Eight teams are still looking for their first win in 2020, while seven others are off to 3-0 start. Which of those undefeated teams might be overvalued by the public? Which of the winless teams are being written off to the point where they look like great value picks in NFL Pick ’em pools? We break down some key favorites and underdogs as you look to make the best Week 4 NFL picks.
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Week 4 NFL Picks Advice: Tips for Pick ’em Pools
How we identify Week 4 value picks
Good NFL game predictions are only part of the story when it comes to winning a football pool. You also need to consider how you expect your opponents to pick each game. After all, you can only rise in your pool standings if you score points that your opponents miss. So, in order to distance yourself from the competition, you need to do two things:
- Always look for unpopular picks that might be worth an educated gamble
- Make sure to avoid trendy upset picks that aren’t worth the risk.
This approach to making picks is a big reason why since 2014, an average of 72 percent our subscribers have reported winning a prize in a football pick ’em contest.
Without further ado, let’s get to the Week 4 picks.
Note: Win odds and estimated pick popularity data below may change between publication time and kickoff time. If you want the latest numbers, our product updates multiple times per day.
Big Favorites At A Reasonable Price
The picks below might not be significantly underrated by the public, but compared to other favorites this week, they are a relative bargain in terms of pick popularity. Think twice about picking against them, as there are smarter upset pick opportunities on the board.
Baltimore Ravens (vs. Washington)
The Ravens got handled on Monday night by the Chiefs, but they have been dominant against non-Kansas City teams with QB Lamar Jackson at the helm and still have the highest win odds of the week going against the Washington Football Team.
They make this list because a small fraction of pick ’em entries (3%) are picking the upset here. That might not sound like many, but it’s more than the number of entries picking upsets of the Rams or Packers this week, and almost identical to the number picking the Seahawks to lose. Yet Baltimore has the best chance to win.
You shouldn’t overthink this one. Set the Ravens for a top point play if you are in a confidence pool, and hope that the Monday Night result biases at least some people in your pool to take a huge risk with Washington.
San Francisco 49ers (vs. Philadelphia)
The 49ers are being picked by 90 percent of the public to beat the Eagles. That’s about the same rate as the public is picking the Saints and Cowboys, two teams favored by far less in Week 4. The 49ers are a seven-point favorite while the other two teams are favored by just four points points.
The 49ers destroyed the Giants last week and looked just as good with Nick Mullens at QB as with Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle). So, it’s a bit surprising that the public isn’t even higher on San Francisco here.
If you are going to take a risk on a longshot upset, there are smarter risks to take than picking against the 49ers at home this week.
Week 4 features one favorite that the public is picking at a lower rate than its chance to win. These types of teams are as close to no-brainer picks as you can get in NFL pick ’em contests since you can take the team that’s expected to win, yet still “fade the public” (in relative terms, at least) at the same time.
Indianapolis Colts (at Chicago)
It appears that the public is all aboard the Bears 3-0 train, and perhaps still has some lingering doubt about the Colts from their Week 1 upset by the Jaguars.
This marks the second time already this season that Indianapolis is the betting favorite and is unpopular. The Colts were being picked by only 30 percent of the public back in Week 2 when they were favored against the Vikings. This week, Indianapolis has 55-percent win odds but is being picked just 39 percent of the time so far against the Bears.
Since their Week 1 upset loss, the Colts have dominated the Vikings and Jets while the Bears have slipped by a soft schedule in very close fashion.
Unpopular Toss-Up Pick
When a matchup is close to a 50/50 proposition, it often makes sense to pick the less popular team. To win an NFL pick ’em pool, you’re probably going to need some luck in these “coin flip” games, and when you get it, you want to maximize the upside.
New York Jets (vs. Denver)
When you play the value game, you can sometimes end up on the side of teams like the Jets. They have looked awful through three games, and head coach Adam Gase might be fired if they don’t improve soon. Just 26 percent of the public is taking the Jets at home this week.
But the other side of the equation is who they are playing. The 0-3 Broncos look like the shell of the team that started the season due to injuries. Tampa Bay trounced the Broncos at home in Week 3, and Denver will be starting its third quarterback in four games, as the team announced that Brett Rypien will make his first career start this week.
The public may be picking heavily against the Jets, but the line moved from them being an early two-point underdog to now a pick ’em. We have this one at 51-percent win odds for the Jets.
Given that you have a quarterback on another bad team making his first career start, and the public is so wildly on the other side, taking a chance on the Jets here is worth a look.
If you’re going to make a gamble on a decently sized underdog, you need to make sure that the potential reward if you get it right — that is, how much your odds to win your pool will increase — is big. Take a bunch of extra risk to make a super trendy upset pick, and the joke is on you.
The pick below is definitely not appropriate for all pools. If you’re in a smaller, season-long pool, it is probably not worth the risk. However, it should be seriously considered for single-week contests or if you only care about weekly prizes.
Carolina Panthers (vs. Arizona)
The Panthers are coming off their first win of the season, at the Chargers, and return home to face the Cardinals.
In this battle of two former Big 12 head coaches (Matt Rhule of Baylor/Carolina and Kliff Kingsbury of Texas Tech/Arizona), the Panthers are just a three-point home underdog, but the public isn’t giving them much of a chance, taking them just 12 percent of the time.
Our models put Carolina’s win odds at 41 percent, and that difference between win odds and pick popularity is the largest of any team this week. If you are in a weekly prize pool, taking a chance on the Panthers to win again provides some value to differentiate your entry and shoot you ahead of your opponents if they pull off a mild upset here.
Get all of our Week 4 picks for your pool!
We are not saying that you should make all of the picks mentioned in this article — the upset picks especially. The best Week 4 picks for your NFL pool depend on a number of strategy factors particular to your pool. (To learn more, check out our free articles about strategy for winning football pick ’em pools.)
What we are saying is that the teams mentioned in this post provide some of the best opportunities to differentiate your Week 4 picks from your pool opponents, by taking on little or no additional risk. That’s the basic strategy foundation for winning more pick ’em pools.
Once you know the best value pick opportunities of Week 4, you can typically increase your odds to win your pick ’em pool by taking a calculated risk or two (or more).
If you’re in a confidence pool, for example, it may be wise to bump up the number of confidence points you assign to a value pick like Indianapolis or the Jets. In a non-confidence pool, the process is more about deciding whether the risk of making one or more upset picks is worth it in Week 4, especially with many weeks still to play.
There are a lot of decisions to make, which is why we built technology to do all the data gathering and analysis needed to make the best calls. Our Football Pick ’em Picks is the only product that gives you the tools and data you need to maximize your edge.