionable, and the market has moved slightly in favor of the Ravens.
I've been SportsLine's No. 1 NFL against-the-spread expert over the last six years, going 535-450-30 against the spread to put me up more than 35 units on those picks at SportsLine since 2017. I've also delivered a 56.5% hit rate on my Vegas contest picks over the last eight seasons, which is exactly what you're getting below. And that run includes two finishes in the money, including finishing 18th out of 2,748 entries back in 2017.
If you're a SportsLine subscriber, you can get all my picks, which in a typical NFL week number can near double digits, at the same time as I make them by downloading the app and signing up for alerts on my expert page. That's crucial, as you might not have access to the same lines from the Las Vegas contests, which don't move after they're posted mid-week. This week, despite this strategy not working out last week with the Jaguars, my top pick is one of the favorites of more than a touchdown: the Philadelphia Eagles -8 vs. the Washington Commanders.
Unlike the Jaguars, the Eagles have proven they're one of the elite teams in the NFL, and I have them tied at the top of my power ratings at 7.5 points better than average. Once you account for home field advantage, even if you only give the Eagles 1.5 points for it like I do, the line is saying that the Commanders are an above average team at a line of Eagles -8. And despite a 2-0 start, I don't think they've proven that. They struggled to beat the Cardinals at home in Week 1, then had trouble early against a bad Broncos team and nearly lost after giving up a Hail Mary. Against an elite team last week, they got completely shut down, with Sam Howell unable to get anything going on offense. I expect more of the same against this Eagles team, which just needs to avoid turnovers on offense to win by double digits.
Get the rest of my Vegas contest picks below, along with my large-format survivor pool play for Week 4.
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