One of the common themes of Week 3 was several teams installing new starting quarterbacks. Some were due to injury, but others were tasked with trying to get their teams out of their respective funks. One youngster who came through with flying colors with Daniel Jones, who threw for two touchdowns and ran in two more during the Giants’ comeback win over the Buccaneers. One who wasn’t as successful was Josh Rosen, who could only muster up 200 passing yards in another embarrassing loss for the Dolphins.
Quarterbacks who took over because of injury included Teddy Bridgewater, who led the Saints to a win with Drew Brees (thumb) on the sidelines. The Jets were down to third-string quarterback Luke Falk as their starter against the Patriots and he predictably struggled, throwing for 98 yards and an interceptions. He was also sacked a whopping five times.
In other injury news, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for the Giants in Week 3 since they lost Saquon Barkley (ankle) for at least the next month. The Eagles were forced to play without DeSean Jackson (abdomen), who also couldn’t take the field Thursday night against the Packers.
As we turn the page from Week 3, we have our first two teams on a bye in Week 4. The Jets will mercifully get some time to lick their wounds while the undefeated 49ers will also receive some early rest. We also have plenty of exciting matchups, including the Ravens hosting the Browns and the Cowboys taking on the Saints. Let’s dive into the slate and highlight three underdogs who could be worth placing a wager on.
Jaguars (+3.5) at Broncos (O/U 37.5)
The Jaguars put forth an impressive defensive showing last Thursday against the Titans, holding them to just seven points while recording nine sacks of Marcus Mariota. They even did a good job of bottling up Derrick Henry, limiting him to 44 yards on 17 carries. Meanwhile, quarterback Gardner Minshew stepped up to throw two touchdown passes, giving him five through his first three games. With Nick Foles (collarbone) on IR until at least Week 11, Minshew is the undisputed starter moving forward.
Things weren’t as promising for the Broncos last week on the road against the Packers. Philip Lindsay chipped in two one-yard touchdown runs, but quarterback Joe Flacco played poorly by throwing for 213 yards and an interception. With the loss, the Broncos are still searching for their first win of the season.
If there is a silver lining for the Broncos, it’s that this game against the Jaguars will be played at home. However, that might not be a huge benefit in the world of wagering since they have failed to cover the spread in each of their last seven games as home favorites. The Jaguars will likely be playing without star cornerback Jalen Ramsey, which is a big blow to their defense. However, they are still proficient at sacking the quarterback. That could be a major problem for the Broncos since Flacco was sacked six times last week. The Jaguars have a reasonable chance to outright win this game, so taking the points is even more appealing.
Panthers (+3.5) at Texans (O/U 47.5)
Among the teams with a new quarterback under center is the Panthers. Cam Newton (foot) was unable to play in Week 3 against the Cardinals, opening up the door for Kyle Allen to start. He didn’t let his opportunity against one of the worst defenses in the league go to waste, finishing the contest with four touchdown passes. Christian McCaffrey was also a monster on the ground, rushing 24 times for 153 yards and a touchdown.
Things weren’t looking good early for the Texans last week since they trailed the Chargers 17-7 at halftime on the road. However, they started out the second half with three straight uncontested touchdowns, including two scores from Deshaun Watson to Jordan Akins. The Chargers ultimately only mustered up a field goal in the fourth quarter, helping the Texans escape town with a win.
Going up against the Texans is going to be a completely different animal for Allen compared to facing the Cardinals. Still, he looks comfortable in the offense and has an excellent running back in McCaffrey to help take some of the pressure off of him. It’s also worth noting that the road team has covered the spread in each of the Panthers’ last five games. While I think the Texans win, two of their three games this season have been decided by two or fewer points. Going with the Panthers and the points could prove to be profitable.
Cardinals (+6) vs. Seahawks (O/U 48)
The Cardinals have been done in by their defense so far, allowing 88 points on their way to a 0-2-1 start. The good news is that Kyler Murray has shown encouraging signs, including starting out the season with back-to-back 300 passing yard games. While he only threw for 173 yards in Week 3, he did record two scores through the air to go along with 69 rushing yards.
As far as disappointing performances go, the Seahawks were right up there last week. They couldn’t take advantage of Brees being out for the Saints, building up a 27-7 deficit after three quarters. Not only did Bridgewater throw for two touchdowns in the process of building up that lead, but the Saints also produced both a punt return touchdown and fumble recovery for a score. Despite a fourth-quarter surge, the Seahawks eventually lost by six points.
This is certainly an excellent spot for the Seahawks to not only have a strong offensive showing, but also bounce back with a win. Case in point, they have won each of their last 16 games as favorites following a loss. However, the underdogs have covered the spread in seven of the last eight games between these two teams. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the Cardinals put forth another strong offensive showing at home, so taking the points isn’t a crazy idea based on this hefty line.
Odds and lines subject to change. See website for actual odds.
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