Week 4 BALLER Model: Best Bets to Cover the Spread (Fantasy Football)
A few weeks ago, I introduced BALLER*, a machine-learning betting model that predicts which team will cover the spread in each NFL game.
In its first two weeks, it went 16/27 (59.3%) on its selected ‘Best Picks’ (‘Best Picks’ are determined through a combination of model confidence and outside football intuition).
This is not an official Fantasy Footballers betting model* but hopefully a useful tool to make your decisions for fantasy and leans on certain spreads and who could cover. For the full array of betting material, find season-long and weekly props in the DFS Pass and tune in every week to the DFS & Betting Podcast.
In this article, I will break down the model’s best picks for Week 4 (seven games) — let’s dive in!
Week 4 BALLER’s Best Bets
Keep in mind a couple of key points with this model:
- It is still using data from last season to predict these games — it will be better adjusted to each team with more data from the 2023 season.
- It focuses on the spread of the home team.
- It is applied primarily on which team can cover the spread, NOT “use this xSpread” the model spits out.
New England Patriots (+6.5):
The Patriots are coming off their first win of the season, and have a lot of room to cover against Dallas, who just suffered their first loss to the Cardinals. This one will be a defensive battle, meaning a close game and a likely cover for the Patriots.
Arizona Cardinals (+14):
The Cardinals are coming off a big win as massive underdogs against the Cowboys. Can they replicate their success against the Niners? The Cardinals’ expected points added per game (EPA) is not as low as many might think. It rests at -8 compared to the 49ers’ 3.5, which isn’t as lopsided as the markets are showing.
Baltimore Ravens (+2.5):
The Ravens come into this game as underdogs. Their biggest fallback this season has been ball protection: if they can clean this up against Cleveland in Week 4 (who average -17 EPA per game), they will be able to cover the 2.5-point spread.
Cincinnati Bengals (-2.5):
The Bengals have been bad, but the Titans have been worse. Not only have they been pushing their pass game more than the run (Derrick Henry), but they’ve averaged -8 EPA per game this season to the Bengals’ -5. Look for Cincy to cover in this one.
Kansas City Chiefs (-9.0):
The Chiefs come into this one as nine-point favorites, which doesn’t seem too daunting when facing the Jets’ anemic offense, which is averaging 8.5 points in their last five games. With Taylor Swift in the house for the game, anything is possible for Travis Kelce and his squad.
Indianapolis Colts (+1.0):
The Colts are coming off a massive win against the Ravens in Week 3, and now are set to host the Rams in Indianapolis, looking to go 3-1 on the season. They’ve averaged 20 points in their last five games to the Rams’ 23. Their home-field advantage should be able to give them the extra boost to cover the spread.
Los Angeles Chargers (-5.5):
The Chargers have averaged 12 EPA per game in their last five games, compared to the Raiders’ 5 EPA. Defending home turf, look for L.A. to cover in this matchup.
That’s all for this article! As always, feel free to reach out on Twitter with any questions.