ESPN Eliminator Challenge Week 4: Strategy, advice and picks

Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers are heavy favorites this week. Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

After a benign Week 2, Week 3 featured several upsets that shook up Eliminator Challenge. The Dallas Cowboys were the most popular pick of the week at 19%, but they fell to the Arizona Cardinals as 11-point favorites, in what was clearly the biggest betting upset of the season.

The Jacksonville Jaguars knocked out another 17% of players in losing to the Houston Texans, while the Baltimore Ravens eliminated another 7%. The only two winning teams that were picked by at least 10% of entrants were the Kansas City Chiefs (17%) and the San Francisco 49ers (16%).

The Chiefs were the top pick in this column last week, while the 49ers weren't listed. Why? Because this week, the 49ers are the only double-digit favorite on the board and the clear top pick of Week 4.

Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers
Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, California
Sunday 4:25 PM ET

The 49ers are the biggest betting favorites of the season, laying two touchdowns to the Cardinals. It is the most-lopsided matchup this week according to Mike Clay, and it is the fourth-most lopsided matchup all season according to ESPN Analytics.

The Cardinals were able to shock the Cowboys last week, but that game came at home. Now they have to head on the road against a rested 49ers team that might not take the Cardinals lightly. No team has won back-to-back games as a double-digit underdog since the 1995 Colts, and the Cardinals are unlikely to end that drought.

  • Mike Clay chance to win: 89%

  • Caesars Sportsbook odds: 14-point favorites (-900 moneyline)

Washington Commanders at Philadelphia Eagles
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia
Sunday 1:00 PM ET

This is the Eagles' second-easiest matchup this season according to Mike Clay and it's their only game with at least an 80% win probability until Weeks 16-18 when they face the Giants twice and the Cardinals. While the Eagles have several more usable matchups between now and then, this is their best matchup on paper all season.

Jalen Hurts has been contacted fourth-most among quarterbacks in the NFL, and if the Eagles have a season like last season, there is no guarantee Hurts plays down the stretch. The Commanders' offensive rating has been falling since Week 1, with ESPN Analytics now rating it as the worst in the NFL, so they are a team to target, especially when they go on the road.

  • Mike Clay chance to win: 85%

  • Caesars Sportsbook odds: 8-point favorites (-385 moneyline)

Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers
SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, California
Sunday 4:05 PM ET

This pick is entirely dependent on Jimmy Garoppolo's status for this game. Garoppolo has provided competent quarterback play, ranking 18th in Total QBR, but he entered concussion protocol. If he misses action, Brian Hoyer is the likely starter. The 37-year old has lost 12 straight starts since his last win in 2016.

Mike Clay gives the Chargers an 81% chance to win, tied with the Kansas City Chiefs for the third-highest percentage this week. With the Chiefs holding more value in future weeks, the Chargers get a slight nod as the third choice if Hoyer starts. However, the Chiefs are a fine choice as well as they visit Zach Wilson and the Jets with a larger betting line.

  • Mike Clay chance to win: 81%

  • Caesars Sportsbook odds: 5.5-point favorites (-260 moneyline)