Another NFL Total to Consider in Week 4
The Kansas City Chiefs offense shook off a slow start and got on track with Taylor Swift in attendance. That helped deliver a sweat free win in Week 3 for the loyal Bet The Board audience. It’s great starting the 2023 NFL season right where we left off in February.
For NFL Week 4 we’ll attack a total bouncing between key numbers as Bill Belichick and the Patriots invade Dallas. The question here: have schedule, weather, and injuries attributed to too much market movement?
273 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS – DALLAS COWBOYS OVER 43 (-110)
Looking at the Patriots’ offense in totality, we must start with the conditions faced in two of their first three games. Week’s 1 and 3, Mac Jones and New England dealt with steady rain for nearly the entirety of the Eagles and Jets games, suppressing their offensive output. Week 2 hosting Miami, the Patriots were thin along the offensive line. Tackle Trent Brown missed the game and center David Andrews, along with guards Cole Strange and Mike Onwenu played through injuries. Each of those linemen failed to play above replacement level according to PFF.
Patriots Offensive Line Health Improving
Heading into Dallas, the Patriots offensive line will be the healthiest it has been this season, and that should lead to opportunities in the run game. The Cowboys struggled to stop runs right at them last season, which was the reason for drafting Mazi Smith 26th overall in April. Once again, that issue showed itself against the Cardinals, as Dallas allowed four 20+ yard scampers. Mike McCarthy acknowledged it is an area of weakness that must improve.
Trevon Diggs Injury Could be Devastating
Dallas wasn’t in a great situation last week, as it was the first game All-Pro cornerback Trevon Diggs missed after tearing his ACL. The Cardinals offense finished 2nd in EPA per play and averaged 7.5 yards per play. New England will incorporate more of Demario Douglas now that he’s been released from Belichick’s doghouse for his fumble against Miami in Week 2. Going with 3 wide receiver looks and continuing their #1 pace of play, the Patriots will try and stress the Cowboys depleted secondary while preventing the Cowboys defensive line from rotating as much as Dan Quinn likes.
No Reason to Panic about the Cowboys Offense
Dallas ranks Top 8 in both EPA per rush and pass, while their offensive line grades 7th in adjusted line yards and 4th in adjusted sack rate allowed. Last week, Dallas was down 3 key cogs along their offensive line, as center Tyler Biadasz and tackle Tyron Smith were injured in practice, and guard Zack Martin was still dealing with an ankle injury suffered against the Jets. The good news is Biadasz and Martin practiced Thursday, and Tyron Smith rehabbed off to the side.
The Cowboys offense hasn’t been pushed until last week, as they built a 26-0 lead over the Giants and were in a comfortable game state versus the Jets. Against Arizona, the Dak Prescott led offense finished 1 for 5 in the red zone, scoring only 6 points in the second half on four drives inside Arizona’s 8 yard line.
Bottom line, I expect a competitive game. The Patriots secondary is down both Jack and Marcus Jones (both on IR). Jonathon Jones continues working through an ankle injury that’s plagued him since Week 1. Rookie corner Christian Gonzalez has been excellent thus far, but Dallas has enough weapons to find success against the back end of New England’s defense. Dallas is 4th in neutral state pace, so I expect them to operate with tempo. This is the one Week 4 matchup featuring two offenses Top 5 in pace.
Thoughts on Movement
Interesting movement on this total to say the least. We saw it open 41.5 or 42.5 depending on shop. By Monday morning it was a consensus 41.5 before an influential group played OVER. Within one move it was back to 42.5 before slowly leaking to 43.5. At that point, we saw a tiny difference of opinion and so here we sit at 43.
Around key NFL total numbers such as 43 and 44, the next move will be very telling. The injury report will factor in mightily as to whether this heads to 44 or trends back down to 42. I believe we see optimistic offensive line reports and this ticks back north past 43.
2023-2024 NFL Market Moves Record: (1-0)
2022-2023 NFL Market Moves Record: (13-6-1)