Our picks, best bets for every NFL Week 3 game

By VSiN Staff  (VSiN.com) 

September 25, 2022 11:38 AM
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After another dramatic week, it’s on to Week 3 of the 2022 NFL season.

Throughout the season, our VSiN experts will combine to give their best bets on every game. Check back for our best bets for Monday night's game as we get closer to kickoff.

Odds are from DraftKings (unless noted) as of Thursday night.

Baltimore Ravens (-2.5, 44) at New England Patriots

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Adam Burke: Don’t listen to any of the noise about the Patriots as a home underdog — or any of the trends that mostly came with the dynamic duo of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Only Belichick remains and he is having a hard time at the moment.

The Patriots have scored on only 21.1% of their possessions so far, which should come as no surprise to anybody that was paying attention during the preseason when Joe Judge and Matt Patricia were handling the play-calling duties. New England is fortunate to be 1-1 after giving the Steelers several chances to steal a victory in Week 2, and Baltimore represents a huge step up in class.

The Ravens are being punished for what happened in the fourth quarter against Miami. Prior to that 28-point outburst, Baltimore comfortably led 35-14. The comeback was a tremendous outlier. Maybe it showed some cracks in the Ravens defense, but the Patriots don’t have two Ferraris like Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill. Mac Jones has the keys to a few jalopies.

The Ravens have scored on more than 39% of their possessions and lead the league in yards per play on offense. The collapse against Miami greatly skewed their defensive numbers, as they allowed 13.6 yards per play on Miami’s final three drives. The Patriots don’t have that kind of explosiveness. 

We should get a fully focused, angry Baltimore team that looked great for seven quarters before inexplicably falling apart.

Pick: Ravens -2.5

Femi Abebefe: Despite being 1-1, it’s been a rocky start for the Patriots. The offense has struggled mightily, scoring a grand total of 24 points through two games. Quarterback Mac Jones appears to be suffering from the dreaded sophomore slump as he’s thrown for two touchdowns, two interceptions and just 465 yards with a QBR of 32.0, which ranks 26th in the league.

It’s clear as day that the better quarterback will be standing on the other sideline as Lamar Jackson leads the Ravens into Foxboro. The former MVP is fourth in the league in QBR (76.5), passing for 531 yards, six touchdowns and only one interception. However, I get the vibe that Lamar might be a one-man show this season.

As well as he played Sunday, the Ravens only gained 36 non-Jackson rushing yards (they have 82 non-Jackson rushing yards through two games). Baltimore’s inability to run the ball coupled with injuries in the secondary point in the direction of the home team getting a field goal in what should be a toss-up game.

Pick: Patriots + 3 (BetMGM)

Buffalo Bills (-5, 52.5) at Miami Dolphins

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Femi Abebefe: There might not be a scarier NFL bet right now than fading the Bills, but someone has to do it. The preseason Super Bowl favorites are being rated like they’re far and away the best team in the NFL.

While I think we can all agree that they’re the best team going, there’s still some uncertainty about by how much. At the Westgate SuperBook, the Bills are currently + 250 to win the Super Bowl. You’d have to go back to the 2007 Patriots to see odds that short heading into Week 3.

Not to mention, the Bills are coming off an impressive Monday night victory over the Titans. All week long, the national discourse surrounding this team is that they’re heading to the Super Bowl, and maybe they are, but I’m going to play against that as they’re coming off a short week and heading to a division rival.

The Bills are banged up in the secondary with safeties Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde missing Thursday’s practice. They’ll likely be without cornerback Dane Jackson, who suffered a neck injury Monday night. If last week told us anything, you don’t want to be short-handed on the back end against a dangerous Miami passing attack led by quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.

It might not feel great, but this is a Dolphins-or-nothing kind of situation if you’re mining for value.

Pick: Dolphins + 5.5 (widely available)

Dave Tuley: I gave out the Dolphins + 4.5 on VSiN’s “The Greg Peterson Experience” on Sunday night — and then the Bills went out and routed the Titans 41-7 on “Monday Night Football” and this line inflated to -6 for a while at some books. 

I’m fine with that as we’re usually happy when the public jumps on a team’s bandwagon and gives us some value on an underdog, especially when it’s an underdog like the Dolphins, who showed they can compete in a shootout with their 42-38 comeback win over the Ravens. 

Tua Tagovailoa seemed to improve on the spot as he threw for a career-high 469 yards and six TDs. Of course, it helps when you have weapons.

Pick: Dolphins + 5.5 (widely available)

Cincinnati Bengals (-6, 45) at New York Jets

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Jason Weingarten: Joe Burrow is getting hit too much because the Bengals didn’t do enough to improve their offensive line after making the Super Bowl last season. 

Starting 0-2 is disastrous for any team, but it’s compounded for the Bengals, who must travel to New York for their second road game in two weeks. After a home game next week, the Bengals have back-to-back road trips to Baltimore and New Orleans, which will make it four road games in five weeks. 

That type of punishment is unsustainable, especially when your quarterback is getting sacked seven times a game. 

Pick: Jets + 6

New Orleans Saints (-2.5, 41) at Carolina Panthers

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Dave Tuley: The Panthers have been more competitive than expected (though both of their games against the Browns and Giants have been lined around pick-’em, so it shouldn’t be too surprising), but I believe they’re taking a step up in class against the Saints. I can’t take them at such a short price here, but they’re a prime teaser play as we can move the line up over a touchdown. I’ll use the Panthers in a two-team, six-point teaser with the Titans. I expect both to be one-score games.

Pick: Panthers + 8.5 / Titans + 8 Teaser

Las Vegas Raiders (-2, 45.5) at Tennessee Titans

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Dave Tuley: Both of these teams are off to disappointing 0-2 starts. This isn’t quite a must-win game for either one, but it’s close. The Raiders were in complete control at halftime against the Cardinals but were victims of one of Sunday’s biggest collapses as they couldn’t contain Kyler Murray. The Titans should also have a win as they dominated the Giants in the first half of their opener before a similar collapse, and then were routed by the Bills. I have the Titans rated as the better overall team but will go with the aforementioned two-team, six-point teaser. 

Pick: Titans + 8 / Panthers + 8.5 Teaser

Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings (-6, 52.5)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Jeff Parles: It really does feel different with the Lions right now. The combination of Jared Goff and Amon-Ra St. Brown is looking like one of the best in the league, and even with a battered line, the offense has looked good in both games. 

The Vikings are coming off another prime-time mess against the Eagles. Kirk Cousins looked awful and Justin Jefferson was mostly shut down by Darius Slay. It was a vintage Minnesota fiasco in a big spot.

These teams split their two matchups last season, with both teams winning their home games with scores on the final play. I expect this to be another tight game between division rivals. 

Even though this is not the greatest of spots for the Lions, I like them to cover the number because of their offense. Don't be surprised if this game goes flying Over a higher total as well.

Pick: Lions + 6

Dave Tuley: I gave this out at + 7.5 on “The Greg Peterson Experience” on Sunday night and in my “Tuley’s Takes Today” column on Monday morning, but it’s still playable at + 6. 

The Lions were 11-6 ATS last year, as they were competitive in most of their games despite a 3-13-1 SU record, and they’re off to a 2-0 ATS start this year with a back-door cover versus the Eagles in Week 1 and a 36-27 win versus the Commanders on Sunday. Jared Goff has never looked better in spreading the ball around and the defense is good enough to contain the Vikings’ potent offense.

Pick: Lions + 6

Kansas City Chiefs (-5.5, 50.5) at Indianapolis Colts

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Adam Burke: It usually takes two to tango with a total in the 50s. The Chiefs seem plenty capable of hanging a number, as the adjusted spread (up from -3) implies. It is much harder to see the Colts holding up their end of the bargain. Indianapolis’ offense is a dumpster fire through two games, scoring 17 of their 20 points against the Texans in one quarter and then getting shut out by the Jaguars.

The Colts are 29th in adjusted net yards per pass attempt, ahead of the Rams (lead the league with five interceptions), Bengals (have allowed 13 sacks, which really hurts that metric) and Bears (quarterbacked by Justin Fields and played a game in a mud pit). 

While Frank Reich is having a hard time this season, he is hardly stupid. The game plan this week for the Colts will likely focus on running Jonathan Taylor early and trying to play keep-away. Getting into an arms race with Patrick Mahomes is not a sound idea, especially when Matt Ryan’s arm looks more like a squirt gun. Way too many coaches talk about establishing the run, but it fits in Indianapolis’ case.

The Colts are clearly making a huge leap in the quality-of-opponent department, going from Houston and Jacksonville to Kansas City, but the defense has been strong with just 4.7 yards per play allowed. A turnover here and there would help, but opponents have only scored on 32% of their possessions.

Kansas City has a marquee Sunday night game with the Bucs next week, followed by a division game against the Raiders on Monday night, a playoff rematch with the Bills and a Super Bowl rematch with the 49ers. This is a game where they could get complacent in the second half.

Pick: Under 50.5

Femi Abebefe: I’m not sure there’s been a more disappointing team this season than the Colts. They went off as -155 favorites to win the AFC South but have failed to live up to that hype after tying the Texans and getting shut out by the Jaguars.

Conversely, all is good in Chiefs Kingdom after Kansas City beat the Chargers last Thursday night. However, if you go back and watch that game, it’s hard to come away uber impressed with the Chiefs. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw the ball to Chargers defenders about four times but was somehow able to avoid an interception.

On the other hand, one mistake near the goal line to start the fourth quarter flipped the game on its head as the Chiefs picked off Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert and returned it 99 yards for a go-ahead touchdown. The point I’m trying to make is that the Chiefs are a little inflated in the market due to a coin-flip victory, while the Colts are a little underrated after missing a number of key players against the Jaguars.

Maybe the Colts are as bad as their record suggests, but I’m willing to bet on them giving us their absolute best effort in their home opener.

Pick: Colts + 5.5

Wes Reynolds: Around the middle of last week, the Chiefs were laying 3 on the lookahead line. After the Chiefs’ victory and the Colts being shut out for just the third time since 1994, the line reached a peak of 7 and has now settled at 5.5.

Although the Chiefs will still be a public play this week, it is highly unlikely that we see 7 again, especially because the Colts’ injury report is looking better. Three-time All-Pro LB Shaquille Leonard will likely make his season debut Sunday. WRs Michael Pittman and Alec Pierce were no-gos in Jacksonville but both have been practicing this week. 

RB Jonathan Taylor only had nine carries for 54 yards last week as the Colts found themselves behind early. Expect a more run-heavy attack against a Chiefs front that has yet to be tested as the Cardinals (63%) and Chargers (67%) went pass-heavy against the Kansas City nickel defense. 

Three weeks ago, the Colts were the consensus favorite to win the AFC South and were even considered a dark horse in the AFC. The team clearly has real issues (protecting Matt Ryan on the left side, lack of pass rush, turnovers, etc.), but the line move is an overreaction this early in the season. 

NFL home underdogs coming off a shutout loss are on a 12-2-1 ATS run. The Colts are clearly a team in early desperation mode. While everything points to the Chiefs, including a historically good matchup versus Gus Bradley defenses (89 points in two games versus the Raiders last season), the market resistance has come against what will be one of the most bet and teased sides come Sunday.

Pick: Colts + 5.5

Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5, 47) at Washington Commanders

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Wes Reynolds: Expectations were high this offseason in Philadelphia and the Eagles have lived up to them through two games, including a dominant 24-7 victory on Monday night versus Minnesota (486 yards of total offense, 7.1 yards per play). Jalen Hurts was 40-1 in the offseason to win MVP and is now 8-1 and the third choice on the board (below Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes) at Caesars. 

Now the Eagles take to the road to face another one-time Philadelphia MVP candidate, Carson Wentz, and the Commanders. Wentz was run out of Indianapolis last year but is showing that he still has something left. He is tied for the league lead for touchdown passes (with Mahomes and Tua Tagovailoa) and is second for passing yards (behind Tua). Wentz is the first player in the Super Bowl era with 300+ passing yards and three TD passes in each of his first two starts with a new team.

The Eagles, who could come in “fat and happy,” are on slides of 5-12 ATS on the road and 4-14 ATS in September. 

Pick: Commanders + 6.5

Femi Abebefe: Similar to my bet against the Bills, I’ll also be fading the Eagles as I try to sell high on the Monday night darlings. You won’t find a bigger Eagles believer in the betting space than me. Back in May, I bet them to win the NFC (+ 2050) and Super Bowl (50-1) because of the talent on the roster and the ease of their schedule.

I’m sky-high on the Eagles, but getting nearly a touchdown with a division rival is way too good to pass up. All week long, the Commanders have been hearing that their defense is atrocious and that they have no chance to hang with Philly. While the defensive concerns are valid, I’m impressed with what I’ve seen from the Commanders offense when Carson Wentz isn’t turning the ball over.

Washington has a decent offensive line that can give Wentz time to throw to dynamic wide receivers Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson. Offensive coordinator Scott Turner has shined in the first two weeks, and my guess is the Commanders will be able to move the ball consistently against an Eagles defense that is a little too vanilla for my liking.

Like the Bills-Dolphins game, I think this is another spot where you’re getting a home underdog in a division game at an inflated number.

Pick: Commanders + 6.5

Houston Texans at Chicago Bears (-3, 39.5)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Adam Burke: We have quite a few teaser candidates this week that run through the key numbers of 3 and 7. This game certainly fits the bill with a low total and a Bears team that struggles to complete a forward pass. Creating margin without an aerial attack is a hard thing to achieve and that’s what the Bears would have to do in order to win this game by nine points or more.

Courtney Cronin of ESPN wrote an excellent article about the Bears’ shortcomings in the passing game, including Justin Fields’ issues with getting rid of the football. He doesn’t see the field well, leading to 3.1 adjusted net yards per pass attempt, which is the lowest mark in the league.

These two teams enter the week 26th and 27th in percentage of drives ending with points. That should lead to a tight, low-scoring game, as the line implies. In that case, rather than flipping a coin on a straight side bet, taking the Texans up from + 3 to + 9 with a teaser makes sense. There are a lot of sides you can pair with the Texans. My personal preference is the Broncos.

Pick: Texans + 9 / Broncos + 7.5 Teaser

Jacksonville Jaguars at Los Angeles Chargers (-7, 47)

Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET

Ben Wilson: As of Thursday night, all indications point to Chargers QB Justin Herbert giving it a go Sunday after suffering a fracture to his rib cartilage against the Chiefs last week. Center Corey Linsley was banged up last week as well and is questionable, so I can't help but be concerned about one of the better quarterback/center duos preparing to suit up at less than 100%. 

Even setting Herbert's status aside, it's a favorable spot for Jacksonville against a Chargers team coming off back-to-back tight battles within the division. While I'm not among the crowd ready to hand the Jags an AFC South banner after two weeks, what's undeniable is the drastic improvement on both sides of the ball now that the franchise has an adult in the room in coach Doug Pederson.

The most notable improvement is from QB Trevor Lawrence. I like looking at CPOE (Actual Completion % minus Expected Completion %) as one way to measure quarterback performance, since it gives a good indication of just how accurate a QB is by taking into account the difficulty of his throws. Lawrence was abysmal in that metric last year (only Zach Wilson was worse among qualifiers) but ranks third through two weeks.

While the Jaguars remain a young and undisciplined team, the upside is high on a weekly basis and they completely fit the bill as a live dog catching a touchdown on the road. 

Pick: Jaguars + 7

Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1, 42)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

Danny Burke: We have seen quite the line move in favor of Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in their matchup against Tom Brady and the Bucs. Why is that? Is it because they beat a bad Bears team and we believe that instantly solves all of Rodgers’ receiver issues? The Bears were a controversial call away from covering that game, which might have led to a completely different conversation about this Green Bay team heading into Week 3. 

Nevertheless, let’s look at the history. Rodgers struggles in the Sunshine State, where he is 3-5 throughout his career (when the Saints had an opportunity to choose where they would play the Packers last year, they chose Florida). Oh, and don’t forget, Rodgers is 0-2 versus Brady since he has been with the Bucs (Green Bay lost 38-10 at Tampa Bay in 2020). You could argue Green Bay had a better team then, too.

Sammy Watkins was the Packers’ leading receiver against the Bears with a total of three receptions, which is concerning. Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon are very nice, and they can torch a run defense such as Chicago’s, but it won’t be so easy against the best defense in the NFL. 

I realize Mike Evans is suspended and the Bucs are dealing with other receiver issues, but I trust Brady, in the Bucs’ home opener, to figure it out against a quarterback that he has figured it out against numerous times. 

I expect Leonard Fournette to have a big game on the ground, considering what we saw the Bears’ running back crew do. Take advantage of the lower price on the Bucs, who are the rightful favorite in this spot.

Pick: Bucs ML (-110, Caesars)

Atlanta Falcons at Seattle Seahawks (-1, 42)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

Adam Burke: The Falcons opted to stay out West and practice in Seattle after their game in L.A. For a young team, this seems like a solid plan. A team-building exercise early in the season might help get everybody on the same page, particularly with a first-year quarterback and some new faces on defense.

The Falcons gave one away against the Saints in Week 1 and had a bit of a hangover against the Rams in Week 2, falling behind 28-3, but they showed a lot of resilience. The running game with Cordarrelle Patterson and dual-threat QB Marcus Mariota has been highly effective and Drake London had a nice game against Jalen Ramsey. Kyle Pitts hasn’t been a big part of the offense yet, but Arthur Smith is a good offensive mind, so he should rectify that rather quickly.

The Seahawks are a really bad team. They’re already -1.1 in yards per play differential, and they’d have an 0-2 record if the Broncos hadn’t fumbled twice inside the 5-yard line. Seattle has scored on just 17.6% of its possessions, while the Falcons have scored on 39.1% of theirs.

This line says a lot about where these two teams are. The 12th man in Seattle makes for one of the better home-field advantages in the league, so you could argue that the Falcons are being rated as a small favorite on a neutral field.

Pick: Falcons + 1

Los Angeles Rams (-3.5, 48.5) at Arizona Cardinals

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

The Cardinals are really fortunate to be 1-1. The defense has been the main concern, as the unit has allowed 6.4 yards per play and has had a lot of trouble covering tight ends. Travis Kelce and Darren Waller are two tough draws early in the season, but the Cardinals lead the league in most receptions, yards and touchdowns allowed to tight ends.

Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp have had success together, but Stafford has not been able to develop a rapport with Allen Robinson or any of the Rams’ other receivers. The Rams are averaging just 2.7 yards per carry on the ground, so the passing game should remain the focal point of the offense. Enter Tyler Higbee, who is second on the team in targets with 20. Only he and Kupp have more than nine through two games.

Cardinals opponents have already made 10 trips to the red zone, so Higbee and the Rams should have chances this week.

Pick: Tyler Higbee Anytime TD (+ 175)

San Francisco 49ers (-1.5, 45) at Denver Broncos

Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET

Adam Burke: It seems like the Trey Lance injury is a blessing in disguise for the 49ers. They were right to elevate the third overall pick to starting quarterback in his second season because they simply have to know, but the returns from Week 1 and his starts in 2021 were not great. Holding on to Jimmy Garoppolo has proven to be a brilliant idea, as Lance is potentially out for the season.

The Broncos have been hit with a ton of negative press. Nathaniel Hackett can’t hack it according to the pundits and Russell Wilson doesn’t seem to be fitting in all that well with his new teammates. The Broncos were clear favorites on the lookahead lines, but the 49ers are now laying a road number in the Mile High City.

The Broncos have scored on over 42% of their possessions, which ranks eighth in the NFL through two weeks. The 49ers are slightly below the league average. Denver’s inopportune turnovers in the scoring areas have been a major issue, as they are 0-for-6 in the red zone. That should start to turn as the season goes along. Russ is too good and the weapons around him are strong.

Like many others, I am reluctant to back the Broncos straight, but taking them from + 1.5 up to + 7.5 on a two-team, six-point teaser makes a ton of sense. The 49ers run the ball a lot and can sometimes struggle to win by margin. The total is in the mid-40s, which is also good for taking an underdog up the ladder. Pairing the Broncos with the Texans is my favorite teaser of the week.

Pick: Broncos + 7.5 / Texans + 9 Teaser

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