Betting the final week of the NFL preseason is a difficult challenge. Starters receive minimum, if any, playing time, leaving bettors to attempt to gauge the abilities of reserves.
Some of the key Week 4 betting storylines:
--The New York Jets have major issues at quarterback. Veteran starter Mark Sanchez was injured in the fourth quarter against the New York Giants on Saturday. Rookie Geno Smith started versus the Giants, but looked awful, tossing three interceptions and stepping out of the end zone for a safety unnecessarily.
The Jets are 3.5-point home underdogs against the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday. Sanchez is out; Smith will get the start.
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--The Buffalo Bills also have QB issues, with their top two options in rookie E.J. Manuel and Kevin Kolb both injured. Undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel has been named the starter for the Bills’ Week 1 game against the Patriots. It will be interesting to see how new Buffalo coach Doug Marrone handles Tuel against the Detroit Lions on Thursday. On one hand, you don’t want to lose another quarterback. On the other hand, Tuel certainly needs the reps with the first unit.
The Lions are 4.5-point favorites.
--Favorites are 27-22 ATS so far this preseason, with away teams posting a 26-23 mark against the spread. There have been 28 overs and 19 unders with two pushes.
--Pete Carroll continues to exceed oddsmakers’ expectations in the preseason. His Seattle Seahawks are one of three undefeated teams in the preseason. The New Orleans Saints and Washington Redskins are the other two. Carroll has improved to 22-9-1 against the spread in the preseason. The Seahawks are 7-point favorites over the Oakland Raiders on Thursday.
--Houston’s Gary Kubiak also continues to put up consistent numbers in the preseason, specifically when it comes to high-scoring games. The Texans are 2-0-1 over/under this preseason, moving Kubiak’s career preseason over/under mark to 22-8-1.
The Texans are 1.5-point favorites at the Dallas Cowboys, with the total set at 37.5 points.
See the best NFL underdog lines this week at Bovada
Lions at Bills, 7 p.m.
Colts at Bengals, 7 p.m.
Eagles at Jets, 7 p.m.
Saints at Dolphins, 7:30 p.m.
Jaguars at Falcons, 7:30 p.m.
Giants at Patriots, 7:30 p.m.
Redskins at Buccaneers, 7:30 p.m.
Steelers at Panthers, 7:30 p.m.
Browns at Bears, 8 p.m.
Texans at Cowboys, 8 p.m.
Packers at Chiefs, 8 p.m.
Titans at Vikings, 8 p.m.
Cardinals at Broncos, 9 p.m.
49ers at Chargers, 10 p.m.
Raiders at Seahawks, 10 p.m.