Week 4 round-robin underdog parlay: Connecting games with a London bridge
Last week's upset picks were gross. It turns out they weren't uncomfortable enough. We made our selections due to a combination of the plethora of underdog options and our back-to-back wins in our weekly guilty pleasure - the one parlay we'll play each week in the name of responsible betting and bankroll management.
We don't like to lament lost opportunity, but grouping our Texans pick with the Colts and Cardinals would've been enough to make us happy with three of five. Last week's disappointment serves as a reminder that there's no such thing as too wild of a pick when we're talking about moneyline value.
How it works
We parlay five underdogs together - which we also bet against the spread - in 10 different three-team parlays. Using every combination of a three-team parlay is called a round robin, so we'll use a total of 1.1 units to make 11 different bets: 10 three-team parlays and one five-team parlay, each for .1 units. You'll likely double your money if three teams pull off the upset. If four teams win, you're connecting on four separate parlays and will be very pleased with the return. If all five teams win, you'll be diving into a gold doubloon silo like a young Scrooge McDuck.
Who to play
The only way I can get to a point spread of Jaguars -3 in this game is with a full home-field advantage edge applied to Jacksonville for playing in London. However, Doug Pederson's sole London game with the Jags ended in defeat, while Arthur Smith led the Falcons to a win in England two years ago. Jacksonville - now 0-6 as home chalk - hasn't shown much this season.
This will be a more welcoming environment for Desmond Ridder and Atlanta's run game than last week's road opener in Detroit. Any downgrade based on that game is an overreaction.
Like many London games before it, this one comes down to a field goal, at which point we'll wake up Sunday morning with a +150 price that falls our way.
Close your eyes and picture the Panthers-Seahawks game in Week 3. Now remove Carolina's 12 billion false starts. A decent offensive performance from the Panthers could produce more points given they were a missed field goal away from a second-half lead.
By close at kickoff, the market didn't care whether Bryce Young or Andy Dalton started, eventually settling at the same point spread as the opener. The Panthers' defense is getting more ravaged with injury by the day, but the Vikings haven't done much to stop opponents this season. We could see Carolina in another high-scoring game that goes either way. Back home without operating amid the crowd noise din, the Panthers are ripe to get their first win of the season against a team running low on hope amid a 0-3 start.
Baker Mayfield! Jameis Winston! The NFL, it's faaaaaantastic!
If the Saints wanted Winston to start games, they wouldn't have gone and outbid teams for Derek Carr. They scored zero points after Carr left Sunday's game in Green Bay. That said, Winston isn't solely to blame since the Saints haven't scored much with Carr, either. Rashid Shaheed, Jimmy Graham, and Tony Jones have accounted for their four offensive touchdowns this season.
Fundamentally, there just isn't much difference between any of the teams in the NFC South. New Orleans had success slowing Tom Brady during his time in Tampa, but at least Mayfield and new offensive coordinator Dave Canales provide a different look in a game that could go either way.
Defensively, they got bailed out by Mike Evans' propensity to drop a variety of third-down conversions and touchdowns. Offensively, the Bucs allowed the Eagles to get into third-and-push situations, and the game was opened up by a broken-play touchdown from Jalen Hurts to Olamide Zaccheaus. Had the first half stayed closer, there may not have been a 300-yard differential.
Last year, the Commanders pulled off this upset when they held the Eagles to 264 yards of offense. Washington got kicked down to size by the Bills last week, but much of that was down to Sam Howell and Co.'s outlier five-turnover performance. Look for the Commanders to secure the ball, have more time-consuming drives, and keep this close enough to win.
Who knew we might've been a week late with a Cowboys fade? Dallas lost to the Cardinals despite running for 5.6 yards per carry. That was partly because they went 1-for-5 in the red zone and the defense allowed over 200 yards rushing.
Couldn't the Patriots do that, too? Can't New England run on the Cowboys, and can't its defense play a similar bend-but-don't-break style that kept it in games with the Eagles and Dolphins? If so, then this game comes down to turnovers. The Patriots can take advantage of Dak Prescott's propensity of forcing it to find a way to win a low-scoring game.
How the odds look this week:
Who are your five underdogs for a football betting lottery ticket?
Matt Russell is the lead betting analyst for theScore. If there's a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on social media @mrussauthentic.