NFL Week 4 betting takeaways: Where oddsmakers rate the teams

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Through four weeks of the NFL season, you can probably assign a good, bad, and ugly game to each team so far. We've seen top teams like the Bills, Chiefs, and Buccaneers play poorly once, and bottom teams like the Jets, Falcons, and Texans all play well enough to win, or at least cover, consistently.

Now that we've seen all teams through both clear and blurry lenses, we can begin to tighten their range - the high- and low-end expectations of their play for a given week. With a smaller range of expectations, it illuminates when there's an outlier: an over-adjusted point spread due to new circumstances. When a spread suggests that a team is outside of its established range (high or low), that should trigger a buy-low or sell-high opportunity.

In advance of Week 1, the Browns were downgraded with Jacoby Brissett getting the start. Before Week 2, it was the Cowboys after the Dak Prescott injury. For Week 3, the Titans were deemed incompetent after getting blown out in prime time the week before (they're 2-0 since). Last week, the Patriots were downgraded heavily in their first game without Mac Jones. What does each have in common? All of those teams covered.

How ratings work

We look at the betting market's assessment of each team based on the closing lines from the previous week's games, and then we estimate what each club is capable of going forward. The "rating" column is an educated guess at the oddsmakers' rating to create a point spread before their most recent game. The number itself represents the percentage chance that a team beats an average opponent on a neutral field.

The range column is my evaluation of each team's potential after seeing them play this past week. Obviously, clubs don't perform at the same level every week - the players are human, after all. They play within a range. It's our job as handicappers to predict how they'll perform based on things like the situation, on-field matchups, and roster/injury issues. The earlier it is in the season, the wider a team's range may be.

Rating before Week 4 kickoff

Bills 80 65-85
Buccaneers 73 60-80
Chiefs 72 65-85
Eagles 65 50-75
Packers 65 55-75
49ers 64 50-75
Rams 64 55-75
Ravens 61 55-75
Bengals 58 50-70
Chargers 56 55-75
Vikings 56 45-70
Raiders 54 40-60
Broncos 52 50-75
Dolphins 51 45-70
Colts 50 45-65
Jaguars 49 30-50
Browns 46 40-65
Cowboys 46 30-70
Saints 42 40-60
Cardinals 42 30-60
Patriots 40 40-60
Lions 43 30-50
Panthers 41 25-50
Giants 41 25-50
Titans 40 40-60
Commanders 40 30-50
Steelers 38 35-60
Bears 36 30-45
Falcons 35 30-50
Jets 35 25-40
Texans 33 25-40
Seahawks 30 25-40

Notable Week 4 results

Atop the ratings, the Bills' defense held up in the second half against the Ravens, so we'll raise the backend of their range. The Buccaneers closed as short favorites over Kansas City, which showed an increase to their rating with the return of their healthy receiving corps.

We were excited to see the Eagles cash our 14-1 tickets on being the last undefeated team this season, but we're tempering expectations by slowly shifting their range upward. That beep-beep sound you hear is the Jaguars' rating backing up after being inflated before Sunday, only to see them blow a 14-0 jumpstart in Philadelphia.

The Chargers' injuries lower their high-end capabilities, but for last week, their 56 rating was too low, as they still had enough talent to take care of the Texans.

Much was made of the Dolphins' issues turning around on a short week after a particularly hard-fought game with the Bills, but a significant drop was built into that line against the Bengals, as it crept over 3.5 points.

Based on a low rating that made them underdogs to the 0-3 Raiders, a bet should have been triggered on the Broncos. But having watched them closely for the previous three weeks, they might just be thoroughly mediocre. We'll leave the door open for the offense to click so they can reach preseason expectations.

Dallas moved to 3-0 with Cooper Rush at quarterback, but with Prescott's return looming, do we even need to change the Cowboys' rating when he comes back? They'll certainly be rated higher going into next week regardless, and the defense leaves open the possibility for a higher peak.

Why were the Seahawks a good bet last week? Because they were rated as the worst team in the NFL, and they're not. Speaking of teams rated poorly, one of our best calls from before the season is a belief that the Falcons aren't "that bad." They're the last undefeated team in the NFL - against the spread that is.

Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there’s a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.

NFL Week 4 betting takeaways: Where oddsmakers rate the teams
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