Several road underdogs pulled out upset wins last week, much to the chagrin (or delight) of those in NFL pick ’em pools. It’s been a predictably unpredictable year, and many likely feel lost as they contemplate their Week 4 picks. Fortunately, the number-crunching numbers from TeamRankings are here to help with strategy advice and tips for your pool
In this post, we highlight five NFL Week 4 picks that can give you an edge to win NFL pick ’em contests or confidence pools in 2021. Finding Week 4 picks that are being underrated by the public can yield weekly gains that make the difference between winning and losing a season-long NFL pool, while smart upset picks can drive success in weekly pools.
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Week 4 NFL Pick ’em Pool Picks: Tips, strategy
How We Identify NFL Week 4 Value Picks
This article is written on Tuesday, but if the win odds and pick popularity numbers hold, the teams below all provide compelling risk-vs.-reward gambits to differentiate your Week 4 picks from your pool opponents.
It’s important to note that we’re not necessarily saying you should make all of these picks. In particular, some upset picks may be unnecessarily risky for your pool, even if they are technically undervalued. If you want our game-by-game pick recommendations for all of your specific pools, use our Football Pick ’em Picks product.
Note: Win odds and estimated pick popularity data below may change between publication time and kickoff time. If you want the latest numbers, our product updates multiple times per day.
Denver Broncos vs. Baltimore Ravens
Point Spread: -1.0
Pick Popularity: 37%
Category: Unpopular Toss-up
Denver’s off to a 3-0 start, but given that those wins have come against the Giants, Jaguars, and Jets, the public doesn’t seem ready to get on board the Broncos train when they’re facing tougher competition. Right now, Denver is the slight favorite at home against Baltimore, but the Ravens are being picked nearly two-thirds of the time.
That gives you a value edge in sticking with the Broncos, who have won every game so far by double digits.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Cleveland Browns
Point Spread: +2.0
Pick Popularity: 32%
Category: Value Gamble in Weekly Prize Pools
Minnesota was very unpopular last week and beat Seattle at home as a slight underdog. They were also very unpopular in Week 2 and came within a missed field goal of winning at Arizona. Now, they play the Browns in what should be one of the more compelling matchups of Week 4.
The Vikings are a little more popular than last week, but they are still coming at a good enough value in weekly contests to consider them for an upset play.
MORE TEAMRANKINGS: Week 4 NFL survivor pool advice
Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions
Point Spread: -3.0
Pick Popularity: 56%
Category: Value Favorite
The Bears had 47 total yards last week in rookie QB Justin Fields’ first start. Justin Tucker’s game-winning kick to beat Detroit covered more distance than the Bears’ offense.
It’s understandable that the public would be a little down on the Bears coming off that game and drawing the Lions at home, especially after Detroit came oh-so-close to upsetting Baltimore. However, avoiding the recency bias trap is important for pick ’em strategy, and you can get Chicago at a decent value in season-long pools by just sticking with the favorite this week.
Kansas City Chiefs at Philadelphia Eagles
Point Spread: -7.5
Pick Popularity: 93%
Category: Reasonably Priced Larger Favorite
Everything is relative, and early on, the Chiefs are coming at a slight pick popularity discount compared to the other larger favorites this week. Of the seven teams favored by 6.5 points or more, Kansas City is the “least popular” at 93-percent pick popularity in winner-based pools. For a specific comparison, just three percent of the public is picking the Jets to beat the Titans or the Giants to beat the Saints, more than double the number of entries are willing to take a chance that the Chiefs fall to 1-3.
As a result, making Kansas City a higher confidence point play relative to other similarly-favored teams is a reasonable value-driven move in confidence pools.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Carolina Panthers
Point Spread: -5.0
Category: Reasonably Priced Favorite
The Cowboys are coming at a relative value this week, which is somewhat of a surprise for America’s Team. Dallas falls in between the big group of larger favorites that are being picked by nearly everyone and the close matchups where the public is quite divided this week.
With about one-in-four entries willing to take a chance on Carolina without star RB Christian McCaffrey (hamstring), it’s a better play to just stick with Dallas this week. There are better ways to differentiate your pick ’em entry among the six matchups involving a favorite of a field goal or less this week, including the Chicago, Minnesota, and Denver picks we highlighted above.
Get All Our Week 4 NFL Picks
Football Pick ’em Picks from TeamRankings is the only product that gives you the picks, tools, and analysis you need to maximize your edge in NFL pick ’em pools. It uses algorithms to identify the calculated risks that give you the best chance to win your straight-up, point spread, or confidence pool.
From a strategy perspective, game theory is a foundational aspect of winning pick ’em pools. In short, to win a pick ’em pool, you have to score points that your opponents miss. That means you need to identify unpopular picks that are worth a calculated gamble and avoid trendy upset picks not worth the risk. Our product does all that number crunching for you, 71 percent of our subscribers report winning a prize in football picks contests.
If you want to learn more about football pick ’em pool strategy, you can also check out our free articles about strategy for winning football pick ’em pools.
Good luck in your pools this week!