Before we get into your Week 3 guide, let’s take a look at where to play.
Why FOX Is The Best New Option For Your Week 3 Action
Before we get into the game breakdown, let’s first run through where to place your action.
Bengals vs. Bills
Buffalo is 2-0 for the first time in five years, which is obviously great news for Bills fans, but it’s not great news for those hoping to see them cover today.
Dating back to the 2003 season, Buffalo is only 8-17-1 ATS off two consecutive wins and 5-12-1 ATS off two consecutive wins and covers. Throw in the fact that the last seven times a rookie coach dropped his first two games, he’s 5-1-1 ATS in the third game as an underdog of seven points or less. I’ll go with that.
Prediction: Bengals (+6) over Bills
Dolphins vs. Cowboys
Josh Rosen takes over at quarterback for the Dolphins this week, but it’s hard to imagine there is any scenario in which they go into Jerry World and win, particularly not as a 21.5-point underdog. Still, there’s some evidence to suggest they might be in line to cover this monster spread.
Teams that lose their previous game by 30+ points and are an underdog in their following game are 88-58-7 ATS (60.3% cover rate). Those teams are also 15-6-1 ATS as a double digit road underdog and 5-2 ATS when they’re a double digit road underdog and winless.
Prediction: Dolphins (+21.5) over Cowboys
Lions vs. Eagles
We have a full Lions vs. Eagles betting preview, but here’s the short version.
Here’s what I like about the Eagles this week:
- There have been four instances in which a team doesn’t cover its first two games of the season and plays at home as a favorite of six or more points against an opponent coming off a cover in September. Those teams are 4-0 ATS
- When teams that fail to cover its first two games of the season play a team coming off a cover at home, they are 8-4 ATS
Here’s what I don’t like about the Eagles this week:
- Dating back to the start of last season, Carson Wentz is 1-6 ATS as a home favorite and 3-10 ATS overall
- Dating back to the start of last season, Doug Pederson has been the NFL’s least profitable head coach as a home favorite
- The Eagles don’t have their top two receivers
I have to take the points.
Prediction: Lions (+5) over Eagles
Broncos vs. Packers
Green Bay hasn’t been overly impressive through two games, but the Packers are 2-0 with a golden opportunity to remain perfect this week against the 0-2 Broncos. If you’re thinking the situation sets up for a desperate Broncos squad to score a cover, well, so did I, but recent history doesn’t support the thesis. Teams that have lost their first two games playing teams that have won their first two games in Week 3 are only 9-9 ATS.
In general, when a team has won two straight and is playing a team that has lost two straight and is favored by seven or more points, those teams are 19-13 ATS. I don’t feel strongly about this one, but given Green Bay has won 13 of its last 15 games against AFC West opponents and Rodgers is 3-1 ATS at Lambeau Field against AFC West opponents…
Prediction: Packers (-7) over Broncos
Falcons vs. Colts
Both the Falcons and Colts scored crucial late-game wins last week to even their records at 1-1, so which team will ride that momentum into this matchup?
It’s the Colts’ home opener, and that bodes well for Indy given they’re 6-0 straight up in their last six home games and they’ve won their last nine home games as a favorite. Matt Ryan is 5-3 ATS throughout his career after a win when playing on the road as an underdog of three points or less, but I just don’t trust him.
Prediction: Colts (-2) over Falcons
Ravens vs. Chiefs
It’s Baltimore–not Kansas City–that leads the NFL in total scoring and total yards through two weeks. There’s no distinct situational advantage for either side in September matchups between two 2-0 teams with home favorites going 4-3 ATS.
Looking at the trends, neither side jumps off the page in this matchup.
Kansas City has won 8 of its last 10 home games, but is only 5-10 ATS over its last 15 games against AFC North opponents.
Baltimore has covered its last five games as a road underdog, while the Chiefs have done a good job of sustaining cover success recently, going 10-4 ATS after consecutive covers.
When it doubt, I’m taking the better defense–and the points.
Prediction: Ravens (+5) over Chiefs
Raiders vs. Vikings
The Raiders have dropped 10 of their last 11 road games, including seven of eight last season.
Oakland has been good against the run in the early going, holding opponents to less than three yards per attempt, but they have an entirely different challenge on their hands today against Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook, who already has 265 yards on only 41 carries (6.5 ypc).
Even if Minnesota has to put the ball in Kirk Cousins’ hands–a strategy that typically gives me pause–he should have some success at home against a woeful Raiders secondary.
Cousins is 0-1-1 ATS as the Vikings’ starting quarterback when a favorite of eight or more points at home, and one of those games was a 27-6 thumping by the Bills early last season, but I’m willing to live dangerously.
Pick: Vikings (-8.5) over Raiders
Jets vs. Patriots
This is the first week in NFL history that has two games with spreads of 20 or more points on the board.
Since the 2003 season, teams that are favored by 20 or more points are 5-0 straight up, but they are also 0-5 ATS. While that doesn’t bode well for a New England cover, it’s not like NFL teams are completely incapable of covering a big number as they are 6-3-1 ATS in the last 10 instances there’s been a spread between 17-19 points.
Interestingly, and perhaps unsurprisingly, New England has been at home in four of the five games with 20+ point spreads.
The lone exception came back in 2013 when Denver hosted Jacksonville as a 27-point favorite. The more you know.
I think one of the two teams covers the big number this week, and I think it’s the Patriots.
Prediction: Patriots (-21) over Jets
Panthers vs. Cardinals
Let’s face it. If you’re betting on this game, you’re going dumpster diving. Initially, Carolina was a 2.5-point favorite, but the line has swung by as many as five points at several sportsbooks after news broke earlier this week that Cam Newton will miss the game.
Second-year quarterback Kyle Allen will get the start on the road against a Cardinals squad that has covered each of its first two games this season and has now covered four consecutive games in September dating back to 2018. Carolina is only 2-8 ATS over its last 10 games, and I think an energized offense led by Kyler Murray will do enough to offset the Cardinals’ dreadful defense.
One last thing: Home favorites coming off two straight covers going up against a team that has dropped its previous two games are 26-18-1 ATS over the last 16 seasons.
Prediction: Arizona (-2.5) over Carolina
Giants vs. Bucs
The Daniel Jones Era begins this afternoon in Tampa Bay.
Obviously, with a quarterback making his first career start, team-specific trends are a bit tougher to gauge, but the Giants are 7-1 ATS over their last eight road games and 7-1 ATS over their last eight road games at Tampa Bay. Furthermore, Pat Shurmur’s Giants teams are 6-2 ATS as road underdogs and 3-1 ATS as an underdog of six points or more.
That’s all fine and well, but the Giants still possess one of the worst defenses in the NFL, the Bucs are coming off an impressive road win in which their defense battered the Panthers, and they also have extra rest coming into this one.
Is a rookie quarterback that’s making his first career start going to magically overcome New York’s glaring deficiencies? I wouldn’t bet on it.
Prediction: Buccaneers (-5.5) over Giants
Texans vs. Chargers
The Chargers had the most on-brand Chargers loss possible last week at Detroit. Two missed field goals by the team’s punter after they elected not to sign another kicker in place of the injured Michael Badgley. Philip Rivers forced a throw into the end zone on 3rd and 19 from the 28 yard-line down only three points late in the game because he didn’t trust his kicker. Austin Ekeler fumbled on the one-yard line. That’s at least 16 points wasted, and those miscues led to an entirely avoidable loss.
The Chargers are a brutal bet at home since the start of last season (2-7 ATS), but have shown the ability to bounce back after a loss, covering each of the last five times this has happened. I still don’t trust them.
Prediction: Texans (+3.5) over Chargers
Steelers vs. 49ers
With Mason Rudolph making his first career start, you basically have to throw out all of the Steelers’ recent trends because the team’s dynamic has been drastically reshaped. For instance, the Steelers have won 9 of their last 12 meetings against NFC West squads, which sounds great, but 1) they lost to the Seahawks last week 2) Roethlisberger was the starter in those nine wins.
Still, I feel compelled to provide some knowledge here, so you should know that AFC North teams are 7-12 ATS as a road underdog over their last 19 games against NFC West opponents and 4-7 ATS when an underdog of six points or more.
Prediction: 49ers (-6.5) over Steelers
Saints vs. Seahawks
I’m not going to overcomplicate this. I don’t like that the Saints are playing their second straight game on the west coast, I also don’t like that they’re without starting quarterback Drew Brees. Meanwhile, the Seahawks are 13-6-2 ATS under head coach Pete Carroll when favored at home by seven points or less, including 4-0 ATS in September games. Moreover, they’re 15-0 straight up and 12-3 ATS in all September home games under Carroll.
Prediction: Seahawks (-4.5) over Saints
Rams vs. Browns
The Browns are banged up, while Rams have had a ton of success both on the road and against AFC opponents under head coach Sean McVay (except for that Super Bowl loss back in February), but…Cleveland is HOSTING a Sunday Night Football game. And I’m getting 3.5 points? And I don’t trust Jared Goff?
I know that last one wasn’t a question, but I really don’t trust Jared Goff.
Prediction: Browns (+3.5) over Rams