Week 4 Picks For NFL Pick'em Contests
This article was written by TeamRankings
NFL Week 4 features two Los Angeles teams as the top favorites, some big games between surprise undefeated teams and Super Bowl favorites (Detroit-Kansas City and New England-Buffalo), and several opportunities for value as the public overreacts to an isolated result or fails to consider all the information.
Last week we highlighted four relatively unpopular teams with the public (Cleveland, Indianapolis, L.A. Chargers, and Carolina). If you picked all four, you went 2-2, but that was a good result. Going by public pick percentages, the average pick'em contest entry got only netted 1.85 wins out of the same set of games—and you were four awful goal-line plays from Cleveland away from a huge outperformance.
Now let's take a look at where the value lies in NFL Week 4 picks for pick'em contests and office pools. Just keep in mind that for our full pick recommendations, customized for your pool and using all the latest win odds and pick popularity data, check out our Football Pick'em Picks product. (You can also get a free three-day premium trial if you want to look around and see what we have to offer.)
Week 4 Value Picks For NFL Pick'em Contests
Below are five teams that float to the top of the value board for 2019 NFL Week 4. As a reminder, we are mainly looking at two factors here (a team’s chance of winning, and how popular it is nationally as a pick) and comparing its weekly positioning in each category.
Keep in mind that we are not blindly recommending you make all of the picks below—the upset picks especially. Factors like your specific pool's size, rules, and prize structure all impact how risky versus conservative you should be overall with your Week 4 picks.
What we are saying is that the teams below have some of the more compelling risk vs. reward profiles in NFL Week 4 pick'em contests. You should certainly think twice about picking against the ones that are favorites because much better upset opportunities lie elsewhere. And if your pool's format rewards taking more risk (e.g. a single-week pool with lots of entries in it), then the underdogs deserve strong consideration as well.
Note: Win odds and estimated national pick popularity data below may change between publication time and kickoff time. If you want to see the latest numbers, our product updates multiple times per day.
No. 1: Baltimore Ravens (vs. Cleveland Browns)
Win Odds: 76% (3rd-best in Week 4)
Pick Popularity: 91% (tied for 6th-highest in Week 4)
Like the Colts, the Ravens are a bigger favorite relatively less popular than its peers this week; several other riskier teams are being picked by the public at a rate of 90% or higher. Baltimore is the third-safest pick this week but is tied for sixth in pick popularity. Houston (vs. Carolina), Seattle (at Arizona), and Green Bay (vs. Philadelphia) are all being picked at a similar rate, yet are favored by five points or less. If you want to take a long-shot gamble on a big upset, don't make it Cleveland.
No. 2: Denver Broncos (vs. Jacksonville Jaguars)
Win Odds: 60% (12th-best in Week 4)
Pick Popularity: 50% (tied for 15th-highest in Week 4)
The Jaguars beat the Titans in primetime last Thursday, and Gardner Minshew Mania is sweeping the nation. The Broncos, meanwhile, fell to 0–3 with another loss on the road, this time at Green Bay. It's no wonder then, that the public likes the Jaguars here. The Broncos are favored by three points in the betting markets, but only 50% of the public is picking Denver to win, so you are getting a field goal favorite at a pick’em price.
It's worth noting Denver has not forced a turnover or recorded a sack yet this year. So if you want to theorize why the Broncos could break their losing streak, they have outgained their opponents in yards this season, but their minus-four turnover differential has hurt them. Turnover luck can be fickle, though, and if the Broncos are just average in that category going forward they could suddenly look like a better team.
No. 3: Indianapolis Colts (vs. Oakland Raiders)
Win Odds: 73% (6th-best in Week 4)
Pick Popularity: 87% (12th-highest in Week 4)
The Indianapolis Colts have been undervalued all season. They won last week as a slight home favorite, but only 23% of the public were picking them against the Falcons. Two weeks ago, they beat the Titans as a very unpopular underdog, and they also nearly beat the Chargers in overtime in Week 1.
It seems the public has finally come around, picking the Colts at an 87% clip this week. But it’s all relative because there are several teams not favored by as much as the Colts being picked at a higher rate this week.
If you are going to take a bigger gamble on an underdog, there are other options that have a better chance of paying off, and the reward, if they win, will be just as great or greater. Philadelphia (a 4-point underdog against Green Bay) is an example of a team whose chances of an upset are much greater than Oakland but is only 8% picked by the public.
Comparatively, then, it makes less sense to take a big chance and pick against the Colts.
No. 4: Washington Redskins (vs. New York Giants)
Win Odds: 41% (18th-best in Week 4)
Pick Popularity: 21% (12th-lowest in Week 4)
The Giants are coming off an exhilarating debut for rookie quarterback Daniel Jones, in which they erased an 18-point halftime deficit to beat Tampa Bay. Washington, meanwhile, is 0–3 and coming off a primetime Monday night performance where they turned the ball over five times against the Bears. It's pretty easy to see why the public is all over the Giants in this one, picking them 77% of the time.
The line, though, is only three points. Our models have the Giants with a 59% chance of victory, giving Washington a realistic opportunity to pull off the upset and to do so when only 1-in-5 pick'em contest entries are picking this upset.
If we assume for a minute Daniel Jones may not actually be the second coming of Patrick Mahomes, it's worth noting that New York's pass defense is still questionable. The Giants have given up a scoring drive on 75% of first-half possessions by opponents so far this year, and Washington QB Case Keenum will not face the same level of defensive pressure he just experienced when playing against the Chicago Bears' tough pass rush.
No. 5: Chicago Bears (vs. Minnesota Vikings)
Win Odds: 55% (15th-best in Week 4)
Pick Popularity: 51% (14th-highest in Week 4)
The Vikings have looked impressive in two home wins this year, beating the Falcons and Raiders by a combined 36 points. The public seems to be convinced by those win margins and is picking the Vikings to win almost half that time (49%), even though Minnesota is a 2.5-point underdog at Chicago. Our models give the Bears 55% odds to win this game, so you are getting a bit of a value premium by still picking the favorite here.
Chicago's first home game since the Thursday night season-opening loss to the Packers is also a divisional series where the Vikings have historically struggled in Chicago. Over the last 20 years, the Bears are 15-5 straight up and against the spread when playing Minnesota at home.
Which Of These NFL Week 4 Picks Should You Make?
Once you know the best value opportunities of Week 4, you can often increase your odds to win your NFL pick'em pool by making some educated gambles on them.
Perhaps you bump up the number of confidence points you assign to a pick like the Ravens, move Denver up the confidence point list in a large weekly contest, or maybe you take even more risk on an upset pick like Washington to fade the Daniel Jones hype. But there are a lot of potential decisions to make, and not all of them will make sense for your specific pool.
We built technology to do all the number-crunching needed to make the smartest decisions. Our Football Pick'em Picks product recommends the best weekly picks for your pool based on all the strategic factors that matter, like your pool's size, rules and prize structure. You answer a few questions about your pool, and it recommends the Week 4 picks that maximize your edge.
We invite you to give it (and all our other premium NFL tools) a try for free.
FREE TRIAL: 4for4 readers can get a free three-day premium trial to TeamRankings, including all game predictions plus customized picks for your NFL survivor pools and pick'em contests: Get Picks Now.