The wisest gamblers are the ones that stay away from the games that just look tough to bet on. Every week, there’s a number of contests that the bookmakers offer with spreads that are too tough to get any sort of significant advantage on and represent a glorified coin flip.
Those are the kind of matchups you will want to avoid in Week 4 of the NFL season and beyond if you are trying to become a successful bettor that cashes in on 55 percent—or more—of his or her plays.
Let’s take a look at the latest lines for every game on the slate, check out my predictions for each of them and highlight a handful of contests you would be smart to distance yourself from.
DETROIT LIONS (-3) vs. Chicago Bears
This NFC North battle just begs you to stay away, as these two bitter rivals are quite close over the past few years, especially against the spread.
Detroit has the narrow edge over the past 20 matchups, going 12-8 ATS in that span. The Bears are also trailing over the past two seasons, going just 1-3 ATS in the four matchups since 2011.
However, Chicago is 3-1 straight-up in that same time period and would obviously cover the spread if it was to move to 4-1 SU on Sunday. Whether that will happen or not remains to be seen and seems far too unpredictable at this juncture.
The Bears are currently undefeated, with two fourth-quarterback comebacks led by Jay Cutler in the first two games before a blowout victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3. The Lions are 2-1 but have yet to score a convincing win over any of their opponents.
Turnovers are likely to decide the outcome of this one, with the Bears leading the league with 11 takeaways at this juncture. Detroit is trailing in that category with seven, although the Lions have just four giveaways compared to Chicago’s five.
A bad bounce or tipped pass could easily decide this rivalry game, which is why you shouldn’t bet big on it.
Washington Redskins (-3.5) at OAKLAND RAIDERS
The ‘Skins are somehow favored despite being 0-3 and travelling across the country to take on the Raiders. Oakland is 1-2 and has looked relatively competent against two top teams, the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos.
While Raiders starting signal-caller Terrelle Pryor may be sidelined due to a concussion suffered against the Broncos in Week 3, backup Matt Flynn isn’t much of a downgrade and is still capable of leading his side to a straight-up victory.
Washington’s defense is one of the worst units in the league, allowing an average 333 yards per game through the air and 155 per game on the ground. It has the offense completely out of sync, as the Redskins are almost always playing from a massive deficit.
If Oakland can get some quick points on the board, there is no doubt it could pull off the improbable upset. However, the Redskins' powerful passing attack could overwhelm the Raiders' mediocre secondary, which has proven beatable in 2013.
It’s another unpredictable scenario with a ton of outcomes, so bettors will want to avoid this one like the plague and put their money behind a more stable entity in another game.