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NFL Best Bets: Week 4 (2021)

by October 1, 2021
Daniel Jones

Not sure any other preamble is needed after you look at our season total. Let’s jump right in.

Season Total: 8-1, Up 886%

Bet $10, Win $200 if Your Team Scores a TD >>

Best Bet #1: Daniel Jones > .5 Interceptions (possibly even 1.5)

You can read more about this game in full in my Weekly Picks Article, but we feel very strongly about this prop, as we’ve had success with this play all year.

The Saints’ defense has continued their stellar play of the past couple years. They come in as the third highest ranked defense by DVOA and have a clear advantage on this side of play. Daniel Jones has a history of significant Man vs Zone splits during his young career. 

Man Successful Play Rate Zone Successful Play Rate
2021 45.5% 54.1%
2020 37.9% 48.8%
2019 45.5% 46.6%

 
The New Orleans Saints led the league in Man Coverage rate last year (47%), and currently running Cover 0/1 (Man) at the third-highest rate in the NFL (30%). This does not bode well for Jones. Jones has, by the way, been flirting with a 1-2 interception game. According to PFF, he has thrown 3 turnover-worthy passes, with 0 interceptions. A quick look at his QB Archetype through 3 games, confirms this:

Metric Rank
Time to Throw Rank 24th longest TTT
ADOT Rank 12th farthest 
Aggressiveness Rank 3rd most aggressive
Expected Completion Rank 24th lowest
+/- Completion Rank 19th

 
Jones is flirting with an interception, and the fact he hasn’t had one this year will mean the price is very right. Daniel Jones will throw 1-2 interceptions in this game.

Bet: Daniels Jones > .5 Interceptions

Best Bet #2: Chicago Bears -2.5

I’m aware most markets have this at -3 but think it would be worth the cost of buying it down. Frankly, this bet is based mainly on the priors of:

  • We know Justin Fields is a major upgrade at QB, and possibly one of the top 2 QBs coming out of this year’s draft.
  • We saw what happened last week when he faces a strong defense with little tactical help from his OC (little PSM, not many Play-Action passes, predictable run/pass situational tendencies).
  • It is widely, empirically proven that not only is Nagy a bad play-caller (for the most part), but Bill Lazor may actually be a pretty good one.

According to the Sharp Football Analysis Preseason Report: 

Lazor increased the usage of pre-snap motion.

Look at the splits:

  • Nagy: 35% usage, -0.13 EPA/play, 41% success, 4.9 yards/play
  • Lazor: 42% usage, 0.08 EPA/play, 55% success, 6.1 yards/play

Lazor also unlocked efficiency from 11 personnel. Let’s scrap fourth-quarter garbage time and compare Nagy’s first nine weeks with Lazor after the bye (six weeks) from 11 personnel:

  • Nagy: 5.0 YPA, 39% success, -0.33 EPA/att
  • Lazor: 8.2 YPA, 58% success, 0.23 EPA/att

Going back to Nagy’s outstanding 2018 first season and looking only at 11 personnel with Mitchell Trubisky (since that’s who Lazor worked with) from 2018-2020 with Nagy calling plays:

Nagy: 6.7 YPA, 46% success, 0.01 EPA/att

Another thing that Lazor unlocked which Nagy could not was getting efficiency out of passes to running backs.

Splits:

  • Nagy: 5.3 YPA, 47% success, 0.00 EPA/att
  • Lazor: 8.1 YPA, 66% success, 0.43 EPA/att

Essentially this bet comes down to the fact the Bears have a good young QB just waiting to be unlocked by a bright OC mind. Apparently, Lazor will be calling plays this week, and I’m not sure if the market has reflected this.

NOTE: As of this writing, we have not gotten confirmation that Lazor will in fact be calling plays. You need to watch this game carefully if you place the bet. If you hear/it’s reported that Nagy is still calling plays, back out of the bet (either Cash Out early, or worst case bet the same amount of money on the Bengals immediately).

Bet: Chicago Bears -2.5 (IF Lazor is the OC)

Best Bet #3: (Futures) Arizona Cardinals to NOT make the Playoffs (+110)

The Cardinals are 3-0, and -140 TO make the playoffs. However, this is a great opportunity to fade the team. According to Football Outsiders, the Cardinals have played the 31st ranked Strength of Schedule to date (-23.5% DVOA). Moving forward they will face the 1st ranked schedule (10.4% DVOA).

Look at their first 3 Opponents:

  • Tennessee Titans
  • Minnesota Vikings
  • Jacksonville Jaguars

Now their next 14:

  • Los Angeles Rams
  • San Francisco 49ers
  • Cleveland Browns
  • Houston Texans
  • Green Bay Packers
  • San Francisco 49ers
  • Carolina Panthers
  • Seattle Seahawks
  • Bye Week
  • Chicago Bears
  • Los Angeles Rams
  • Detroit Lions
  • Indianapolis Colts
  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Seattle Seahawks

This is about as big a swing as you will see in schedule, and something you want to capitalize on. All of this is not to mention that they play in the toughest division in football, hence you are basically betting they will NOT be a wild card team.

Bet: Fade the Cardinals, and get positive EV at +110 that they will NOT make the playoffs.

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NFL, Picks