Week 4 of the 2017 NFL season witnessed a handful of significant underdog wins, two young star quarterbacks get injured, and a pair of last year’s four biggest losers claim victory.
Six underdogs won outright in Week 4, including two catching more than a touchdown on the oddsboard. The Carolina Panthers shocked the New England Patriots 33-30 at Gillette Stadium. The reigning Super Bowl champions lay 9-poins at kickoff. The Buffalo Bills, meanwhile, used a stingy defense to stun the Atlanta Falcons 23-17 at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The NFC champs entered the matchup as 8-point chalk. It’s the first time since Week 16 of the 2015 season two underdogs greater than a touchdown claimed victory straight-up, and just the 10th time since 2008. A win by the Redskins over the Chiefs Monday night could make it only the second time in a decade with at least three big winners catching 7 points or more.
Mariota, Carr Injuries
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and Tennessee Titans signal-caller Marcus Mariota have some sort of weird blood brother, injury bond thing going on. For the second year in a row, they exited games with injuries on the same day. Mariota was forced out of the Titans blowout 57-14 loss at the Texans with a hamstring issue, while Carr sustained a back injury in the team’s 16-10 division defeat at the Broncos.
The extent of each quarterback’s injuries, and whether either will miss significant playing time is unknown as of Monday morning. Bettors need to take note. Each team will be fade material if out. The Titans are 1-5 SU and 2-4 ATS with Mariota out of the lineup since claiming the starting gig in 2015. Tennessee averages 13.8 points per game. This is a few points more than the Raiders minus Carr. Oakland posted 6 and 14 points in the final two games last season minus their franchise quarterback; the only two games Carr has missed. The Raiders are 0-2 SU and ATS failing to cover the spread by a combined 26 points.
Bright Beginnings or False Start for 2016 Big Losers?
Five teams finished the 2016 season with an average scoring margin less than a touchdown: the Bears (-7.5), Jets (-8.4), Rams (-10.6), 49ers (-10.7) and Browns (-11.8). They were last year’s biggest NFL losers. Combined they won 15 games all season and went 26-50-4 ATS.
Through Week 4, they are 6-14-SU and 10-10 ATS, almost halfway to their entire win total from last season. Are these bright beginnings or false starts for the group? We ask because they combined to also go 6-14 SU through their first four games in 2016, while covering the spread a few games less (8-11-1 ATS). The true colors of NFL teams begin to emerge after the first month of play, and this group took a nosedive starting in Week 5 last year. They closed out the year with a 9-51 SU and 18-39-3 ATS record. Expect a few to tank badly moving forward.