NFL Week 3 best bets and betting odds
It sure seemed like there should be a decent amount of parity around the NFL this season, but it has taken three weeks to get multiple double-digit spreads and a whole bunch of spread-altering injuries. All of that while trying to determine from the two data points what might be an outlier and what might be the norm.
With that, we’ve got a full menu to choose from in Week 3 and there are some games that stand out to me as being pretty good bets.
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Here are my favorite Week 3 NFL picks:
(Odds as of September 21, 3:30 p.m. PT)
The Browns are going to feel the loss of Nick Chubb throughout the course of the season. I’m not so sure that this is the week that it is a major issue. Jerome Ford looked at least capable and Kareem Hunt is a good receiving back, so those things should help Cleveland in a game where their defense has a great chance of winning the day.
The Titans have managed just 626 yards through their first two games against the Saints and a subpar Chargers defense. Cleveland’s defense has been downright dominant against the Bengals and Steelers. Sure, they were aided by the weather and a rusty Joe Burrow in Week 1, but the Browns didn’t allow the Steelers to run a single play inside their 30-yard-line last week. That’s not the reason Cleveland lost.
The Browns defense has allowed just 3.7 yards per play, 3.2 yards per carry, and opponents have scored on just 13.8% of their possessions. Cleveland shouldn’t need a lot of points to cover this number, but the chance might be there against a Titans secondary that is below average and ranks 25th in adjusted net yards per pass attempt against. Tennessee also has the lowest Hurry% in the league per Pro-Football-Reference at 2.4% and they have allowed the highest aDOT (average depth of target) in the league.
If Deshaun Watson can’t have success here, he may not have much success anywhere. But, even if he doesn’t, Cleveland’s defense is going to allow a low number and 3.5 is definitely doable with that. DraftKings actually dropped to -3 for a time on Thursday, but it seems only fair to call this 3.5.
Pick: Browns -3.5 (would play at -3.5 or better)
The Saints are really stepping up in class this week in my estimation. I just wrote about how I like the Browns to cover 3.5 against the Titans while their best offensive player wears a knee brace in advance of major reconstructive surgery. The Saints also just snuck past a Panthers team that has a rookie QB and has scored 27 points in two games.
The Packers got worked over by Arthur Smith’s creative offense and run schemes, but the Saints don’t have that kind of innovation on offense. They’re running the same Pete Carmichael offense that they’ve run since 2009. It did produce some great results with a guy named Drew Brees, but Derek Carr is not on that level.
Maybe the Saints defense is able to step up and shut down Jordan Love, but the Packers are at home for the first time and Matt LaFleur and Adam Stenavich’s offense has not turned the ball over through two games. While it wasn’t a great offensive show in Atlanta, the Packers did score 24 points on essentially six drives before going dormant in the fourth quarter. Christian Watson seems to be tracking as a game-time decision, but after practicing on Wednesday in a limited capacity, he should be back, giving Love another option in the passing game.
I’m just not a believer in Carr and think the Saints get a wake-up call here against the best team they’ve faced this season.
Pick: Packers -1.5 (would play to -2.5)
Through two games, no team in the NFL has a lower Pressure% than the Raiders per Pro-Football-Reference. The Jets rank in the bottom 10. This week, the Bills draw maybe the best defensive line in the NFL, especially when it comes to harassing the quarterback. The Commanders are tied for the league lead in sacks with 10 and they’re able to do so without having a high blitz rate.
Josh Allen is likely to get pressured a lot more in this game than he did last week and maybe even more than he got pressured by the Jets. That Week 1 game was one of the worst that we’ve seen from him. It may have been related to a lack of preseason reps, but the Commanders are playing some inspired football on both sides of the ball right now.
It sure feels like Eric Bieniemy has unlocked some of Sam Howell’s potential and Brian Robinson Jr. is running the ball really well. The Bills defense has not been stout through two games, allowing 5.3 yards per carry and 5.8 yards per play. I think the Commanders offense is able to have some success.
Ultimately, I think there’s a mispricing in this game. The Raiders were +8.5 in Buffalo last week. If we assume a two-point home-field advantage in the NFL, which may be a tad high, the Commanders would be +10.5 in Orchard Park. I would not have the Commanders power-rated lower than the Raiders. They’re a better team in many ways and I think it shows here with at least a cover, if not something more.
Pick: Commanders +6.5 (would play to +6)