Morning Coffee: An early lean for Week 4 in the NFL
The Cincinnati Bengals found themselves in must-win territory, staring down a potential 0-3 start against the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football.
Joe Burrow found a way to win the game.
Despite a calf injury that severely limited his mobility, Burrow completed 26 passes for 259 yards on a season-high 49 attempts.
Trailing 9-6 early in the third quarter, Burrow went to work with his favourite target Ja’Marr Chase, connecting on three passes for 33 yards on one drive to get the Bengals in the red zone.
Joe Mixon took it from there with a 14-yard run for Cincinnati’s lone touchdown in a 19-16 win.
Evan McPherson went 4-of-5 on field goal attempts. All four field goals were from 48-plus yards, including two from 53-plus yards.
The Bengals started 0-2 last year before winning 12 of their final 14 games to finish with a 12-4 record.
Despite a gutsy prime-time win last night, it could be a much different story for Cincinnati this year if Burrow continues to be limited the way that he was last night.
This is the Morning Coffee for Tuesday Sept. 26, 2023.
Burrow, Bengals avoid 0-3 start with win over Rams
FanDuel set the Bengals’ season win total at 11.5. After watching their first three games, it’s hard to imagine a path for Cincinnati to get to 12 wins.
The Bengals were a 7.5-point favourite on the lookahead line for last night’s game. That number got as low as 1.5, and closed Cincinnati -3.
It took a gutsy effort on both sides of the football for the Bengals to secure their first win of the season and get the push against the Rams.
For those of us watching the games last night in the TSN boardroom, it was another obvious opportunity to lock in a live winner at FanDuel.
Next up, Burrow and company will travel for back-to-back road games against the Tennessee Titans and Arizona Cardinals before hosting the Seattle Seahawks in Week 6 in their final game before the bye week.
After that, the schedule gets a lot tougher.
From Weeks 8 through 18, Cincinnati will play three of the top-four choices to win the Super Bowl in the San Francisco 49ers, Buffalo Bills, and Kansas City Chiefs.
They also have five more division games left to play against the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns.
All four teams from the AFC North are among the top-15 choices to win the Super Bowl at FanDuel.
Of course, there is the potential for Burrow’s injury to heal over time. There’s also a very realistic chance that he aggravates the injury and is forced to miss games.
FanDuel has already adjusted the Bengals’ season win total from 12.5 down to 9.5.
While I won’t rush to fade Cincinnati, I’ve strongly considered a wager on the under 9.5 wins at +128.
If the Bengals beat the Titans this week and that number moves back to 10.5, I’ll certainly lean towards the under.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Eagles are 3-0 after winning and covering as a 5.5-point favourite in last night’s 25-11 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Eagles remain the third choice to win the Super Bowl at +700 at FanDuel.
Only the Kansas City Chiefs (+600) and San Francisco 49ers (+600) have shorter odds to win it all this morning.
A FanDuel Best Bet for Week 4 in the NFL
We’re already on to Week 4 in the NFL. Time flies when you’re having fun.
We’re not wasting any time getting to a FanDuel Best Bet for Sunday’s games.
My first bet for Week 4 is the Denver Broncos money line at -144 against the Chicago Bears.
Both teams are 0-3 straight up and against the spread this season. However, one of them has lost each of its first three games by double digits.
The Broncos have been outscored by 53 points this season. That’s what happens when you give up 70 in a 50-point loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 3.
In their first two games, Denver lost to the Las Vegas Raiders and the Washington Commanders by a combined three points. The Broncos were the favourite in each of their first two games.
Despite getting blown out by the 3-0 Dolphins, Denver deserves to be the favourite again this week.
It’s easy to overreact to Sunday’s loss and an 0-3 start, but the Broncos could easily be 2-1 right now and if they were, they’d be favoured by at least a touchdown in this game.
Meanwhile, the Bears have lost each of their first three games by 10-plus points, giving up 27-plus points in every game.
I think the numbers for this game will move in Denver’s favour throughout the week.
The Broncos are not a Super Bowl contender. That doesn’t mean Denver should be favoured by less than a field goal against Chicago.
I think this is the week that they get their first win under head coach Sean Payton.
That’s why I jumped on the Broncos money line at -144 against the Bears as my first bet for Week 4 in the NFL.