The underdogs struggled last week and managed to win only three games outright and cover four matchups total, which is a steep drop off from Week 2's nine straight up wins. The NFL season is a rollercoaster where the underdogs will surge one week and then struggle the next. We saw the underdog win five total matchups during Week 1 and then nine during Week 2, and then they fell drastically down to earth during Week 3. If this pattern holds true, expect the underdogs to have a better week and grab a few straight up wins and covers. Here's a quick look at the best underdogs with value heading into Week 4 of the NFL season.
Pittsburgh Steelers +3 versus Baltimore Ravens : this is a situation that is more about not trusting Baltimore than believing in Pittsburgh. The Steelers are fresh off last week's devastating Ben Roethlisberger news (he is expected to miss four to six weeks with an MCL sprain in his knee), and Michael Vick is set to stand behind center for the next few weeks. Pittsburgh isn't necessarily in too much trouble because Vick is a solid quarterback with experience and the potential to be dynamic at times. No result in this matchup would be surprising, yet there is value on Pittsburgh as a home underdog.
Minnesota Vikings +7 at Denver Broncos
Denver continues to win games and cover spreads despite what most people have been saying about Peyton Manning's arm. The team's offense, however, hasn't looked great by any means, and the effort on defensive end has been the key to starting the year with three straight covers. The reason Minnesota has value is because the team's record as an underdog over the last few seasons. The Vikings boast a 23-13 ATS record as an underdog; with 8-4, 8-5, and 7-4 marks since 2012; and are currently 2-1 ATS while being a favorite in all three games of the season. Minnesota is ranked fifth in fewest points allowed and third in total rushing yards gained. This game has a good chance to be low-scoring and close.
Jacksonville +9 at Indianapolis Colts : no one should ever jump at the prospect of wagering on Jacksonville no matter how many points the team is receiving, but Indianapolis is playing so bad that there might be some value on the Jaguars at nine points. Andrew Luck and company still have not covered a spread this season and nearly lost last week's matchup against Tennessee. The Colts continue to struggle on offense, which has been their bread and butter over the last few seasons, and are currently ranked 25th in points scored and 20th in total yards gained. This spread isn't a must bet by any means, but nine points is a lot of points, and Indianapolis could continue to struggle.
Chicago Bears +3 versus Oakland Raiders
Oakland has been surprisingly solid over the first three weeks of the season and managed to produce a 2-1 ATS and SU record during that span. But with that being said, is anyone really rushing to the sportsbook to wager on the Raiders as a road favorite? Oakland may have improved, but being an underdog has far different expectations than being a favorite. Sure, Chicago is horrible at the moment (the team is ranked 31 in points scored and 32 in points allowed), but they will eventually win a game this season, and Oakland seems to be the prime candidate. This isn't a must-bet situation, but any result seems feasible, so take the home team plus the points.
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Read more articles by George Monroy
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